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Cool new stuff for Blender 2.43...

Discussion in 'External Tools' started by bigkahuna, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Not sure if my fellow Blender users have been watching the latest developments for the upcoming Blender version 2.43. Some very cool stuff, including:
    • Built-in baking (including normal baking, no more script problems, yeah!)
      Built-in mesh sculpting
      New character walk cycle tools (OTEE, we need animation and bones/rig import!)
      Multiple cpu/thread support
      and much more!
    The (perhaps) bad news is that the .blend file format appears to have changed and is not backwards compatible. This probably means that it may take OTEE a while to catch up and impliment these changes in Unity.

    A more complete list can be found here:
    http://www.blendernation.com/2006/12/07/november-cvs-report-render-passes-bug-fixing/

    Recent builds from CVS can be downloaded here:
    http://www.blenderbuilds.com/category/mac/

    And some info on the new texture baking can be found here:
    http://www.blender3d.org/cms/Render_Baking.827.0.html
     
  2. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    Sounds like good stuff. Eek on the changed file format though!

    --Eric
     
  3. drJones

    drJones

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    dammit where's the multiple uv maps!?
    they've been on 75% for a while now:

    http://mediawiki.blender.org/index.php/BlenderDev/UvUnwrapping

    baking is only half useful without that.

    where did you read this, or did you test the build?

    thanks for the info ; )
     
  4. NicholasFrancis

    NicholasFrancis

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    From what I've read, the blend file format in not FORWARDS compatible: It will read old files just fine, but you can't get the files back into an old version of blender.
     
  5. Bampf

    Bampf

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    I was under the impression that Unity didn't read the blender files directly, but rather by some kind of scripting of Blender. In which case the file format change may very well be invisible.

    Either way, it's prudent to always keep a copy of the previous version around when upgrading.
     
  6. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Yes, that's what I mean't, sorry...

    Can someone at OTEE confirm this?
     
  7. Jonathan Czeck

    Jonathan Czeck

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    I suppose I am sitting in their office right now...

    Yes, Unity runs a Blender script to export to Collada as an intermediate format, and then reads in the Collada file. You can see this script in Unity.app/Contents/Tools/Unity-BlenderToCollada.py

    Cheers,
    -Jon
     
  8. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    On the topic of Collada, does anyone know if there's been any activity on the Collada Blender project? Last release and update was back in September. I just checked the Collada Blender website, and it didn't look like anything had changed in months. :(
     
  9. Jonathan Czeck

    Jonathan Czeck

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    I've heard rumors that the guy who was doing it doesn't have much time any more. :(
     
  10. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Yeah, I emailed him several months ago and that was the case. I just checked the forum at Collada Blender and his last post in November said the same. I guess that's the downside of open source, if a project has only one participant, and their life/schedule/interests change, then that could mean the end of that project...
     
  11. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    Understandable, though I thought that getting funding was supposed to help with that sort of thing?

    --Eric
     
  12. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Yeah, a lot of us were hoping that... :(
     
  13. polytropoi

    polytropoi

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    It seems strange to me that there is not more urgency around this issue: where is the indie-friendly tool that supports character animation? With all the 'roll you own games' talk out there, this issue is never addressed. Yes you can make your own games, but if you want to make characters, you've got to have Maya? (or 3ds or XSI or CD4, yeah I know).

    Blender is the key to this revolution, and we know this. I love Unity, but I love Blender more, and I'm now at the point of using the Blender Game Engine instead of Unity, because I want to tell stories, and for that you need CHARACTERS. And I'm not going back the the days of jumping through 10 hoops and file conversions just to see what something looks like.

    Where are the big companies on this? Sony uses collada as the base format for PS3, why no help from them? Why no third party FBX exporter for Blender - which would help Microsoft in their XNA efforts? The utility of a complete export format (either collada or fbx) for blender would be so massive I truly don't understand why it hasn't happened, and why there is apparently just ONE GUY working on it.

