Here are some technical details about BlendShow that only Blender geeks are likely to be interested in. I will update this page occasionally, as this page is surely incomplete.
- BlendShow is in pre-alpha stage currently. I will present a source code download when it has enough features to get things started.
- BlendShow is Blender, just with a different interface and presentation-specific tools. As a result, files will be 100% compatible between the two. I’m undecided if everything will be packed into a file so that it can play in the standard Blender Player or if a special runtime will be used to provide extra features. Most likely files will play fine in the standard Blender Player but have extra features when run from BlendShow’s player.
- In Blender, when you launch a game, all of your buttons get deactivated while the game is playing. To get around this issue, BlendShow launches the Blender Player as a separate process, running a .blend file that handles all the special features and loads the presentation currently open in BlendShow’s editing window.
- Blender game engine doesn’t support full-3D text, which was a discouragement at first, but eventually I realized that it doesn’t HAVE to, because all the editing is done in a full-fledged 3D modeling program. When you create text in BlendShow, you’re given the standard text object, but the visibility setting is set to be invisible in the game engine. When you finish editing, it then makes a copy and converts the copy to a mesh which is hidden from the editor & parented to the original. Normal users won’t notice the switching, and the text will show exactly as they expect it.
- The text editing functionality(for 3D text) needs improved in Blender. It doesn’t work the same way as other text editors, and will confuse new people. This is on my wishlist, since it’s beyond my expertise right now. What I want is a text editing experience like Powerpoint, Impress and Photoshop. People need to be able to apply as many fonts as they want(not that they should), select text with their mouse, move the text cursor with their mouse, and basically have a word processor experience. I plan to use the normal text object editing process, but it’s possible I might incorporate the text editor panel to bring its advantages, although neither text editor is optimal. If you can improve the text editing of Blender and BlendShow, please submit your patches to BOTH so I can implement it sooner and so it can show up in the official Blender versions. I would love to see a better text-editing experience in both programs. I want to eventually also add spell-check.
- I plan on eventually having an Android version, since Blender can run on it, although their work on that is still in the early stages. I have a few devices that can test it out.
- The interface might change drastically, some features will be removed and the key commands will be completely different. This will make some people mad, but necessary to make BlendShow accessible to everybody. Blender has “interaction” presets to mimic Maya and 3Dsmax’s key commands and how the mouse works, so I plan to use that functionality to give Blender interaction presets, for those of you who just have to select with the right mouse button and use other non-standard interactions.
Considering Blendshow will likely be a plugin, actual interface changes will surely be minimal and more drastic changes will only be an option.
- BlendShow likely will not include the Cycles render engine if it is released as a standalone program, as the main focus is the game engine. Cycles has entirely different material settings and takes a long time to render compared to anything you’d expect in a presentation program.
Feel free to use Blender for Cycles-rendered backdrops and textures in your templates and assets. It’s better with the full interface, anyway. If there are any customizations for the user to make, it can likely be done with a pre-rendered texture, especially now that Cycles includes texture baking.
- BlendShow likely will use the Freestyle rendering engine, but only for still images. It’s not able to do real-time outlines, but the ability to generate images that look hand-drawn has plenty of uses. Imagine using a pre-rendered 2D image of text or of a 3D object in your presentation. No special fonts needed!