Creating 3D Graphics in trueSpace
In this chapter
Introducing Caligari trueSpace
Introducing Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
Constructing 3D Graphics
Creating a Mall
Now that you can display a simple pre-generated graphic like the teapot on the screen, it's time to look into building your own graphics. The last chapter discussed how it is possible to build any 3D graphic from the right set of triangles. However, it also mentioned that this was hard work. While hard work has its place, it's better to avoid it if at all possible. Fortunately there is a better alternative: Caligari trueSpace.
In addition to a 3D graphics design tool, you'll also find that you need some tools to create 2D graphics. My favorite tools are Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I find them invaluable any time I'm dealing with graphics. I'll talk about these tools in Chapter 4, "Turning 2D Graphics into 3D Graphics."
On the CD-ROM
I've included a demo copy of the trueSpace5.1 software on the CD-ROM to let you try the software. If you like it, you can purchase it from the Caligari Web site at http://www.Caligari.com.
Introducing Caligari trueSpace
3D design tools are used in many different industries, ranging from special effects companies making movies and television shows to Web designers looking to create cutting edge logos. They are even used to develop scenery and objects in 3D games. Without a good 3D design tool, building a computer game is simply not practical.
There are a number of 3D design tools in the marketplace today. However, many of them start in the $2,000 to $3,000 range and end up costing almost twice that by the time you get all of the necessary add-on packages. This is well beyond the budget of the beginning game developer. Fortunately, there is an inexpensive alternative that provides most of the features found in the high-priced applications, and it has an affordable price tag.
The Caligari company has been developing 3D graphics software since the late 1980s. In 1994, they released the first in a series of products called trueSpace. With each new version, a host of new capabilities are added and the latest version, trueSpace5.1, compares favorably with products costing over 10 times its price.
I'm using Caligari trueSpace5.1 in this book because one of its key features is the capability to export files that are compatible with DirectX. Besides support for exporting DirectX files, it includes the capability to create animations, including people that walk, creating VRML worlds that can be viewed over the Internet, and integrating 3D sound into your creations.
Unlike most software companies, Caligari continues to actively market versions of its older software at a price attractive to people new to the 3D graphics market. In many cases, the beginning game developer isn't prepared to use all of the capabilities of the newer versions of the software, so using an older version of the software isn't a big deal. Support for DirectX mesh files was introduced starting with trueSpace3.1. However, I recommend using trueSpace4.0 or newer because of the better DirectX support.