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Blender

OVERVIEW

Blender is a free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. It is a tool for modeling, animation, image rendering, and video editing. Blender also contains a built-in game engine too. It bundles most of the building blocks of game design and mechanics into one free software program. ChristGames.org recommends this tool for beginner game developers because it uses simple sensor, controller, and actuator game logic without programming. Blender is also extensible via the Python programming language. This makes it a good tool for the advanced game design enthusiasts too.

GAME PHYSICS

Blender directly supports the Bullet Physics Library, originally created for the PS3, but now available on many platforms. This library simplifies the complex game logic for collision detection, and soft and rigid body dynamics. Gravity, friction, speed, mass and other physics calculations are also available. You can manipulate particle interactions, create realistic cloth and fluid simulations, and do other physics type of effects with Blender. All of the hard math calculations that you see in games are handled automatically by Blender through variables and various parameter settings.

AUDIO/VIDEO

You can create and edit movies with Blender. These videos can be added to your game, or used for promotional videos. Multiple audio files can be added and overlaid in your videos for background music, voice, and sound clips. Blender allows you to create new 3D animated videos directly, or modify and enhance existing videos too, through its sophisticated video sequence editor. It uses FFmpeg to record, convert, and stream audio and video into many different formats. Two well known examples of short films created with Blender are Sintel and Big Buck Bunny.

MODELING/ANIMATION

Blender allows you to model characters or game objects. These characters can then be rigged with skeletal bones for real-life armature modeling. Walk cycles, lip syncing, and other non-linear character movements are supported. A pose editor is also included for animations. Traditional key-frame editing and motion curves are integrated into Blender. You can create wire frame models of game objects with mesh, sculpting, and modify tools. Create a car, with all moving parts. Create a game character that talks, walks and runs. It can all be done directly in Blender without any programming.

RENDERING/IMAGES

Blender uses raytracing techniques to produce stunning real-life 3D images. These pictures can be used in your games for image maps of sky domes, terrains, and characters. Static pictures for splash screens, buttons, toolbars, and other game objects are all good use cases for Blender's imaging and compositing features. UV unwrapping helps when creating complex meshes, with multiple layers and images. For example, create a tree with bark, leaves, shading, and other details from different images. Apply reflection, displacement, and bump maps for complex views. Blender also supports exports and imports of many image file formats, so you can use external programs like GIMP to further refine and manipulate your game pictures.

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This page was last modified on 14 March 2013, at 20:29.
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