Free Open Source Software for Game Development

For those interested in 3D animation, game development, or other related pursuits, forums and articles discussing the pros and cons of different software options are numerous. The end result of all of this analysis tends to be the suggestion to try the options for yourself, making use of free trials and then just pick what works best for you.

This advice is useful and practical, and I could almost stop this post there. Almost.

But before I do, a little about my background. I began my digital media career about fifteen years ago learning industry standard commercial software. I learned 3D generalist skills on Autodesk Maya and texture preparation, game development with Unity, and compositing, and video editing with the Adobe suite, and I have been using them ever since.

I have had a growing interest and respect for free and open source software in recent years, first swapping out Microsoft Office for LibreOffice, then dabbling in Blender on and off, reading about the Godot game engine's development as a 3D game engine, particularly since the release of Godot 3.0, and I have even installed Linux on a couple of PCs (Xubuntu has become my preference after testing out different flavors).


In my experience, discounting all of the fuzzy intricacies of the technical nitty-gritty details of Blender versus Maya or Godot versus Unity, there have been two overarching reasons I have only recently gone all in on a free and open source software workflow.

  1. Laziness: I happened to learn 3D modeling, texturing, animation and game development on Maya and Unity, and sticking with what I know is less effort than learning new software.

  2. Job Requirements: When you work as a part of a team, fulfilling assigned tasks for a nine to five job, you use the software that the team uses. It's a part of the job. Enough said.

In the end, I have committed to developing games with free and open source software because I am finally overcoming the inertia of sticking with what I know, and the freedom of the antiGravity Turtle studio allows it in my case.

My Blender and Godot knowledge is still far outweighed by my Maya and Unity knowledge, but there is nothing like a good challenge, and I am curious to see where the path leads.