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Sandy 3D a Fine Release Monday 2009-12-07

Hi all! I’m happy to say that we now have a bug fixed release of the very useful and well documented Sandy 3D Engine. Back in March came the long awaited upgrade to 3.1.1 and the goal was to release a bug fixed version fairly soon. However very few people had the time to work on it. After persistent work, mainly by Makc, we now have the a hopefully bug free version 3.1.2, so go get it!

Sadly enough this seems to be the final release, if nothing exceptional happens. This doesn’t mean that the engine cannot be used. On the contrary. It is working well and it is well documented and indeed it has a very friendly and helpful forum that works for newcomers and skilled developers alike.

Then there is the future bound haXe version, with which it is possible to compile for Flash as well as other targets, e.g. JavaScript for the browser canvas.

The Sandy 3D Site is Down Monday 2009-06-22

On 19 of June I discovered that the Sandy site and forum was down, and hoped for it to be resurrected in a few hours. Not so – its now June 22 and all we get is server errors. This may be just a little bit better than the “404 – Not Found” message, I got then. It seems that a lot of work by Thomas and all other contributors is lost. Weather this is the work of some cyberspace vandals or some fatal mistake from the web host, I don’t know. I really hope that they keep a recent backup. If not, they are idiots, even if the service is free.

If you offer a web document storage, free or not, you must realize that the domain owner is dependent on your ability to host the site.

The tutorials and the forum are goldmines, so hopefully this is not all lost in the big black hole.

[Edit] I’m more than happy to tell you, that there were indeed backups, and that the Sandy site is up for our enlightenment :-)

Physics in Sandy 3D Saturday 2009-05-09

I haven’t used the Wow physics engine to get the 3D objects to obey the laws of physics in a Sandy world. That may be a mistake, as I don’t know how good it is. Lately there has been som buxx around the jiglibflash 3D physics engine, and I decided to take it for a test run. It’s really an amazing piece of work, and the author muzer and codevelopers really know a thing or two about physics.

Thomas created adapter classes between Sandy and jiglibflash to make it easy to connect Sandy 3D visual objects with the physics aware objects of jiglib. The adapter classes, one representing a Sandy shape and one being the facad or proxy for the jiglib engine, are very helpful in creating new twin objects.

There isn’t much documentation for the physics engine so far, so I had to search the web quite a bit, as well as reading code for other 3D engines and try to understand the code. I also got firm and fast advice from the jiglibflash forum by the author himself.
I finally managed to get a tutorial rolling. It is by no means exhaustive, but I believe it will get you started. Have a look and do some experiments.
It’s awfully fun :)

Flying Over the Rocky Mountains Monday 2009-04-20

Ever since I first installed Google Earth, I’ve been fascinated by all the things you can do with it. You could live and travel on this virtual planet, and see places you’d never have chance to visit. It gets better all the time, with 3D houses in bigger towns, better satellite photos and lots of layers with information on places you go to.
My Rockies
I have experimented on a basic level with placing my own bookmarks and overlays, and by building simple houses to place where I live. You do this by constructing them in Google SketchUp. To get the right spot to place a building, you first import a piece of the globe into SketchUp, place your house on that piece of ground and export it back to GE. All information, such as your building, the latitude and longitude coordinates and images to use as texture, is saved in a ZIP archive whith the kmz extension.
When you import a piece of ground from GE into SketchUp, what you get is an image of the area you currently show on GE and a mesh carrying the height information.

I have messed around with SketchUp for few days, which was a lot of fun. The tool is very intuitive for the basic things, and for the more advanced, there are plenty of tutorials, many in form of excellent videos, to show you exactly how things are done. I thought it would be a good idea to cut away a piece of the Earth and try to import it to a Sandy application. That way I would have real terrain to play with in my Sandy projects.

I thought that a piece of the Rocky Mountains would be fun, so I started SketchUp, went to Google Earth and selected a piece of the Rockies, that looked nice, flew up to a suitable altitude. Then I got rid of most of the widgets in GE, to avoid click buttons in nature :-).
I imported that piece of ground into SketchUp, and made some manipulations to keep only the mesh and the satellite image. Then I saved the result as a kmz file, which I immediately unpacked to extract a COLLADA file and the image. The I converted the COLLADA file to a 3DS file, as I trust the 3DS parser in Sandy. I wrote a small application in Sandy, that imported and presented my claim in the Rocky Mountains.

The flight navigation is lousy, but you can rotate and tilt the piece of ground with the navigation keys, fly forwards and backwards with mouse drag, and zoom with the mouse wheel or Ctrl (aka Command) and Shift. Look what beautiful mountains. They rock!

