Forking Blender into a proper Plasma Editor?

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Forking Blender into a proper Plasma Editor?

Postby Aloys » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:17 pm

I guess the answer to that question will be something like "forget it". But I feel the need to ask anyway. So bear with me for 30s if you can. :)
(also I'm pretty sure I already asked this, but that must have been years ago, so I'll try again)

How hard would it be to customize Blender's UI, just clean it of what we don't need, to suit our needs regarding Plasma?

There's so much about Blender that we don't use... Pretty much all of the rendering, most of the animation systems, and just tons of features all over the place that are irrelevant to Plasma. Cutting the actual features out of the code base would obviously be stupid long. But I guess just removing the UI elements to access these might be more doable. It would cut out the noise, and turn it into a great user friendly tailor made tool for us. And it would be so much more newbie friendly. We wouldn't have to re-do the whole UI obviously, just hunt down the UI elements we don't need and comment them out; and maybe customize a bit the properties pannel.

Now, I am no expert on Blender's codebase (I'm looking at it, and boy the documentation is rather spartan...). I do assume it'd be a long task, nothing like editing a simple 200 lines long html/css file. And of course it wouldn't be future-proof (but the general consensus seems to be we're stuck with 2.79 for a while anyway). But it would make for such a great clean tool... :)

My question to those of you who have Blender UI dev experience is: *how* hard would it be?
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Re: Forking Blender into a proper Plasma Editor?

Postby Sirius » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:42 pm

The way I see it, while there is a lot of stuff we don't regularly use, there is also a lot of stuff that are still somewhat useful on some occasions... To me it's rather easy to ignore the useless features.
With that said, it seems Korman can relatively easily override the display of some panels, so hiding some of the least useful panels shouldn't be too hard.
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Re: Forking Blender into a proper Plasma Editor?

Postby Tsar Hoikas » Mon Apr 08, 2019 3:13 pm

Hiding panels in the Python API is relatively straightforward. Adding entirely new panes and spaces is unfortunately outside the realm of possibility with pure Blender python.

Generally speaking, when writing some of Korman's more fun features, I have to dive into the Blender C source code to figure out how parts of the Python API actually work due to the mediocrity of the documentation. That being said, I do not know the Blender code well enough to do more than triage bugs. The sheer scope of the project is beyond what I presently have the ability and willpower to comprehend.
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Re: Forking Blender into a proper Plasma Editor?

Postby Aloys » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:23 am

Makes sense. I feared so.
I looked quite a bit at the source and the documentation lately, and I'm disappointed by it. Being an open source project I was expecting more. There's just very little here...

To me it's rather easy to ignore the useless features.

Yeah, I assume it's the case for most people here. It'd be more a quality of life improvement and to make our tools more newbie friendly. And have some bragging rights about a 'true' Uru Age Editor.

Then again it's not like it's a priority.
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Re: Forking Blender into a proper Plasma Editor?

Postby Sirius » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:41 pm

Aloys wrote:Being an open source project I was expecting more. There's just very little here...

Open does not always mean thousand of folks contribute to it. Due to the complexity of the tool, I suspect most of the development is done by a team of developers from the Blender Foundation without outside help. Less people means less need for documentation. And it's a tool for artists, so the community doesn't often tinker with the code itself.
On the flip side I suppose it brings more cohesion to the development, which allows them to work faster.
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Re: Forking Blender into a proper Plasma Editor?

Postby Deledrius » Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:25 pm

Aloys wrote:Makes sense. I feared so.
I looked quite a bit at the source and the documentation lately, and I'm disappointed by it. Being an open source project I was expecting more. There's just very little here...

It also started out as a closed product, in the long-long ago, so that could contribute to the nature of the project.

Anyway, this is one of those ideas that we've talked about from time to time, but alas it's more trouble than we have people to solve.

We only have a few people contributing to Korman (and lately that's mostly Hoikas), and it's hard enough to add new features, fix existing ones to work better, and keep ahead of the changes from Blender upstream. If we had to maintain the entire tool, that's a lot of work that we no longer get "for free" by piggy-backing as an addon. Yes, it would simplify some aspect of Korman/Age Building in Blender, but getting to that point and then keeping it up would take more people than we have.
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