I enjoy discovering 3D game editors. I have been looking at many in this genre for quite some time now so I’d like to add yet another one in this race to be the best. Cosmos Creator is a newcomer (in a computer editor timeline anyway). With it come some modest tools that other editors seem to have left out (which we will get to later), along with many of your standard 3D editing tools. So if you are into creating 3D applications, take a look at this review of Cosmos Creator, which by the way also allows you to create 2D and 3D objects and applications for the Web!
THE MAIN INTERFACE:
Above you see the interface, which also has your normal four views if you want but I like working with the larger Perspective view myself and use the other views when needed for placements of other objects. Anyway, as you can see, right from the beginning Cosmos Creator looks to have many options available to your command. For now you can see many toolbars, three along the top, one along the left side, one along the right side and one along the bottom. Quite a number not counting the Tabs we see concerning the object’s Properties. Let’s take a look at the toolbars first before we delve into some of the more complex (and greater features of Cosmos Creator)
THE TOP THREE TOOLBARS:
Here we have many of the options you need for any of the objects you apply to your creation. We have all the Primitives along with others such as Selections of Vertices, Faces, Whole Objects and more. We also have special quick buttons that Computes Light Maps, a Mirror Dialog button, one to show Vertices’ Numbers just to name a few. Overall with these three toolbars you can quickly begin making your 3D world. If you are already familiar with programs such as this one you should have no problem getting to know your way around in no time at all.
|THE LEFT TOOLBAR:
You may find yourself using this toolbar more than any of the others since it houses so much of what you want to do when developing 3D applications. Here we have (top to bottom), the Scene Editor, 3D Scene Maker, Image Maker. Asset Browser, Animation Track Editor, LISP Editor, Object X Data Variables, Transform Dialog, UV Editor and the bottom half are your normal VCR style controls with the exception of the bottom two buttons which allow you to Load or Save game data.
By using any of these features you have a lot of control over your final outcome of your desired project in real-time! Once you have applied a material texture to any object you can easily use the UV Editor to wrap the material around, and adjust it to any object in real-time. Since the UV Editor is modeless, can you select vertexes in the dialog itself, you can also select a vertex and face in the Scene Window and these selections will show up in the UV Editor!
The Image Maker is also a modeless dialog that can be used to make 2D images that can be used in 2D menus as well as textures on 3D objects. The Asset Browser lets you browse and select assets, i.e. sounds, bitmaps, movies, and 3D meshes. File assets such as .BMPs, .JPGs, and .WAVs. .RSNs, .3DSs, etc. are shown by searching the asset directories specified in the search paths.
The bottom half as stated are your VCR style controls that allow you to “run” your application directly from the interface! This lets you see how the game is coming along in real-time and you can pause the action at any time to continue working. While running your application this way it will play right from within Cosmos Creator so you never lose your place, or train of thought as you move along in your work environment.
THE RIGHT TOOLBAR:
As you can see we now have a host of other features found alongside the right toolbar. You can place Lights, Cameras, and Sounds directly inside your creation with the click of a button. What Cosmos Creator has that I have not seen in other programs of like genre is the fact that you can create a Particle system all at the click of a button! Once created you can set the amount of emission, how they fall and rise, how a weapon may fire, how water will run and so much more. To draw your Particle systems simply click the button then select the location you want it placed at. Once set you can then rotate it and set its Properties (with the Properties Interface described below) to the exact way you want.
A plane particle system works similar to the Particle system described above only this system emits points or objects from a plane. All of the particles emitted created in this manner fall away from the specified plane as if they are being pulled by gravity. This type of system is great for creating rain, snow or waterfalls!
Have you ever wanted to apply some type of physics to your application? With Cosmos Creator you can do so fairly easily! Your artificial gravity is placed in the scene by the click of a button. The gravity then will apply to all rigid body objects only, thus allowing non-rigid bodies to be unaffected by the force. Creating gravity can’t be any easier. No complicated programming here!
Now, what every 3D developer wants and needs is an easy way to create bone animation. Cosmos Creator does this too with a few clicks of the button. So go ahead and start animating right from within its own interface. Once you have your animation you can create a Path for it by clicking on the Path button.
There are a few other buttons found on the right toolbar that perhaps “doing” would be better than seeing. To see and get the most benefits of Cosmos Creator you can download a free trial version of it and work your way through various stages of development using the detailed Help files. There are (as you can see) many options alone on this one toolbar! From creating Lights, Particle systems, bone animations to so much more. With a click of a button you have all of these features available at any time you need them. Many of these features are only found in Cosmos Creator whereas other programs in this genre you would need to launch another program (either via a Plugin), or a 3rd party application to do what Cosmos Creator does all within one program.
The bottom toolbar is much simpler than any of the others so far (which by the way, all are moveable and dockable). This toolbar contains the default colors and pens when inserting 3D objects and image layers. When you insert a 3D object into your scene, the diffuse and secular color will be obtained from the Color 1 and Color 2 values respectively. The 3 Rand check boxes will produce a new random color to be selected for solid colors and the gradient to be randomized each time the respective color is obtained. When a Rand is unchecked the color specified will be fetched, but never randomized. You can check and/or uncheck the Rand option to pick a new random color.
|THE PROPERTIES INTERFACE:||
Here you have six additional Tabs that further define the objects you’ve placed into your scene, which we will briefly describe here:
The Object Properties Tab lets you adjust the materials, settings, sizes and colors for selected objects.
The Alteration Tab lets you deform or change an objects color or change its opacity. It also allows you to transform sub-objects and many more actions that change the appearance of an object.
With the Overrides Tab you can take any 3D object in your 3D scene and have its own settings that “override” the scene settings in the Scene Maker Settings tab.
With the UV Wraps Tab you can adjust the Direction, Rotation and much more to your material on any object.
The Animations Tab allows your animations to be added to the selected object. All of your object types can have animations including lights, cameras, and groups.
And finally we have the Physical Tab. As you
create your 3D scene you can have physical settings that control how each object
interacts within the scene.
BOTTOMLINE: With its play while you create type of interface Cosmos Creator allows you to create 2D and 3D interactive scenes, games, objects, walkthroughs, or anything else. Once you have your scenes created you are ready to make the final EXE. When compiling the final executable, all the needed information to run those scenes are compacted into a single .EXE that you can then deliver to the end-user royalty free. You can also create .RWD files if the user already has the Cosmos Creator Viewer (freely downloadable). In this manner you can deliver smaller files, or use them in a Web. For those of you that like to create endless amounts of terrain Cosmos Creator gives you just that ability, with some amazing FPS! Although file sizes are limited in certain versions you will be surprised at how well Cosmos Creator compacts the final .RWD file. With the newly released version of 1.05 every version of Cosmos Creator now allows you to have access to the C API features, which allow you to write some of your very own in C++ so this seems to be a very good move for this program! Just take a look here at many of the great features found in Cosmos Creator
Cosmos Creator has an easy-to-use interface; good email support and the Forums should provide you with enough Tutorials and Help files to get you up and running fairly fast. You can start creating applications by using its point and click interface as well as delve into its scripting by using its built-in LISP Editor. So whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran Cosmos Creator is one of the easier RAD programs I've used where you can be up and creating in a matter of minutes!
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