Game Studios That Use Blender: From Indie to Outsourcing

Game development is very dynamic nowadays, where innovation and creativity thrive, an unexpected contender has emerged as a powerful tool in the arsenal of both indie developers and established studios alike.

Blender, once predominantly associated with 3D modeling and animation for films, has risen to prominence in the realm of video game creation. This article delves into the fascinating journey of game studios harnessing the potential of Blender for game development.

Game Studios That Use Blender

From the realm of indie games to the realm of outsourcing, we’ll explore how Blender’s versatility is transforming the landscape of interactive entertainment. Whether you’re an aspiring developer curious about “how to make a Blender game” or a seasoned professional seeking new horizons, the following paragraphs will unveil the seamless integration of Blender into the gaming industry.

Blender for game development

The Rise of Blender in the Gaming Industry

Blender’s rise in the gaming industry has been a notable trend in recent years, driven by several factors that have led more studios to adopt the software for various stages of game development.

Here are some reasons why more studios are adopting Blender in the gaming industry:

  • Open-source nature

One of the most significant advantages of Blender is its open-source nature. This means that the software is freely available to anyone, allowing developers and studios to use, modify, and distribute the software without the burden of hefty licensing fees.

  • Feature-rich capabilities

From modeling, sculpting, and UV mapping to animation, texturing, and even basic video editing, Blender offers a wide array of tools that cover multiple stages of the game development pipeline.

  • Improved performance and tools

With each new version, Blender has introduced features that make it easier for artists and developers to create high-quality assets. This includes improvements in real-time rendering, GPU-accelerated workflows, and optimizations for handling large and complex scenes.

Understanding Blender

Blender is a powerful and versatile open-source 3D creation suite that caters to various needs, from 3D modeling, animation, and rendering to video editing and game development. Here’s a quick overview of Blender’s features and its competitive stance in the realm of 3D software tools.

If you want to know how to make a game in Blender, here are the most common Blender’s features:

  • 3D Modeling

Blender offers a comprehensive set of modeling tools that allow users to create intricate 3D models from scratch or manipulate existing ones. Its polygon modeling, sculpting, and retopology tools provide a wide range of creative options.

  • Animation

Blender’s animation capabilities are robust, with features like keyframe animation, rigging, inverse kinematics, and a powerful animation editor. Users can create smooth and dynamic animations for characters, objects, and scenes.

  •  Texturing and Materials

The software provides a node-based material system that allows users to create complex and realistic textures. This is crucial for achieving lifelike surfaces and materials in both animations and game assets.

  • Rendering

Blender comes with a powerful rendering engine called Cycles, capable of producing high-quality photorealistic images. It also has Eevee, a real-time rendering engine, which is particularly useful for previewing scenes and assets in game development.

  • Game Development

Blender can be used to create 3D assets for video games. It supports the export of models, textures, and animations to popular game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. 

In terms of creating Blender video games, users can indeed make game assets using its powerful 3D modeling, texturing, and animation tools. While Blender’s in-house game engine has been discontinued, users can export their assets to other game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine to build interactive and immersive games.

how to make a game in Blender

The Benefits of Blender in Game Development

Blender’s open-source nature means that it is freely accessible to all, providing an invaluable resource for aspiring game developers who might be constrained by budgetary concerns. 

One of the standout advantages of using Blender for creating games is the vibrant and active community surrounding the software. This community, composed of developers, artists, and enthusiasts, collectively contributes to Blender’s growth through tutorials, plugins, and resources.

Thinking about making a game in Blender is not only possible but also really exciting to achieve. Blender’s advanced features for 3D modeling and sculpting ensure that intricate game assets can be crafted with precision. Its animation capabilities, including keyframe animation and rigging, breathe life into characters and objects, adding depth and realism to gameplay experiences.

Can you make games in Blender? Certainly, you can create games in Blender. While Blender’s native game engine has been discontinued, the synergy between Blender and prominent game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine remains robust. Through a seamless export process, Blender-made assets find a new way in these engines, where they can be integrated into interactive and immersive gaming environments.

