Wintermute

Those looking for a half-way house between iClone and games could do worse than investigate the free Wintermute 1.9.1 game engine. Wintermute is a “2.5D” game engine, for creating completely royalty-free games. It’s not quite so unique as it used to be, in terms of being royalty-free — and of course now free engines in general have some hefty competition from the likes of the Unreal Engine 3 devkit (although you do have to pay Unreal 25% of revenue after you make your first $5,000 profit).

The Wintermute site design is nothing to write home about and frankly is rather off-putting. But I had a decent amount of time playing with the engine last year, and found it to be a perfectly respectable engine for making “3D characters on 2D backgrounds” games. Since then it’s continued to be updated, and is now in v1.9.1 (Jan 2010) with new features such as shaders. With this and iClone, there’s no reason a small team couldn’t make a profitable little niche point-and-click adventure. There’s an online lessons book for Wintermute. And if you want to see what it’s capable of, there’s the excellent British micro-indie game The Lost Crown (I own a copy) which was made with it. I don’t think (“making of…”) he uses iClone, but the figures he uses look like they could easily have been done in iClone. The game’s in delicious black and white, and was all made by one man…