GDC 09: Free software targets non-commercial game development

Autodesk unveils Softimage Mod Tool 7.5

Autodesk has confirmed the release of its Softimage Mod Tool 7.1 tech suite, which is designed to aid game modders and developers of non-commercial titles.

“Softimage Mod Tool gives the next generation of game artists access to professional tools, so they can learn while making their own games or game mods,” said Marc Stevens, Autodesk media and entertainment vice president of games.

“Game developers can also use the software to extend the life of a game by building a community of modders. Game mods can go on to become commercial games in their own right, and they can be used by developers to identify talent for recruiting purposes.”

As detailed by a statement to the press, Autodesk Softimage Mod Tool 7.5 contains the following features:

• New learning materials: Softimage Mod Tool 7.5 comes with training materials from Noesis Interactive. These materials show users how to create a character and export it for use in Microsoft XNA Games Studio 3.0.
• New real-time shading API (application programming interface): Softimage Mod Tool 7.5 supports the Realtime Shader API version 3.0, which helps make real-time shader development simpler and more flexible. The new version offers an architecture focused on programmable shaders (GLSL, HLSL) and file-based effects (CgFX and DxFX). With these capabilities, what game developers see in Softimage Mod Tool is what they get in the game.
• Interactive Creative Environment: ICE is an open, scalable platform that enables artists to extend the capabilities of Softimage more quickly and intuitively using a node-based dataflow diagram. Artists can now quickly create complex 3D effects and tools without writing code.
• Support for Windows Vista operating system: Autodesk Softimage Mod Tool 7.5 now supports the Windows Vista Business operating system.
• Create Compelling 3D Content for Microsoft XNA and Major Game Engines: Softimage Mod Tool 7.5 can export 3D models and animation for use with the Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3 framework. Fledgling or independent game developers now have access to a professional toolset for creating original games on the Microsoft Xbox console or Windows platform. Users can also download add-ons for content export to Crytek CryENGINE 2, Epic Unreal Engine 3 and Valve Source game engines. With this professional 3D toolset modders can produce characters and props for their favourite game.

Softimage Mod Tool 7.5 software is scheduled for release in April 2009.

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