    This guy Pieter (http://colladablender.illusoft.com/animation.html), bless him, all my eggs are in his basket. He can't stop, he just can't. Please o please o please! <breaks down in pitiful tears>.

    I'm gonna pay pal him something for his efforts, and in the spirit of Goodwill Toward Men, I encourage others to do so as well.
     
  14. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Hi Polytropoi,

    Yup Blender is a great app and I've done some very cool stuff with it. But here's its major flaw as a serious game engine: all its "critical attributes" rely on single individuals, and if those people (for whatever reason) either loose interest or motivation, the project dies. Look at all the latest developments: Bullet Physics (Erwin) and Ogre 3D integration (Snailrose). Single individuals working on critical, new improvements to Blender's GE. If either of those devs should stop working on their projects, the future of the BGE would pretty much come to a complete stand still. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Blender supporter, but if my income relies on a game engine, I'd like to know that that engine's future is fairly secure.

    As for the Collada Blender Project, FWIW, I had heard that OTEE had even offered to pay Pieter to finish the Collada exporter, so apparently even that wasn't enough to motivate him.

    Yes, Unity definitely needs a low cost alternative for character animation content creation. Blender? Cheetah 3D? Carrara? Something Else? Right now, unfortunately, there are none. :(
     
  15. drJones

    drJones

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    right there with ya. (though i wouldn't switch to anything else - i looove unity ; )
    thankfully for me anyway i still have so much to learn i can continue on my merry way for a while longer before lack of animation support is going to really start holding me back with my game.

    i'm sure i'm starting to sound like a broken record, but its like some sort of cruel joke for poor ass people like myself ("here's an astin martin for $250, oh and by the way gas costs $2000 a gallon). in addition to collada or fbx export, IMO for integration with unity blender also really needs:

    -multiple UV maps.
    -reliable baking solution (including tangent space normal mapping)

    both of these things are supposed to be in the next release, so we'll see. i really love blender, and am thankful that something like it even exists. its just soooo frustrating, its so close to being a perfect fit for unity.

    all i want for christmas is to be able to buy unity pro, and not have to fork over all that money to some other company to buy the cruicial 2% of features i don't have in my free program.
     
  16. polytropoi

    polytropoi

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    Yeah, I see on the Cheetah forums that v4, w/ armature and skinning support, is scheduled for March 07 - Go Martin! Although I would still prefer a Blender solution.

    BTW, Kahuna, have you tested baked textures in Blender 2.43 and importing into Unity? I followed your threads re the inflating .blend files and long import times with baked textures, had the same problem. Is it all better now? I'll try it today...

    And my threats to abandon Unity for the Blender Game Engine are of course empty, just trying impress OTEE w/ my strong feelings on the issue :)

    Very interesting comment that OTEE had offered to help Pieter w/ the Collada exporter. That's at the top of my wishlist, way ahead of porting the engine to consoles or cellphones. And I think it would do a lot for indie adoption of Unity.
     
  17. polytropoi

    polytropoi

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    Very apt metaphor! :D
     
  18. drJones

    drJones

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    i'm sure its an annoying situation for OTEE too, but really what more can they do?
     
  19. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    No, I haven't had time to play with the latest Blender builds or the new texture bake feature. My bug report for the texture bake/growing .blend issue was closed as the devs were certain the new builds resolved the issue.

    I haven't been working with Blender much recently, too busy trying to learn Cinema 4D 10... argh... it's tough to re-arrange my old brain cells to assimilate new information...

    BTW, have any of you taken a look at Equinox 3D ( http://www.equinox3d.com/index.html ) ? I spent some time with it early this year and it had a lot of potential. According to this: http://www.equinox3d.com/collada.html it already supports skin animations and collada. Unfortunately, I don't have any collada files to test it and not enough time to create a model using it. I did play around with it for a few minutes this morning on my Intel iMac. The real-time raytracer is very cool.
     
