Category Archives: linux

Switching to blender on all personal projects.

So, in December (2017) I decided to leave 3dsmax and switch to blender full time for all personal work. I’ve been using 3dsmax for half my life, and still use it at work (our whole workflow there is based around autodesk software), byt at home it enabled me to completely ditch window – which has been a goal of mine for a long time, it was only 3dsmax holding me back.

Blender has been on my radar for a long time, but I never found the proper motivation to learn it – since I was quicker in 3dsmax anyways. But now I have taken the time to really learn it, and the more I use it the more I like it. I’ve spent a lot of time learning the hotkeys, I use the default blender hotkeys, and that was the key for me to really learn it. Now after just a few personal projects I’m as fast as that as 3dsmax.

My next step is to focus a lot on plugin \ addon development for blender, this is where I struggle the most right now, I’m very good with the 3dsmax SDK, but not with blender’s API yet. I do however develop a exporter in python for a external render engine, and by doing that I learn what I need.

There are many advantages for using blender, but for me the biggest reasons are the following:

  • Fast development.
  • Open source \ free.
  • Cross platform.
  • Very easy to compile from source.
  • PBR workflow in viewport (EEVEE).
  • Great documentation \ online resources.
  • Great community – all about sharing.
  • Open roadmap and planning.

There are many reasons to leave 3dsmax behind, and for me it’s these things:

  • No more free home license when we have 3dsmax at work.
  • Subscription only (200 usd a month).
  • Removed Mentalray , and nvidia stops development of mentalray.
  • Added Arnold, which cannot even do texture baking.
  • Iray cannot do texture baking either.
  • Slow development and a focus that’s not clear.
  • Not cross-platform (the only one that’s windows only..).
  • Closed source.
  • Do not care about the ‘small’ users.

There is one downside as well, and that was stopping the development of LuxMax, that was the hardest project to put away and stop working on. It’s been my pet project for many years, and I’m very proud of it, but I decided to stop working on it since I do not use 3dsmax anymore and want to focus on blender.

Testing CentOS 7 as desktop \ developer OS.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to give CentOS 7 a try as my main OS,
the reason why – is because it’s the closest you get to redhat without paying,
and I’ve been running everything from Debian to Arch, gentoo and others, but now I wanted a rock solid OS that feels predictable,
CentOS feels like the natural choice for that kind of system.

What worried me a bit was outdated software, that has been a issue before with other OS’es,
but after I checked aroud a bit I found out about elrepo,
which is a repository that you can add to CentOS so that you get better hardware support and drivers.

The ELRepo Project focuses on hardware related packages to enhance your experience with Enterprise Linux.
This includes file system drivers, graphics drivers, network drivers, sound drivers, web cam and video drivers.

The first big problem I ran into when I installed CentOS 7 was the kernel,
the netboot \ install DVD did not work as it should on my hardware, but the live-DVD did boot up and install.
The problem I had was that the hardware did not get detected properly,
and after I installed the OS trough live-DVD I decided to upgrade the kernel,
this again caused hardware issues, the usb froze and keyboard \ mouse stopped working,
so that I could not enter my full disk encryption pass phrase at start-up.

So I decided to install it again – fresh install with the live DVD, then I installed the kernel through this guide.
Getting the latest kernel fixed the issue I had with usb locking up, letting me log in and use it.

The next problem I had was to get the Nvidia drivers up and running, but after some trail and error I ended up using this guide.

When it comes to games I mostly run games via steam, that works as expected.
I also run Steam for windows through PlayOnLinux , so to get that to work on CentOS 7 I just grabbed the latest standalone package and run it there.
Then I chose to install ‘steam’ in the games list, accepting the defaults, then I go to it’s properties and make it run ‘wine staging’ instead of the default one.
Steam with wine on CentOS 7 runs like a charm.

I have a big list of games that I’ve tested here:

I also buy games on Gog , since I like DRM free copies of games that I actually own.
They list each games dependencies – all tough they are listed with the names they have in Ubuntu, so some times you
have to jump through a couple of hoops to get the right ones installed in CentOS 7.

The trickiest problem I had with my games there was the ‘ ‘ dependency,
but in the end you could do the following to make it work:

cd /usr/lib
sudo ln -s

Also with QT Creator I had issues with \ ,
the solution works the same way as the libcurl fix:

yum install mesa-libGL-devel mesa-libGLU-devel
cd /usr/lib
ln -s

There are many repositories you can add that enhances your CentOS experience, you can look at them here:

Now I can say that everything I need works, nvidia, steam, all my games, all development tools, 3D tools –
everything I need, and it feels solid.

