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A Neural Network Using the Game Engine


Here's one we haven't seen before: Brandon Marvenko uses Blender's game engine as a development environment for artificial neural networks.

Brandon writes:

Some time ago I used Blender's game engine to create a nice program that recognizes hand written characters using an artificial neural network. I chose the game engine for two reasons. 1) the rapid development that comes with using python, and 2) the rapid development that comes with using the game engine. Time was the issue then, and my decision to use blender certainly paid off. Here is a video of it in action.

It can adapt to anyones handwriting because you can teach it. Here is an example of that.

Im proud of this project because it really shows that the game engine is good for more than games.

This is definitely not a dead project. I recently picked it back up and am rewriting it from scratch. I will most likely be releasing it by next summer.

Very odd and interesting. Next up: Blender to count the votes for the next Dutch elections!

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. WOW...

    I remember the post about someone using the game engine to make a game that was controlled with his brain.

    Both of those examples show the power of Blender!

  2. Ah, thanks for this! I saw this I think on BlenderArtists or on YouTube ages ago and I had been wondering whatever happened to this project. I couldn't even actually remember what it was. This is a really cool use of the game engine.

  3. I can imagine what the new instructions of papers to be filled in by hand (e.g. examinations) will look like in the near future: "Clear writing is not necessary anymore. Our newest character recognition application can handle scrawled writing and spelling mistakes, translates in real time and autocompletes whole books." It is Blender, with capital B ;-)

  4. It's not odd at all.

    A lot of Blender users don't realize the big potential of Blender in labs.

    Because it's free (labs are poor in europe duh).
    It's stable (most of the time).
    It interfaces very well with python and the numerous scientific libraries that comes with it.

    I am pretty sure a lot of labs use blender but don't mention it because it makes "not serious", but I am sure that given some times, Blender will become very popular.

    A tool is a tool.

    I use it myself to avoid having to write OpenGL vizualisation code.

    "never reinvent the wheel". Especially if someone invented one that works. (I'm not ashamed to say my own wheel would be ellipsoidal)

  5. I was just wondering if this was possible a few weeks ago, as I was starting to play around with the game engine. Wow, it is! Some days my old brain seems to be needing some help. Maybe Blender will eventually suppliment what my own brain is lacking.

  6. wow, this is cool

    i wish there was the blend file avaialbe, id love to see the setup and learn from this

    this is amazing

    go Brandon Marvenko!

  7. Crazy. But neat. Keep going. ;) BTW, what will this be useful for in actual animation, etc.? Or is Blender just a tool for making possible this other operation: handwriting recognition?

  8. Now all we need is the gimp and inkscape to be integrated with the new GTK+/Compiz Fusion version of blender (lol, what a wishlist...)

    Question, how much is really planned for the GE?
    I don't really think it should be removed/replaced... anyone know?

  9. Perhaps you could convert your video to a non-proprietary format?

    I can't view it and refuse to get Adobe's flash because it is not free/libre software just a
    free download. Adobe continually updates it's flash making the GNU Flash Player unable to play
    YouTube videos.

    I refuse to support proprietary open-source and proprietary closed-source products.

    The internet exists and was created to share information with people at every level as peers.
    This was meant to improve society, not to make a limited number of people in control of information and money.

    I applaud all creative uses of free/libre open-source software programs and their modifications,
    I only wish others trying to use only free/libre software could see what has actually been accomplished
    to further drive innovation and collaboration.

    Do not underestimate the power of creativity and open group collaboration when ideas, knowledge
    and tools (mere code) meet and are unrestricted for everyone to use for any purpose, to study, modify and to share.


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