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Blender And The Open Source Combat Simulator Project


pilot-with-reflection.jpgJuan Carlos pointed us to a screenshot at the open source Combat Simulator Project (CSP). Needless to say, I was intigued to see Blender used in this project. So I e-mailed Mark Rose (mkrose at the CSP Sourceforge page) to ask about how Blender is involved in the project.

How and why is Blender used in this project? Is it being used to do modeling and then export into .osg? Or are Blender rendered images being incorporated?

Most of the models used in the simulation have been created in 3dsmax by experienced modelers. We're very open to people using Blender to create the models, but so far that hasn't been the case. I'm mainly a developer, not a modeler, but I tinker a bit in Blender. The screenshots on our wiki show some of that work. In particular I was creating a low-detail pilot model. The model itself may eventually find its way into the simulation, but my main goal was to use it to render a reflection map of the pilot and cockpit from the inside of the canopy. Rendering of the reflection texture map is done externally using osg +custom code. The model is still fairly incomplete since I've been distracted by several other projects, but I hope to start working on it again soon.

I noticed that you mentioned the OpenSceneGraph .osg filetype in the screen shot page. It was also mentioned that Blender can export to .osg well. So how do you export to .osg since the standard Blender install doesn't have that as an export option. Is there a script you use and is it available somewhere for download?

Export is done using osgExp. Import is done by first converting from .osg to .ac with osgconv, then importing that with the AC3D plugin. Importing doesn't always work flawlessly, but with a bit of manual tweaking I can usually get the geometry loaded. In this case I imported the cockpit seat as a guide for positioning the pilot.

I also noticed that the screen shot uses Blender version 2.37. Is this version still be used? Or has the newest version (2.41) been adopted.

Yes, 2.37a. I'm tracking debian stable/testing, and that's the latest version available at the moment. I may install 2.41 on my own when I start working on this model again to take advantage of the new subsurf texture mapping support.

Are the .blend files available for the work done using Blender?

Not yet, but they will be checked into our repository when they are closer to being finished.

It's great to see Blender being used in even small ways to get the job done. So keep an eye on the CPS repository for the .blend files and check out the Combat Simulator Project.

About the Author


Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.


  1. I also use blender (2.41) to export .osg files through the script (thanks to Ruben Lopez). I have had really good success with this export script in producing both articulated and non-articulated models for my project.

  2. blender .rpms and .debs etc... compiled with version 2.37a, have been around for ages, but I haven't seen any newer versions - I don't think anybody actually bothers to keep them up to date! Maybe someone could pick this up? - epat

  3. @epat
    Thank you for mentioning this! I don't know where to start in order to resolve this issue and I was hoping someone out there might (that's partly why I kept this answer to the question in the post).

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