Blender 2.5 Alpha 1 arrives
The Blender developers have announced the availability of the first alpha for what will become version 2.6 of their open source 3D content creation suite. The second official development release includes several changes, new features and more than 100 fixes compared to the previous Alpha 0 release.
Blender 2.5 Alpha 1 features an updated graphical user interface (GUI) layout that includes a new icon set and graphic design, new customisable keyboard short cuts and internal architecture changes. While Blender has been available as a 64-bit version for Linux and Windows for a while, with the Alpha 1 release it is the first time that it's available as a 64-bit version for Mac OS X as well.
Modelling updates include optimisations to Sculpt mode and the addition of a Solidify modifier which is used to non-destructively add thickness to thin meshes. Other notable changes include a new fluid-based smoke simulation engine, an updated particle system, ray trace acceleration system optimisations and an initial version of Color Management.
As with all development releases, use in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised. The developers ask users testing the release to report any bugs that they encounter. The Alpha 1 will be followed by three beta releases. According to the developers, the final version, labelled Blender 2.6, is scheduled to be released in "mid 2010".
More details about the release, including a full list of new features and changes, can be found in the release notes, change log and on the Blender wiki. Blender 2.5 Alpha 1 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Blender is released under version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2) and sponsored by the non-profit Blender Foundation based in Amsterdam.
- Blender 2.5 Alpha 0, a report from The H.