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Re: Simple modeller

Steve Baker wrote:
> Gregor Mückl wrote:
>> <shamelessPlug>
>> Well... I revived development on Moonlight 3D last year (rather by 
>> accident, but that's a different story). Some of you might maybe 
>> recall that this modeller was widely spread on linux before blender 
>> spread. But unlike blender being freeware, Moonlight started as open 
>> source and stayed open source for a long time (only the last one or 
>> two releases of the original developers were closed-sourced).
>> We have made a new release about a week ago which got cleaned up a bit 
>> and should compile on modern systems (the old code from 1999 or 2000 
>> suffered from bitrod already). I have to admit that texture mapping 
>> hasn't made it into this release, but our goal for the next release is 
>> this feature.
>> ML has powerful NURBS and mesh editing functions and - as a big 
>> benefit - is rather simple to use (now that the interface is drawn 
>> correctly again ;) and has shown to be quite stable.
>> Just visit
>> http://www.moonlight3d.com
>> and give it a try!
> I've just downloaded and built Moonlight|3D and I have to say that
> whilst it may be a great tool for people who want to feed a raytracer,
> it's not awefully well suited to people who want to build models
> for 3D games.
> On the basis of one evening of playing with it, I'd say:
>   * You have to spend a lot of effort creating complex material
>     and lighting setups - none of which is actually likely to show
>     up in your game.  One slip of one of hundreds of controls and you
>     have a black screen.  All I really need is a 'headlight' (so I
>     can see what I'm modelling) and Specular/Diffuse/Ambient/Emission
>     for each colour.

I doubt that object material settings can be much simpler than that, 
actually. Even for games. As a matter of fact the material system is too 
simple to create appealing scenes.

>   * No texture support whatever.  This is evidently a high priority
>     for their dev team - but until it's there, Moonlight is *useless*
>     for games.

Yes, I have mentioned it already. It's the top-most point in our 
TODO-list. Expect it to be there in 0.6.0 (about two or three months 
away now, I think).

>   * Weird/cranky user interface - it takes over the whole screen (which
>     is *really* inconvenient), it screws up X (or maybe KDE) so after
>     it's exited, my windows pop up in weird orders and various scroll
>     bars on quite unrelated tools don't render correctly.  It uses
>     keyboard characters as mouse button modifiers.  It's not *quite* as
>     weird as Blender - but it's definitely fallen into the same traps.

These bugs are new to us. Could you please send me more info (and 
perhaps some screenshots) on this exiting problem? I will forward this 
to our own mailing list.

Btw: I must protect blender in one way: it will behave like any other 
windowed X application when you specify -w on the command line.

>   * There doesn't seem to be a way to have multiple models on screen
>     at once - that combined with it's full-screen-ness will make
>     building complex scenes with multiple models difficult.

Well... you cannot have more than one scene simultaneously. Even some of 
the most popular and expensive modellers out there don't allow this.

>   * It's annoying that when you are playing with colours and such,
>     you have to keep hitting 'apply' buttons before anything happens.
>     With a modern graphics card I shouldn't have to do that.

For really complex scenes real time updates would still not be fast 
enough. It is *really* annoying when you try to drag a slider to a 
certain position and it jerks there slowly in 10 steps of 3 seconds 
each. So realtime update is a big DON'T - at least in my oppinion.

>   * There don't *seem* to be places to enter things numerically.
>     This is a pain when you want things to line up nicely and have
>     exact known sizes.  A game modeller needs to be more like a CAD
>     package than an 'artistic' tool.

These dialogs are there. They should appear in the bar on the right. I 
can't remember how to open them, though. Give the "Dialogs" menu on the 
left a try.

>   * It seems to want you to store everything in 'Projects' which seem
>     to wrap up numbers of models, materials, etc.  Most of the time,
>     I just want to load a single, simple model file - change it and
>     write it out again.

You should let Moonlight manage your models, materials, etc for your 
game project. To feed this data into your game engine you need to export 
it. For exporting an XML im-/exporter is planned which can dump (and 
read - of course) every single byte of information ML keeps on the 
scene. Other exporters will be available, too. And once the plugin 
architecture is fully working it will be relatively easy to add one's 
own exporters.

> I've only looked at Moonlight|3D briefly though - I could be missing
> important things here.

But it seems that you've looked at Moonlight long enough to give this 
extensive review. I'd like to have some more info about the drawing 
bugs, so we can try to fix it (we've had much trouble with the drawing 
code before).


PS: I'll forward your original email to the moonlight mailing list, too 
because the people there are always open to suggestions.