  20. harrio

    harrio

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    bigkahuna...

    how did you get equinox3d to run on your intel mac? i have a mbp and it won't even start up. i emailed gabor nagy and he said a universal binary is in the works but no time line.
     
  21. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Harrio,

    I just installed it on my Intel Core Duo 1.83 Ghz iMac this morning and it worked fine. You have to have X11 installed and running first in order for Equinox 3D to run. I use GIMP, which also uses X11, so it was already installed on my system. I just launched X11, then launched the Equinox app and it seemed to run fine. I also tried opening a couple sample models, looked really good, but the interface confuses me so I haven't gotten very far with it.

    I just emailed Gabor about animation, bones and skin. Last I heard these were not fully functional but I don't know for sure. It's been a long time since his last update so I have no idea what the latest is.
     
  22. Martin

    Martin

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    Hi,
    I will start a first non public beta test for Cheetah3D 4.0 soon. So if a Unity and (registered) Cheetah3D user is in real need for character animation today I can put him onto my beta testers list. Just send me a email.

    Bye,
    Martin
     
  23. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Thanks Martin, that is good news. Last I checked Cheetah didn't support texture or lightmap baking. Any plans for this?
     
  24. harrio

    harrio

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    bigkahuna...

    yeah, that's what i did, fired up x11, started app, it tries to start and then just quits. i deleted it and downloaded another. same thing when i tried to run it.

    are you running 10.4.8?
     
  25. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Yes I am. It's weird that it's not working for you. Your problem sounds like X11 isn't running or isn't properly installed. Have you tried running any other X11 applications to make sure your installation is functioning properly? Maybe download and try GIMP if not.
     
  26. Martin

    Martin

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    Yes, lightmap baking is actually one of the easier features to implement. Nevertheless it takes some time. At the moment the priority is to finish character animation tools. So it is just a matter of time.

    Bye,
    Martin
     
  27. harrio

    harrio

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    bigkahuna...
    yeah, i have a ton of apps that run on x11; macradiant, blender, gimpshop and others and they run fine. not trying to monopolize your time, just thought you might have known a trick or function that i had not heard of. guess i have to wait on gabor.

    martin...
    i love c3d, and i have unity pro license too, but i don't know if i could justifiably request the 4.0 beta, as i'm currently just beginning to learn modelling and haven't graduated to integrating that with unity yet. although i'd love to see the new animation goodies.

    i'm dumping my lightwave 9.0, if anybody is interested, and putting my eggs in the baskets of c3d and equinox3d because newtek mac support sucks and i'm tired of waiting for a universal binary that may not even help the situation at newtek.

    i'm done venting.

    good luck martin, thanks for the input bigkahuna

    go uniteam...!
     
  28. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Hmmm..., Blender doesn't require X11 and Gimpshop and Gimp are completely different binaries. No idea what Macradiant is. Let me just ask this stupid question: did you actually launch the X11 app? What version are you using, mine says it's "X11 1.1.3 - XFree86 4.4.0".

    I can't imaging why it would work on my machine and not yours, AFAIK isn't the MBP and the iMac identical machines in different cases?
     
  29. harrio

    harrio

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    bigkahuna...
    yeah, i have the same version of x11 as you i checked. macradiant is a mac version of the radiant editor for doom, quake games.

    i'm stumped as well, obviously.
     
  30. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    Did you check the logs to see if there are any error messages that get printed?

