to java - Frank reveals all ?
Dodd kindly allowed us to "interview"
him on the 11th December 2002. This is the
full transcript from the conversation:
B: Frank, tell us a little
F: I was Born in 1967 in a quiet town
in North Wales and have stayed there ever
since, my fascination with computers and
programming landed me a job creating software
that helps to manage the supply of electricity
in many parts of the world (so when your
power goes out its probably my fault :)
B: How long have you been
using Real ?
F: One of my first Real
3D projects a golden egg from 1996
suggests I've been using it for about 6
years. I only wish I had been using it longer,
as I was instantly impressed by the power
and features of the early Real3D
B: What is Visual RPL
F: Basically it was an experiment for Real3D,
It was meant to allow people with no programming
skills to plug programs together like Lego.
B: Has it been successful
from a users point of view or is it hard
to keep track of how many people have downloaded
F: I knew it was going to either be incredibly
useful or a massive flop. There was very
little feedback on it and to be honest I
always considered it to be a flop and never
developed it much further. I have never
had the facilities to track its usage.
B: Your now working on
its successor, Building Blocks. Care to
tell us a bit about it ?
F: It's been developed from a prototype
and has basically the same functionality
however its clearer more compact and works
The new features should also give it all
the power of a complete programming system.
B: Any ideas on a release
date as yet ?
F: Well the software is fully working,
but it needs data files to make it go, its
like a Car with no petrol at moment. Some
of the delay is due to the difficultly in
although mainly the delay is a matter of
energy and workload.
B: With the jump to Java
- what sort of new functionality can we
F: To be honest - nothing. Java is easier
for the developer to work with but for the
user there will be no noticeable difference.
3D has been given more functionality
than RPL so it is inherently more powerful.
B: Give us a few examples
of what Building Blocks would allow us to
F: A simple example would be to automatically
create hundreds of bubbles in a pot of water
raise them to the surface and make them
pop. A more complex example would be to
control hundreds of spacecraft in battle,
track their turrets and fire weapons. It
should be useful and fun!
B: Do you use any other
3D applications ?
F: Not really, although sometimes I potter
about it POVRay though, I've always been
impressed by this freeware program.
B: What's the story with
F: Interception was created for Miles
Finley's Image contest its a
Real3D animation where a small armed
gunboat takes on a Frigate armed with weapons
primed to wipe out a whole planet. It was
a very big project for me with 40 camera
shots, 180 project files, character animation
and programmed effects for smoke and explosions.
Unfortunately it looks very dated now and
will needs a new replacement to show off
the power of Realsoft
B: And where did you get
the name "The Rookie" from ? Surely
your no longer a Rookie anymore ?
F: If anyone remembers the old flight simulator
on the Atari
ST the default pilot Call sign was
'Rookie' its a nice humble alias I took
a shine to, its also an alias I've used
for 15 years so I'm not giving it up now
B: Do you have any other
little plugins / ideas for the future ?
Blocks will be my last software for
My next project is going to be a new animation.
I have several stories in mind that will
run for about 20 minutes, I think Realsoft
desperately needs a popular animation like
"Killer Bean 2" to increase its
profile, its a bit ambitious but it should
be fun, I'll release the details in the
future exclusively on the Render
Daemon site :)
B: Version 4.5 - how has
it impacted on your development ?
F: There is so much in the new 4.5 I am
still being impacted, but probably the improved
skeleton system has given me more enthusiasm
and confidence in character animation.
B: So what does the future
hold for you ? Do you have any long term
plans in where you would like to see RS
F: I think RS has gone well beyond any
suggestions I could make to improve it,
Hair and Fur is my only serious remaining
wish. I think Realsoft's success is more
in the hands of its users now though and
its their responsibility to impress their
peers and grow their community, hopefully
I can be a part of that.
B: And finally, is there
anything you wish to say to the RS community
F: Just keep doing what your doing, the
Realsoft community is one of the most friendly
and helpful I have seen in such a small
size. I have a great deal of respect for
those that take an active part, be it on
the list answering questions, creating websites,
models and pictures for their peers or developing
software and plugins to make our lives more
Frank, many thanks for taking the time
out to complete these questions ! We all
wish you the best of luck with the plugin
and look forward eagerly for its release.