Back to building games: Creating models, 2D assets using free software (at least for non-commercial academic purposes)

I am exploring a way to gather models, sprites, and tools to build more of these kinds of assets.  Exotic Sounds like missile launches, spaceships and so forth seem to be a big problem for some people, although there seems to be plenty of sound files around for me.  Music that is game like in nature also can be difficult to find, at least music you can reuse for no cost.  And then there is Foley sounds, like doors, windows, walking, etc. these can be difficult to find, but pretty easy to make.

Expression Suite is one of the best tools around! 

  • Free to college students who are taking a Science, Technology, Engineering, Math or Design class, if your school is part of MSDNAA, if your school is not a member of MSDNAA not leave a comment after checking these links:

Expression Suite contains:

  • Expression Design
  • Expression Blend (drawing tool, game design tool)
  • Expression Web (Web design tool)
  • Encoder (Video Encoder and Audio Encoder, includes an awesome video capture tool, one of the best!)

3D tools that are free to everyone:

Non-Commerical Use:

Softimage (now owned by AutoDesk), can only be used for non-commercial use, similar to the EULA for MSDNAA. 

  • Make sure to use the link:, if you don’t, and use Bing or similar search tool, Autodesk takes you to a site where it appears you will only get a 30-day trial.
  • Some free tutorials, more if you don’t mind paying $40 for them, and the $40 tutorials are good tutorials, worth the money.
  • Integrates with XNA, sort of
  • Purchase price is quite high if you want to use this product commercially

Use for whatever reason you want:

TrueSpace 7.6, and this can be used for whatever reason you want to, the software is free and the company has been closed down! 

  • Make sure to download all of the training and resources as well, because you never know when the site will be taken down.  This is the FASTEST way to start building 3D objects for your games. 
  • Tutorials are free, make sure to download them, the server doesn’t do a good job of streaming them
    • These are great tutorials
  • Lots of models included and you can get started right away
  • Builds models that can be used directly with XNA, but doesn’t have the integrated component that Softimage provides
  • Can be used commercially, the company was shut down after acquisition by Microsoft, the software is used in the Virtual Earth product

Blender, this product has a great community and is difficult to figure out how to use, also, it charges for tutorials

  • Good stuff, but like a lot of community supported products, it is getting a little stale
  • If you use it, you should provide support by buying products or providing support for the software
  • Good game design platform, supports python
  • Strong Community

So dig into some of this great software, especially since it is no cost if you are using it for non-commercial use and a student (except for Blender and TrueSpace 7.6)

Comments (1)
  1. Eric says:

    I think they already closed down the site.


Comments are closed.

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