Friday, January 31, 2014

Why not add another dimension?

    I must confess that for the last two days I have been playing with an excellent 3D design program, Blender.  It is open source and very powerful, but complex to an aspiring 3D artist.  Aspiring, may be a bit too strong a word.  I am just jealous of some of the game images that I see in other games.  Most of the interesting strategy/tower defense/war games have nice 3D looking pieces and elements.  If you have the right 'models' with various screen-shots of movement, you can make a pretty sophisticated 3D looking game using 2D game methods.  Using Sprite Kit over the past few days has increased my desire for some good images to go with the gravity and particle effects.     During one of my weak moments I wondered if any good 3D programs were out there that I could tinker with to create some images.  My current drawing program, Art Text, is good for simple buttons, text art, and signs and symbol creation.  I love the program, but for 3D modeling I needed a whole other animal.  Blender is that beast and I have loving playing with it.
    I have tinkered with 3D drawing in the past.  Most notably, a few years ago I picked up Hash Animation:Master and built some fun 3D models and walked them through doors and such.   I learned a lot about 3D modeling from working with that program.  Where the camera, light sources, and mesh shapes are in 3D space, etc...   It has been a few years now since I played with 3D modeling, but occasionally you wonder how the industry is progressing.  Once a programmer dips his toe in the water of a technology, it is hard to keep him out of the pool.  And who doesn't want to model objects in 3D?  They are the coolest things you can show off, especially when you spin around the model or make it move around.  Throw in 3D printers and you can see why my interest in this technology just will not die.  It is the future in a lot of ways.
    For now it is a diversion from the game I am putting together.  I am trying to get the next game done by the end of February.  That does not leave a lot of time for fancy graphics, so I will be using the computer to draw most simple elements.  It is just not the right time to build a game with a 3D model look, but some day...  Until that day, I will occasionally steal some time from work to play with Blender and build cool little models of flying scooters or space ships or whatever the heck that thing is turning into...

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