The gaming world has been thrown under the spotlight in recent years, with some becoming interested in exploring the alternate realities they have to offer, and others being drawn to the prospect of creating games themselves. While game development definitely takes skill and patience, the software chosen can have a massive impact on the process and outcome. So, is Blender used for games?
Blender is incredibly effective for creating assets, environments, and models, as well as getting them ready for game engines. It's free to use, is open source, and is compatible with various PC setups making it accessible and versatile for all users.
Although plenty of work and time goes into coding and other aspects of the game itself, one of the most time-consuming and challenging aspects of game development is creating the models and determining how they will behave within the game.
Join us as we cover some of the most prominent aspects of Blender, what it has to offer, and why it’s become one of the most popular choices for game developers in recent years.
Yes, Blender is a fantastic option for game development. The entire process of game development can generally be split into two equally imperative groups.
Asset creation (where each object, character, as well as the environment, is created), and asset assembly (which entails how these assets will behave or be engaged within the game).
Blender is great for creating various assets, including objects, scenes, environmental settings, and detailed characters, in addition to the process of getting these assets ready for asset assembly.
It’s become incredibly popular amongst enthusiasts, newbie game developers, and small to medium game developing teams over the past few years.
The great thing about Blender is that while it covers the essentials needed to create models and settings that will really capture the audience and bring game developers’ imaginations to life, it has a variety of features that are adaptable.
This versatility means artists have a ton of space to create just what they are looking for. Blender is used to create the visual world of the game, as well as everything and everyone that will roam or dwell within it.
When it comes to creating objects, people, and environments, it can take an incalculable amount of time to get every detail just right for the vision that game developers have in mind.
While modeling may seem as simple as the actual task of creating something that ‘looks’ good, this simply isn’t the case.
Related content: More than 30 Blender modeling tools explained
There is actually far more involved in the modeling process than meets the eye. Game developers have to consider the hardware processing power for those who will hopefully play the game once it is complete as well, which means that low poly variants of high detailed objects have to be created in order for the game to actually run efficiently.
Blender is great for this process, as one is able to create low poly models and improve its visual appearance through finishing processes. In addition, modeling is aided by add-ons such as Meshmashine, Hardops, and Boxcutter.
There are also modifiers and operations in Blender by default, which can massively speed up the process without affecting the outcome or future playability negatively.
Related content: 30 Blender addons (install, manage, free and paid)
This feature offers the freedom for users to create something really special and unique, topped with plenty of detail and texture as well. Sculpting is generally done with characters as opposed to objects, since it is far more complex.
There has been a lot of development in the sculpting department of Blender over the last few releases.
It is incredibly user-friendly and does indeed create amazing results. In addition, Blender also has plenty of add-ons and operations which can majorly increase the outcome as well as the overall sculpting process.
Efficient UV mapping is absolutely essential, as it closely relates to various processes and how it will function later on when it’s part of the game. However, this process is time consuming and tedious, as it is far more technical than creative when compared to tasks such as modeling or sculpting.
Luckily, Blender offers add-ons and tools that can aid this process, and Blender allows you to unwrap assets with the built-in unwrapping tools.
This makes Blender a great option for ensuring that your assets don’t just look good, but that they behave appropriately within the game itself.
An example of a great add-on that improves UV mapping in Blender a lot is the UV Packamster Pro add-on.
Related content: Blender add-on review: UV Packmaster Pro 2
Texture and shading can either make or break the aesthetic of your assets entirely, as they will have a huge effect on the look of your final models within the setting.
Blender is really great in this area as one is able to create custom textures or select from a variety of external textures and add-ons to save on time.
Related content: Top 10 material libraries for Blender artists
Blender is capable of baking light and textures and different maps used in a PBR workflow. However, it is known to be quite tedious and unintuitive in Blender.
To help beginners get started with texture map baking I wrote a beginner guide here that will help you get through the beginning headaches.
Related content: How to bake textures in Blender
Blender has a great rendering process when compared to many other options on the market as it has powerful rendering engine Cycles. It allows users to witness texture and lighting in the viewport with regard to individual assets or even entire environments and scenes.
In addition, one can customize rendering processes to make it as suitable to your PC setup as possible, such as by using your GPU or CPU for the process depending on what is available.
Related content: Blender: A Cycles render settings guide
The other option is the real-time render engine Eevee. With Eevee we can quickly render animations and preview our scenes.
Related content: A guide to Blender Eevee render settings
For many game developers, rigging and animation are by far one of the most intimidating aspects of asset creation. Thankfully, Blender makes this process far more enjoyable and user-friendly with a variety of tools that simplify the process without losing its effectiveness.
While Blender may not be the first choice for major game titles, it is definitely a fantastic choice for any game developing team who is starting out or finding their feet in the industry.
It’s a very popular choice for countless indie developers, many of which have resulted in the creation of games and sequels that are not too far off from major titles in terms of their visual appeal and playability.
As Blender has grown in popularity and reputation, even medium game development teams have begun switching to it due to various advantages as well as the fact that it offers plenty of solutions to time-consuming tasks.
Of course, time is money, especially when creating a game that may already take months or even years to complete entirely.
Thus, the time reducing elements in Blender is certainly a beneficial aspect that is boosting its reputability in addition to the fact that it is effective in creating appealing and functional assets.
In many cases, game developers utilize Blender in combination with other services and software in order to combat limitations. But, it has become quite common for teams to use Blender to create environments, assets and characters.
Blender is certainly a great choice for creating games, particularly if you are just getting your foot in the door of the gaming development industry. It is free to use, in addition to the fact that it is open-source meaning users have freedom in terms of specialization, and the community can influence Blender positively, such as by bugs being fixed quickly.
Hundreds of people are consistently tweaking Blender to improve its functionality and usability, and anyone who uses Blender will benefit from these adoptions.
In addition, Blender is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac, which makes it incredibly accessible to the majority of enthusiasts, and easy to use without the hassle of licenses and expenses.
While it is complex in terms of the overall interface and functionality, this can all be learned with plenty of time and practice. So, if you are an individual or small team hoping to get the feel of the process and improve your skills, Blender would be an excellent choice.
There are plenty of courses and even videos that can help users get the hang of all the tools and operations of Blender, which leaves massive room for potential and improvement over time.