Ok, once again I’m going to take a shot at doing some hobbyist game development.
First, I have my graphics toolset lined up: Lightwave v9.6, pmG Messiah, and Houdini Apprentice Master. Those should have me covered well for general modeling and creation in Lightwave, character animation in Messiah, and rendering in either Lightwave or Messiah. I can mess around in Houdini for various effects and such, although the limited export capabilities of the Apprentice Master edition may limit how much I can realistically use it.
As far as my development environment, I’m torn between Unity 3D, Blade 3D, Torque X v3, and maybe even Esperient Creator. First I have to decide if I want to do a 2D or 3D game. If 2D I think Torque X will have a leg up, but if I want to go 3D then it will be a much tougher choice. Unity is excellent, and I’m really coming to respect the flexibility of Blade as well. Torque X doesn’t have all the legacy stuff of the older Torque engine, but it also seems the least polished of those 3 at the moment. Finally, there’s an outside chance that I could use something a little simpler like Esperient Creator. This would be the case if I end up wanting to concentrate more on the art assets and having fun creating those, and perhaps have a less sophisticated game, but much easier setup for something simpler.
I’ve got some learning ahead of me for Lightwave, Messiah, and Houdini (quite the understatement…), and once I’ve learned the very basic stuff on each of those (which will still take two to three weeks) I’ll hope to have my thoughts a little more organized on which game engine to use.
The only game on the near horizon that will take me away from this is the Sims 3, so I don’t think I’ll have lots of distractions. Plus, Russ is in the thick of rehearsals for Moonlight and Magnolias, so I’ll have lots of evenings and weekend time free to really get going!