GarageGames has lowered the barrier to entry for 3D game designers looking to put together a quality game without setting out a huge amount of money. They’ve announced the release of a new exporter that enables users of Blender, the open-source 3D content creation software, to bring their projects to the Torque Game Engine, GarageGames’ own 3D game engine software. Best of all, all the software runs on Mac OS X.
The Torque Game Engine is the same underpinning technology that powered Sierra’s popular Tribes 2 action game. GarageGames was started by the developers who created that technology; they license it inexpensively to independent developers and self-publish games that use the software. While some game developers may charge tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to license their 3D engine technology to other developers, GarageGames’ Torque Game Engine costs a scant US$100 to license (and if you’re selling less than $500,000 in product, you can publish the game yourself with no further charges).
Because the Torque Game Engine runs on multiple platforms — Mac OS X, Windows and Linux — it’s given rise to a number of different 3D games that have come to the Macintosh, including the maze game Marble Blast; the offbeat arena game Orbz; the arcade shooter ThinkTanks and forthcoming games like GravRally and Dark Horizons: Lore, a futuristic motorbike racer and mecha game respectively. Both were shown to attendees of January’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Blender exporter supports the same platforms supported by the Torque Game Engine, and
Blender itself also supports Mac OS X. Blender is a 3D graphics creation suite that lets users create models, animate and render them, and more.
The TGE Blender exporter provides compatibility with Torque Game Engine’s native .dts file format including level-of-detail, bone and mesh animation sequences. The exporter is a series of Python scripts that exports Blender Scenes to Torque .dts shapes. There are some caveats, so make sure to read the documentation before applying the exporter to your projects.