Getting started

Hi guys,

Firstly I’d like to apologise if this has been asked 1,000 times (or more) before but I can’t seem to work out how to search these forums!

I’ve spent most of my working life as a Java developer. Throw in a bit of Perl and shell scripting into that mix if you like.

I fancied a new challenge, and that challenge is to write a computer game for my son. Something simple to whet my appetitie really. Basically I want to write a simple hide and seek game. I’d like to model a basic house and stick an image of my ugly mug on some model and hide it somewhere in the said house for my son to find. He’s only 3, but has no problem with the arrow keys, so it sounds (to me) like an easy-ish entry in to the gaming world.

So I’m sifting through the various free 3d modelling options, and I don’t know which one to go for. Blender looks the most professional, but also the most complicated (of the free offerings). I’m also concerned that if I go down some software route, I may not be able to import it into Panda. That would be very demoralising.

Having just realised that I haven’t actually asked the question yet, I’ll get on and do it:- What is the easiest modelling tool to get me started with simple animations and models (ie A house and an actor - me) ?

  • At the risk of being boo-d, is Panda the right option for me? I am pretty comfortable with the Python language so far, so that looks good.
    Thanks for listening to my drivel. I will appreciate any thoughts.


I am more than a little biased, but Blender is well supported by Panda (See Chicken in the Pipeline forum.) and whilst intimidating at first it really isn’t as hard to use as people often make out. Its also the most feature complete, so there is little risk of you having to migrate to/integrate with a different piece of software latter. But there are loads of tutorials out there, so my advice would be to give it a go and see how you get along.

As for if Panda is the right tool, well, I don’t think anyone on these forums is going to give you an unbiased answer to that… but out of the Open source engines its probably the fastest to use (A game in a week is quite doable.) and one of the most feature complete. Documentation is also some of the best, which saves a lot of time.

lethe is compeltly right.
panda is a great engine. i was able top create a first prototype of my application within 2 hours after a meeting. you know how people’s faces look like when they get to see a working prototype 2 horus after they shared their ideas with you? (ok it was a really simple application but nontheless impressive)

as for blender, it is the choice if you take your time to learn it.
it’s not terribly hard to use but its NOT intuitive for new users. so you have to start with the beginner tutorials and work through it step by step you you will be stuck with the example-cube for ever.
if you dont want to learn blender. there are other choices. at least for static geometry you can use a wide number of software. google scetchup should work,too.

Probably the easiest option for creating animated models is Milkshape. However, that tool is Windows only, plus as they’ve mentioned Blender is by far the best free tool so I would say the slightly longer time you’ll need to spend learning that tool is worth it.

Cheers guys, this was exactly the sort of answer I was hoping for. I will cease my efforts with Art of Illusion and concentrate on Blender. The problem with this is that I am coming in to 3d modelling completely raw, so all the terms are making me scratch my head a bit. Quick peaks at wikipedia when I hear words like “Orthogonality” and “Frustum” !

And 100% pleased to hear that Panda is the choice for engine (would I have heard anything different? lol)

Astounded to hear you can push a game out of the door in a week :astonished: We shall see how the first one goes eh?

Thanks again