Archive for the ‘ CG ’ Category

Fun learning Unity

I’ve made small games/apps in the past using Python/PyGame  & Processing.  When developing them, I’m always responsible for designing all the systems:  And while a great learning experience, I only have a fixed amount of time to work on these side projects.  So I thought I’d expand out and try a larger game development framework letting me focus on higher level concepts rather than the lower-level coding needed for basic systems.

The three big ones I’m aware of are Unreal (Epic), Cryengine (Crytek), and Unity.  Nowadays you can download them all for free, which is fantastic.  I’ve used Unreal & Cryengine professionally in the past, so I had interest in seeing how Unity worked.  And one of the big deciding factors was the “scripting language” the engine uses:  Unreal 4 has dropped their “UnrealScript” in favor of pure C++ (which I can read, but not really write), while Cryengine uses Lua (never touched it).  Unity however supports C#, JavaScript, and Boo:  C# is very similar to Java (Processing), which I am familiar with, so that made the decision pretty easy.  And while arguments could be made for the “power” of a given engine, and my guess would be that Unity would be lower on the list, they can all do far more than I’ll ever need, so Unity was the choice.

And so far, I’ve been very pleased:  Their documentation (user manualcomponent referencescript reference) and example tutorials/projects are fantastic .  Easy to read, well spoken, and a breeze to follow.  Plus, building the games and deploying to the web has been a snap.  To date I’ve completed the two below ‘projects’, and I include a link to the completed game.  While the ‘games’ are super simple, they were also super easy to make (thanks to the great tutorials):

roll-a-ball spaceShooter

Next I plan to go over their “Stealth” project next.  And like the subject reads, it’s been fun:  It’s nice to be in a development environment where it ‘makes sense’ and things ‘just work’.  So far, my only complaint is they don’t have a build in interactive shell (REPL), and they should really add Python to their scripting language selection :)

Latest 3d print: Hatchet

I thought I’d try my hand at “making a hatchet”: The print will obviously not hurt anything, but it was a fun process to design (in Maya), print, and combine with a hand-carved wooden handle.  Printed on my Makerbot Replicator (1).  Get more info and download the stl over on Thingiverse.


Merry Christmas!


Latest 3d print: Orbus

These two “orb” sculptures were the result of teaching myself the latest version (2.0) of MeshMixer: I wanted to see how easy it would be to draw a symmetrical stencil on a sphere and extrude it, turning it into it’s own volume. Turns out to be pretty easy.  Get print info, see more pics, & download the stl’s over on Thingiverse.  Printed on my Makerbot Replicator (1).


Hangin’ on the tree…



Showing the auto-generated support structures that MeshMixer creates.

Makerware print time & weight estimates

The latest versions of Makerware allow you to preview the print before completion in full 3d.  Great feature.  It also estimates both the time it will take to generate the print, and the weight of the filament used.  I thought I’d compare this on the latest print I made, “The Hammerhead – Handheld Kinect Grip“:


I printed it in Taulman 618 nylon (just because that’s what I had installed in the printer).  The weight estimates are based on  PLA, so presumably the nylon weights would be off.  But time estimates should be correct.  The print settings I used were:

  • 2 shells, 10% infill.
  • 270 micron layer height (low res, for speed).
  • HBP off.  Extruder temp 240c.  Printed on blue painters tape on a removable glass platform.
  • Travel rate 150mm/sec.  Extrude rate 90mm/sec.
  • Raft, no supports.

Based on those values, these were the time estimates & final time, weight estimates & final weight for the 3 separately printed pieces as made on my Makerbot Replicator (1):

  • Handle (the thing you grab)
    • Time estimate \ Final time : 120 min \ 101 min
    • Weight estimate \ Final weight : 32g \ 31g
  • Kinect Mount (the thing screwed to the Kinect)
    • Time estimate \ Final time : 50 min \ 40 min
    • Weight estimate \ Final weight : 13g \ 13g
  • Tripod mount (the thing connection the two):
    • Time estimate \ Final time : 45 min \ 35 min
    • Weight estimate \ Final weight : 12g \ 11g

So in all cases, it actually printed faster, about 20% faster than expected.  And I don’t know the different in weight between the nylon and PLA, but those estimates look to be pretty spot on.

3D Hubs meetup @ Techshop SF

I recently registered my Makerbot Replicator with 3D Hubs as a sort of experiment:  I’ve been printing stuff for people I know, how would it be to print something for someone I don’t know (for $)?  That site seems like a good vehicle, and I’m now part of the “San Francisco Hub“.  But it’s all very new, a relatively recent startup, and they’re doing a nation-wide tour this month.  Tonight they were at Techshop SF.

Kendra Egle from 3D Hubs started things out talking about their missions and vision for the company.  She was followed by Aaron Kemmer from Made In Space.  He discussed the process they went through to develop the first 3d printer that will be launched into space thanks to a grant from NASA.  Finally Brian Allen from Smith|Allen talked about their 3d printed Echoviren installation in the redwood forests north of Mendocino.  I found it to all be an engaging set of presentations.

In addition to milling about, talking to various folks, and drinking the free beer, Type A Machines was there with their latest Series 1 printer.  It is big (cubic foot build volume) and looks beautiful.  I can easily envision it in my workshop…..

The venue

New and old

Beer for scale, that thing is big!