3 Practical Tips For Getting 3rd Party Tools

A few days ago I mentioned that while 3rd party tools are necessary for production, they are also likely to cause minor problems in game production. Here’s are some practicals tip for anyone considering getting libraries, game engines or other software to help your game production.

[1] Make sure the tool provides real help in your issue: Some time ago I bought 3D World Studio to help me out in making game levels. While initially the tool seemed to suit well (multitexturing support, lights etc.) to my needs there were many minor problems that caused bigger problems. While I wanted multiple textures, the tool couldn’t handle more than 2 textures (and I needed 4). The lights were not good for Blitz3D terrains and the exporter format for Blitz3D was not suitable to my case (as I wanted to use use Blitz3D terrain format rather than .B3D file format). So before purchasing, make sure the tool can really solve the problem rather than create more. I don’t blame 3D World Studio or say that it would be a bad tool, but for my specific needs it didn’t fit so well.

[2] Don’t be afraid to spend some money: I think indies generally won’t spend much money on tools when they really should. I think whenever tools can provide help, you should consider getting them. Many indie game producers have contract or part time jobs, so I think it’s good to calculate your hourly rate. If a $110 tool can save you 50 hours of work, I bet it’s a good investment. You don’t need to do everything by yourself.

[3] Tools require time for learning: While some libraries can save countless hours, you must remember that they often require training and learning. I spent many hours trying to solve problems with the world builder just to find out there didn’t seem to be a solution, only recommendations like “you shouldn’t use Blitz3D lights as they are poor” or “it works fine for me” – so be sure to count some hours for learning and solving problems.

Juuso Hietalahti