Game Reviews

Learning Blender

When I take a rare break from summer vacation fun and writing novel #6, I’ve been continuing work on my game prototype or, to be entirely accurate, I’m learning modeling/texturing and animating and other art details. Basically I need to generate placeholder models in my prototypes and I figured I’d dive into the whole art creation aspect. It has been interesting so far. I don’t plan to do the art for the game myself (if I take the prototype past prototyping), but I think it’s important for me to better understand all the performance implications of different modeling and texturing solutions.

This is all beyond any of my experience with BioWare, so it has been slow progress. But I’ve really been impressed with the quality of the tutorials I have found online. Here’s a few that have worked well for me (I should note that I’m using Blender, an open-source modeling tool that has a fairly simple pipeline with which to get models into Unity).

  • This is the first tutorial I used for Blender and it does a fair job of describing the interface.
  • This is a tutorial that I’ve glanced at but haven’t really used yet… its about doing the texture painting inside Blender itself.
  • This is a two part video series that shows how to model a “space wall” and then bake it down into the various textures (normal, specular, emitter, et cetera) and then apply those to a model in Unity. At times I found it difficult to understand (the user is quite advanced) but I was able to get through it (even though I’m using Paint.Net instead of Photoshop). Loads of useful tips and whatnot throughout.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.


  • Robert

    Hi Brent – great to hear you’re doing something on a game! Hope to see a Brent Kickstarter page soon ;) Have you seen the Dragon Age 3 screens, btw? There are a lot of mixed messages at the moment, but personally I have practically zero hope that it will be a game that’s aimed at the ‘core’ RPG audience that BioWare used to develop for. For me it’s just academic curiosity in seeing how a once very distinct genre is being lost through blending with various casual and action-driven designs. Maybe it is time for RPGs to go the way of operas and classical music? If people want entertainment that don’t ask much of them, why make it, I suppose?

  • Brent Knowles

    Hi, Robert.

    I’m only messing about with game stuff now. I doubt we’ll ever see a Kickstarter from me! More a hobby than anything nowadays.

    I’ve haven’t paid any attention to DA3, to be honest. I might check it out when it comes out.

    I suspect down the road we’ll see some “classical” RPGs, but they will probably be from indie studios. I think there’s room out there for groups interested in particular niches being able to fund and get them, through crowd funded projects and the like.

    Take care,


  • NicolĂ² Marchi

    Hi! If you’re learning the ropes with prototyping my
    advice is to adopt Zbrush or 3D Cota instead of Blender, because the
    latter is unsuitable for organic models, in case your models are meant
    to stay static, else if you need to match top performances for both
    painting and modelling with animation in mind, Modo by Foundry is the
    way to go, best if matched with Mari for the painting part (albeit their
    homepage is under mantainance and will be back within days you can
    still rely on the Facebook official page).

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