Tuesday, 30 March 2010

3D Explained a different way

To add to my earlier posts about 3D stereoscopy, this BBC clip compares different ways of perceiving 3D that can all be used by artists and animators.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Free web design helps from SitePoint - JQuery and more...

I have probably mentioned SitePoint before, but that is because they have some really useful things for web designers.

The offering that prompted me to blog tonight was some free sample chapters from their JQuery book, and better still - 100 free JQuery codes as well.

Get it here: http://bit.ly/a0sN6a

Their website is well worth checking out while you are there to see what other freebies are available.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Boom to Bust - Where have all the websites gone?

This BBC article about some of the once big names of the Internet brought back memories for me. It is strange to think that most of my current students were only kids at the time, anything between 5 and 10 years old. They probably won't remember most of these. But for me, as one who was working in a new web industry as a brand new web and graphic designer, many of these were the every day names we saw as examples of success.

It is interesting to see that not one of those names survives today.

For students of web design now, it is well worth looking at these early examples to see how things have changed (technology), and how some things have not (usability issues and big corporation buy-outs).

It is also interesting to see how Boo.com might have survived if it were launched today. While back then the internet was too slow to cope with the technology they were trying to use, today it would be no bother. Too ahead of its time perhaps? Or too willing to ignore the constraints of the time? You decide - but the lessons are still important now.

Any way - enjoy the article:


And if you want to see what those sites might have looked like why not look them up in the Wayback Machine:


Friday, 5 March 2010

Game Engines go Free

If you have been tempted to cross the boundary between 2D interactive media or games or 3D animation into 3D games, you will probably know you need to get a decent 3D game physics engine.

That's where my brain has been lately, and consequently I have turned my attention to physics engines. In my mind it was initially a toss-up between Epic's UnrealEd, which comes with Unreal Tournament, or the FPS Creator from The Game Makers.

UnrealEd would have been first choice since I know it is used by a local university on their Game Art degree, on the other hand the FPSC had good features too, and in some ways was less complex and perhaps more suitable for allowing (high school level) students to quickly preview their characters and in-game objects.

However as I did some digging I found that the current plethora of game engines out there, including some open source offerings, has made the area highly competitive. So competitive in fact that well respected commercial engines are now becoming available FREE for personal use, or under developer licenses where you only pay if you make money. This combined with all the free stuff, makes for quite a choice.

Commercial Game Engines for Free

UDK - Unreal have released what they call the Unreal Development Kit, it contains all the tools previously only available to commercial developers or those with a lot of spare cash. This now seems to replace UnrealEd from my point of view.

FPSC - The Game Makers have released a free developers edition of FPSC. It has all the features of the pay for version minus network games and compile - but the pay for is only £30 these days anyway.

Unity - Described as being the best game engine this side of a $million, it normally retailed at about $200, but a free development version is now available too, and looks pretty amazing.

Freeware or Open Source Game Engines

Blender - Has long been capable of producing 3D games made interactive with Python scripting.

Platinum Arts Sandbox 3D Game Maker - purports to be popular with educational environments.

Cheap Game Engines

The 3D Game Maker - I thought I would throw this one in. Although very limited in terms of customisation, for some educational purposes (e.g. Level 1 and 2) this could be ideal. With a bit of technical know how students can include their own 3D models (.x format) in their games.

Well, I already owned FPSC, the 3D Game Maker, and UnrealED, but now I have downloaded Unity and the UDK (be interested to see how UDK is different from UnrealEd). I can hardly wait to get started.