Friday, December 12th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Foundry releases Modo Indie and Marie Indie

The Foundry has released Modo Indie and Mari Indie, new cut-down versions of the 3D animation and 3D painting packages aimed at indie games artists.

The new editions are being sold through Steam, and cost $299.99 and $149.99 respectively.

Modo on Steam? This sounds familiar
The Foundry has dipped a toe in these waters before, having released the $149 Modo Steam Edition last year. Modo SE, intended for non-commercial work or creating assets for sale through Steam, got mixed feedback.

The Steam Edition has now been discontinued to make way for Modo Indie, which is licensed for full commercial work, and costs $150 more. So what else does that extra money buy you?

What you get, and what you don’t
One source of flak for the Steam Edition was the 7k poly export limit – raised in Modo Indie to 100k. Modo’s dynamics, animation and rendering toolsets, removed in the Steam Edition, are also restored.

However, there are still some fairly important restrictions, including the lack of support for plugins, the Python editor, or third-party scripts.

Modo Indie also saves only in encrypted LXF format, and the files are tied to an individual Steam account, meaning that they can’t be shared among members of a team – something the EULA forbids anyway.

Export is limited to FBX and OBJ files for 3D assets and PNG, JPG, TIFF and EXR for 2D assets, and the resolution of renders and baked textures is capped at 4K.

Introducing Mari Indie
The second new product, Mari Indie, is an entirely unprecedented edition to the product family and one that – given the standard version of the software costs $2,013 – makes Mari accessible to a new audience.

The limitations are similar to Modo Indie: project files are encrypted and tied to a Steam account; Python scripting and custom shaders are disabled; and output is limited to PSD, PNG, TGA and JPG.

(EXR, HDR and TIF export have been removed: this is definitely an edition aimed at games artists, not a way to do VFX work on the cheap.)

Scenes are limited to three objects with no more than two UDIM patches each – although they can have an unlimited number of submeshes; and exported textures are limited to 4K resolution and 8-bit-per-channel.

Winning combinations?
For its intended audience – solo game developers – Modo Indie looks a pretty good bet, particularly when you consider that Autodesk’s $795 Maya LT has similar restrictions, a lower export poly limit, and no dynamics.

Mari Indie is more of a moot point, since it’s up against the $149 Indie licence of Substance Painter, which doesn’t have the same limit on objects or texture patches: the main limitation cited in early forum feedback.

Substance Painter also provides some unique games-specific features, like the particle brushes.

However, you can only use the Indie licence if you make under $10,000 a year. If you actually want to make a living, you need the full $590 Pro licence, so we suspect this one really will come down to individual needs.

Pricing and availability
Modo Indie and Mari Indie are available now via Steam. Modo Indie runs on Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.7+ – The Foundry is “evaluating demand” for Linux; Mari Indie runs on Windows 7+, Mac OS X 10.8.5+ and Linux.

In addition to the $299.99 perpetual licence, you can rent Modo Indie from $9.99 to 14.99 per month, depending on whether you choose to subscribe monthly, quarterly or half-yearly.

Mari Indie costs $149.99 for a perpetual licence, or you can rent it from $8.29 to $12.49 per month, again depending on whether you choose to subscribe monthly, quarterly or half-yearly.

Read an overview of Modo Indie and Mari Indie on The Foundry’s website

Read the detailed FAQs (includes a full list of restrictions) on Steam