My render exporter \ integration project

The current renderer I’m writing a exporter for
(and later a proper integration) into blender is Pbrt.

The reason why I chose this renderer is because I have the book and I really like the renderer, and having a proper exporter \ integration of this renderer in blender is something a lot of people might find useful, especially if they have the book and want to really test the renderer.

And as you might know – many of the render engines on the market today started as Pbrt source code.

As you can see on my site I used to work with 3dsmax, but I’ve always had my eye on Blender,
and recent events with 3dsmax\Autodesk made me switch over full time to Blender.
I have been developing Luxmax (3dsmax integration of LuxRender for 3dsmax) for many years, but now I feel
that blender is where the future is, it is the best open source 3d application that exists today, and it will continue to be that,
so investing time into it is not something I’ll regret in any way.
And the best part of ditching 3dsmax is that you can get rid of windows at the same time, I now exclusively use Debian.

One other important reason why I do this is that I want to get more into the render engines as well, I want to be able to add to it, implement new things, learn new stuff, and that’s why I choose pbrt , the book really completes it.

Luxrender already has a great plugin for blender, and later I will most likely join the development on that,
but for now (since I’m busy with work and family life) I need a project I can do in my own tempo, and I need to learn all the nuts and bolts in blender.
Switching from 16 years of 3dsmax to Blender was surprisingly easy, and developing for it is not hard either, I’m used to maxscript\c++ so I feel
right at home with Python and c\c++ in Blender.

I have not decided yet if this will be a open source script, fully free, or if  you should be able to buy it instead (or maybe try the ‘patreon‘ thing).
I will decide on that in a bit once it’s more feature complete, currently it’s in its infancy.

For now I have a simple test render with a basic shader:

My new project

I’ve been thinking about it for a long while, and now I’ve decided to invest all my free time into it.
I will integrate a renderer with Blender, first as a exporter for the file formats that the renderer uses, then
do a better integration later on when that is feature complete.

I have ditched windows completely, and with that 3dsmax. I still use 3dsmax at work every day,
but now I do not use it for anything at home. I invest all my time into blender now, that makes perfect sense to me.
I really enjoy blender, and after 16 years of 3dsmax it feels great to have a fully open source work flow.

Here is a sample of what’s to come:

Steam games for windows that works with Wine on Linux

I frequently test and install games that are in my steam library through wine.
I run wine-staging on debian testing.

I have compiled a list of those who worked, and those that did not, I have included a steam link to each game
so that you easily can go buy\view them.
I update with new games frequently, I tag them with a date too so that you see when it was last updated easily.
I figured I might as well post it here as well, maybe someone finds it useful.

Games that work:

Graviteam Tactics: Operation Star
Battle academy
Close Combat – gateway to caen
Devil Daggers
Divine divinity
Beyond divinity
endless space
Frontline : road to moscow
legend of grimrock II
supreme ruler 1936
supreme ruler ultimate
star ruler 2
Rise of prussia gold
1953 – KGB Unleashed
Arklash: Legacy
MX vs. ATV Reflex
SanctuaryRPG Black edition
Starseed pilgrim
Avadon 2: The corruption
Avdon: The black fortress
Avernum 4
Avernum 5
Avernum 6
Avernum escape from the pit
ship simulator extremes – works with nvidia card, and not on ATI card.

–Updated 12.Nov.2016
The Forest
panzer corps
Stranded deep

–Updated 8.May 2017
Sid Meier’s Civilization III Complete

–Updated 10.May 2017
Dungeon of the Endless
E.Y.E Divine Cybermancy
endless legend
Rise of Prussia Gold
Fallout: New Vegas

–Updated 13.May 2017
Victoria 2 – see notes in comments on how to make it work.
Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization
Sid Meier’s Civilization IV
Rogue System
fallout tactics
Fallout 2
Dead space (works, but choppy glitchy audio)

–Updated 03.June 2017
Sniper Elite V2
inquisitor – works in wine-staging.
Hearts of iron III – works in wine-staging
SuperPower 2 steam edition
Sins of a solar empire: rebellion

–Updated 11.Nov 2017
The Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind
Polaris sector
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee

Games that did not work:

Unclaimed world – crash on launch.
enemy front – crashed during intro, complained about video card.
Galactic Civilizations III – failed to start, missing executable error
Meridian: new world – crash on launch
Out there somewhere – crash on launch
Quake 1 – winsock error during start.
starpoint Gemini 2 – failes to launch crashes.
strategic war in europe – same error as above
stardrive 2 – crash on launch
Eador. Masters of the broken world – fails during initial setup.
off-road drive – does not launch because of .net install.
Operation flashpoint : dragon rising – did not launch

–Updated 12.Nov.2016
DayZ – dependency fails to install, causing game not to launch.

