Wednesday, October 1, 2008

About FreeCAD/Croquet

For GSOC 2008, I worked on FreeCAD/Croquet building the graphical interface and 3D solids. FreeCAD/Croquet is meant to be a content creation tool in the collaborative virtual world Croquet. It is based on freeCAD by Dr. A.S. Koh and currently runs in the Cobalt version of the Croquet system. When completed, users will be able to create 3D models in a virtual world, simulate them and share it out to other users in real time.

One of the features that was added in the course of this program is the interactive tree view menu. The tree displays assemblies, parts, markers, etc. It can be used to select the objects in the world and also to bring up a menu by right clicking on the selected item. Some keyboard functions have also been added in for better avatar navigation control and view adjustability.

Besides that, I have added in a lot of windows that allow users to operate on the objects that are created. For example, there are windows that allow the user to change the properties and position of the drawing and 3D solid, window for animation, window to adjust rotation, etc. Click and drag functions were also added in for easy manipulation of the solids.

Other than that, the 3D models were broken down into separate faces and each face is contained in its own frame. This way, individual faces can be selected and manipulated. One example of this usage is the ability to add in markers to the face of a 3D solid. The markers will in the future be used to connect joints for simulation.

Currently, FreeCAD/Croquet has the simulation engine built into it and can do some simulation. There are a few demos of simulation done and the videos are posted on YouTube (It can also be viewed here)
The main goal is to port the whole freeCAD which is written in Visual Works to Croquet and my mentor, Dr. Koh and I are very close to achieving that. In the mean time, users can load freeCAD assembly files preloaded with simulation data into FreeCAD/Croquet and run the animation. This gives an idea of what solid modeling in Croquet will be like.

To conclude, I am very happy that I got accepted into GSOC 2008 because it has given me a great experience and also funds to continue working on FreeCAD/Croquet. With the funds that I have received, I will continue working full time on this project for as long as I can. We hope that more people will get interested and contribute to our work or even draw some attention to the Croquet/Cobalt community. Check out my website for future news and release of FreeCAD/Croquet.

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