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Blender Foundation to Create Open Movie, Open Game 100

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the opening-new-doors dept.
Eloquence writes "The Blender Foundation, which maintains the open source 3D tool Blender, has announced two new projects, codenamed Peach and Apricot. Project Peach will be a new open source movie, following in the footsteps of last year's Elephants Dream project (which was initially codenamed Orange). Apricot, on the other hand, will use Blender in conjunction with open source 3D framework Crystal Space to create an open game, thereby showcasing both technologies."
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Blender Foundation to Create Open Movie, Open Game

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  • Could the plot also be open source? I have a few scripts handy. Except they're not movie scripts. :(
    • by LetterRip (30937)
      "Could the plot also be open source? I have a few scripts handy. Except they're not movie scripts. :("

      Nope the script and concept art are already close to completion.

      LetterRip
      • by mikael (484)
        Would those be python scripts rather than pythonesque scripts?

        Unless they are python scripts commented in pythonesque style?

    • by LetterRip (30937) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:08PM (#19467923)
      Also a quick offtopic - 'Essential Blender [blender3d.org]' a new book to make it easy to learn Blender is being published by the Blender Foundation and ships tomorrow.

      LetterRip

      • Will this be sold in the states? I took a look and it's price is in *guessing* British pounds.
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          In the upper right corner of the page, change the currency from 'Euro' to 'US Dollars'.

  • should be good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:25PM (#19467461) Journal
    Elephant dreams was good, but it was really more of a "here's what we can do" rather than a film. I watched the HD version (which was nice to be able to get) and was really impressed. It wasn't really a film though in the sense of story progression, more of a trailer for the technology. I hope that the new film will be film length. The person whose doing it sounds good though, they won an award for their previous project... hopefully it'll be a good film
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I liked 'elephants dream', though I agree it was dense and confusing. Not such a bad thing.

      There is a lot of art like this, and it's usually people's first attempts.
      They start off with huge complex plots, profound world shaking ideas, and amazing vistas of imagination.

      What they don't do is think 'hey, how about we animate a lamp on a desk?'. It takes seasoned professionals to attempt something as ambitious as that. :)

      You get the same thing in cinema, drama, music. It's not till you have been doing it for ye
      • by Archwyrm (670653)
        When Pixar made their lamp-on-the-desk short the technology was not nearly as well developed as it is now. It is hard to imagine what kind of work went into that simple thing, what with the tools they had and just imagine the rendering time.. Ouch.

        Elephants Dream was a good opportunity to make a high quality, open source 3D short, which they did do, but they made one that did not make a lick of sense. IMHO, they would have been a lot better off maintaining the quality and complexity of the film, yet port
    • by AHarrison (778175)
      ED was not supposed to be a full length movie...it was supposed to be a short. The story was decided for the main reason that it wouldn't be immediately stale after seeing it once...it had a bit of replay value. Most assuredly ED was designed in an attempt to showcase the power of Blender, but I think that it stands on its own within the genre of weird short films. Also, from what I have seen about this announcement, the next project will be similar in scope...and should probably be enjoyed for what it is,
  • by Aranykai (1053846) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (resnogls)> on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:26PM (#19467467)
    Can one of these open source movies gain some public eye? Indie films are starting to be recognized, so I think there is a good chance it can be done and receive recognition. As to the game, I wish there was more info available. Too early to judge, but it has promise :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nEoN nOoDlE (27594)
      It will gain the public eye if it's any good. It doesn't matter if it's open and people could download the texture libraries - that only interests other artists - it only matters if it's good to watch.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:42PM (#19467605) Homepage
      Indie movies have ALWAYS been recognized. Lately the "indie scene" is far less indie and more big studios hiding who they are.

      Indie movies do not have a 1.4 million dollar budget like many of the ones listed for this years sundance festival.

      Download and watch elephants dream. It is a technical example and not a well written story but it was designed to prove and in essence broadcast a loud STFU to all the maya and lighwave weenies that still proclaim that blender is not a professional tool capable of anything decent.

      They produced a pixar quality animation with free stuff that YOU can have in your home. The next project is going to focus on a good storyline and probably get submitted to many festivals.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by aichpvee (631243)
        That's funny, as a Maya "weenie" I find Blender to have a weird learning curve but seems like you can do some really nice stuff with it after taking the time to learn how it works. Also the interface actually seems to make a lot of sense in a pretty non-traditional way. I still like Maya better and think it's workflow is a lot nicer. But I'd never say you couldn't do anything decent with Blender and it's definite step up from a 3ds max.

