Third Party Software Tools

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The process of making content for Blue Mars requires two sets of software: Third Party Software of your choice to create the original content, and the Developer Toolkit to convert to final form. This page is intended to list and help you select software, tools, and content that can be used (or NOT used, as the case may be) for Blue Mars.

Blue Mars supports several 3D and content programs that have good capability to create the original files and plugins to export to the correct formats. You are welcome to use other software, but they do not have time to test or learn the multitude of other software out there. You can get help on other programs from other developers who use it, and *sometimes* from the company staff if they happen to know about it. The Developer Third Party Tools Forum is the best place to ask.

This Developer Guidebook (wiki) covers specific use of third party software for Blue Mars. For general information on how to use those programs, refer to tutorial websites, videos, books, and built in help. For the more popular software there is a huge amount of information available on how to use them.

If you create a new listing, please try to follow the standard format so it is easier to track:

Example Name

* From: (Who Makes it)

* Link: Example Link to Google

* Price:

* Description: (What it does)

* Version: (As applies to usability and comments below)

* Comments: on usefulness, tips on how to use it for Blue Mars, links to any tutorials that exist, anything that helps other developer figure out if it is something they should use, or avoid. Please sign your comments with four "~" tilde in a row

* Version2: (If other versions exist with different features, list them under a new heading with their own comments)

* Comments2: (etc)


Officially Supported

3ds Max

* From: Autodesk Inc.

* Link: 3ds Max Product Page

* Price: $3,495 MSRP, student versions area available.

* Description: High end 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software

* Version: Versions 8 to 13 (Max 2011) are supported

* Comments: CryExport plugin is supplied for this program from Tool Download page. It has a native COLLADA exporter, and a better one is available from OpenCOLLADA Download Page.

OpenCollada 1.30 beta with Max 2011 support is available at This Location

Photoshop Creative Suite (CS) Series

* From: Adobe Systems Inc

* Link: Adobe Photoshop Product Page

* Price: $700 List

* Description: Comprehensive image editing software, with many available plugins.

* Version: CS3 or later recommended

* Comments: To produce .dds type image files for Blue mars you can use:

(1) CryTIF plugin available from the Blue Mars wiki Download Page

(2) NVIDIA Plug-ins for Photoshop

(3) AMD Compressonator


* From: Autodesk Inc.

* Link: Autodesk Maya Product Page

* Price: $3,495 MSRP, student versions are available

* Description: comprehensive tools for 3D animation, modeling, simulation, visual effects, rendering, matchmoving, and compositing

* Version: Maya 2011 is the latest version

* Comments:


Put Items you have used and found to work well for Blue Mars here

3D Modeling Software

Google SketchUp 7.0

* From: FileHippo (NOT Google, since this is not the latest version)

* Link: Download Page

* Price: Free

* Description: General 3D Modeling Program

* Version: 7.0.10247 (33,427 KB installer, 20 Feb 2009)

* Comments: Can be used via export to Google Earth .kmz file. Open .kmz with 7zip utility and then copy .dae to Blue Mars folder.

Blender 2.49/2.53

* From: Blender Foundation and Open Source Developers

* Link: Blender Home Page

* Price: Free

* Description: General 3D Modeling, Animation, and graphics engine

* Version: 2.49 is the current stable version

* Comments: Version 2.5.4 Beta is the latest release leading to 2.6, which will be a major update to the Blender software. If you are not a current user of Blender it might be worth starting with this version, rather than learning on 2.49 and then relearning a whole new user interface. Problems have been reported with animation export from v2.53 as of early Sep 2010. This may get fixed later as the beta progresses. DanielRavenNest 07:53, 8 September 2010 (HST)

* Further Discussion: Pages in this wiki: Blender Notes and Body Editor with Blender

General Tutorials: Blender 3D: Noob to Pro and Blender Manual

Softimage Mod Tool 7.5

* From: Autodesk Inc.

* Link: Autodesk Softimage Mod Tool

* Price: Free for Noncommercial Game Creation and Modding

* Description: 3D Modeling and Animation

* Version: 7.5.203

* Comments: Lex4Art appears to have used it successfully. Crosswalk Collada exporter available from Autodesk

DAZ Studio 3

* From: DAZ Productions Inc

* Link: DAZ Studio 3 Product Page

* Price: Regular version is Free, Advanced is $149

* Description: Figure design, animation, general 3D modeling

* Version: (100,547 KB installer)

* Comments: Have not tried, but has COLLADA support. Version 3.1/Version 4 which is in Beta looks like it will have improved support. DanielRavenNest 13:51, 10 March 2010 (HST)

Have tried free version of Daz Studio 3, which exports to COLLADA fantastically. It is not, however, a very good modeler. It is also difficult to import textures from modeling software prior to export to COLLADA.User:Cristalle-karami

DAZ Hexagon

* From: DAZ Productions Inc

* Link: DAZ Hexagon Product Page

* Price: $149

* Description: 3D polygon subdivision modeling, painting, rendering

* Version:

* Comment: Export to COLLADA using Daz Studio.

2D Image and Texture Software


* From: irfan skiljan

* Link: Irfanview Official Home Page

* Price: Free for non-commercial use

* Description: Image viewer

* Version: 4.25 with plugins pack

* Comments: Can open just about any file format out there, including TIF and DDS used for Blue Mars. It's useful if you do not have Photoshop, or even in parallel with Photoshop on a second monitor, since Windows does not have a DDS thumbnail viewer for Win7 yet. DanielRavenNest 17:34, 10 March 2010 (HST)

Content Sources (3D Models, Textures and Materials, Audio ETC.)

A Note on Copyright and Permissions

Generally content is owned by someone. Most of the time that is the person who created it. Copyright laws assign the right to make copies exclusively to the owner and those the owner permits to make copies. Permission to use and make copies typically comes in a license from the owner. Computers and the Internet make it trivial to make copies of anything in digital form. That does not mean you have permission to do so, and in particular to use it for Blue Mars. Please make sure you do before using such content in your Blue Mars projects. Of course, anything you create from scratch is owned by you, and you can do whatever you want with it.


CG Textures - World's largest free texture site. The About > License page states "- Incorporation in computer games, 3D models - Selling 3D models bundled with modified versions of the textures, when the texture is customized for the 3D model" is permitted.


Ones you know about but that have not tried for Blue Mars. Once tested, they can be used to Recommended or Not. If you find a fix or workaround, it can be moved. This will be a dynamic page as things change and update and we learn more.

Wings 3d 1.2/1.31

* From: SourceForge open source project

* Link: Wings 3D Home Page

* Price: Free

* Description: 3d subdivision modeler

* Version: 1.2 Stable, beta (7,915 KB intaller)

* Comments:

Wings collada export does provide a usable .DAE file for clothing editor as well as item editor. Tested both using beta. -Maxwell Graf 14 October 2010

MeshLab 1.2.3

* From: SourceForge open source project

* Link: MeshLab Project Page

* Price: Free

* Description: 3d file format converter

* Version: 1.2.3

* Comments: Have not tried, but it lists COLLADA file format

Bryce 7 Personal Learning Edition

* From: DAZ 3D

* Link: Bryce Download Page

* Price: Free for personal use, $30 for unrestricted version.

* Description: 3D modeling, animation, and landscape software

* Version:

* Comments: Lists COLLADA import and export in features.

Not Recommended

Ones that lack features like COLLADA export, or simply do not work when tested

Google SketchUp 7.1

Collada export only appears to do one material

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