It’s a little mind-boggling to me, but artist Sebastian Pirch has managed to use free, graphical patching environment Pure Data (Pd), with its graphical extensions Gem, to build a graphics engine. The Salzburg-based artist explains on the Pd forum (to incredulous Pd patchers):

hehe…not kidding…honestly only pd-extended + gem modelling and texturing and particleFX in 3ds max.
animations exported as textfiles using maxscript and obj sequences for the astronaut.
to stick the astronaut and camera to the terrain i rendered a higthmap in 3dsmax and read it with pix_data. a little bit of glsl for the spray of the waves…

i swear this is the truth.

The workflow from Pd to 3D Studio Max makes a lot of sense to me. (Blender would be another choice, if you want to stay in the open source domain, though of course it has its own game engine, as well.)

He’s offered to share the files; if he puts them up, I’ll let you know. (I’d sure like to see them.)

Thanks to Philip Cunningham for the Twitter tip!