        I'll have to argue about the "Pixar quality animation" part, though.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Adambomb (118938)

          It is a technical example and not a well written story but it was designed to prove and in essence broadcast a loud STFU to all the maya and lighwave weenies that still proclaim that blender is not a professional tool capable of anything decent.
          You fail to meet the second requirement. No need for the weenie label sir!
        • by 5of0 (935391)
          Some of the weak animation (like at the beginning) was due to lack of time - they had to get it out the door and didn't have time to go back and redo the beginning...now where is that post about that...ah well, anyway yeah - little things like some lip syncing, etc, was due to lack of time - fyi. Not that I'm arguing that it's Pixar quality, just a disclaimer.
          • by Lorkki (863577)

            Where was the rush, did they have funding issues or perhaps some other reason for an externally-set deadline?

            (Not trolling, mind you, merely curious.)

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by toad3k (882007)
              It wasn't funding issues. There was practically no funding. The people who were working on it did each scene in linear order. The progression in quality throughout the film is them getting better at using blender. It is actually pretty interesting seeing how fast they went from beginner to churning out some effects that were pretty decent, all told.

              As far as a tech demo, elephant's dream was a massive success. That clip generated an overwhelmingly positive response, increasing blender's profile and tri
          • by aichpvee (631243)
            Oh, I'm sure it was due to lack of time. Clearly those guys know what they're doing well enough to have done the rough parts better. I wish someone would smooth it out and release a special edition or something, since it's open source and all.
    • by bishiraver (707931) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:36PM (#19468243) Homepage
      Doubtful. Last I looked, crystal space was only just achieving what mainstream graphics engines were about 3 years ago. People who are interested in eyecandy will gloss over it, while a minor group of linux users who are gamers as well as sysadmins will cheer and cheer and cheer and.. nobody important will care.

      Not to mention, somehow I doubt a game can be crafted with an open-source development model. A game needs some very strong creative forces behind it to keep it cohesive - if a typical OSS app can't even keep their user interface cohesive [ever look at your typical gnome or kde app's config screen?], something tells me it will be difficult for them to keep their: storyline cohesive, user interface cohesive (like I said, most simple desktop apps have a problem with this), game mechanics cohesive and logical, art direction and style cohesive, etc etc etc. Unless it's just TuxRacer 2.0 (maybe make a version named TuxRaver as a DDR clone?)

      Considering the typical absurd workflow logic that goes into most OSS apps I've used (beyond your bread-and-water openoffice, etc)...

      You will start out as a penguin in the north pole, whereby you will get a letter from your family in new mexico telling you to come quick because your cousin has died during the construction of the great pyramids. You arrive in Sicily only to find that Siberia has been taken over by mutant cyborgs all named 'Bill Gates.' You must travel to antarctica and battle the chair-throwing monster Ballmer in order to gain the GPL of truth, increasing your hit points by 6.02x10^23 while slowing you to a barely managable crawl. Desperately you make your way to florida, where you successfully battle jack thompson in court and gain the Writ of Winnitude. You combine this with your GPL of Destiny (the one you found during the side quest back in new mexico involving the trout and the cliff wren - you did that, didn't you? it's not in any of the docs anywhere, but it's so obvious! - it's NOT the Gpl of Truth - that item is useless) and are magically transported to a land of rainbows and penguins and free software for everyone. Unfortunately, this paradise is shattered by an Ax of Servitude hewn from the yggsadril-apple. It's shiny, but it works good and is simple to use...

      Right about here, most people get bored developing the game and it slowly dies, forgotten in the depths of sourceforge. A few people stop by every couple of months and say, "hey.. there's this bug.. is anyone still working on this?" A few people wax nostalgic about the groundbreaking progress they made on the pixel shader they used to put a shine in the main penguin character's eye (but is not used anywhere else). The controls were odd (you used t to go forward, z to turn left, i to turn right, and clicking your mousebuttons realigned your characters eyes with the directions he was looking) and most people who downloaded it wished pain and suffering on the user interface developers, who decided to go with a "Leopard-meets-vista-meets-diabloII motif."

      Note: I love open source software, but really.. I can't see it working in game development :) I could see a group of people taking some open source solutions that are released under the LGPL and developing an indie commercial app with it, but you need a solid and non-transitive team to build a good game.
      • by Jorrit (19549) on Monday June 11, 2007 @02:13PM (#19468615) Homepage
        Don't forget that one of the goals of this project is to expand Crystal Space to do what we want to achieve.

