A Blendery Weekend

I’m finally getting around to learning some blender. Not really functional yet, but headed in the right direction.


I watched a bunch of tutorial videos and read through my ‘intro to blender’ book (my more detailed blender book is 2.7 based and thus doesn’t really talk to the current UI). I also pulled the git source onto jabberwock in the basement and successfully ran a build. I’m not sure I’ll ever get involved with blender development, but it seemed like something nice to have around and was very straightforward to do.

I took a cursory look at what is involved in building blender extensions. Looks as if they’re all written in python. This surprised me a bit as I wouldn’t have expected python to have the necessary performance but it certainly would seem to make the development process easier. I’ll probably look at this stuff in more detail once I have the basics of running the tool well in hand.

Sunday evening I sat down to try to build something with the things I’d learned and realized how many gaps I had left. I think I need to print out a blender hot-key cheat sheet for 2.8 and then dive back into some of the early tutorial pieces and get some basic shapes built.

I am particularly interested in walking through the steps from blender creation to import into unity and material manipulation on that side. For game pieces I very much want to be able to adjust the color/textures on parts of a given item programmatically while using the nicer models that can be generated in blender. I expect this can be done, I’ll just have to work through the details.


I’ve started looking at text in VR space options. Mostly watching some presentations on text and in-game UI alternatives so far. I’ll probably try out a few things over this coming week in the evenings as time permits.

I also took a quick look at in-game VR keyboards…doesn’t look as is there’s anything in unity itself. There are a few choices on the unity store that are available for purchase. I think I may just look at quickly rolling my own when I need one.

I’m thinking that once I get to looking at online, multi-player options there will be a need to text input. The VR keyboard in google earth seemed reasonably usable so I’m optimistic that I may be able to build one that works decently.

I once again saw references to the Godot game engine. As a fully open-source option it looks interesting, but at the moment I’ve got enough investment in unity that I’m not inclined to go looking at other choices too closely. I may take a quick look and pull the code just out of curiosity.

Happy New Year

Rolling over to a new year. New challenges and existing things to pick back up and get rolling.


I haven’t been doing all that much photography lately as other things have occupied my attention.

I’m hoping to get that rolling again with the new year. I need to get my 5D SLR in to Canon for cleaning and maintenance as it is clearly in need of some work. Currently I’m using my older 7D and since I haven’t been doing much shooting that has met my needs. I want the 5D back in service before vacation this spring though. I’m also planning on getting a 1.4x tele-extender to see what a bit more range on my good lens can do for me.

I generally find that when I pick up a new lens I also find interesting new perspectives to work with. Hoping this extender can help on that front.

I’m also going to look at taking six+ shot ‘sky box’ sets in various places this time. Given the VR work I’m playing with, being able to sky-box locations in Florida would be pretty nice. Something else interesting to play with. I’m wondering if there might be a camera that can take these sorts of shots in one go…the stitched shots I’ve used in the past are a bit ragged around the edges when glued together.

3D Objects

I plan of becoming far more proficient in blender than I currently am. I want the objects I play with in unity to be much more interesting than the current simple shapes I’m using and blender seems like the ideal tool for my needs.

I’ve been planning on learning this tool for some time. Now is the time and I’m going to see where I can take this. Add in some textures from the camera and I’m hoping I can create some pretty cool items.

Keep an eye on pandamallet for more detail on blender and unity work in progress. Cluster is my current focus but I expect there will be more to come after that work reaches an interesting milestone.

3D Printing

Still of some interest…still not immediate enough to spend the money needed to buy an off the shelf printer. Stay tuned 🙂

Wargames and Role Playing Games

Always interested in playing but don’t have any players within reasonable range.

Looking for VR inspiration in the various games I’ve got around. I could see anything from VR sand-tables to full game implementations or environments coming out of this. Cluster is the leading edge, but if all goes well I’ll do more as time goes on.

I think that many of these games were too complex to be comfortably played on a table in any case (possible to play but really too much work and too many hours of play time). Looking at building games inspired by some of them that play in VR seems ideal.

It is funny because I started out doing ‘inspired by’ to avoid intellectual property issues but as things play out it becomes very clear that the designs would want significant adjustment to translate into offline, turn based computer format in any case.