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Autodesk offers the tools artists need to create expansive worlds, realistic characters, and immersive experiences that delight game players.

Dragon Age Inquisition. Image courtesy of BioWare, a division of EA.

What is game design and development?

In its simplest form, game development is the art of making games and includes the process of game design. Game design refers to generating creative ideas and concepts behind a game for entertainment or educational purposes. It involves bringing a game to life by crafting compelling stories; creating the characters, environments, and objects; and setting rules and challenges to drive interaction. This multi-faceted field requires strong artistic vision and technical skills.

Image courtesy of Splash Damage

Game design and development software

Features in Maya & 3ds Max for game design

See how Maya and 3ds Max offer a wide range of proven and established 3D tools for every step of the game development process.

  • robust animation toolset in Maya

    Intuitive and customizable toolset allowing artists to work faster and achieve high-quality animations.

    Image courtesy of Tsubasa Nakai

  • Unmatched rigging capabilities in Maya

    Providing power and flexibility to create sophisticated rigs that deliver compelling performances.

    Image courtesy of Massimo Righi

  • powerful modeling tools in 3ds max

    Fast spline and poly modeling workflows to easily model a place, character or element.

    Image courtesy of Alt Shift


    Quickly iterate and see near-final quality renders of your assets right in the viewport.

    Image courtesy of Tomas Kral

Benefits of Autodesk game design software

  • Character creation

    From low poly characters to complex performance capture, Autodesk software provides the tools that are used to create the most amazing characters in games.

    Image courtesy of CD Projekt S.A.

  • Procedural workflows

    Autodesk software has procedural tools to speed up 3D content creation and scale workflows to the scope and size needed to build massive worlds.

  • Blazing fast performance

    Game designers need to evaluate and iterate game content quickly. Our tools are designed to offer optimal viewport playback and manipulation of game content.

    Image courtesy of CD Projekt S.A.

  • Complete pipeline integration

    Autodesk software provides highly extensible platforms that can support even the most advanced pipelines and workflows.

How is game design software used?

  • Keeping game development creative with Splash Damage

    See how the M&E Collection’s end-to-end toolset allows Splash Damage to shift their focus away from software and toward sharpening creative skills.

    Image courtesy of Splash Damage

  • Santa Monica Studio Presents: God of War

    Watch how animation performance in Maya accelerates workflows for Santa Monica Studio, and how their animation best practices can be applied to other cases.

    Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

  • From Black Sheep to Black Mesa

    Shawn Olson, a technical artist specializing in 3ds Max and the Source Engine, shares how he and the Black Mesa team worked with 3ds Max to bring Black Mesa back to life.

    Image courtesy of Shawn Olson

growing a youtube channel with a ubisoft artist

Image courtesy of Stefan Ivanov

Making realistic game characters: facial rigging

Image courtesy of Santa Monica Studio

axis studio: imagining the behemoths

Image courtesy of Axis Studio

Video game design tutorials

  • maya - animation basics

    Learn how to navigate the Time Slider, set Keyframes, and set the playback speed in Maya to create a basic animation with a tennis ball.

  • maya - rigging and body deformation

    Check out these best practices for making realistic game characters from the makers of God of War.

  • 3ds max - modeling tools

    Learn the basics of poly objects, sub-object selection & manipulation, and more common tools such as extruding and beveling faces.

  • 3ds max - uv unwrapping

    Learn the practices and process needed to create a workflow in 3ds Max for unwrapping and texturing your models.

Design 3D game character

3D character artist, Michael Robson, take us through his process of creating a 3D fantasy-inspired orc using Maya and 3ds Max.

Image courtesy of Michael Robson

The do's and don'ts of motion capture

Learn everything you need to know about the Motion Library plugin in Maya and tips from motion capture experts in this webinar.

Image courtesy of Rokoko

Free resources for game design and development

Learn more about game design and development with these tutorials, guides, and tips.

  • Autodesk's official CG community. Watch free tutorials and get the latest industry news.

  • Maya Learning Center is dedicated to providing you with all the resources you need to bring your dreams to life in Maya.

  • The Maya Learning Channel provides tutorials of all levels to help you learn Maya.

  • 3ds Max Learning Center is dedicated to providing you with all the resources you need to bring your dreams to life in 3ds Max.

  • The 3ds Max Learning Channel provides tutorials of all levels to help you learn 3ds Max.

  • Watch Autodesk University video lessons on 3D animation from expert 3D artists.