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DesktopWeb FormText   revisiting Direct3DFri, 05 Aug 2005 01:56:20 GMT # 

my current side project is giving me an excuse to revisit DirectX ... this time on the desktop. the only other time i've used D3D is for the WorldWind port to CF. even though this app is smaller, its really slow going. my first problem has been just to get the initial world to render. there are no WYSIWYG tools for the Form in VS.NET, and i keep screwing this up. e.g. did i create my vertex buffer correctly with the correct orientation so it wont be culled? are the normals correct? are my vertices in world space or screen space? is my camera positioned correctly? what about lighting? when one of these things is mucked up ... then i only see a form with a blue background

to help with this, i've decided to use a 3D modeling tool to create meshes instead of working directly with vertex buffers. then all i really have to worry about is if i've transformed the mesh properly into world space, camera, and lighting. but now the problem is what modeling tool to use? maya, 3DS max, etc... are too expensive. trueSpace is cheaper, but is still too expensive for the little i want to do. milkShape is real low cost, but i need to see how usable it is, nor do i know if it exports to .x. gmax is free, but doesn't work with .x files unless you use a conversion tool ... lame. blender 3D is free, works with .x, and might do the trick ... but i need to watch some videos on how to use it. if not i'll just use the trial version of trueSpace. anyway, it seems like MS might want to do some work at making the hobbyist modeling tools more accessible. conversion tools and plugins don't count

but what happened to my integrated IDE? i'd really like to see 3D modeling makes its way into VS.NET. hell, let me model my meshes and then drag them into a WinForm and get some design time experience. handle the code behind and such for getting the initial world setup, such as placing lights and cameras. i.e. the WinForms experience for 3D. if MS really wants the rich 3D experience to happen with Avalon in Vista, then the tool support will have to improve