This may be the most powerful most frustrating 3D application ever created.”

In my quest to find a 3D app on the iPad, to use to make Creatures, I discovered one that I already had, “Sketch 3D”. So I fired it up and tried to build something with it. For some reason, probably some combination of locked in the house and orneriness, I stuck with it long enough to accomplish something.

The good news is that I was able to make a very complex 3d shape, export it to a .obj file, and import it into Codea. The bad news is that this program has no actual documentation other than tiny pop-up help items for each of its over seventy(!) side menu items.

Here are pics of the weird object I made, and one including the interface and a typical help item:

Here’s what it looks like in Codea. I may have colored it red, although I thought I had set it to white. Or the sun might be red for all I know. You can’t tell from the picture but it looks to me as if all the geometry is there.

I’d have to do lots more to be sure whether Sketch 3D can do the job, and certainly I have to learn how to get things colored right. But if it can export the geometry, and it appears that it can, it might be useful.

On the bright side, Sketch 3D seems to have everything, including features I don’t even recognize, and I’ve used Blender, so you’d think I’d have at least heard of most any feature in the universe. I’m not sure about its ability to texture things. What one does in 3D, in case you don’t know, is partition one’s object into sections typically called “materials”, and then one assigns a texture to each material. There are complicated things you can do to map the texture to the material so that it looks right. I’m not sure whether Sketch 3D offers this capability or not: I didn’t notice it going by when I scanned the 70+ menu items.

Right now, I have to say that Sketch 3D is a contender for the tool I’ll use, at least sometimes, because it can do all the extrusions and warping one might like to have. That said, if I needed a lot of that, I might be more inclined just to bite the bullet and use Blender on my iMac. Any reasonable professional iPad app developer would have a Mac, because you can’t develop iPad apps without xCode, so you’re locked in on using a Mac for that.

We’ll see how much 3D content I create, but it’ll probably be very little, just enough to get a sense of the problem and solutions.

Is this a spike?

Besides having fun while we’re under lock-down, what might the point of all this be? Well, if I were part of a team setting out to build an iPad game based on Codea, I’d be interested in getting a sense of whether it was possible, and how hard it was going to be. I might even be trying to estimate how long it would take, how much it might cost, what we’d need, how many people we could use, and so on. So in a real world situation, I might well be doing much as we’re doing here now, building up a sense of the problem so as to have a bit of a look at the future.

But really, this is all about fun and observing how we approach problems, and get out of the trouble we get in.

I hope both of you who read these are enjoying them.

I’ll stop here and publish this, and do a new one on whatever program I try next. Stay safe!