To embark on the adventure of creating a game in Blender, one can start by designing and refining game assets. These could encompass characters, environments, props, and more. Using Blender’s intricate texturing and material capabilities, artists can add visual authenticity to their creations.

making a game in Blender

Indie Studios Embracing Blender

In recent years, a noticeable trend has emerged in the world of indie game development — more and more independent game studios are embracing Blender as a cornerstone of their creative process. This shift showcases the growing influence and versatility of this open-source 3D creation suite within the indie game development landscape.

The fact that Blender is freely accessible helps these studios allocate resources to other critical areas of game development, such as design, marketing, and user experience.

Games like “Hollow Knight”, “A Short Hike” and even “Stardew Valley” exemplified Blender’s role in indie game development.

Whether it’s through creating visually captivating worlds, designing endearing characters, or bringing unique gameplay concepts to life, Blender stands as a formidable ally for indie developers looking to make their mark in the gaming industry. As more indie studios embrace Blender, the potential for innovative and compelling games created on this platform remains promising, cementing its role as a key player in the indie game development ecosystem.

Can you make Indie games in Blender or Blender game engine

List of notable games and their studios

Here’s a list of notable games and their respective studios that utilized Blender in their development process:

  • Yo Frankie!” – Blender Institute
  • Sintel: The Game” – Blender Institute
  • Beneath a Steel Sky – Remastered” – Revolution Software
  • Reversion: The Escape” – 3f Interactive
  • Autumn” – Alone Coder
  • Eco” (2018)” – Strange Loop Games

CASE STUDY: AN INDIE GAME DEVELOPED WITH BLENDER

In the vibrant world of indie game development, creativity knows no bounds. “Krum Battle Arena” stands as a shining example of the power of passion and innovation. Developed using the versatile 3D software Blender, this indie game has captured the hearts of gamers worldwide

The team used Blender’s intuitive tools to create intricate character models, detailed arena environments, and eye-catching visual effects.

Game Art Studios & Blender

As we’ve mentioned before, the main advantage of Blender is its accessibility. Unlike many other programs, it’s relatively easy to implement and use. Specialists don’t need to spend countless hours on learning and mastering the software. These factors save companies and game art studios both budget and valuable time for professionals, enabling them to create a high-quality gaming product that can be easily integrated into game engines and offered to clients and future players.

RetroStyle Games & Blender

Our team consistently uses all of Blender’s capabilities to create your 3D characters and other objects. We texture, light, and paint them in Blender. And these are far from the only functions and tools that we make use of. Blender holds an esteemed position in our artists’ toolkit, enabling the creation of high-quality projects.

Blender Head Studios

Blender Head Studios is a game art outsourcing studio that specializes in creating art assets for use in real-time environments.

At Blender Head Studios, they offer:

  • 3D Asset Creation
  • Retopology and UV Mapping
  • Textures/Look Development
  • Real-time Visualization
Blender Head Studios Logo

iXie Blender Use Cases

While working on projects in the Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) formats, the iXie studio also utilizes Blender and other 3D modeling software in their work.

Assets produced using modeling software like Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, or Blender can be combined with animation tools like Autodesk MotionBuilder or Unity’s Timeline to imbue them with motion and behavior, resulting in their dynamic presentation. Effective sound design is essential to crafting an engaging and immersive gaming encounter.

INTEGRATION OF BLENDER INTO GAME ART STUDIOS WORKFLOWS

Integrating Blender into a game art studio’s workflow requires a combination of technical implementation, skill development, and a willingness to adapt. By carefully planning, training, and fostering a collaborative environment, studios can effectively leverage Blender’s capabilities to enhance their game development process.

Integration of Blender into Game Art Studios Workflows

Case study: RetroStyle Games Blender Workflow

For us at work, the use of Blender is critically important. Alongside other software, it assists us in creating characters for games and various objects.

At our studio, we understand the importance of creating 3D models that stand out. Our team of skilled artists and designers use the latest software and techniques to create visually stunning and unique characters that enhance gameplay and create memorable gaming experiences for players.

Game Art Created Using Blender

Throughout the development process, we employed a variety of engines and tools. Initially, we designed and tested all effects within Blender. This software significantly streamlined our workflow and minimized difficulties. Working at the conceptual stage in Blender is notably convenient due to its comprehensive toolkit that includes mesh manipulation, a versatile procedural texture system, and straightforward animation capabilities.