–Updated 8.May 2017
The witcher: enhanced edition – graphical glitches on characters.

The quest for cross-platform work-flow follow-up

I wrote a post a while ago, about crossplatform workflow (text editing and code editing etc).
The old post is located here:

After I wrote that I was still looking into other editors, and the last weeks I’ve been using Spacemacs ,
and I must admit I like that the best, I now use it both at home and at work.
And it works great on windows (which I use every now and then) and on all my linux platforms.
It even works great on my Lemote Yeelong mipsel laptop.

Also is has a huge set of plugins for anything you need, so if you are looking into editors – then you should give it a try.

Learning blender properly

After 16 years of 3dsmax every single day – I’ve started to force my self to work in blender on my own personal projects.
At work I still use 3dsmax daily, but I’ve always had an eye for blender.

The biggest reason why I find blender so intriguing is because it’s open source and free, and also it enables me to work in my favorite OS – Debian.
If something is ‘wrong’ in blender – I can fix it, if I need a tool – I can easily add it any way I like.
And the blender development is never slowing down, I can pull any version I want from source and just build it.
It’s not like the 12 month release cycle from Autodesk.

Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy 3dsmax, but I also love the freedom blender gives me, both as a artist, and as a developer.

This is a screenshot of my current model, I’m making it from the photo you see here.
(It’s my first blender project, and is a work in progress).



I chose this model because it’s unique and fun to work with, and I enjoy mechanical rigging.

The idea is to make it photo real, and create a high-poly version, and a real-time version.
Then rig it for animation, but also for ‘real-time’ use in blender game engine \ Blend4web, so that you can drive that thing around in real-time.



Making my next plugin a blender plugin.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and I’ve been thinking about starting a new project that I can do for my self that is not related to Luxrender\LuxMax.

I won’t say exactly what it is yet – but it’s a new plugin.
The thing I’ve been thinking of is if I should make it for 3dsmax or blender, and I’ve decided to get more into blender now.
And I want to make my next project for that. I’ve been using linux for 6 years or so, and blender on and off for a long while.

The reason is simply that I want to learn more about the code for blender, and I’ve been working for so long in 3dsmax that I now want to code for something else, and work fully on linux (Debian).

I do not like the way windows is going (in regards with privacy and all that), and I stay away from windows as best I can, but that’s impossible if you work with 3dsmax on a daily basis.

My bread and butter comes from my daily job – I’m a project engineer at National Oilwell Varco, been there for 10 years now.
Currently I work with 3dsmax every day, and I code in c++\c# (I work with realtime simulation).
That part of my life will not change.

But at home  where I also do a lot of coding (check under ‘Software’ in the top menu) I now want to focus on more open source software, and not only 3dsmax as I’ve mostly been doing the past 6 years or so at home.

First now I’ll get blender compiled from source, dig into some of the bugs, see if I can help the blender project out a bit, then move from there and see where it takes me.

I always like to learn new things, and now I want to focus more on linux and blender.

Also – it feels really good to work on a free OS with free software.

The quest for cross-platform work-flow

It’s no secret that I still use windows for development, and I do use visual studio.
Even though I work most of my work day (at the office) in Visual Studio – I try to look at new workflows that
can benefit me both on windows and Linux.

I feel now that I have found a way for me to do this.

I ended up installing Babun on windows , and then install spf13-vim on top of that.
That gives me a great shell to work in on windows, and it gives the exact same feel as if I was on linux,
on linux I use spf13-vim directly in a regular terminal.

I then use this for editing and writing code, both on windows and linux.

I have not yet set up so that I can compile with visual studio through it,
so I just compile in VS (refresh the project when needed, then compile).
But I will look into this as well.

The vim key bindings takes some time to get used to, but the documentation is very good, so you can easily figure out
the various commands for doing things.

Lemote Yeeloong, Loongson mipsel laptop


I’m lucky enough to own a Lemote mipsel laptop.

It’s a expensive and slow piece of hardware, but the reason why I bought it is
because I value privacy, I  value knowing what software I run, and where it’s from, and that
it’s the exact software I installed.

Also the hardware is a bit exotic (if you can call it that).

Everything from the Bios to the OS can be compiled from source code.

I enjoy testing distributions, and I often try different kinds, I’ve mostly been using debian on it, but I now switched to OpenBSD, because debian is dropping mipsel support.

I mostly stay in the terminal on it, so I have it all customized for that.
I can do all the daily stuff on it, code c++, read mail, surf the net – everything you’d expect.

It does not work well for any graphical type of jobs, since the graphics acceleration is poor on it.