        As to Open Source not working. We are going to do this with a solid team that will remain for six months in Amsterdam (Blender studios). So while the end result will be Open Source the way to develop it is like any other commercial game (only with less money and a bit more time constraints).

        Greetings,
        • Well then, good luck to you! Hope to see a fine result. When do you expect the design doc of the game to be published?
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Jorrit (19549)
            Not sure yet. Our first real meeting on this game will take place at the Crystal Space conference (http://www.crystalspace3d.org/main/Conference2007 ) on 14-15 july in Aachen (Germany). More concrete details will follow from there.

            Greetings,
            • Aaah It's too bad it's in Germany, it's something that I'd like to attend. Best of luck! I'll be keeping my eye out.

              (I have a jar I keep it in on my desk)
      • by 2short (466733) on Monday June 11, 2007 @04:05PM (#19470367)
        I generally agree with everything you said, but it's not really open-source that's the problem there. It's poorly focused development. This is certainly more prevalent in the open-source world, but it's not required. "Battle for Wesnoth", for example, maintains a well focused development effort despite being open-source, and is quite excellent.
      • by amchugh (116330)
        Wait, yggdrasil is a linux distro [wikipedia.org], surely it wouldn't generate an ax of servitude ;)
      • Your comment was hilarious. However, NetHack. [nethack.org]
      • While I agree its very hard to make a good game, I think youre a little too pessimistic.

        Open source can draw from a potentially limitless pool of resources with no money or time restraints.

        Lots of games never "grow up" even tho they have experienced, motivated people behind it, the major difference between closed and
        open is with open source the assets are still there even if the game fails, added to the pool.

    • Movie project (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gr8_phk (621180) on Monday June 11, 2007 @02:13PM (#19468613)
      I never saw the last blender movie, but heard the graphics were good and the story was bad. I'd really like to see them take a proven story (public domain like one of Grims fairy tales - poke around Project Gutenberg) and make a movie out of it. If they choose one that Disney has already commercialized that would be even more interesting - and may get some free publicity if they threaten the team.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by beyondkaoru (1008447)
        count of monte cristo. if they could put it in space and make an anime, we could make a 3d rendered version :)

        it's not something that would require any trippy visuals, and has a strong story already. they can focus on details, as mentioned in other posts, to convey emotions to the viewer.

        well, that'd be my suggestion.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:26PM (#19467469) Homepage

    It's too bad they're not using Blender's own game engine. Blender has an integrated 3D animation system and game engine.

    The trouble with the Blender game engine is that it doesn't scale well. The Blender game engine can be used "without programming", but what that really means is that you have to draw connection diagrams with hundreds or thousands of connections. Then you get to debug the wiring. For a non-trivial game, it's painfully difficult to debug.

    It's an occasional fantasy of programmers that wiring visually functional blocks together is easier than programming. Engineers who wire up real hardware know better. That's why we have VHDL.

    Fortunately, you can extend the Blender game engine in Python. Unfortunately, it's CPython, which is 60x slower than C. This isn't a hit you can afford in most games.

    • by a.d.trick (894813)
      You can write CPython modules in C. It's not as easy as coding in Python (of course) and there would be a slight performance hit (I don't know how much exactly, but I don't think it would be significant).
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by oftencloudy (1047554)

      It's an occasional fantasy of programmers that wiring visually functional blocks together is easier than programming.
      For more information on this subject see virus creation in Swordfish. [imdb.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Archwyrm (670653)
        Yeah, we real hackers have crazy 3D interfaces and fly through machines and networks in VR. None of this silly GNU/Linux nonsense!

        See also: Hackers [imdb.com]
    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday June 11, 2007 @03:10PM (#19469483)
      Blender's game engine has been on the way out since it hit Opensource land. If you recall, the first few released after being released Open source excluded the game engine. Blender is now dominated by those of us who use it for CGI/animation and modelling work for videos and fun. Making Blender easy to use with Crystal Space (called crystal blend iirc) has been the project to watch. The idea is to make it simple to create 3D worlds in Blender and then export to Crystal Space as the game engine.
  • Great! (Score:4, Informative)

    by saibot834 (1061528) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:42PM (#19467601) Homepage
    I liked Elephants Dream very much. BTW: You can download it here [blender.org] as Avi or Quicktime.
  • blender advancement (Score:5, Informative)

    by Speare (84249) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:48PM (#19467661) Homepage Journal
    If Peach and Apricot follow the progress made in Orange, you will be sure to see a lot of very useful, general purpose improvements in Blender for everyone. The need for specific features in Orange really focused the developers (some of which were Orange team, some of which were in the general development community) on solving specific creative problems. It's the difference between "scratch an idle itch" and "remove a troublesome splinter."
  • by Jorrit (19549) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:50PM (#19467705) Homepage
    Hi all,

