I added a physics engine to Rhino3D

It lets me walk around inside my starship using an Xbox controller.

The video below is only 53 seconds long but is already 36Mb in size. Zut Alors!

It demonstrates:

  • Walking around the bridge – you will see the camera moves down and up as I go down into the center region and walk back up. This is the physics engine in action. I am using a gamepad to move and look.
  • Walking outside of the model and it’s collision geometry. You stay on the same level. You don’t fall and can return to the model, back to the collision geometry.
  • Using the mouse to zoom. After I walk outside, I turn to face the ship and then zoom away from the model using the mouse scroll wheel so that I can see the landing leg pad.
  • Fast travel. I use Ctrl+W to draw a rectangle around an area and Rhino fast travels me to that location.

The mouse zoom and the Ctrl+W “fast travel” are features built into the Rhino editor. When I fast travel to the leg pad I am able to use the gamepad to walk onto the landing leg pad and up the ramp into the cargo bay.

I am using the Ghosted View inside Rhino. I use it mostly when editing or creating geometry. It lets you see through stuff so you get a better feel for the surrounding geometry. I thought that it would be the best view to use for the video. You can see things that are behind walls and get a good feel for the general layout of the ship.

Why did I do this?

I did it because it is hard to judge the sizes of things.

I have a mesh of a man. The man is exactly six foot tall in the model world. I scatter him around and use him as a ruler.

But he isn’t enough. I can place him in a room and try to view him from different angles but the mouse doesn’t respect decks and the zoom is too course. I want to be able to walk around a deck, at eye height, and actually look through the portholes to see if it all works. The video above starts from inside the character’s head and shows that we are at his eye level.

Being in the world is much better than viewing it from outside or measuring distances.

Why not just export the model to the Unreal Engine?

Been there, done that. I want to see a space while I am editing it. Exporting it to a different app takes too long and is just a general pain. You also fall to your death if you walk too far. That’s not a feature that I desire 😉

I can grab the gamepad and, immediately, I am walking on the decks.