Quickest or most fun way to get your 3D model into a game

I need some advice on what technology to use.

Lets say that I have created a character model in Maya. If I wanted to get this into a basic game engine, what is the best choice of technology?

XNA? iPhone SDK? Python?

This is just for fun to experience the process of taking your 3D creation from modeling software to a game engine where you can have some basic user control to move it around or animate it.

My guess is that modding might be the fastest way to achieve this but I’m looking for something a bit more lower level. A platform that is well documented, educational or fun to use would be preferable.

Unity would be the fastest, especially if you are not a programmer.

If you are a programmer, though, XNA may be “faster”, IMO. I mean, it is easy enough to get Unity to load a model in like 2 lines of code but to do anything interesting with it you really have to adopt Unity’s workflow, which can take some getting used to, whereas with XNA you can just focus on model rendering (for now) and there are plenty of model rendering sample apps you can download from the XNA site to start you off with.

iPhone SDK is without a doubt not a correct answer, though. OpenGL ES is great for what it is, but it isn’t a game engine, so you’d have a ton of work to do prior to getting any sort of results.

I haven’t used Unity yet, but UDK is somewhat easy to get your character model in a deathmatch game (UT3) with a small amount of programming. The big annoyance is you have to have all your bones named the same thing as the character model bones. I haven’t ever made a model before but an artist I worked with groaned loudly when he had to rename his bones so I assume it’s a bit annoying.

Anyway, here’s the udk link: http://www.udk.com/

You can probably find some character import tutorials on google, or try: http://www.udk.com/documentation
or: http://hourences.com/book/tutorialsindex.htm
which both have a good selection of tutorials

Thanks. Sounds like XNA is more what I’m looking for. Never heard of Unity or UDK and after looking into it they seem really cool but they wouldn’t really be educational in the sense I would only be learning some proprietary system.

If you’re looking for that kind of experience because you’re interested in learning how to get your own game up and running, XNA is a great choice. If you’re looking for experience that will show well on a resume when applying to a game company, UDK and Unity are actually great platforms for that. Unreal 3 and Unity are both pretty widely used in the industry and showing experience in them can look great in a portfolio if you happen to be applying to a place that uses either.