I read an article in the newspaper (yes, they still have those) on Tuesday that talked about the nature of people in my generation (Generation Y, whatever that means). We are self-centered, confident, and hell-bent on instant gratification. We also want respect in the workplace now, or else. These insights are news to me, of course. Whatever leverage my peers are using to threaten their employers was clearly not shared with this humble peon.
Aside from the fact that we aren’t very nice, m-m-m-my generation is also, according to the much nicer folks who decide these things, quite tech-savvy. We were raised using the internet and have all embraced Satan’s favorite crime: file sharing. In effect, we think everything should be free.
Now, for the record, I don’t think everything should be free. I frequently purchase music from iTunes, I am a long-time subscriber to Netflix, and I will gladly pay $.99 for a Frosty. But YouTube, Google Analytics, and the open-source software movement have taught me that while quality usually costs, it doesn’t always have to.
No, the internet is home to an amazing array of kind-hearted people who build web sites offering free stuff to download (if you can wade through all the ads). Ok, most of it is crap, but a diligent search for just about anything will generally yield a site or two offering the real deal.
It was this thought process that convinced me to search for a site offering free, low-polygon 3D models to help me test a concept for my latest project. (Before you chastise me for cutting corners, let me remind you that I am a one-man shop.) You can imagine my surprise when the search yielded nothing of use. There are plenty of good sites selling 3D models, and there are plenty of horrible sites offering free models, but I found few good sites with free models, and, even worse, I didn’t find any sites at all with a dedicated library of free, low-poly models.
You might argue that the niche for aspiring game developers with no money is too small to warrant such a site, and you might be right; however, consider the number of low-cost (or free) game-development platforms on the market, the hordes of young computer programmers, and Microsoft’s XNA Creators Club.
It seems more likely to me that the limiting factor is the number of skilled modelers around. Most are probably employed (and sick of modeling by the time they get home), disinclined to post their work for free, or not that interested in low-poly work.
Regardless of the reason, the results of my search make me sad. Partly I’m sad that I couldn’t find any models to use, but really I’m just disappointed that my instant gratification will have to wait.