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Showing posts from March, 2011

Educational License terms from McNeel

When you go through the Educational License terms of McNeel products (e.g. Rhinoceros 3D) you might be surprised. This company has a complete unique take on licensing pricing and terms. Summarized: you pay an educational price (yes, it is not as cheap as free AutoCAD or ArchiCAD); e.g. about €200 for Rhino compared to €1000 for the commercial version there are no limitations; you are allowed to use it for commercial work; when you graduate, it automatically becomes a commercial version that you are allowed to keep using; when the time comes to upgrade, you pay the suitable upgrade price (educational when you still qualify, otherwise commercial). Does anybody knows about a firm that presents similar flexibility? Good investment for a student for later.

Parametric Architecture with Grasshopper (upcoming book)

Register at  to get informed when the English translation of this book on Parametric Architectural Modeling with Grasshopper will be available. As an old-fashioned book-reader, I still like to learn from books. I can pause and rewind at any time and through diagonal reading find it easier to retrieve certain info, when compared to video tutorials. That said, video tutorials are nice when you are doing something else along that only requires your hands, but only a small part of your brain, like doing the dishes or ironing.

Playmaker : visual scripting for Unity3D

Playmaker is a visual scripting editor that you can install inside Unity3D, the well-known game authoring environment. Within Playmaker, you can create the logic of your interactions visually, without needing to script. Playmaker screenshot Remembering the power of scripting and the sometimes cumbersome approach of visual programming, I just wonder in how far they manage to let you mix both: that is, use custom scripts (or re-use existing ones) and then combine this or even integrate this with Playmaker. Cause if this is hard to do, you are obliged to do everything inside this tool. But it is an interesting approach. Playmaker is not free (about $100) and works in all versions of Unity (free, commercial, iPhone) with Android in preparation. It can be bought from the Unity Assets store.

RhinoBIM getting closer to release

RhinoBIM (at ) is an approach to connect the freeform modeling power of Rhino with the richer model description in BIM, using IFC format. They focus mostly on construction aspects, but the methodology seems more widely applicable. This is how parametric and advanced design methods , which are commonly focusing on geometry and Building Information Modeling , which is mostly concerned with semantics and usable information can benefit from each other.

NeoAxis Game Engine

NeoAxis is a recent Game Engine, built on top of the OGRE Open Source Game engine. While OGRE can be used as such, the NeoAxis group is wrapping it inside a more complete authoring system, not unlike Unity3D, which is a real advantage for artists, who are not always interested in the hard-core coding that goes on in the background. I believe that this pertains for most architects as well, hence the success of Unity3D and SketchUp. NeoAxis runs on Windows and can create both standalone games and web applets. You can use the free non-commercial version or buy a cheap $100 Indie license. There are people working on a plugin for SketchUp to get models into NeoAxis more easily:

From SketchUp free to Unity3D

While there are many ways to go from SketchUp to Unity3D Game engine, having the free version poses serious limits. In the Pro version, FBX and Collada export are intergrated and work fine. However, the free version has problems. While there is Collada export in the Free version, Unity3D fails to properly import the geometry. One approach is to use conversion software. The Open Source Blender is known to be able to import DAE files from SketchUp and export them into an FBX file that Unity3D understands. Another approach is with the LightUp plugin for SketchUp. This is not free, but is a good approach to do shadow and light baking and has an integrated FBX exporter that works fine in Unity3D. But you can also extend SketchUp with ruby scripts. On  you can download an OBJ exporter script (the old Alias Wavefront format) which Unity3D understands. It is best to export into a separate folder, as depending on how you t