[Bf-committers] Blender and Collada support. Does it matter?

Juan Linietsky reduzio at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 03:49:41 CEST 2011

Hi Guys!

   I've been following blender development for a long time. I work as
consultant in game development and worked with several companies, providing
technology for publishing downloadable games for PC, consoles and
phone/tablets. I also published several open source libraries and apps.
   I work close with companies during all the development process, and that
includes artists. I've always used Collada, first with the now discontinued
FCollada and now OpenCollada. Collada support for 3DSMax and Maya has always
been rock solid and I've never experienced problems using it.
   Now, you guys did an extremely good work with Blender. I've never ever
seen so many artists in the game development industry so eager to use
blender and commenting how the 2.5 interface allowed them to finally try it,
and notice how their productivity increased tenfold. Thanks to the 2.5 work,
it seems there really is a lot of people willing to use Blender for game

   But Collada support is just not there, year after year there is some work
done but left unfinished, be it for GSOC or individually. Basic geometry
works, but more complex stuff such as baking IK or constraints is not
supported and has never been. So It's impossible to use Blender for very
simple tasks such as animating a character, blend shapes, or export an
object that follows a curve, thus alienating a large amount of potential
   Collada support was supposedly going to be completed in this GSOC, but it
seems none of these issues were even worked on, the developers and student
working on it did not  seem to have a clear direction on what to do, and at
the end, the only "relevant" changes on the collada exporter are strange
features such as animating light colors. I mean, it's as if work on Collada
is not even taken seriously by the community.

   I know that Blender is volunteer work, that volunteers mostly work in the
areas that motivate them. I guess Collada is complex, difficult and not very
motivating, and I guess the Blender Foundation does not have the resources
to cost the development of it. But at this point I think it's weird that the
most relevant open 3D creative package does not properly support the most
relevant open 3D exchange format. I am constantly having to recommend my
clients to force their artists to continue using propertary software,
against their will to use Blender and this doesn't feel any good. I even
considered getting donations from companies to add proper Collada support to
Blender, but after seeing how that worked for the Illusoft exporter, which
was always broken, unfinished and never really integrated as core, it sounds
like making clients waste money.

   So, to attempt being more constructuve, shouldn't it be possible for the
Blender Foundation to work together with Khronos on this?  (read: get
funding)  Khronos seems to be doing a great job developing and promiting
OpenGL, GLES and WebGL and OpenCollada already has paid developers. So why
not extending support to Blender?


Juan Linietsky

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