Worldweaver DX Studio 3.0

DX Studio is an IDE aimed at users building real-time 3D interactive applications, simulations or games.

Worldweaver DX Studio 3.0
  • Worldweaver DX Studio 3.0
  • Worldweaver DX Studio 3.0
  • Worldweaver DX Studio 3.0
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • High-quality effects, interactive real-time 3D previews, video streaming, online library, well-priced for students

Cons

  • Web content deployment requires plug-in, no Mac support, imported 3D models required for most projects, interface and operational quirks

Bottom Line

DX Studio 3 sits somewhere between a game-design engine and an ‘interactive experience’ design tool such as Adobe’s much more expensive Director — but for interactive designers this software is more than capable of producing a multitude of types of high-level interactive media for even the most demanding of clients.

Would you buy this?

Note: pricing for this product is in US$.

DX Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) aimed at users building real-time 3D interactive applications, simulations or games, as well as multimedia presentations, kiosks and Web sites. Its 3D engine is based on Microsoft’s DirectX 9.0c technology, so its player is Windows-only — which isn’t much of a problem if you’re creating an in-store kiosk, for example, but may be an issue if you want to distribute branded games online.

One thing that it’s not is a full 3D authoring application. There is a basic modelling tool, but the developers expect you to import ready-built 3D models into DX Studio when doing anything complex. A key point in the application’s favour, though, is the price. You can download the Freeware Edition which has no time limit, but its features are restricted.

The main versions, Standard and Pro Editions, cost £175 and £375 respectively; Pro version gives you database tie-ins, network play support and the ability to rebrand the player — which is essential if you’re creating applications or games for clients.

DX Studio offers a multi-panelled interface with a large, conventional-looking workspace in the centre.

In Version 3, this offers a live preview of the project, complete with per-pixel lighting on supported graphics cards, real-time shadows and anti-aliased text. Working with 2D and 3D scenes follows the same route — in 3D mode, resources such as fonts and bitmaps are dragged into the scene to become part of the projects object list.

In 3D mode, the tabs on the resources panel switch to include tools for working with environments and meshes. Import and export tools are included for most 2D and 3D media formats, or you can export Collada files from 3D suites such as 3DS Max or Maya. Crucially, you can bring in complete models already loaded with animations, and then drill down to edit the individual models, textures, backgrounds and sounds.

A gizmo has been included for transforming, rotating and scaling objects, though we found it clumsy for some tasks. Also, if you’re exporting a sword-wielding warrior from an application like 3DS Max, for example, you’ll need to export the sword and the character as separate objects. This is due to how DX Studio handles coordinates and pivot points of objects differently from 3D modelling tools. It’s straightforward enough to work around, however.

The end result is a multi-layered document containing 2D UI elements and 3D interactive scenes, which are combined to produce an interactive application with a customized user interface. This can be compiled with the DX Studio playback engine and distributed as a single EXE file, and you can embed the content into any application or document that supports ActiveX controls.

DX Studio includes an integrated SOAP client for accessing Web services, and a network server application that can be installed on a Windows server. Version 3 also adds support for streaming your video into the scene at HD quality after converting it into OGV format.

Scripting, using the integrated JavaScript editor, can be used to control a range of properties and actions in DX Studio, but this dependence may put some purely design-led users off. Flash designers who work with ActionScript, or those used to Director or other scriptable multimedia applications will have no trouble. The closest comparison, though, has to be with Expression Blend, which is based on Microsoft’s .NET framework.

As in Blend, Worldweaver provides you with a functional engine that you feed with pre-built design elements and objects, using them as scriptable resources for real-time 3D applications and presentations. Both applications act as a development tool at the end of a creative design chain.

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