"Blender Battlefield"

Hey all, I’m fairly new to 3D graphics, and Blender. (I bought the Blender 2.3 Guide last year I believe, but given my lazy disposition, and the size of the book and the steep learning curve of computer graphics threw me off.)

But that’s beside the point. I’m posting because, despite being (and I know this is soo overused, but I’ll use it anyway for lack of a better term) a total noob to 3d, I had an idea for a new feature. Even though I know next to nothing, I’m beginning to sense that Blender, as are most 3D applications, is limited in the scope of a scene.

My question is: Is Blender capable of creating and rendering massive, epic battle sequences, such as those featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia? It doesn’t seem like it is; creating a short movie takes long enough.

Solution: Blender Battlefield This would be the Blender 3D suite equivalent to Massive Soft’s Massive program.

With conventional Blender (agian, for lack of a better term,) it seems its only good at short movies and single scenes. So, just something for all of ya to think about. (I could be wrong, of course, as I’m new, but it just seemed like an idea I haven’t seen on the forums.)


Harkyman was once working on blender people. It was a python script that used MySQL databases to do basically what massive does. Here’s the Thread:

Blender, as you will see with some of the animations posted with it, is capable of it. However, it more depends on your system and whether it can hold all the meshes and actions associated with it. For instance, the animations in the above thread often used cones or other relatively simple geometric shapes. If your talking about 1,000 orcs at over 20,000+polygons a piece, plus textures, lights, and rendering, the CPU power needed starts to grow immensely. That is not to say that it is not possible. It is, you probably just need a render farm, as all of that will choke even the fastest home computer down to a grind of maybe one pixel per ten minutes. In a decent quality of film of small pixel size 640x480, your looking at over 500 hours of rendering time per frame. Thats why big companies like the ones that produce these films have hundreds of computers dedicated solely to rendering the scenes they make.

Another idea if you wanted to use it:
You could render out several orc animations that could be replayed over and over (sticking with the LOTR theme), map them to planes (four vertices a piece), and then use blender people. It would significantly reduce the render time and PC strain. This method is often used to create trees in dense forests, as its a major strain to render a lot of polygons.

So to sum it up, it is possible, however for scenes like those described above, with millions and billions of polygons its impractical. It is a useful tool and will become more functional with Blender 2.4. Check out the RSS feed (noted in above linked post):

Happy Blendering and Welcome!

It is possible on the other hand to mess around with it with small groups (say 50 low detail models or 20 medium detail models per side) and have a lot of fun, and depending on the camera angles and such, make it look like a much larger group. E.g You have several actor fighting, with some textured planes show a pre rendered animation of a few other actors, and kinda of repeat that scenario to give a largish battle effect.

Note: blender people is rather hard to set up, and has rather steep/complicated dependancies.

Did you look at the special feature discs that came with the extended versions of those movies?

Not only did they have a room of machines running, but they were machines that were made specificly for rendering. The cpu architecture for those machines didn’t need to waste it’s space on the possibility of someone checking their e-mail or opening a word document. They were built specifically for rendering. Besides all of that, even those Bad-a$$ machines took FOREVER to render those scenes out.

I am constantly amazed at the quality of images and animations that I see coming out of kids’ computers using blender. Keep up the good work, and thank you all for such a wonderful tool!!

Not only that, Massive actually looks at the interactions of the characters and assigns actions accordingly. If a bold character meets a bold enemy, they’ll both pick appropriate attack / defence actions. If a timid character meets a bold one, it’ll run away. This is all being calculated for many thousands of characters simultaenously, taking into account all those nearby. Is it possible to adapt this for Blender? Perhaps in a simple way. Blender can define a series of actions for character and (I believe) Python can be made to call those actions, but the planning and design of the application would be pretty intense and I’d hate to see what kind of machine would run it at a reasonable speed!

On the other hand, the newer features in Particles may show some promise. Using curve guides, you could make an army move down a hill. Possibly even streaming realistically around an obsticle such as a moat . Apply a “run” cycle to the base model, and you have a charging hoard!

These days, we seem to be getting used to asking more of our tools. I recently read that the increasingly interactive toys available to kids these days are stifling imagination. In the same way that the toy creates the entertainment FOR the child, we want the tool to create realism for us.

I watched the original 1937 King Kong recently, and the effects in that were still astonishing. The Jurassic Park of it’s day, it was a great example of imagination and inventiveness. Go Ray Harryheusen.

These days, we are capable of amazing things with home desktop PCs.

You’ll be able to achieve the effect you want, no matter what it is, given a little time and inventiveness.

In the words of Lewis Carrol:
“…For the Snark’s a peculiar creature, that won’t be caught in a commonplace way.
Do all that you know and try all that you don’t. Not a chance must be wasted today.” The Hunting of the Snark.

Thanks for listening to my late night ravings - I’ll now yield the thread!.