3D Modelling Software
You will need to use a 3D modelling package to create your game objects. Below is a list of 3D modellers that you may like to try (in order of price). There are many more 3D modelling packages available, but from my research for this topic, these seem to be the most popular.
To use a 3D modelling package with DirectX, it must be able to export your model to a .x file. This can be done as a built-in feature, as an optional plug-in or you could use a conversion program to convert one file format into the .x file format.
|3D Studio Max||http://www.discreet.com/||$3495|
|3D Canvas LP||http://www.amabilis.com/||$34.95|
* Prices are correct at time of publication. Please go to the products website to confirm current pricing. You can convert these prices into your local currency at http://www.oanda.com/.
So which one should you use? Well, that is entirely up to you. However, I have tried 3D Canvas (trial version), MilkShape 3D (trial version) and OpenFX (full version). I tried these three packages because their price was so low, which is good if you are creating games as a hobby.
3D Canvas is a good piece of software but it has one major downside. If you are using Windows XP or Windows 2000 (like me) it can reboot your machine without warning! The help advised me that updating my display driver to the latest version would fix the problem… but I have the latest version already! So, I'm afraid 3D Canvas is no good for me.
MilkShape 3D is an excellent package for creating low polygon models. It has most of the features that you need to create a 3D model, and is pretty easy to use. There are loads of tutorials on the web and a forum on the MilkShape site that is really useful.
OpenFX is a great all round 3D modeller. I found it easy to use and very powerful. The main problem I had was exporting my model into a .x file. The only way I found was to export to a .3ds file and then use the conv3ds.exe tool that comes with the DirectX SDK to convert it to a .x file. The only problem was that it lost the textures when exporting to a .3ds file. There is also very limited help. So, OpenFX isn't the right tool for me.
So, I have decided to use MilkShape 3D because it is cheap, it can export to a .x file (via a free plug-in) and it is easy to use.