BlendShow Sorta Makes Public Appearance

There may not be a public alpha released yet(December, hopefully), but you could say that BlendShow was used at my church’s Halloween-alternative event, “Kidfest”, yesterday. Technically it was Blender and Blender Game Engine, but since BlendShow is based on Blender, we’ll go with that.

The purpose of using the game engine, besides having something more exciting for the background, was to test things on the screen that BlendShow is intended to get used on regularly once it’s ready. And boy, was I glad to test that out! No matter what I tried, it would only launch full-screen on the computer monitor instead of the projectors. After a lot of Googling, I decided to use Blender’s full-screen function(Alt+F11) with a cleared-away UI as a view that can be put on any monitor, and run the game engine there. This has its pros and cons, but most importantly it works.

Besides copyright concerns, I don’t have any video of it because I didn’t have enough time to actually add much motion. That’s right, it was running in a video game engine, but it was essentially really just a still image. I added some spotlights later that react to the spacebar being pressed, but that’s the only motion I actually had time to add. Therefore, since it was really just a still image, here’s a still image of what it looked like…

The video played on the center screen using VLC media player because of its playlist functionality. I was going to run it straight from the game engine, but I don’t have a playlist feature made yet, and we were re-arranging videos even during the event. The theme was “sports”, so I was going for a Jumbotron look for the screens. The foreground was rendered in Cycles and the background was a photo of our ceiling, projected on a quarter-sphere. Between these two meshes was where the spotlights went back and forth whenever I held down the space bar.

For the sake of learning, I’ve included the .blend file here in case you are wondering how something was done, like making the spotlights appear when the spacebar is pressed or getting the transparency right. Admittedly this project had more for me to learn than for others to learn. Due to the work-around, I couldn’t use the game engine’s stretch-to-screen setting, so that’s why the screen is squashed in the file. Our video signal is in a different aspect ratio than the projectors due to technical limitations. On the bright side, I was able to stop the game engine without the scene disappearing from the screen, since it’s just a full-screen Blender window using the embedded player.

I intend to use the Blender Game Engine more during our Christmas celebration, and hopefully actually customized and compiled as BlendShow. Yesterday’s event was a great way to get any bugs out where I could find them, and everything should work nicely in December, followed by an alpha release.

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