There are some more information about the Grappling Hook game and it´s status on this page.

Graphics and story making good progress. After my last play-test with a 3d artist I had a long talk with him, what can be done to improve the graphics of the game in an economical way.  I had a look at concept art of Star Wars, Blade Runner and some other Sci-Fi-Worlds to gather new ideas for the visual design and created some (poor coder-style 😉 ) sketches. With that in my hands I looked at some free 3D modeling tools, which I already used a bit some years ago.

Wings 3D: This is easy to use and has a clean interface, but it crashed on my machine a few times. It also has no support for animations.

GMax: This is a slim version of 3D Studio Max. When you are firm with 3D Studio Max it is easy to use. It is a bit buggy, the development was stopped in 2005 and the only way to export stuff is with a MD3-export plugin. It is also not clear if it is allowed to use the models created with this in your own game.

Blender: In the first two hours I swear about the interface, but with some time you can habituate. Blender has a strong community, runs stable and has all features that are needed for creating game models and animations. It also has an own game engine and uses Python as a scripting language, which is very cool.

Because Blender is the only free 3d modeling tool which is actually stable and suitable for game development I spend more time with it and created a new bolt for the grappling hook device. Currently it is not ingame, because a texture is missing and I am not proud enough of it to show you a screenshot. ^^

I also had a look at graphics shader programming. Within the next days I will probably add a Screen Space Ambient Occlusion shader to improve the visual quality and give some more depth clues. I hope this will be a good way to fake shadows. Screen Space Ambient Occlusion is analyzing the differnces of the depth-buffer for every pixel and some random neighbours, to calculate a new brightness for the pixel.