Blender for Game Graphics and Animation
We can use some expertise here so please edit extra boldly.
Getting Started With Blender
There is a whole set of booksb:Blender under development at Wikibooks. The authors probably welcome questions or clarification regarding specific issues that may cause us problem. There is also a Blender portal started here at Wikiversity which at the moment merely points to pretty good tutorial at Wikibooks.
The software and manuals may be downloaded from the Blender site maintained by the Blender Foundation.
New to 3D art creation
Creating and manipulating 3D objects using a mouse and a keyboard is much more complex than drawing a 2D image with a mouse. The new user might expect that the software would be like a paint or photo-image application in which the user selects a tool by clicking and alters the image before selecting the next tool but with 3D it is nessecary to hold and move the object, spin it around in different directions, alter its size or part of its size, select specific areas on different sides and move, rotate or alter the shape in a precise manner. Simple two-button mouse control is just not quick enough for that sort of manipulation so to use Blender 3D you will need one hand on your keyboard at all times so that you can hold a button down for each type of manipulation. It is quite easy once you learn a few key-commands but to the adept Paint or Photoshop user who expects to create lovely sculptures using a mouse and the power of intuition will most likely think the program is very difficult or not working for them. It is actually quite fast and easy to learn especially if you keep a note of the key-commands you are likely to use and can reference some good step by step instructions. Often in the Blender community they say that Blender is "non-intuitive" which is quite accurate but also driving a stick-shift car and knitting by hand is non-intuitive even though little old grannies do it easily so it should become easy. Blender has been embraced widely by amateur and commercial developers and has added extraordinary capability since going open source on July 18th, 2002 with several Disney-quality animated movies being freely released to date. It imports and exports in a wide variety of file formats including the old 3ds from 3DStudio which is accessible by export from the newer versions of 3DSMax and has a vast range of texturing options for more complex tasks. Blender is free to download and has extensive tutorials online. A 60MB PDF user manual can be dowloaded from the Blender.org site covering almost all functions. If you want a highly capable free open source environment for anything from making coloured spheres and boxes to commericial grade computer graphic animation Blender may be an excellent option for you.
Images of Models Available under Free License
For testing purposes in developing this learning trail a set of models used in a virtual airport product will be released under both the GFDL and the Creative Commons 2.5 here by the producer Mirwin 20:13, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
This is a jpg from the front view of the firestation bay to show the models. These were created in 3DSMax, exported to 3ds file format then imported into blender. At this time I am a novice with Blender but the saved blend file is of a size to indicate the model reconstruction information was successfully imported. If someone knowledgeable with Blender and its use can help us sort this import/export reuse out. I, mirwin, have a substantial set of additional models which will be released to this learning trail under both the GFDL and the CC2.5 to help new participants get started. These sets and models including aircraft, ground service vehicles, national guard unit vehicles, warehouses, and miscellaneous models and sets created by a team of six professionals over a period of about 5 man years. Mirwin 20:13, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Acquiring Firestation bay models
Wikiversity is not setup to handle blend or zip files yet, if ever. If someone wants the associated blend files to play with email user:mirwin and I will send the 5MB file to you. Once our cisLunarFreighter class learning project is setup at sourceforge we can place zips of the .blend files and other art, code, design specification and documention there.