Friday, January 27, 2006

Taught some Lightwave today

Today, I did an informal teaching session on how to use LightWave to some of our staff in preparation for the Pirates-themed educational game we're on the cusp of building. I hope I did a good job.

One thing that struck me as I was showing people around the application was just how deep and feature-rich it is. I've been tinkering with it for quite some time, but as I was talking about it, I found myself sounding like an idiot because I didn't know what a lot of the controls and buttons did.

LightWave is like Photoshop. You can get a lot done knowing only a mere fraction of the app's functionality, and probably use it daily without plumbing its depths. Every time I use it, I gain a greater understanding and appreciation of what this software offers.

I just wish it had a nice Mac-like interface. Gawd, it's clunky. The app had its origins back on the Amiga, and it's been bolted onto since then, and it shows. The only Mac-style interfaces in the whole program are the Save/Load dialog and the color picker. Yeesh. Everything else uses these custom sliders, buttons, widgets, etc., which, while functional, don't have the same snap or ease-of-use that Mac platform controls have. Luckily, I've internalized it and don't mind it, but I remember it feeling like pulling teeth to use it when I first got started. Like using a Windows app. Yerg.

But I think we're about to start having some real fun with this. Everyone agreed to take LightWave for a spin and see what they could come up with for a tile-based game we're going to be building set in a spooky monkey temple. I can't wait to see what creative things they build for it!

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