It was with the help of Blender that we crafted a distinctive and unparalleled model of our Skater Girl cyberpunk style character, who seamlessly transitioned from Blender onto her miraculous skateboard, entering the captivating realm of the Unreal Engine ready for integration into a gaming project.

Game Art Created Using Blender

The Versatility of Blender's Tools

Blender’s workflow has been designed to streamline the process of asset creation, enabling artists to efficiently move from concept to final product. Users can customize the user interface and layout to suit their preferences and optimize their workflow. This flexibility is especially valuable for users who have specific requirements.

BLENDER'S PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATIONS

In 2020, Epic Games, the company behind Unreal Engine, announced a $1.2 million grant to the Blender Foundation to support the development of Blender’s real-time rendering capabilities. This grant aimed to improve the integration between Blender and Unreal Engine.

Blender has received support from Intel as well, with collaborations focusing on optimizing the software for Intel processors and improving performance. While not a direct partnership, Blender has worked on improving compatibility with Unity, a popular game engine. This ensures that assets created in Blender can be easily imported and used within Unity projects.

games made in Blender

THE BLENDER DEVELOPMENT FUND AND STUDIO SPONSORS

The Blender Development Fund relies on the contributions of individuals, studios, and organizations to financially support the ongoing development of Blender. These contributions help pay developers, fund projects, and ensure the continuous improvement of the software.

Studio sponsors are organizations, companies, or studios that contribute a significant amount of funding to the Blender Development Fund. In return for their support, these sponsors often receive benefits like priority support, exposure on the Blender website, and recognition within the Blender community.

Community and Blender

The Blender community actively shares knowledge and expertise through forums, online tutorials, blogs, and social media platforms. This makes it easier for studios to find solutions to challenges they encounter while working with Blender.

When studios encounter technical issues or challenges, the Blender community can provide assistance and solutions. This can help studios overcome roadblocks more quickly and efficiently. Blender conferences are events where Blender users, artists, developers, and enthusiasts gather to share their knowledge, showcase their work, and network with like-minded individuals. Some notable Blender conferences include:

  • Blender Conference (BlenderCon)
  • Blend4Web Conference
  • Local Meetups.

Compatibility and Integration Challenges with Blender

While Blender offers powerful capabilities, studios may face compatibility and integration challenges when incorporating Blender into their workflows. Additionally, the learning curve associated with using new software can be a hurdle to overcome. 

By acknowledging the challenges, investing in training and resources, and fostering a culture of collaboration, studios can successfully integrate Blender into their workflows while minimizing compatibility issues and learning curve hurdles.

The Future of Blender in Game Development

Blender’s adoption in the game development industry is likely to continue growing. Its open-source nature, strong community support, and feature-rich capabilities make it an appealing choice for indie developers, small studios, and even larger companies.

The Future of Blender in Game Development

Tools and Plugins for Game Development in Blender

Blender offers a range of built-in features and capabilities that are useful for creating assets and environments for games. Modeling and Sculpting Tools: Blender provides a comprehensive set of modeling and sculpting tools to create characters, objects, and environments for games. The “Sculpt Mode” is particularly useful for creating high-detail models.

Blender Market and Gumroad Add-ons: Platforms like Blender Market and Gumroad offer a variety of paid and free plugins that can enhance specific aspects of your game development workflow. These plugins can range from specialized modeling tools to advanced material and shader libraries.

Real-time Rendering with Eevee

Eevee, Blender’s advanced real-time rendering engine, offers numerous benefits tailored specifically for game developers. Its capabilities contribute significantly to streamlining the game development process and enhancing the final product’s quality.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER RENDERING ENGINES

When we make Blender game engine review and compare Eevee with other rendering engines, some distinctions emerge that highlight its suitability for game development:

Unreal Engine: While Unreal Engine’s powerful rendering capabilities are renowned, Eevee’s integration within Blender streamlines the content creation pipeline. Eevee’s real-time feedback during asset creation complements Unreal Engine’s final rendering.

Unity: Eevee’s ease of use, especially for Blender users, simplifies the process of creating and fine-tuning assets before exporting to Unity. Additionally, Eevee’s real-time capabilities align with Unity’s iterative development approach.