    I'm the project manager of Crystal Space. I'm of course very glad that Blender and us will do this project. It is an amazing opportunity to enhance both Blender and Crystal Space to actually make this possible. The plan is to make a really good looking game that can compete (graphics wise) with commercial games. Crystal Space can do a lot already but in some areas we still need some more work (more specifically things related to render2texture like HDR and others). Also for a game like this we need to work on a very good animation system. Having a project like this is of course the best motivation possible.

    Another important goal of this project is documentation. As this game is fully open all sources (both code and art) will be made available. And we also plan to release a DVD with a full documentary on the entire creation process. Basically everything will be available (we would release the left-overs of the meals of the participants if we could :-)

    And of course the idea is to make a nice and playable game. Six months is not that long but it also doesn't have to stop there. The nice thing about an open game is that it can be extended for a long time to come. Also the game logic will serve as a nice starting point for a new game based on a different setting. So lots of possibilities here.

    Needless to say I'm very excited about this project. I think it will be a great thing. Both for us (Crystal Space) as for the Open Source community. If we succeed we will have a commercial quality game but 100% free and open!

    Greetings,
    • And we also plan to release a DVD with a full documentary on the entire creation process.

      Sweet! where can I sign up. Seriously I'm anxiously awaiting the release.

    • by nsebban (513339)
      Please, for the love of god, don't let it be a First Person Shooter :/
    • It would be nice if the code AND artwork are all licensed in such a way that the game can be bundled with most Linux distributions. I'm not sure if (CC) would be OK with Fedora for example - who are talking about trying to meet the FSF definition of a completely Free OS.
    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      In looking at your website, I saw that you are accepting ideas for topics for the conference. Does this include ideas for this game project ? or has the game concept already been decided ?

      Not that I want to see you swamped with a million ideas, but I am sure there are plenty of people out there that have workable ideas for a game... just saying, not that I have one or anything... ok I do,.. but just saying.

  • Open Source Movie? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oyenstikker (536040) <slashdot@sbyrne . o rg> on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:56PM (#19467765) Homepage Journal
    What is an Open Source movie?! It comes with a script and blueprints for a set, and I am free to make modifications to them and make my own movie and distribute it, so long as I make my script and blueprints available?
    • by radarsat1 (786772)
      Yes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Speare (84249)

      What is an Open Source movie?! It comes with a script and blueprints for a set, and I am free to make modifications to them and make my own movie and distribute it, so long as I make my script and blueprints available?

      No, that's more like a GNU movie. With the blender Orange project (aka Elephant's Dream), it came with a script and blueprints for a set, and you're free to make modifications to them and make your own movie and distribute it, but you don't have to make your script and blueprints available

  • After attempting to use a couple of "Machinima Toolkits" several years ago I had pretty much given up on the idea of making a short 3D film. However the recent BioShock previews using the new Unreal engine are incredibly cinematic and gotten me thinking that it may be possible to do Machinima using some of the more recent engines. Is Blender suitable for use in creating such movies by itself, or would it be better to stick with a game engine?
    Jonah HEX
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      You seem to be asking this backwards. Blender is a 3d animation package with a simply game engine thrown in. It is far more suited to doing an animated film then a machinima toolkit on top of a game engine.

      The huge difference though is it doesn't include all the models and textures you would find in a game. You can find a lot on the net, but you are not going to get the cohesive art design of a commercial game without a lot more work.

      This is one of the goals of their 'Open source' films and games, building
      • by Jens Egon (947467)

        Far more suited, yes. But also far more difficult.

        When you use a 3d animation package you can make much better animations than machinima, but not as easily.

