3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 92: Thinking in Pulse 3D
Lesson 92 - Thinking in Pulse 3D - Part 1
I've now been poking around, exploring Pulse Entertainment's technology for Web 3D, for about six weeks now. A couple of columns ago, I introduced Pulse and its business strategy. For those that didn't read it, I noted that Pulse content is currently being developed in two ways, with a third to arrive shortly.
The Pulse Creator authoring package, currently in it's 3.5 version and available for free from the Pulse Web site, does everything except create the geometry. Models can be imported from any standard modeling program, and Creator provides tools for texturing, animating, authoring interactivity, adding sound, and packing for delivery over the Web to clients who have downloaded the Pulse Player. The current version of the Pulse 3D Studio MAX plug-in allows you to animate in MAX, and use Creator to finish the job. The new version of the plug-in, which I gather will be available in the near future, allows you to produce finished Pulse content entirely within MAX.
I don't have the new MAX plug-in and thus have been exploring Pulse wholly within the context of the Pulse Creator. This has been a good thing because this authoring package reflects the technology in the most complete and direct way. It is all Pulse. I stress the word "technology" because Pulse is just that. No lesser characterization can apply. Pulse is not just a means of shipping 3D animation over the Internet. It is sprawling and ambitious vision.
Pulse is also a work-in-progress. In this regard, it is no different than any of its top competitors in the Web 3D arena. Like MetaStream or Shout or Cult3D, it is still taking shape, and still very much in its formative stages. Every new release is a major advancement.
These realities mean that, after six weeks, I am just able to shape some general observations about Pulse technology. These are only initial impressions. You can't approach Pulse as an experienced 3D artist simply trying to pick up a new tool. Pulse is premised on many ideas that were entirely novel to me, and which have taken time to sink in, even in a shallow way. Any serious assessment of Pulse will take serious commitment. This is in part due to an absence of adequate instructional materials, but even more to the novelty and subtlety of its technological premises.
A project in Pulse Creator is a collection of assets. These include Geometry, Behaviors, Materials, Sounds, Scripts and Tasks. Sounds are just standard audio files. But all of these other asset categories require considerable creative effort to understand, and cannot be accepted at their face value. For example, the Geometry files in the project are not just the imported model geometry. The camera, and even the object representing the World root, are Geometry objects in Pulse. In Pulse, the word "Geometry" means all of the elements in the scene graph.
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Created: May 9, 2000
Revised: May 9, 2000