What do professionals use for 3d animated characters in ios apps?

You’ve seen em. Clash of clans, Ocean Horn, Battleheart Legacy, and all the other neat little 3d animated goobers. What do those developers use to make those neat little animated characters for ios apps? OpenGL? Maya? 3ds Max?

Is there a cookie cutter engine/software suite they use to rapidly generate them and the code to animate them?



3ds Max and Blender and a few others, there are other programmes designed for modelling 3d character animation only.

I think a lot of them use Maya, it’s specially designed for character design and animation for video games and it does a fantastic job at that.

It seems to be dependant on budget. Basically if you have no budget, everyone uses Blender. If you have the cash you use Maya. Maya is $1200/year or $155/month, so not a cheap option.

@spacemonkey However, there is also Maya LT which is a lot cheaper, for $240/year or $30/month.

Yep, Blender or Maya and a development environment that is made for 3D like Unreal Development Kit, Unity3D, or Cocos3D. Infinity Blade was made with UDK, although UDK is a pain to actually get a game onto the store, need to learn unreal code. Unity3D is by far the most popular and user friendly.

I messed with UDK for a while, and it was awesome how easy it was to create 3D worlds and use 3D skeletal mesh animations, but tweeking the games to work on mobile devices, and making the menus and stuff was a huge pain. I jumped in way over my head at first.

I’m a huge Unity fan, despite having never published anything with it. The ease of use is fantastic, especially for how easy it is to create huge 3d worlds, with physics and anything else, as well as the cross platform integration. Great stuff.

Mostly Max & Maya - that’s what the majority of the pros use (I’d be surprised if Blender is used on anything other than small indie titles to be honest).

More complex stuff (ie. Character/creature/organic modelling or sculpts) usually starts off in Zbrush or Mudbox these days before being imported, rigged, animated and optimised in Max/Maya before being exported to something like Unity or UDK.

To be fair I don’t think the core tools in Max/Maya are particularly different to those in Blender (or other entry level 3d packages). Rather it’s the ability to write additional tools within these packages to extend their functionality, and integrate these with other asset management/game pipeline technology that’s attractive to mid/large gamedev companies.

It’s the same in VFX industry (where I work) - flexibility, extensibility ( and reliability!) with your core tools gives you a competitive advantage

Simpler games can cheat and use spritesheets with sets of frames for walking ,running, fighting in different poses.

Blender is fun and free. The UI is intimidating at first, but there’s an enormous community, tonnes of tutorials on YouTube etc, including ones aimed at game developers. I was up and running in a couple of days. And look at @Ignatz 's tutorials and his code for importing .obj files into Codea. BUT, rigging and animation is tough, I don’t know if people have got very far with that in Codea. So in Codea at least think robots, tanks, planes rather than organic creatures

Don’t underestimate the power of blender! it might be free but it dwarfs the other programs

Yes, I build a rigging app in Codea, I wrote it up here


I agree with using rigid bodies that don’t require animation, which is very, very hard.

I found Blender very difficult because the UI is very complex and menus can just disappear and not come back. The easiest is just to find a good free model on the Internet, then convert it to obj in Blender, and import into Codea.

Ignatz, at first I found the blender UI confusing but after extended periods of use I have begun to understand how to use it to great extent. If you ever need help just PM me.

Thanks, will do

Here’s a short teaser video of the 3D (well, 2.5D) game I’m working on at the moment:


I made the treasure chest by following one of the “how to make a treasure chest in blender” tutorial videos on YouTube (honestly, if you think of any generic game object, there will be multiple Blender tutorials about how to make it). I’m importing the objects using @Ignatz 's .obj importer (obviously the hero sprite you can see in this is just a place-holder). I don’t intend to do anything more complex than this, really, in terms of “rigging”: no more than 2 moving parts per object, jointed around a common face or edge. Pretty pleased with this though!

Looks nice!

Nice work! :smiley:


Thanks guys, and thanks @Ignatz for the .obj importer and tutorials! Creating this cut scene class has made me think I should perhaps just do the whole game in 3D rather than 2.5D… (or perhaps an Evoland style “history of videogames” style progression as you power-up, 2D overhead → isometric (using the orthogonal projection code I posted last week) → 2.5D overhead → full over-the-shoulder 3D)

I should perhaps start a new thread as I’m getting away a little from the OP’s question.