How CAD levelled up Indie Game Development

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Written By Charlotte Miller

The quality of games produced by Indie game developers has improved rapidly over the past decade. The first video games had a distinctive 2-dimensional quality. Now, this has been replaced by highly intricate gaming worlds, characters and objects. None of this would be possible without 3D game modelling!

Better access to design tools

Increased access to CAD design software can be thanked for much of this positive change in the Indie gaming industry.

Though CAD first made headlines in the 1980s, it took a while before we got a place where CAD software became accessible to the general public. Today, it’s compatible with most Windows PCs, Macs and tablets. After 2010, cloud-based CAD made the software even more accessible outside the realm of engineering. Designers now can connect their design software to a cloud from anywhere.

Now that it is so readily available and practical to use, you’d be hard-pressed to find an industry that doesn’t use CAD software. It’s easy to see why this has benefitted the Indie gaming space.

Rapid Prototyping and concept art

Indie designers typically work on a lower budget than big firms. They may be comprised of a small team of developers, who may work from separate locations.

The process of prototyping has come on in leaps and bounds, with the aid of CAD software developments. Developers can use software to create prototypes of a game faster than ever before. This means that less money is wasted on developing a game that might not even be a success.

These early prototypes allow designers to let real-life users test their concept at a stage when there is still plenty of time and budget left to spend on tweaks.

3D printing your prototypes

3D printing is not a new concept. 3D printers have been used by engineers and architects for prototyping for some time. But now gaming developers can easily access it too.

Indie developers can find software that offers this at a relatively low cost. They can use it to showcase the unique components of a game. It can be a fun way to print collectables and take miniature aspects of your video games to marketing events.


These developments all spell good news for the future of Indie games. More efficient design tools reduce the costs and time frames of game design, allowing smaller players to succeed in the gaming market.

Bigger, better CAD software also makes it easier to sell 3D models and other assets as merchandise, generating an extra stream of revenue.

CAD software is exciting. In the fast-paced industry of computer gaming, it’s likely to only continue getting better to meet the demands of a growing video gaming market. Today’s gamers can’t get enough of augmented reality-style gaming and virtual Metaverse-style worlds.