Seanachai Quote

"Do you really think there are no larger answers to the small ones we can supply? Miguel, we know there are answers for everything. Unfortunately, we know very few of them." (Alexis Paninian to Mitchell Campion following a 4 minute teleportation from Paxton, Ohio to 3XNorth, 3YEast and 150Z off the Coast of Spain, circa 5/28 & 3 weeks, OSB airdate 4/7/1959).

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Making Education Fun and Authentic - Snafu Saga

Making Storybuild immersion "game" assets
circa 1870 Typing Machine

A Saga about a single immersion game object continued on for nearly two days.  Partly because I wanted to try out a Blender Addon, and partly because I had no plan for adding the texture, only that I had 3 small scraps of identifying material to inform explorers that the typing machine they were using is based on an 1870 Sholes and Glidden.

It was a time when this kind of gadgetry was innovation  - your own personal machine to type out letters on the fly - no printing press, no engraver's alpha blocks, just you and the keys.  Sound familiar?

Since I never really wanted to become a 90 wpm typist (something mother said "I could fall back on, when the romance didn't work out"), I went through some kind of mind clutter issue while building it.  I have no problem with the idea of typing machines now, but for some reason I couldn't make sense of the workflow with the addon (resorting to old tried and true Blender Cycling, even to the point of plugging in and out bump and specularity through the nodes myself), and I couldn't decide how to make my scraps look reasonably good.  The worst and best of the experience was deciding not to add individual keys.  I knew if I planned to sell my prop for money, I would need to do that, but for now the painted on keys will do a fine job of extending the story along. 

Next week I will write my promised review part 2 on the advantages and disadvantages of the addon.  The first thing I will  say it is not for beginning Blender Cycler persons.  There are too many steps that can go haywire, if all parts of the process are not done one after the other.  Lateral learners like me will go nuts trying to figure out why its all so dark, when there are 4 automatic lamps lighting up the viewport window.  And there is not much written documentation to read, so users need to pick up importants small pieces of information and workarounds for Blender that are more easily done without the addon.

There is also less clutter in the node editor, if the build is not too complex.  On the other hand there are several convenient "on the fly" buttons that speed up the initial process of getting to the specularity and lo poly bump map making that made the $30 worth paying.  I am glad I did not pay more for the addon.  But it could just be about me and the typing machine.  So  I need to work on a few more storybuild objects to see if I learned accumulated any knowledge about how to use the sliders  better than I use the plug in nodes. Most likely I will end up creating a hybrid texture painting workflow for myself.  If not it is going to take a very long time to finish any of my storybuilds.  I want my objects to look like rendered 1st person game objects in an open simulation metaverse.  There is always a balance between lovely to behold and performance.  In case the romance doesn't last?

It all ends up in the node editor anyway, and the baked pie turns out about the same.