Stockholm City Hall in Sandy Wednesday 2009-04-01

The Golden Room
I have finally come to revisit the Golden Room of Stockholm city Hall in the new SkyBox of Sandy.
I made this as a demo of the SkyBox. Normally it is used for outside scenery as a backdrop for more interesting stuff in a game. Here the SkyBox texture in itself is the whole content. Some day I may place something inside the room – why not a Nobel Prize winner 😉 The Nobel Prize banquet takes place in the Blue Room in the same City Hall. Now click and enjoy the mosaic of 18 million glittering tiles of the room.

[Edit] There is a haXe version as well.

Sandy 3D Engine 3.1.1 Released Sunday 2009-03-29

Cup of Tea :)After some weeks of cleaning up and bug hammering, the 3.1.1 version of the Sandy 3D Engine was released today. If 3D worlds in Flash and Actionscript is your cup of tea, go grab the latest Sandy, with API documentation. If you are a beginner in the Flash 3D space, there are lots of tutorials to get you started.
Image borrowed from “The Heart of Innovation” – You are what you drink

Living Positively with Coke and Sandy Friday 2009-03-27

Yippee :)

Live Positively with Sandy

The multilingual Brazilian media firm Gringo developed the vivapositivamente site for Coke, and to the joy of the hard working developers of the Sandy3D team, they used Sandy to drive this fine and elaborate site.

The site was granted the FWA Site of the Day Award March 25 2009.

Go visit www.vivapositivamente.com.br/ and see what can be done with this eminent 3D engine.

Wow – FLAR is AR in Sandy Wednesday 2009-03-18

I’m excited! Augmented Reality (AR) has come to Sandy. AR is, as you may know, a technique to get an immersive experience. Computer animated things may seem to pop up in thin air before your eyes, almost like a hologram. The tools to accomplish this is a digital video camera and a programming toolkit called ARToolkit. The toolkit library was originally written in C, but has since been ported to Java and lately to Actionscript by Sakoosha. The Actionscript version is cleverly named FLARToolKit, and can be used to create computer vision for Flash.

Sandy FLAR

Sandy FLAR

This is how it works: You film some environment with your camera and the program analyzes the image, frame by frame, in search for a predetermined simple maker pattern, for example a black square. From the perspective distortion of that square, the camera position and attitude in 3D space is calculated.

The camera used for the 3D virtual scene is moved to same position, and the resulting projection is overlaid on the video. The thrilling result is that the animated 3D objects are seen as hovering over the marker in the real scene. I found some really good experiments with this technique on the web, and I immediately wrote Makc the great, hinting that we need this for the Sandy 3D library. And, hast du mir gesehen, within a day he created a working Sandy FLARCamera for use with the FLARToolkit.

Sandy 3D Engine Released Thursday 2009-03-05

Hi there! If you are an artist in Flash 3D, and if you dare programming a bit of Actionscript, this piece of news is for you. The versatile Sandy 3D Engine, Version 3.1 is now released. Since the emission of the last stable version of this 3D library, the 3.0.2 version, lots of work has been done to get the engine faster and simpler to use. Some good new features are added as well. The API hasn’t changed much, apart from the addition of new classes, so it should be easy to port your existing applications to use the new version. Sandy 3D Engine comes with full API documentation and lots of tutorials and examples.
You will find lots of demos and useful information on the Sandy site.

It also has a vivid and friendly forum, where you can ask all kinds of questions, related to the Sandy. Very often you’ll get the answer within a day, and you can discuss your application development and contribute your own experiences and solutions.

Go download this amazing library and start playing with 3D in Flash!

Playing with a kickfly Gallery Wednesday 2009-01-14

The kickfly application is a nice 3D platform for building galleries and rooms for image presentations. It can be published immediately on social sites like FaceBook and MySpace, to share your own images from Flickr, or others by Google image search or other sources. It is built on the very flexible Sandy 3D Engine, and can be used by beginners as well as seasoned programmers. I have just scratched the surface, so I might have more to say later on.
I went to the kickfly site and selected one of many ready made templates, added a title and searched for “madonna”. After a while I got my 3D gallery with Madonna images. Simple as that!
I then went on to publish my gallery on FaceBook, and it immediately showed up.
Amazing stuff!
From the options panel you can copy a link to the gallery, which is served from the kickfly site, or you can copy a complete embed tag for your own site.
Here is mine – note it’s still beta and may be heavy on your browser.

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