Game character design: what are the available programs

Game designVideo Games

Redacción Tokio | 02/03/2023

Video games are truly a place where ideas and creativity can grow and thrive. These universes are created and designed so that players get lost in them while visiting. Not only their narratives are important, but also how they tell the story. In this sense, if you are passionate about games and want to take your first steps in the industry, you need to know about the right programs for game character design.

We know you are passionate about video games and you want to start creating your own adventures and characters. But, in order to introduce you to this exciting world, first we are going to go through some of the main programs for video game character design. Finally, we will talk about the best options available to you to become a video game designer.


Programs to design characters in video games: from concept to game

Video game design requires more than a well written plot and fun gameplay, it also needs strong and engaging character development, which is also part of the work of a videogame designer. But what is the process like? Keep reading and find out!

Game designers and writers often come up with the character’s backstory and motivations first. Then, a character concept artist creates the initial sketches for the main characters and their enemies within the game. Finally, 2D/3D artists and animators produce the related digital art, while the programmers define the actions of the characters.

‘We are not used to seeing video game characters with feelings like fear, uncertainty or remorse.’ Rhianna Pratchett (video game writer)

This process, as you can see, involves several professionals dedicated to videogames. These are people specialized in different fields who, based on the ideas and writing of the designers, give shape and life to the characters within the games.

This is the process for medium-sized and large studios. But there are also games made by a few people and even games that were made by just one person. In these cases, designers often resort to tools that facilitate the creative process: programs for game character design.


Programs for game character design: 3D modeling

After this brief introduction to game design, we’re going to look at some of the tools you can use to design your own game characters.

We are going to go through both 2D and 3D game character design software as well as complete game creation engines and tools that include specific sections for character design. Interested? Well, take note and discover the best options to start creating your own adventures.


Autodesk Maya

Developed for interactive 3D rendering in video games, animated features, television, and movies, Maya has been used in multiple successful projects, from Game of Thrones and Spider-Man to Halo and numerous Pixar movies.

Since its release more than 20 years ago, Maya has become one of the essential tools for 3D character design, modeling, and animation.

While it is a paid software, it also has free licenses for students and people who are learning how to use it.

3DS Max

Another Autodesk software, it represents the direct competitor for Maya in terms of design, modeling and animation of 3D characters.

Just like Maya, it is also a paid tool that offers free licenses for students.



One of the great alternatives to Autodesk software, it is also widely used for modeling, texturing, and painting high-resolution 3D video game character models.

But it’s more than just drawing software, actually it can be described more as a tool to sculpt characters on your computer in a simple way and with hardly any memory or processing involved.



Just like the previous tools, this software is used for modeling, designing, and animating 3D characters.

The difference with the previous ones on this list of game character design tools is that Blender is an open source and completely free alternative.



Just like Blender, MakeHuman is an open source 3D graphics tool that can help you create realistic human beings.

There’s a tremendously active community around it that will help you learn and improve in designing all kinds of 3D characters.


Programs for the development of video games

In addition to the programs to design video game characters, let’s also talk about three of the main systems in which video games are being developed today: Unity, GameMaker Studio and Unreal Engine.


Unity is a game design engine that you can access for free. It presents different ways to customize game character design and settings, building from predefined elements.

This tool is not specific to just video game character design, but a very complete tool and relatively easy to learn at a basic level.

GameMaker Studio

GameMaker Studio is a game development tool with its own programming system.

It can also be considered as one of the software tools for game character design, since it has systems for designing and customizing external assets.

Unreal Engine

Finally, let’s talk about Unreal Engine. This is a development engine that, for its next version, will present a fully customizable character creator.

This tool seems to be tremendously powerful and very useful for both professionals and enthusiasts who are taking their first steps in game character design. 


Work as a game designer

Now you know some of the main software tools available for game character design, which are employed to define and train the main characters of some of your favorite adventures. Do you want to be part of the video game industry? Well, in order to work on what you are really passionate about, you need to train.

With Tokyo School’s video game design course you will acquire the knowledge and skills to start working in this exciting sector. A training specially designed for you to develop your career and find a job in the video game industry.

Do you want to know everything Tokyo can do for you? Do not wait any longer and get in touch with us! Fill out the form below and join the best training school in new technologies out there. We can’t wait to meet you!

Get free information

We get you ready!

Game design

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

You may also be interested in...