SketchUp for Game Design

I’ve yet to meet a SketchUp modeler who doesn’t—at least just a little bit—want to work in the video game design industry. I get a stupid grin on my face when I think about how much fun it it would be to make battle tanks and exploding oil drums and secret doors for hidden basements full of zombies. In the gaming world, boring things like gravity and cost take a backseat to novelty and sheer coolness.

But how to turn your SketchUp habit (and job cranking out toilet stall details) into days full of armor design and wandering through bad neighborhoods looking for interesting photo-textures to shoot?

Google SketchUp for Game Design is Robin de Jongh’s newest book; he also wrote SketchUp 7.1 for Architectural Visualization. It presumes that you’re a SketchUp beginner, but then quickly gets on to the good stuff:

  • Finding good resources for photo-textures
  • Using Meshlab to convert your models in useable 3D game assets
  • Working with the Unity 3D game engine (which is widespread, free-or-low-cost middleware for designing game levels)
  • Creating high-quality textures for games
  • Adapting your models for use in video games
  • Authoring custom levels
  • Modeling low-poly game assets (including cars) and selling them online

Robin’s writing is accessible and easy to follow. He packs a lot of information into each page, but manages to keep the tone friendly and even funny at times. While the book’s in black and white, color versions of the images are available from the publisher’s website.

Sketchup Ur Space

One of my new favorite sources of SketchUp inspiration and information (inspormation?) is Sketchup Ur Space. A virtual smorgasbord of articles, tips, forums and imagery, this website is sure to make you smile. There’s a monthly PDF magazine, too. The creator of Sketchup Ur Space is Debarati Nath, an India-based writer who shared some information about herself and the new site:

What am I doing in the arena of 3D?

My name is Debarati Nath and I have done a degree in Mass Communication. Well, I am not a geek, in no terms so, when I started out working with SketchUp I had only one consoling factor. I had read that SketchUp – a 3D designing tool is for every person and not for geeks alone. Indeed after working with SketchUp for some time now I have realized that even a common person can draw anything from a nail to Burj Khalifa using this designing tool. Thus my work soon became my passion and I wanted to promote the thought of SketchUp to the common masses and of course to the 3D designers all around the world.

Sketchup ur Space Magazine Gets Its Own Website

I joined the company SketchUp 4 Architect as a content writer last year. Our company was outsourced SketchUp work and we started out by launching our magazine on This magazine is published in two versions flash and pdf. Soon the magazine became immensely popular and we decided to launch an independent site for the magazine. With this idea the was launched in March 2011.

Progress of Sketchup ur Space as an Editor

In the earlier days the magazine had to travel through troubled waters. Many hardships had to be borne. But soon the magazine earned me many friends. Our journey was made smooth thanks largely to the help and support from Jim Leggitt, Bonnie Roskes, James Hanningan, Nomer Adona, V-Ray/Chaos Group, AR Media and many other friends.

Goals That Push Us On

Our motto is same as SketchUp. We want ‘everyone to experience the power and fun of building their ideas in 3D’. Sketchup ur Space always wants to lend its helping hand to the budding SketchUp designers by providing various tutorials, tips and tricks. We want to be a piazza for all the SketchUp artists all over the world. We would like to provide them a common platform to share their views and opinion. Newbie as well as renowned SketchUp artists, geo modelers, architects and SketchUp writers are featured in our magazine. Recently Sketchup ur Space had organized a SketchUp Competition to boost the SketchUp spirit of young designers with V-Ray/Chaos Group to mark our first anniversary.

Hope that you can add more power to SketchUp and help to make it best designing tool. Connect to Sketchup ur Space Magazine and be a part of our future vision.

Google Earth: “The Immortal Game”


1851 was the year of the Great Exhibition in London (England not Ontario). The chess community marked the event by staging the first international chess tournament which brought in the best players of Europe.

An exciting game played during the event became tagged ‘The Immortal Game’. The opponents were Adolf Anderssen, the eventual winner of the tournament, and Lionel Kieseritsky. If Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, had not already given his name to a type of battle in which victory was gained despite incurring heavy losses, then we might today have used the name of Anderssen with the same meaning, for he sacrificed many pieces to get one bishop and two knights into a winning position.



Anderssen was much the more aggressive player but the rate of attrition was high. He lost a pawn early on when his King’s Gambit was accepted. Then a bishop fell, and another pawn, then both castles. Finally, he forced checkmate by sacrificing his queen even while Kieseritsky thought he was doing well to have Anderssen’s king on the run as his queen and a bishop controlled row 1 of the board.

So, why the animation in Google Earth? Colin said:

“I imagined the game as a battle between two armies, that’s easy enough to do, but I also wanted to tell a story. As well as being fun to create, the animation is intended to illustrate not only the chess game but also a story in which an embedded reporter watches the raging battle and the bloodshed all around from the position of the King’s Pawn. I’ve written a short story which now forms the bones of a longer novel.

It took a while to find the right place on Earth to set the battle. I needed high ground as defensive positions for Kieseritsky and a landscape that would match the story. I found this in the mountains and valleys of the English Lake District, one of my favourite places and destination of many camping trips.

I created the chess pieces using Google SketchUp and that was a fun exercise in itself. I exported the pieces from SketchUp as 3D models which I could then place and animate in Google Earth. The latest version uses the gx:Tour features of KML; previously I had animated the game using set positions after each move, but that doesn’t flow so well. I’m pleased with the way the pieces now glide over the ground.”

You can view it yourself in Google Earth by using this KML file.