Blender to XAML

March 29, 2011

Before getting back to my model, I took a diversion through another quick project.

My interest in 3D graphics was sparked through some programming work I was doing a few years back with C# and .Net.  Microsoft introduced a new method of programming UIs with a markup language called XAML in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation).  Through this language, you can control all elements on the screen.  One API set  allows the display of 3D objects where the objects are completely described in this text language.  I became interested in tools that could be used to generate 3D which led me to trueSpace and eventually Blender.

In 2008, an add-on to Blender became available which could translate Blender objects to XAML code.  I never used it because I did not need to produce 3D for Windows applications.  A new version of Silverlight will be released this year which will support 3D in the browser using XAML.  Using this technology, it would be possible to show a rotating 3D picture of the Alamo when you mouse-over its map position in my Alamo App or even build a walk through application.

The original add-on does not work in the latest versions of Blender (2.5x) as the Blender API has changed as well as the version of the language that it was written in (Python).  So as a fun exercise, I did a port of the old add-on to the new version of Blender in about 8 days.

The code can be found on Codeplex in the patches section at this link.

13 Days: The Siege and Battle of the Alamo

March 9, 2011

I have not been able to work on my model very much at all the past 6 months because I have been involved in creating a web-based application that illustrates the events around the Alamo during the 13 day siege.  For each day of the siege an animated and interactive map is displayed that shows the evolving tactical situation for the Texian and Mexican forces.  The app uses the Microsoft Silverlight platform and runs on popular browsers  on PCs and Macs.

Here is a link to the most current version:  13 Days: The Siege and Battle of the Alamo

I had the pleasure of demonstrating the app at the Alamo during the 175th anniversary of the battle.

I was able to get some great photos of the walls of the Alamo and Long Barrack that I hope can be used for improved textures in my model.