Blender game engine review

From Concept to Game: A Workflow Example

Creating a game in Blender involves multiple steps, from conceptualizing the idea to implementing it in a game engine. Here’s a step-by-step workflow along with tips for efficiency and effectiveness:

  1. Conceptualization:
  • Define the game concept, genre, and gameplay mechanics.
  • Create a design document outlining the game’s story, characters, levels, and objectives.
  1. Pre-production:
  • Sketch concept art, character designs, and level layouts.
  • Plan the game’s art style, visual direction, and user interface.
  1. 3D Modeling:
  • Model characters, props, environments, and other assets required for the game.
  • Keep models optimized for real-time rendering by using efficient topology and proper UV unwrapping.
  1. Texturing:
  • Create textures using image editing software or Blender’s built-in texture painting tools.
  • Use texture atlases and material libraries for consistency and optimization.
  1. Rigging and Animation:
  • Rig characters and creatures for realistic movement.
  • Animate characters, objects, and effects to bring life to the game.
  • Utilize Blender’s animation tools, like the Graph Editor, for precise control.
  1. Lighting and Shading:
  • Set up lighting to match the desired atmosphere and mood of the game.
  • Use shaders and materials to enhance visual quality and realism.
From Concept to Game Blender Workflow Example

Studios' Feedback on Blender

We asked our colleagues from other studios for their opinion about Blender, and here’s the response we received:

“If you were to choose just one tool for generating all types of visual content, Blender would be your go-to solution. Within Blender, you have the capability to engage in pixel painting, vector painting, mesh modeling, multi-resolution or dynamic topology sculpting, 3D texture painting, rigging, scripting, animation, simulation, rendering, motion tracking for visual effects, compositing, color grading, video editing, assembling, and countless other tasks. Remarkably, you can utilize all of these functions seamlessly within Blender, eliminating the need for importing and exporting between software. And the icing on the cake – Blender is also available free of charge.”

The Economic Impact on Studios Using Blender

The software’s feature-rich capabilities and thriving community have led many studios to invest their time and resources into adopting Blender. Here’s a closer look at the cost-saving advantages and return on investment (ROI) that studios can realize by utilizing Blender:

  • No Licensing Costs

One of the most significant cost-saving advantages of Blender is that it’s open-source and free to use. This eliminates the need for studios to invest in expensive software licenses, which can be a substantial budget item, especially for smaller or independent studios.

  • Versatile Toolset

From modeling and sculpting to animation, rendering, and compositing, Blender’s capabilities are comprehensive. Studios can save costs by having an all-in-one solution that eliminates the need for purchasing multiple software packages, thus streamlining their workflow and reducing the learning curve for artists.

  • Training and Learning

The abundance of learning material can substantially reduce the costs associated with training artists. Studios can easily find free tutorials, guides, and forums where artists can enhance their skills without the need for additional training expenses.

The Economic Impact on Studios Using Blender

Blender's Impact on the Rebirth of Indie Games

Blender’s capabilities have evolved over the years, resulting in the production of visually impressive and professional-grade assets. Indie games developed using Blender can compete visually with larger studio productions, leveling the playing field in terms of visual quality.

Parallel to this Blender’s Renderosity, Sketchfab, and other platforms enable indie developers to showcase their work to a wider audience. This exposure can attract attention to their games, potentially leading to increased visibility and opportunities for collaboration or funding.

Indie game made with Blender

Conclusion

The landscape of game development has experienced a remarkable transformation with the emergence of Blender as a powerful and versatile tool. The question “Can you make a game in Blender?” has been unequivocally answered by a diverse range of studios, from indie developers to outsourcing companies, who have harnessed the potential of this open-source 3D software. 

Through this article, we’ve explored the remarkable achievements of game studios that have embraced Blender, demonstrating that its capabilities extend far beyond its reputation as a 3D modeling tool.

The games made with Blender stand as a testament to the platform’s ability to facilitate innovative storytelling, captivating gameplay, and stunning visual experiences. From small indie gems to larger-scale projects, Blender has become an essential component of the modern game development environment, allowing creators to break barriers and push the boundaries of what’s possible.