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  Blender Publisher 2.24   new Publisher and Mac OS X binaries
2002 01 29 
   
Frank van Beek 
id242 
       
The last couple of weeks you have seen some new products coming out of our laboratories: the Mac OS X Blender and the Linux Netscape Blender 3D Plug-in.

And now it is time to release a new Blender Publisher again. If you are wondering why we are not releasing a Blender Creater at this moment have a look at Ton's article, where he explains our upgrade plans for the upcoming months.

Getting the Mac version out meant that we had to write our own window and event handling library. This new library was already in use for the Stand-alone Player, but with this release all the Blender products are using this new library. This basically means that Blender might behave a little different or have some small quirks.

The next big project is rewriting the event handling code inside Blender itself. That is again a major rewrite, but now that things are more or less stable, we would like you to get your hands on the new features we have been working on as well.

New features in Blender Publisher 2.24:
  • Improved nonlinear animation in the realtime engine. Have a look at this page for an extensive overview of all the character animation features.
  • Boolean mesh tool (intersect, union, difference)
  • Improved audio in the Windows Publisher and Active X Blender 3D Plug-in
  • PNG image read and write support
  • First Blender Publisher and Stand-alone Player for Mac OS X (beta)
  • Return of the animated textures
  • A short how-to on using 3D glasses with the Stand-alone Player for Windows as part of the Publisher User Documentation

    New online game:
    If you want to see some of the new features in action, you can download the Alley Fighter game by Reevan, WP, Janco and Randall. Or when you are using Windows Internet Explorer you can play it online. It's a one or two persons fighter game that should keep you busy for quite a while.

    Known problems in Blender Publisher 2.24:
  • On some unix systems the splash screen shows up three times. Solution: Update your user defaults file by pressing CTRL-U
  • Blender crashes when you double click an autostart file. Solution: Start Blender first and then open the file with File->Open
  • VRML2 import is broken in the current release. Solution: Use Blender 2.23 to import the VRML2 file, save it as a Blender file and open that file in Blender Publisher 2.24

  • Improved audio on Windows
    On Windows we have partially made the swith from using the OpenAL library to using the FMOD (www.fmod.org) library instead. FMOD turns out to be far more stable then OpenAL and it includes some very nice new features:

  • Support for compressed audio files (compressed WAV files, Ogg Vorbis)
  • Samples can be played in ping pong mode
  • Better overall performance

    As a test we received a dynamic FMOD library. You will find it in the Blender Publisher distribution. So Blender Publisher, the dynamic Blender Stand-alone Player and the Blender 3D Plug-in now are using FMOD. If you want to distribute a game using the dynamic Stand-alone Player you will now have to include both python20.dll and fmod.dll in the distribution.

    On one of our internal machines we had some trouble playing back sounds with FMOD. Upgrading the Direct X drivers to version 8 solved this problem. Other machines in our office running Direct X version 7 play back sounds just fine. If you experience problems with sound in Blender Publisher 2.24, and want to upgrade your Direct X drivers you can run dxdiag to determine your current installed Direct X version.

    The static Blender Stand-alone Player still relies on the OpenAL library until we recieve a static FMOD library. So if you want to distribute a static Runtime, you are still forced to use uncompressed WAV files only.

  • Blender Publisher for Mac OS X (beta)
    Our Mac OS X Blender is still in beta. While porting Blender we discovered a bug in the OpenGL implementation on Mac OS X.

    This bug causes the 3D window to flash when you enter vertex paint mode or face select mode. We filed a bug with Apple and send them a small program to demonstrate the bug, but we are still waiting for them to respond.

    This bug only affects Blender Publisher and Blender Creator. The Blender Stand-alone Player is not affected by this problem, because it doesn't use the broken OpenGL function. As a last minute feature we even added full screen support to the Blender Stand-alone Player.

    Because Blender Creator is still in beta, we will release a Blender 2.24 Blender Creator for Mac OS X.

    Please visit the Mac OS X bugs list for a list of known problems.

    Bug fixes in this release:
  • Closing of render window with the close button in the header sometimes crashes Blender
  • shaded animation playback not very fast and flickering

  • multiple actions in the realtime engine
    With this release you can now use multiple actions on the same armature. As long as the actions don't have conflicting channels you can control the movements independently.

    So now you can control the legs of an armature independent from the arms. Reevan made a cool fighting demo to demonstrate this new feature. You can download it as a Stand-alone game or you can play it in the Blender 3D Plug-in.

    The Python functions to control Actions are now documented in the doc strings and some more functions have been added. Have a look at this document describing all the NLA editing and realtime options.

    If you want to learn more about NLA editing have a look here for an extensive overview of all the character animation features.

    Some minor bug fixes:
  • Deformation speed has improved
  • Ipo's loop and end properly now

  • ..and even more...
  • Hey, did you get totally frustrated by the Mesh intersect button ? And did you really want to have boolean mesh operations ? Well, now you can ! Select two objects, press 'W' on your keyboard, select one of the options from the menu and be amazed. It even properly handles vertex colors, UV coordinates and Image textures.
  • Blender Publisher now can write PNG images and you can use them as a texture in Blender Creator.
  • The animated textures are back in the realtime engine. In the Image window you can set the playback speed in frames / second with the speed button.
  • Raymond wrote a short how-to on using 3D glasses with NVidia cards on Windows 2000. He is now working on a cross platform solution that works on Linux and Mac OS X as well.

  • bugs fixed in this release
    Python:
  • incomplete documentation, missing doc strings
  • Blender.Object.Get(name).data.has_uvco for mesh objects was broken
  • Blender.Object.Get(name).data.faces[0].v[0].uvco for mesh objects was broken
  • sys.path was munged incorrectly
  • Blender.Object.GetSelected() was inconsistent with Blender.Object.Get()
  • No access to layer settings
  • passing game object member to Python del() crashed blender
  • NMesh.PutRaw didn't function anymore
  • ipoActuator.getEnd() had incorrect docstring
  • ipoActuator.getEnd() returned None
  • Added -c option to Blender Player to keep the console open. Python scripts with print commands will fail to run when there is no console to print to

    General:
  • ipo 'play' actuator stopped on last frame unreliably
  • making mesh child of armature crashed blender
  • A file saved with an armature selected was not backwards-compatible
  • Added commandline option (-c) to Blenderplayer to keep console open on Windows
  • Blender needed winsock2 installed on windows 95
  • loop stop action actuator only worked properly if start frame was 1
  • Having more than one Blender 3D Plug-in open at the same time would crash Internet Explorer when one of the pages was closed.
  • If you add a face (F-KEY) in edit mode the normal will point to the viewer.