Playful Progress: Blender 2.49 Enhances Game Engine and Panoramic View

Jun 03, 2009

Blender 2.49 is still profiting from its experience developing Big Buck Bunny and the Yo Frankie! Blender game. Much of what goes into the new release is on account of the Game Engine, with its video integration and performance boost.

"While one half of the developers were busy with the 2.5 project, the other half happily continued working on directly usable and useful features in Blender," says the announcement for Blender 2.49. Particularly the Game Engine went through some enhancements to lead to a stabler and well-tested version.

Among other things, you can create graphical environments with the video textures of the Game Engine, served by regular and Internet-based video files, along with normal photos and snapshots. Filters produce effects for embedded videos. Ffmpg loads the files in background mode and allows use of source formats such as AVI, OGG and XVID, but also Video4Linux and DV1394.

Blender's textures support nodes, where colors, patterns and other textures combine to create a whole new texture. You can also use the resulting node trees as brushes, although the result doesn't occur in real time but only on already rendered graphics. You can paint directly on 3D models without worring about UV mapping. Details are independent of screen resolution, no matter how far you zoom into a picture.

The new Blender also incorporates real-time dome rendering that could especially enrich interactive projects. Dome rendering creates 3D scenes in a panoramic view as a fish-eye lens or 360 degree perspective. A webpage shows some of the possible views. Not least of all the Game Engine shows a significant performance boost due to some code improvements. Projects such as the popular Yo Frankie! game contributed quite a bit to the new features.

Those are just some of the changes. Blender 2.49 now also supports the JPEG2000 format and Python scripts, a better game logic, a polished Python API, optimized Boolean and Game Engine modifiers, an enhanced Bullet Physics library and a few things more. The website has the full details, with some fixes to come in an update in a few weeks. You can wait until the update reaches the usual packages or download and unpack the software from the archives now. 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available, including a Debian package for Ubuntu 9.04.

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