This week, I've been working on an OU assignment. I'm doing a module in Design, and most of it resolves around drawing sketches and making models (hooray!) but this time I thought I'd use a programme called Google SketchUp which is a free to dowload and easy to use CAD tool for making 3D computer models. To break the monotony, I decided to try my hand at using it for gaming purposes. I quickly made a fantasy tower and a sci-fi building and I began to wonder what the Frugal Gamer could use it for.
One application would be to use it for planning terrain pieces and models, but I think I still prefer the pencil and paper option for planning. One excellent use would be in a campaign setting. If you run a campaign, you could use it to make player handouts, with 'photographs' of objectives. It would be excellent for Planetstrike; the attacker could be provided with satellite imagery of the defences he'll meet on the planet, which could tie in with the terrain models that would be used on the day.
There's also a very active 40k SketchUp community out there that have made models you can use so you don't even have to make everything from scratch!
So, overall, it's not an invaluable tool in the Frugal Gamers toolbox, but it's free, easy to use and adds a great bit of flavour to your gaming. Download it, give it a go and let me know how you get on. If you have any great ideas for using it, please post them in the comments, if you send me some pictures or model files I'll add them to the post.