    --Eric
     
  31. harrio

    harrio

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    Code (csharp):
    1. Date/Time:      2006-12-16 02:54:25.984 +0300
    2. OS Version:     10.4.8 (Build 8L2127)
    3. Report Version: 4
    4.  
    5. Command: EQUINOX-3D
    6. Path:    /Applications/equinox3d/EQUINOX-3D.app/Contents/MacOS/EQUINOX-3D
    7. Parent:  WindowServer [58]
    8. Rosetta: Yes
    9.  
    10. Version: ??? (0.9.0)
    11.  
    12. PID:    10149
    13. Thread: Unknown
    14.  
    15. Exception:  EXC_BAD_ACCESS (0x0001)
    16. Codes:      KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE (0x0002) at 0x00000ac0
    17.  
    18. Thread 0:
    19. 0   EQUINOX-3D  0xb80a5453 0xb8000000 + 676947
    20. 1   EQUINOX-3D  0xb809f925 0xb8000000 + 653605
    21. 2   EQUINOX-3D  0xb80bd24e 0xb8000000 + 774734
    22. 3   EQUINOX-3D  0xb811e558 spin_lock_wrapper + 3852
    23.  
    24. Thread 1:
    25. 0   EQUINOX-3D  0xb823369b strchr + 72
    26. 1   EQUINOX-3D  0xb81cef17 pthread_cond_wait + 3114
    27. 2   EQUINOX-3D  0xb816831a catch_exception_raise_state_identity + 318
    28. 3   EQUINOX-3D  0xb8167856 CallPPCFunctionAtAddressInt + 177220
    29. 4   EQUINOX-3D  0xb816774d CallPPCFunctionAtAddressInt + 176955
    30. 5   EQUINOX-3D  0xb8168418 catch_exception_raise_state_identity + 572
    31. 6   EQUINOX-3D  0xb820480c pthread_create + 1124
    32.  
    33. Unknown thread crashed with unknown flavor: 1
    34.   state_count: 16
    yeah, it's pretty long so i won't put it all here, but just the beginning doesn't sound too pretty, and i'm not even smart enough to know what it means. but it sounds like it doesn't like the 'intel' inside...
     
  32. harrio

    harrio

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    Code (csharp):
    1. XFree86 Version 4.4.0 / X Window System
    2.  
    3. (protocol Version 11, revision 0, vendor release 6600)
    4.  
    5. [DRI] screen 0 installation complete
    6.  
    7. Screen 0 added: 1680x1050 @ (0,0)
    8.  
    9. Could not init font path element /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/CID/, removing from list!
    10.  
    11. EGUI XErr: ~[31mBadRequest (invalid request code or no such operation)~[m
    12.  
    13. EGUI XErr: ~[31mBadAlloc (insufficient resources for operation)~[m
    14.  
    15. EGUI XErr: ~[31mGLXBadContext~[m
    16.  
    17. Dec 16 02:54:28 anthony-harris-Computer crashdump[10150]: EQUINOX-3D crashed
    18.  
    19. Dec 16 02:54:29 anthony-harris-Computer crashdump[10150]: crash report written to: /Users/harrio/Library/Logs/CrashReporter/EQUINOX-3D.crash.log
    20.  
    21. Quitting XDarwin...
    here's the console log too...
     
  33. Eric5h5

    Eric5h5

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    Running out of memory for some reason maybe? How much RAM do you have? Rosetta requires bucketloads....

    --Eric
     
  34. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna

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    Harrio,

    I wouldn't invest too much time in E3D just yet. I just spent an hour or so with it and it seemed kind of buggy and suddenly crashed without warning.

    I watched the console while I was running it, didn't ever get any errors (or any other reports).
     
  35. Martin

    Martin

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    Hi,
    since there is no documentation yet it is of course better if you have some basic knowledge of character animation. There will be just a small video tutorial showing the most important steps you have to know.
    But if you want to start adding characters to your game soon just let me know via email.

    Bye,
    Martin
     
  36. harrio

    harrio

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    eric...
    i have 2g of ram

    bigkahuna...
    hopefully gabor can work the kinks out with the universal binary.

    martin...
    thank you for the offer. if i'm going to learn, i might as well learn it all, so yes i'm intersted, what email do i use?
     
  37. Martin

    Martin

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    martin at cheetah3d dot de

    Bye,
    Martin
     
  38. pete

    pete

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    rc1 is out. sculpt... mmm yeah what a bonus! i can only use grab atm though. retopo looks cool to. haven't tried it.