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Lethal Enforcer
By Frank Dodd 4/2002
review - building blocks

At Last Building Blocks is ready for release ! Read on for the preview release review:

Building Blocks is a fantastic new utility, based upon Frank Dodd's previous version, Visual RPL. This new version is essentially the same application, that has been entirely re-written to support the Javascript language which Realsoft 3D v4.5+ has introduced.

Frank has been working hard on the release of this exceptional utility / plugin / standalone application for a number of months - compiling the more than 600 macros required to generate all the necessary code.

Essentially what Building Blocks does is give the user a simple interface to Javascript. By using these simple "blocks" one puts together what is essentially a macro in itself. These Macros can then be "built" by Building Blocks which spits out pure JavaScript code. This code in turn can either be copy/pasted straight into Realsoft 3D, or saved to a .js file for inclusion under the SCRIPT menu of Realsoft 3D.

Hence, it opens up all the power of the Javascript language support that Realsoft Oy have put into v4.5, without the need for any programming background at all !

Screenshot - Basic Building Blocks Interface:

The program is broken into three main windows :

Using the Blocks in the bottom left window, one simply "adds" these items to the program, and changes the relevant properties as required. Its literally a drag and drop affair - and hides a great deal of power behind this otherwise simple interface.

The manual included with the program is excellent - detailing almost all the features, and uses 8 "learn by example" tutorials to help get you started. Shown below is an excerpt from the manual:

Its somewhat daunting, the amount of macros available, but Frank has cleverly used a "search" tool with which to find the relevant macros you are looking for: if you want to create an SDS cube for example, one would search for that to find the macro.

Once you have created your program - one "builds" the Javascript. Building Blocks then generates the necessary Javascript code, which is generally saved to the //Realsoft3d/Scripting folder as a Javascript file. These then appear in Realsoft 3D under the Scripting drop down menu. This allows you to repeatedly re-use your macro. Worth mentioning however, one must click on the Root Directory to refresh the view before your macro becomes apparent. eg. my macro created a door frame, but until one clicks the Root Dir, the objects are not visible. Once done, there it is. :)

Its truly a marvel - and allows plebs, such as myself that have no programming idea whatsoever, to create Java applications for Realsoft 3D.

Here is an example of Java as output from Building Blocks:

  // Nudge the object
bb_vect.x += Var;
bb_vect.y += 0;
bb_vect.z += 0;

// Set the updated center
Cube.SetMatrixTranslate( bb_vect );

// Set the name of an object
Cube.SetName("Left Jamb");

// Set the name of an object
my_level.SetName("Door and Frame");


// JavaScript program --------------------------------------------------------
// Get the Root object
my_parent = GetJS("CurrentProject.Geometrics.Root");

// Call a user function
MakeDoor( .9, 2.1, .1, .04 );

After going through all the fantastic tutorials that Frank has put together, you soon pickup the power behind the program. Realsoft is almost like an untapped resource ! Parametric doors, creating time based explosions - the list of possibilities that Building Blocks opens up is phenominal. Its a definate must have in any 3D users toolkit.

Considering this is a sole effort from Frank, its a hugely impressive release. Its taken a great deal of sweat to produce this application, and the amazing part is, Frank is releasing it as FREEWARE to all RS users !

Building Blocks is set for release on Wednesday, 19th February, 2003.


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Page updated on Tuesday, 25 February, 2003 . For feedback / model submissions or articles - please email us.
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