What Programs Should You Use for Game Design? (Part 2) / by Xiaosong Shang

Hello everyone! Sam Martino here.

So last time I went over the main programs we use, but this time I’m going to go more in depth for some of the more specialized ones. Please keep in mind that these are just as important to learn and have, they just aren’t used nearly as often.

Marvelous Designer is an incredible program that is used for cloth simulation. It is used mostly in tandem with ZBrush as a way to create high quality clothing for characters. It is an incredibly powerful tool and is actually one of the few 3D programs that does not use a subscription. You can pay for it once, and you have it forever. It has everything from complex sewing, to button creation, to zippers. I cannot stress how amazing this program is for anything requiring cloth. I’ve used it a lot for bedsheets and pillows (found here: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/NAoyN) It is far easier to create this in Marvelous than to try and manually create the creases and cloth fabrics in something like Maya.

Mixamo is a program owned by Adobe, but it is so different I didn’t include it in the list of Adobe Suites. Mixamo is a rigging and animation program used to speed up the process. For anyone reading this that does animation, knows how long and complicated of a process it is to get your animations just right. Mixamo is great because you can upload your character from something like ZBrush and it will rig it, upload it, and allow you download animations using the mesh you created. I will note that Mixamo has a LOT of problems however. It is great if your goal is quickly animate something, or you don’t have an animator, or you don’t plan to use any custom animations. Mixamo has a lot of options when it comes to animations, but the biggest issue is that it is very hard to line up custom animations with the ones from Mixamo. I’m not sure if this because of my lack of skill in animation, but it has been nothing but a headache to try and add anything custom.

The Adobe Suites that I use are Photoshop, AfterEffects, and Premier. I haven’t had to use Photoshop in a while, but I promise that if you make a 2D game, you’ll use it a lot. When we made Ashes, I had made all 1000 maps in Photoshop. It made the process simpler, but I wouldn’t use it for anything 3D. AfterEffects and Premier are strictly for trailers, but they made our trailers look the best from my experiences. Both programs have so many tutorials and are super easy to learn. One of the best things Adobe does in my opinion is make everything easy to learn. You’ll be able to make incredible looking trailers with these programs, and it won’t have you pulling your hair out trying to learn them.

These are the programs that we use in our game development. I’ve had to work with all of them, so if you have any questions about them please feel free to reach out to me.

Next time I will talk a bit more in depth about the full development process, our mistakes and our success with Ashes of Kanaka, and how it kept us going despite all of the roadblocks put in our way.

As always, please reach out to me at smartino@dogwoodgaming.com with any comments or questions. I always love hearing from you guys!