The Animation Pipeline
The verbal element and the modelling element will combine to give you the SETS. The sets depict how the characters work in the landscape. Previous to this we had the characters, the worlds, the obstacles, things like that, but they were separate and static elements. The sets allow you to develop the characters such that they can move around in the land. Now, some people will do a lot of this modelling just with computerized tools.
More often than not, the most successful companies use several different tools in the process of figuring out how the game should work. For example, if you want to figure out how a character is filmed, your best bet is to take a 3-dimensional object, put it on the desk or in the light or whatever, and photograph it from a couple of angles so you can see how it works in a space.