Back on the blueprint programming wagon today. After putzing around with the grouping I got frustrated and had to make some changes to get it working correctly. Such is my lot in life. I got to thinking about it and figured I’d give you a rundown on how it works. Warning, entering 3D terminolgy land (just a bit) so be warned!

Everything in blueprint can be arranged in as much of a heirachy as you want. This was done because loading some 3D files, I found there was groupings, and groupings within groupings. Then I got to thinking and realized this isn’t a bad thing. Actually it’s pretty slick when you get down to it. It works like this. Everytime you add a single object to the scene, you can take that object and group it with another. So if you created four legs to a table, you could group it with a tabletop and call the whole thing a table. You can also make a chair then group 4 of those together. Then group the chair group with the table group and have yourself a picnic. Now, when you import a 3D file you may end up with dozens (if not hundreds) of mini-objects. For example, the egyptian statue in The Sims has hundreds of mini-objects like the eyes, ears, head, etc. All of these can have different materials and/or textures applied to them to create a realistic effect. So when you have an object grouped (either by importing a file that has groupings or creating the group yourself) you won’t be able to select the group in any of the viewports. This is just the way that the picking works in the program. It finds the first object you click on by an ID and then stops. So if you click on a chair that is made up of 4 legs and a seat, the program can’t tell the difference between them and will only let you select the highest most one in the chain of objects. There is a facility to group or ungroup objects, so if you ungroup the chair, you’ll be able to pick the legs individually. However there’s an easier way. As you can see by the picture, a tree graphic control is maintained by blueprint to keep track of all the objects (including their children and children’s children and so on) automatically. Instead of ungrouping the chair, you can select the object (say Leg01) by clicking on the Leg01 in the tree. Then you’re free to apply a new material or texture to it. Trust me, this is much better than ungrouping a hundred objects then TRYING to pick something out of the mess. So keep that in mind when you’re building your objects as it may help organize things.

One other thing. There seems to be a new rash of emails asking me to stop talking and get doing. Yes of course I’m “doing” things. I decided long ago that I would post something everyday just so you had something to come to, no matter how big or small. For those that are getting tired of my rants, stop coming here then and you’ll hear about blueprint news elsewhere and you can come back when it’s released. Might be the 16oz coffee in me talking, but I think some of these posts might be useful to some instead of having weeks of silence. Besides, I’ll probably go through most of them and turn them into parts of tutorials and a user manual. Anyways, back to work…