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Best free Unity3D modelling software?

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Hi all, I'm new to the forums and I'm here to ask you one question.

I'm currently working on a game based on Unity3D that I would like to sell. Since I hate the lack of primitives in Unity3D and in the asset store they want too much money for such a "stupid" thing, I must make the levels (it's a platform game) as models and then import them.

I'm using 3ds Max for testing purposes, but I can't sell the game if I use it, because I'm using a student version.

I also can't use Blender, because I have an Intel HD Graphics Family video card in a HP laptop, so I can't update its drivers from Intel's site, and the most recent HP driver of the video card dates back to October 2011.

My OS is Windows 7 Home Premium x64 and I don't have any budget.

So, there is a 3D editor that would be right for me?

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Why can't you use blender? If 3DS Max runs, I would be suprised if Blender doesn't. Are you saying that since you are unable to obtain the correct drivers that Windows only provides the WDDM 1.x versions and doesn't provide OpenGL 2.x+ support? In that case, try an older version of Blender which might work on the OpenGL 1.1 specification that Windows should provide by default.

 

For primitives, I tend to use GtkRadiant 1.5 (A cross platform Quake engine level editor) with the Wavefront .Obj exporter. (here)

There is also AC3D (here).

Edited by Karsten_

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Agreed. Unfortunately the greedy gits at Unity dont feel that the Linux developer market is worth porting the editor for. Just like Adobe Flash Professional I suppose.

 

So the OP would need to find a different technology to develop the games on anything other than Legacy Windows or Mac OS X.

Edited by Karsten_

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Just in case, have you tried updating the driver in some other way?  I would do a backup first, but you maybe able to find a compatible driver elsewhere, like driverguide.com, or with google.  If not, I agree that Linux is your best bet.  I don't know much about other modellers, but I do know that Blender is the most powerful free software.  And it works quite well with Unity.

 

It isn't the best thing, but I'd say you could dual boot Linux with windows.  It sucks that you would have to go in and out of each to get things done, but at least you'd have access to more powerful software.  You also lose the nice "connection" between Blender and Unity this way though.

 

On the other hand, another modeller like Wings3d, Anim8or, or Sketchup may work for you, and if this is the case, go for it.

 

One thing worries me though.  How well do you expect to test games on this machine.  I'm sure Unity will fallback the games graphics, etc... to work on it, but I'm not fully sure.  And assuming it does, how will you test better graphics features that won't work on this machine?  If I'm not mistaken, you won't have even the first generation of shaders, which is quite limiting.  I know money can be an issue, but if you are interested in GameDev, maybe you should make it a priority to save up for something newer anyway.  This offering is currently $599, and has plenty of capacity for most GameDev projects, including a mid-range dedicated AMD graphics card.  You could also get something like this, which is only $349, but has an i3 processor.  The graphics chip is a dedicated intel chip like the one you have, but a much newer version that comes with the newer intel processors.  It won't be as fast as a dedicated ATI/NVidia, but it is enough for gamedev, and would run Blender and Unity just fine.  It also supports almost everything that ATI/NVidia support, like DX11 and Shaders 5.0, but it simply supports them at a slower speed, and is dependent on system RAM.  These are usually underestimated though.

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Just in case, have you tried updating the driver in some other way?  I would do a backup first, but you maybe able to find a compatible driver elsewhere, like driverguide.com, or with google.  If not, I agree that Linux is your best bet.  I don't know much about other modellers, but I do know that Blender is the most powerful free software.  And it works quite well with Unity.

 

It isn't the best thing, but I'd say you could dual boot Linux with windows.  It sucks that you would have to go in and out of each to get things done, but at least you'd have access to more powerful software.  You also lose the nice "connection" between Blender and Unity this way though.

 

On the other hand, another modeller like Wings3d, Anim8or, or Sketchup may work for you, and if this is the case, go for it.

 

One thing worries me though.  How well do you expect to test games on this machine.  I'm sure Unity will fallback the games graphics, etc... to work on it, but I'm not fully sure.  And assuming it does, how will you test better graphics features that won't work on this machine?  If I'm not mistaken, you won't have even the first generation of shaders, which is quite limiting.  I know money can be an issue, but if you are interested in GameDev, maybe you should make it a priority to save up for something newer anyway.  This offering is currently $599, and has plenty of capacity for most GameDev projects, including a mid-range dedicated AMD graphics card.  You could also get something like this, which is only $349, but has an i3 processor.  The graphics chip is a dedicated intel chip like the one you have, but a much newer version that comes with the newer intel processors.  It won't be as fast as a dedicated ATI/NVidia, but it is enough for gamedev, and would run Blender and Unity just fine.  It also supports almost everything that ATI/NVidia support, like DX11 and Shaders 5.0, but it simply supports them at a slower speed, and is dependent on system RAM.  These are usually underestimated though.

 

Thanks for your reply. I do have shaders (if I'm not wrong I should have at least Pixel Shader 2.0), and with Google and a lot of time to spend I finally found the correct driver for me.

I installed Blender and it worked without problems!

Anyway, for the graphics testing I've got some friends of mine that have a PC that is much more powerful than mine, I'll ask them to test it.

 

Just one last question: with Blender now working (woot!) what file format do you suggest to import the model into Unity?

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I suggest you stick the blend files into the asset folder and let Unity import them. It tends to work very well for me, except that I rotate 90 degrees on the X axis to get the correct orientation.  It is also great because the exporter as Unity uses it applies modifiers, so you don't have to, and so you can keep things without applying the modifiers yourself.  The only reason I wouldn't keep the blend file in the asset folder is for example if I have a "starter" asteroid that I'm simply deforming to get different ones with mostly the same settings.  I keep my "starter" in an outside folder and then I export fbx to the asset folder, or I simply duplicate the "starter" and modify the copies to get what I want.

 

I'm glad you found a driver and got Blender working, as it tends to be the best overall choice for these things.  And as far as testing, it is good to have a lower capacity machine to test on.  I have an Acer laptop with integrated graphics as well, and once I have something worth testing, it is in use for just that.  It also has Ubuntu Linux to test those exports as well, though I still haven't found a legal way to get Mac on it.

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I also can't use Blender, because I have an Intel HD Graphics Family video card in a HP laptop, so I can't update its drivers from Intel's site, and the most recent HP driver of the video card dates back to October 2011.

 

(...)

Agreed. Unfortunately the greedy gits at Unity dont feel that the Linux developer market is worth porting the editor for. Just like Adobe Flash Professional I suppose.

Whaaat?

 

1. I don't remember Intel vendor locking their drivers, just giving a fair warning. Even if it were so, vendor locking should be possible to bypass by overwriting the video bios.

 

2. Use Linux for Blender development, export to an intermediate format, then switch to Windows to use the editor (or use a Virtual Machine). Btw, I would hardly label a company that decided to share part of their software for free and allowed people to commercialize their creations as "greedy".

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