New features and some lessons learned

The latest version of env3d (still in cvs, not released yet) will have the following new features:

  • Transparent sprite support
  • Setting of camera angles
  • All resources can be loaded from a jar file.

Since all resources are now loaded from a jar file, you can distribute your application very easily. If you are using BlueJ, you can simply export the project to a jar file. Make sure that the lwjgl native library (lwjgl.dll in windows) is in the same directory as your jar. You can now execute the jar file directly.

This also means any application written using env3d can be setup to use java webstart technology. This will be a big plus for students who want to show off their projects! In the future, I may even incorporate applet support.

New features are great and all, but in my opinion, the most important update is the removal of some of the features.

  • The "move" method will no longer be called automatically
  • Adding a room will no longer automatically add all the objects inside the room
  • Adding of "systems" are not supported

What this means is that every object must be added/removed manually (by students). Env3d is meant to be a learning engine, and as I gain more experience using it, I find that it is best to make the engine do as little "magic" as possible. The only magic here is being able to put objects into a 3d environment. The rest should be done manually.

I am having so much fun using env3d in my class this term. I think that my students are having fun as well. I am able to create examples in Env3d that map almost directly to each chapter of the textbook, I will share them on the website once I have some time (end of term most likely).