Yeah! The full story:
I used 3ds Max for 10+ years. When I went to id, everyone there used Modo. I learned a lot from a couple guys there about how almost every app on the planet is super slow and inefficent. More importantly, people tend to get in their comfy zone and not learn how to do things better or faster.
At one point my computer at home died and I had to reinstall my software. I wanted to go legit with my home software, since I was starting to do more professional stuff on my home computer. I came to a crossroads: I could get my own license of Max, but not get to use it at work much, or I could spend $1000 on a Modo license (lest I use a work license and lose it if I changed jobs). This was happening right around the time blender 2.5 alpha was coming out and making waves. It finally looked like something not exactly terrible!
There are a few core concepts in Modo that I found in Blender. Lots of things like gizmo-less manipulation, action centers (the 3d cursor), heavily integrated scripting (python). So I picked up Blender and decided if I was going to do any 3d at home, I'd use Blender and force myself to learn it (it wasn't that bad).
When I ended up as the core artist on Spacebase, I knew I needed to get models out really fast. I'm not really familiar with Maya sadly, so I decided to just use blender rather than waste a bunch of time trying to force maya to be faster at modeling. I've been learning lots of Maya on the job and I'm at a point where I can get stuff done just fine, but for modeling I still prefer blender for the reasons I mentioned above. For Spacebase, I have a set of scripts I wrote to generate the wall tile sprites and render isometric props for the 2d art in the game.
Just tonight I wrote a quick script that will import my blender mesh into the Maya object file so I can iterate faster. If I have any bit of advice its LEARN SCRIPTING. If you can spend 20 minutes to learn how to save 20 seconds, that time will pay for itself before the day is over.
Finally: I will definitely say, objectively speaking, Modo is the actual best application for 3d art. There are things in there you actually just can not do in other apps. On RAGE, we used Modo to build entire levels, high poly source models, low poly, etc. Basically everything 3d in the game except characters or animation. Plus, Modo has the new Pixar Subdivision which is amazing and I really hope somebody can get it in Blender (as well as improve Blender's viewport performance. ).
WOW that was a big post about nothin'!
Thanks Jeremy! That post was really insightful and useful to myself and other artists here surely, I'm an artist working in the industry too so it's always great hearing different perspectives on 3D modelling tools. I've been using 3ds Max for about 5+ years, and Maya for less than a year. Everyone keeps saying awesome things about Modo, especially on the modelling front so I'll probably dive into it at some point. It's way cheaper than Autodesk products by comparison too, so that's awesome.
Anyways, hopefully I didn't get too off topic, the game looks great guys, keep it up!