Game Designing with CAD

Game Designing with CAD
The Siliconreview
18 November, 2020

Whether we are discussing Triple A titles, indie games, casino games, or mobile games, they are all technically a system with predefined rules that guide user control and all in-application environmental interactions. Technically this is not that different to how computer-aided design (CAD) itself works, but CAD and video games have a connection that goes much deeper than just the core similarities between the two types of software. In fact, CAD can be intricately connected to the game design itself.

The Difference between Game Design and Game Development

Game development and design are often used synonymously, but they are technically not the same. Designing a game includes tasks like conceptualization, selecting an art style, designing 2D and 3D character models, structure models, landscapes and various other graphical elements which are necessary for the concerned game in question. In other words, game design is mostly about the artistic representation of the project’s idea. This is where CAD is often used by graphic designers, and we will discuss those utilizations later on.

On the other hand, game development is largely technical in nature, responsible for creating and setting into motion nearly everything else, from how the designed elements will behave in-game to how they will react to various inputs from the player’s end. Software engineers are the professionals for this end of the job and they must be adept in C#, C++, JavaScript, Java, HTML5 and others, depending on what the chosen game engine supports.

Is CAD Necessary for Asset Creation?

The short answer would be no, CAD isn’t necessary for designing in-game elements, since it is by all means a civil engineering and architectural software. However, if we are discussing big-budget games where architectural elements need to be sound, then using CAD becomes almost a necessity.

Even if the project does not particularly have a big budget, computer-aided design can be crucial for a game like Monument Valley. Let’s not forget about the fact that Minecraft is the most sold video game in existence (200,000,000) and the game was designed almost entirely with CAD! Therefore, to say that CAD is unnecessary for game development in 2020 would be an incorrect statement.

However, for simpler games that do not require the complicated aspects which CAD brings to game art, it is indeed not required. For example, if you are in the mood for placing a few bets and trying new slot games at the bet365 Canada Online Casino, you will find that none of the games there have been designed with CAD at all because casino games do not need to have intricate architecture to be a lot of fun!

The Role of CAD in Game Designs

Computer-aided design or CAD is used in game design for:

  • 2D planning of 3D models in both low and high resolutions
  • Development of 2D and 3D in-game elements such as structures, buildings, mountains, interiors, etc.
  • Motion capturing, lighting and animation
  • Shading and texturing of the created 2D and 3D models
  • Sharing and transferring of 3D data

It should be noted that due to CAD’s primary use in civil engineering, the software of choice is mostly used by environmental artists who design the structures, buildings, interiors, various levels, etc. Maya, Max, Twine and even Photoshop are more suited for 3D playable character/NPC modeling, screenshot design and marketing content creation.