Chapter 15: Blender BonusesBy Roland HessBlender’s functionality goes way beyond what has been shown in this book. You’ve no doubt seen a lot of buttons that were never touched in the tutorials, and settings that were not explained in the discussions. Inaddition, there are entire sections of Blender that we haven’t even mentioned. Just to give you a sense of what to tackle after you’ve mastered the basics, here is a brief look at some of those items.Rigid Body Dynamics: BulletA rigid body dynamics simulation environment lets you create setups of solid objects and have the systemtreat them as though they were real objects, conforming to the laws of physics. Rigid body dynamics cansimulate something as simple as a brick wall breaking to pieces, or something more elaborate like acomplicated Rube Goldberg device. Blender has built in support for rigid body dynamics simulation using theBullet Physics SDK (Software Development Kit).This is mainly used to support a Game Engine. Through the use of built in programming tools and internallogic and control systems, you can create a fully-functional game directly within Blender. A “game” could bea complex racing simulation like “Club SILO” from Luma studio (http://luma.co.za), or a ball that you pusharound a maze. Within any game, though, the Bullet physics engine is at work behind the scenes, makingthings happen in an efficient, realistic manner.Even if you don’t want to create games, though, Bullet is useful to the animator and still artist. Many times,you need an added touch of realism, mostly where gravity and collision are concerned, and it can be toughto keyframe such things believably. In Blender, you can use the rigid body dynamics of Bullet to do theheavy lifting.Record Game Physics to IpoBlender can record Bullet rigid body simulations into an object’s animation curves. On the main header is a“Game” menu, under which you will find the option “Record Game Physics to IPO.” By enabling this setting,the game engine will bake the locations and rotations of any dynamic physics objects into animation Iposthat can be played back later as a standard animation.A Basic Rigid Body SampleOn the included disk in the “examples” folder is a file called PhysicsAnimationBakingDemo.blend. Open thisfile, position the mouse inside the 3D view and press the P-key to start the Game Engine. After a while,press the Esc-key to stop the simulation, and the newly generated Ipo curves should be visible inside the Ipoview.