        You would essentially be forced to learn animation

  • I've seen several stories on /. about open source hardware, and now with this one (I must have missed the first project), I'm wondering if there's not a place for open source type "politics" or methods in things like designs for buildings, cars, bikes, etc. Granted, with something like a car, at this point, there's all kinds of prior art which would be off limits, but with the right development team, couldn't someone(s) come up with an effecient design that could be built by diy'ers, or by some company that
  • Whats the plot? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:15PM (#19467987) Homepage
    I actually liked Elephant's Dream... but it was a bit high brow. A few car crashes/pirate ships would have broadened the appeal of the movie and gained a wider audience, which is the point of a tech demo, no?
    • I actually liked Elephant's Dream... but it was a bit high brow. A few car crashes/pirate ships would have broadened the appeal of the movie and gained a wider audience, which is the point of a tech demo, no?

      It wasn't just a tech demo - part of the idea, as I understand it, was to use the project as a shake-down for Blender. People don't do major projects with programs like Blender every day, so there's not the kind of in-depth feedback on advanced topics that there should be. By applying Blender to such a task in Orange Project, they were able to see for themselves what went well and what didn't. As a result they identified some things to improve and (more importantly) how to improve them in order to make

      • Elephants Dream, contrary to the opinions of thousands of slashdotters and countless others, actually had a plot. The old man constructed an elaborate fantasy world governed by his particular set of rules, and its existence depended on someone else believing in and acknowledging them. When the younger character abandoned him his existence was threatened, so he attacked his protégé and destroyed his own world in the process.

        The voice acting was annoying, and some details that could've made the plot
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I actually liked Elephant's Dream... but it was a bit high brow. A few car crashes/pirate ships would have broadened the appeal of the movie and gained a wider audience
      It was supposed to be a proper film, not an adolescent's idea of a cool video game.
  • by CompSci101 (706779) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:19PM (#19468045)

    Ogre3D [orge3d.org]

    It looks like Ogre is at least as fully featured, and has some commercial games being developed on it right now.

    By the way, this is a legitimate question -- I'm not a developer using either suite so I'm kind of curious if people out there have used both or if there was some rationale for the choice of one or the other.

    C

    • by Jorrit (19549) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:26PM (#19468131) Homepage
      Ogre would have been a perfectly valid choice as well. It is just that we have closer ties with Blender at the moment. We have an excellent blender2crystal project and our connections with Blender developers are very good.

      Greetings,
      • Thanks for the reply -- I didn't go through your site in much detail before, but after about 2 clicks on the second visit I came to the "Ogre vs. CS" comparison page.

        I guess you guys get this question a lot ;)

        C

    • by cching (179312)
      Your link is bad, you meant this http://www.ogre3d.org/ [ogre3d.org]
  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:26PM (#19468135) Journal
    I wonder if they can get Lara to play the lead character. That'll get the public to show up in droves, and I've heard she works inexpensively and has almost infinite patience for redoing scenes.
  • Pardon me for asking, but where exactly does th Blender foundation get the funds from to just be able to say 'we'll make a movie and a game this year'?
    Last time i checked, most (low-key) open source projects were dirt poor. How come this is different with Blender?

      Nonetheless, still very cool that they actually have got the funds to open an office in Amsterdam (where housing is the most expensive of the whole of the Netherlands)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by LetterRip (30937)

      Pardon me for asking, but where exactly does th Blender foundation get the funds from to just be able to say 'we'll make a movie and a game this year'? Last time i checked, most (low-key) open source projects were dirt poor. How come this is different with Blender?

      The Blender Foundation sells printed high quality versions of its documentation (and commissions new and up to date documentation - ie see the link to Essential Blender earlier); it presells DVD versions of the movie projects; and enough users use it commercially that they can afford and are willing to 'give back' to the foundation. Also the Blender Foundation has support from both commercial and government entities. All of those are possible through both the efforts of Ton (the project lead and chairm

    • by wzzzzrd (886091)

      Pardon me for asking, but where exactly does th Blender foundation get the funds from to just be able to say 'we'll make a movie and a game this year'? Last time i checked, most (low-key) open source projects were dirt poor. How come this is different with Blender?

      the question how they fund all this is already answered, but an interesting thing i want to add: did you know that blender is only open source because the community raised EUR 100,000 in 2002 to buy the source from NaN, a dutch company formerly owning the blender code?

  • This was copied straight from the Digg source and they left out a detail - "In addition, a for profit corporation 'Blender Institutue' will be set up to provide commercial support and development of Blender." At least the submitter could've included that in the summary as well, FFS, while you're ripping off a Digg story. Even reddit hasn't picked up on it yet. Or at least /. Editors could read other sources and check them like REAL news sites would, to help avoid direct ripping off of someone else's mater

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