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Microsoft open-sources 3D Movie Maker


May 4, 2022, 20:30 MSK

3D Movie Maker is a children's computer program published by Microsoft in 1995 under the Microsoft Home multimedia product line.

3D Movie Maker allows you to use 40 characters in pre-rendered scenes to create 3D animations, program them to perform various actions, add objects and audio effects, and even record voices using a microphone. As a result, the user receives a computer-animated movie with a frame rate of 6 fps.

A screenshot of Microsoft 3D Movie Maker

Several 3DMM expansion packs and utilities exist, both official (e.g. Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker) and user-made. Despite its age and obvious limitations, such as low frame rate and lack of Russian language support, its community is still alive and well. Enthusiasts continue to make animated movies with it and modifications for it.

Today Microsoft released the 3D Movie Maker source code under the MIT license, 27 years since its original release. But it noted that:

  • developer names and aliases were removed, with the exception of current employees who worked on the original release who consented to keeping their names in place;
  • the code is unlikely to compile successfully under modern hardware/software, it needs Visual C++ 2.0, since modern compilers dislike some of the pre C++98 conventions;
  • the repo includes the 1995 build of BRender, but does NOT include the SoftImage SDK.

The 3D Movie Maker source code encourages developers to make it work on modern versions of Windows or any other operating systems.