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Blitz 3D

Type of Program: Game Programming Editor
Supported Platforms: Win 95/98/2000/ME/XP (Requires DirectX 8.1 or Higher)
Company Name: Blitz Research
Version: 1.80
Price: $ 145.00
Installed Size: 358MB

Download/Homepage

Within the heated battle of words over 3D programming, Blitz 3D seems to always be mentioned several times in comparisons to other programs of the same genre. No wonder, it is popular, has many users, was written by a "legend" of the Amiga days, has a history of being stable, and judging by the Forums, has a large following of faithful users. I have been following the 3D community for several years and in just about any community of 3D users you will generally fine Blitz 3D mentioned. And this is where the battle of words may begin.

My first impression was that this was an easy to learn programming language (much easier than some I've seen). If you are at all familiar with the Basic language then you should have no problem jumping right into Blitz 3D and the learning curve would be stripped way down. Much of its core programming language is similar to it (as you've might have guessed from its name). Now, I realize that the majority of 3D games are built around the C++ language, but Blitz 3D is so easy to grasp, is entirely easier and can handle 3D programming so much easier than C++. Blitz 3D is faster than you might expect since many of its commands are implemented just for the 3D environment. So if you're looking for ease of use coupled with speed, take a look here at what Blitz 3D has to offer!

Blitz 3D has an easy to use source code editor along with an integrated debugger. Add to this the power you gain by using many of the DirectX capabilities, full Network TCP/IP and UDP support and you soon see some impressive power and results that this programming language has to give you. As far as 3D is concerned, look at some of these features:

1.. Mipmapped Textures
2.. Transparent Textures
3.. Animated Texture Support
4.. Multi Textures
5.. Deformable Meshes
6.. Level of Detail Terrain
7.. High Speed Collision Engine
8.. Directly load .X .3DS or .MDL files
9.. Support for MD2 Animation
10.. Vertex Coloring
11.. A Flexible Entity System
12.. Reflection Effects
13.. Multiple Cameras
14.. Plus Much More!

That's just some of the 3D features! As you can see, Blitz 3D is capable of handling many of the popular 3D commands. Issuing these commands is a snap and not like other languages where you must spend more time coding just to be able to place 3D objects, Blitz 3D allows you to create your 3D world in a relatively shorter amount of time. Now take a look at a few of the 2D features Blitz 3D has to offer:

1.. Support Many Popular Image Formats
2.. High Speed Pixel Plotting
3.. Double Buffering
4.. Control Over Viewports and Origin
5.. Run Your Application In Full Screen or Windowed
6.. Pixel Perfect Collision Detection
7.. Plus More
Many 3D programming languages you will notice have some of the same, or near the same, abilities as far as being able to program in 3D (that's obvious). But what sets Blitz 3D slightly ahead of the competition is in its speed. After you have created all your graphics, outlined the flow of your game or application and programmed your code, you want to see results. Blitz 3D's compile time is the fastest I have seen in looking at programs in this genre. And some of the Frames Per Seconds (FPS) are outstanding when compared to other programs in the same genre! If you keep your graphics and code within the standard programming practice you will see just how fast Blitz 3D compiles and runs your final application. Remember, programming is 98% debugging so you don't want to have to wait around for the code to compile when you have to recompile over and over again and when you play the final .EXE you want the FPS to be fast.

Another nice thing about Blitz 3D is the fact that you don't have to pay extra to get many of the 3D features as set out above. Some software companies give you a limited amount of 3D features but then want you to pay hundreds of dollars more to get the same thing Blitz 3D gives you to begin with! For instance, with Blitz 3D you get the full Network support in the package while others charge extra for the very same thing! So if you want to create a 3D game that others can play over the Internet go right on ahead with Blitz 3D. You won't have to install additional software or pay for some plug-in or be forced to buy the "Deluxe" edition in order to do it. Designed especially to aid you in your 3D-development work is the add-on program carried by the Blitz Basic site aptly titled Maplet. With Maplet you can easily create 3D indoor levels that can then be implemented into your Blitz 3D application. Maplet is not only fun to work with but here you can now seamlessly create multiple indoor levels that interchange with your programming environment with ease!

Even though it does help to have some programming knowledge, with the hundreds of available commands at your disposal in Blitz 3D you'll begin to grasp it in no time at all. If you ever get stuck the Help file is fantastic! With easy, clickable references you'll soon find your answer in no time at all. If the online Help is not enough take a look through the 322-page manual that comes included with the CD or visit the online forums. Somewhere, between these resources you should be able to find your answer to just about anything that should, or could come up when using Blitz 3D.

So is Blitz 3D for you? I try not to be one-sided in my reviews so as to give you an honest opinion and not to waste your time. Since I do have some knowledge into programming (though by no means am I an "expert" in all areas), I found Blitz 3D to be fairly easy to get up and going. It doesn't appear to take long before you can start getting a good grasp and programming within its environment. There are some tougher issues of course that Blitz 3D has a tougher time doing such as working with bone animations, BSP, real time shadows, or cartoon shading. Some commands I had a harder time working on but that comes only from my personal lack of expertise perhaps. Nonetheless, those features will be there when you acquire those skills to master them. So it may depend on your needs and experience before you decide for sure if this is the application you want or need. Take into account the feature factor (does it have the features I need?), the cost factor (does it fit into my budget?), and perhaps how fast it compiles.

In the middle of the 3D programming battle and the war of words, Blitz 3D for me compiled much faster than others I've used, had some really easy commands (they actually made sense), and had relatively fewer bugs (in this version reviewed). Taken in part from the Help file itself; "Blitz 3D was not designed for building text based applications such as simple guessing games. It is also not designed for building applications featuring friendly graphic user interfaces filled with windows and sliders. The only thing Blitz 3D has been designed for is the very serious business of video game development." Visit the Blitz 3D site to find out more and while there, make sure to take a look at the many titles showcased as well as these other sites: www.idigicon.com, www.blitzbasic.com, www.blitzshowcase.com

Let the battle of 3D programming continue.

"Some good news, Blitz3D is being reduced to an astounding US$99.99 + price includes Boxed Blitz 3D comes with 1000's of examples with source code, 322 page manual PLUS an extra 295 page 'Learn to Program Games in Blitz Basic'  book and complimentary CD....(Price includes postage anywhere in the world)"

Performance
User Friendly
Cost
Ease of Installation
Support
Reviewed by Robert Hall

Purchases can be made online from their Web site.


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