Caspian Software makes a product called Thinking Worlds, which the company describes as a “globally unique 3D sims & games engine and authoring environment.” The product lets both beginners and advanced game-makers create and publish games quickly and easily, and even publish to iPad and iPhone.
On Friday, the company released the latest version of Thinking Worlds with the astonishing announcement that the formerly $4,999 package is now completely free to use. Advanced users will have the option to pay for additional features if they require them, but basic functionality is completely free.
The thinking behind the new approach to the software is that traditional barriers to game design—such as learning a complex programming language, the difficulty of creating 3D are and the challenges of publishing games—need to be overcome to allow creative minds to make the games they have locked in their imaginations. Thinking Worlds’ finished projects can be published as standalone titles for PC, but can also be run via web browser and iOS devices.
There’s a few limits—free users’ games can’t be sold, get watermarked and don’t have access to some “advanced features.” But the free version will certainly be enough for aspiring game developers to cut their teeth on before moving on to bigger and better things. Those who find themselves enjoying some success with the system can upgrade to the “Pro” version for $489 which removes the restrictions. There’s also an “iOS Pro” module which allows iPhone/iPad apps to be sold as well as providing advanced users with iOS-specific features to take advantage of.
Find out more about the package at the