Choosing Right 3d Software For Game Development

Hello guys. Firstly I should say that this is not “Which software is the best” or “Is X software better than Y”. Currently I study software engineering in university so I need a 3d software to complete my projects. I have been working on Maya for several weeks but my friend said that(which is professional in the industry) Maya is not suitable for one man team because of the development proccess and complexity of the program. Since I am one man team, this makes me worry about future.

The other thing is that I also want to work with Houdini which looks like really suitable for me.(honestly I have no experience with it but I can say that according to my research on the web about Houdini) Because it’s working logic similar to software languages such as C# or Java.(This is the comment which I have read on the Houdini forums) and also it requires some math and maybe physics which is good for me. Houdini’s VFX, animations, fluids and maybe even rigging aspects are really good as I know. However, It lacks of modeling aspects. I think I need a good modeling software which works well with Houdini and UE4. I mean I am looking for a good compainion for Houdini.

Lastly please don’t tell me that “try each software”. Because I need to study in the university and I want to learn a 3d software in my free time. So have no time to try each of them. Also I would like to know your opinion about Houdini and Maya. Please remember I am a one man team.

Thank you for answers :slight_smile:

Maya is just fine for a one man team, unless you want to get into technical types of stuff (Houdini is popular for simulation) then stick with Maya. Especially for games Maya/3ds Max will be easier to work with than Houdini. I would say few studios use Houdini for games, most use 3ds Max or Maya.

Have you checked that page? These features looks like really amazing for game development and procedural workflow can reduce work time dramatically. I am not trying to make discussion. I just wonder your opinioun.

You can actually do that type of stuff from within UE4, Houdini is a more technical tool. At the very least having good FBX integration like Maya and 3ds Max is helpful when working with UE4.

Well, having passion to mathematics i have degree in microelectronics and semi-conductor devices and about 10 years of professional experience in 3d graphics programming using c++. So today my tool set for 3d graphics is

  1. UE4 (3d visualization);
  2. Maya LT (modeling and rigging);
  3. Houdini Indie (procedural modeling and VFX);
  4. Photoshop CS4 (2d graphics);
  5. Substance Designer/Painter (texture stuff).

i have been programming since childhood, my mind completely consists of zeros and ones, but when i saw Maya for the first time, i jumped in it :slight_smile: (like this guy

P.S. Yeah, i also like savings the money, but i dont want to waste time and efforts to study other 3d modeling software, Maya LT is perfectly suitable for UE4 and noobs like me.

I’m a little biased since I work primarily with Houdini :stuck_out_tongue:

Houdini’s great for a wide variety of things. Personally, I use it for my FX work. It really makes creating fire, water splashes, destruction, etc a breeze. For someone with a technical mindset, it makes perfect sense. However, it certainly has a learning curve. I’m not much of a modeler so I can’t really comment too much on it, but Houdini 15 made a wide variety of improvements when it comes to viewport modeling. So you can either use procedural algorithms, or sculpt your model traditionally.

Honestly, it really depends on your goals. If you’re looking to move into a larger studio as a Technical Artist, knowing a companion such as Maya or 3ds Max is essential. You WILL be asked to build tools for them whether you like it or not :stuck_out_tongue: If you’re planning on just running as a one-man team working on personal titles, I’d just stick with Houdini. If you’re really missing some modeling tools, you can build them in Python with Houdini or download an indie version of another software like Maya LT. Just be warned that Maya LT doesn’t allow python scripting :frowning:

For my personal projects:

  1. Houdini Indie (Modeling/VFX)
  2. Substance Designer (Textures)
  3. Affinity Photo (Concept/Lighting mockups)

Feel free to shoot me a DM if you have any questions on Houdini pipelines!


Personally I use blender and GIMP. Blender has presets for maya and 3ds max if you’re coming from there and the UI seems strange. There’s not much blender can’t do and the free price point is hard to beat. Plus with ue4 donations to blender they’ve added plug-ins for ue4 to help make things a bit easier. Just a thought, it’s a zero dollar investment.

Interesting … Wonder why your pro friend would make that kind of call? (Every one-man Maya & Max modeler I know seems happy…)

I happen to like Maya, its what I know. Its free while you’re a student and its a cracking 3D app overall… But I worry about the future licensing implications. A hefty once-off lifetime payment vs. perpetual subscription is not as attractive as buying a shrink-wrapped product. Buy hey Adobe & Microsoft are going the same way. Its basically a pro-corporate approach, so somewhat anti-consumer / anti-Indie.

Think about your options after college as well. If you plan to work in the industry then Max / Maya is a must. But watch out for Maya Lt, as its crippled. Thinking longer term, if you’re only going to be doing Indie work, Blender or Modo might do the trick…

When Maya is free for use, it is ok, but for someone that used Zbrush as an integral part of development in the pipeline, Maya LT just blow. If it support GoZ, Autodesk would have got my money. Instead my money went to Foundry Modo. You pay 1k, you get the full package. The licence fee for the full version of Maya is just way too much to ask for non corporation.

This thread is a bit old but I thought I would jump in and provide some perspective from my point of view :slight_smile:

I have been in game development for 15+ years and have used both Maya and Houdini (in conjunction) for several of those years.

I really depends on what your focus is on, and what your style of development is. If you are looking into doing a few stages, with very detailed unique models, perhaps maya and zbrush can be a better choice. However, if your game can benefit from a rule based content creation pipeline, Houdini is just fantastic for this work. We have used Houdini at our studio for mass production of rule based content and it is phenomenal how quickly you can develop a framework to do so, and how fast you can iterate through that framework and regenerate all your assets as needed.

I would recommend anyone who does not know either to try both, look at tutorials, and really get a feel for what makes the most sense for what you are developing.

If you are a maya user who tends to lean on the technical, I would recommend exploring Houdini as an additional tool in your arsenal.

I will also add that the Houdini engine implementations in Unreal and Maya do make Houdini a great companion app to have even if you choose to still use maya. Most of my maya tool development is actually done in Houdini. here is a link to the sidefx page on this:

if you are interested to learn Houdini for procedural content creation, I have created some tutorials here (which I will try to keep updated as much as possible):

Hope this helps :slight_smile: I have quite enjoyed using Houdini with Unreal and hope that more people can discover this combo!

Yes, Maya is great for a one-man team, because it’s a complete package. And the fact that Maya is complex makes it powerful. It’s not complex in the way that it’s difficult to learn, becaues it’s very easy to learn. But it’s complex in the way that it has a lot of depth, and it can be your number one tool for both modeling, rigging, animation, rendering, simulations, etc.

The fact that you can do so many things in Maya, means that you can stay in one software. That’s a good thing, instead of jumping around between 3-4 applications, with different hotkeys, or you try to configure each own to be like your favorite. That’s not a great workflow.

I would go with Blender, it’s free and there’s an exchanger addon/plugin that allows you to easily export meshes made in Blender to Houdini and from Houdini back to Blender. Exchangers · mifth/mifthtools Wiki · GitHub