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As usual, we will thank the the early dvd-pre-sale sponsors with a prominent credit. There will be a special section on the DVD, but also in the game itself!

On the link below you can find the dvd pre-sale sponsors, who have ordered and paid before we started in February (but we’ve been flexible a bit!).

https://apricot.blender.org/?page_id=316

Please check for errors! If your name is missing, please email me (ton at blender org), preferably with order ID from blender shop. Thanks!

-Ton-

(Note: some names don’t start with capitals yet, or are capitalized entirely, will be fixed. There will be also no nicknames, nor corporate names added!)

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dsc01169.JPGWith a good Mexican dinner, and the Dutch premiere of WALL-E, we’ve said goodbye to four of the Blender Institute crew.

Margreet Riphagen, Blender Institute producer for a year, accepted a great job at the Institute of Network Cultures. It’s also in Amsterdam center, so we’ll see her around regularly!
Campbell Barton, Blender developer and TD , went back to his girls in Melbourne Australia. He’ll be working wrapping up Apricot remotely for a month, at least.
Dariusz Dawidowski, 3D game artist and level designer, goes back today to his hometown in Poland. He’ll help wrapping up the Crystal Space game level(s) during next month.
Frank Richter, Crystal Space 3D engine developer, already found another room to live in Amsterdam, he’ll keep coding on CS and is currently seeking for a game developer job in Amsterdam (know any? contact him!).

Thanks a lot Margreet & guys! we’ll miss you!

Currently still here: Chris + Pablo to wrap up the Apricot project, Brecht to do cool coding work, and myself… in a week I’ll leave for Siggraph, and when I’m back we should pick up the mythical 2.5 coding project… ๐Ÿ™‚

Picture: see us walking to the restaurant in the cool new Apricot memorial Yofrankie shirts! People from left to right: Frank, Chris, Dariusz, Brecht, Campbell, Ton, Pablo (half), 2nd picture: Chris, Campbell, Pablo. More pictures in Gallery)

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Project targets

As posted here four weeks ago, we have to be realistic about the deliverables of Apricot. A lot of our technical targets will be met, but the main target “create full functional industry quality game prototype” had to be reworded less ambitious… (depends on what you consider “industry quality” of course!).

The deal is that the team now works on two parallel content targets;

  • a full functional level in the CS engine, focused on visual quality, speed and character-environment interactions.
  • several levels in the Blender GE, focused on artistic quality and game play prototyping.

The reason for this was mostly because the pipeline from Blender to CS wasn’t efficient enough to give the artists a satisfying workflow. It proved to be more efficient to do design and game prototyping in the Blender GE.
On the CS side it was evident there was much more time needed to get the main character at playable level.

The re-found enthusiasm for the Blender GE was received very well by the Blender community. It is quite evident that this part in Blender has a lot of potential… but still more as an artists’ tool than as a final delivery platform for “industry quality games”. For that, a good export to specialized game engines like CS remains important, something we’ll have to keep working on to make that well possible!

A more detailed review with problem analysis and recommendations for future development will be delivered later, also as part of the Apricot docs on the final DVDs.

Current status:

  • This weekend we will make Apricot svn available for everyone.
  • Currently Frank and Darius wrap up the CS part, meaning a lot of documentation but also work on porting, players and installation issues.
  • Pablo Martin has already left, by the end of the month Campbell, Frank and Darius will leave too (we’ll do a goodbye dinner with Wall-E visit!).
  • Chris and Pablo Vazquez will stay another month. They want to deliver several playable levels in the the Blender GE, but especially will take care of a good quality DVD presentation of the entire project.
  • Brecht also stays here, he will ensure Blender’s new GLSL will work on as many platforms possible.
  • Darius will work from home during august on final game tweaks

Oh, and the game title has been decided on… wait for the logo and graphics to be updated soon… ๐Ÿ™‚

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3.pngPlanning a game project is not easy… and especially not to define when things are really good enough. On many parts you can work virtually forever! To ensure we have a good balance between quality and quantity, we’ve defined three main focus points for the next 6 weeks.

1) Full functional CrystalSpace game prototype

  • the main character in perfect user control, well animated, and with advanced interaction with environment
  • stunning visuals
  • one quest (the “sheep game”)bge2.jpg
  • game intro “cinematic”, menu and overlays

2) Project presentation

  • CS players + game running cross platform (Linux, OSX, Windows)
  • Blender-CS integration (level editor) installation
  • Howto docs, tutorials, videos
  • DVD contents authoring (html menus, etc)

Getting the main character system finished on industry quality level is most probably going to take Pablo and Darius full-time. Frank will 1.pngcontinue work on visual quality and speed.
To allow Chris and Pablito to work ahead, and provide them with sufficient challenges, they’ll work on prototyping the other characters and a new level in Blender’s game engine:

3) Blender Game Engine version (new!)

  • use Blender GE as design and rapid prototyping tool for new characters and levels
  • test implementation in Blender GE of current game ideasbge3.jpg

It’s been surprisingly easy already to quickly rebuild in Blender the basic Apricot game experience. Will be interesting to see in a couple of weeks how it compares! However, I still expect that CS will allow far more detailed and advanced games… and Blender GE prove its value as tool for artists to design and develop ideas with.
But, we’re glad that there’s time and interest in using and hopefully improving this part of Blender!

-Ton-

(Images: today’s snapshots of work in progress. All with unfinished shadow/light mapping. First and third is CS, others is Blender GE.)

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We are very happy to welcome next week Pablo Vazquez from Argentina, better known as VenomGFX, the master of insane colors and crazy animals! He will arrive tuesday and work here for at least three months as artist and animator on the Apricot game.

Pablo will replace Qareeb, who – for personal reasons – went back to Canada… we wish him all the best!

-Ton-

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