The Hess Report




Blender People 0.8



Sample animations are at the bottom of the page

Not sure if BlenderPeople is for you? Download and read the comprehensive documentation: Blender People 0.8 Documentation

Blender People 0.8, zip file.

Blender People is a suite of Python scripts for Blender that, in conjunction with a mySQL database, allow the generation of large scale crowd dynamics, including (but not limited to) combat scenarios. Included in the distribution are a sample .blend file, with all the scripts embedded, and the Windows installer for MySQLdb. BlenderPeople0.8 is release under the GPL. This version of BlenderPeople makes use of features not found in the official Blender 2.42a release. Windows users can find the special Blender compile here; OSX (Python 2.3) users go here. Anyone who wants to build their own for their platform can get a .zipped ./blender/source/blender directory here.

If you want a comprehensive list of what it can do, then download the standalone documentation. But if you're too lazy to even do that, then here is a short feature list:

- Arbitrary number of Actors
- User-defined Actor types
- Heirarchical, automatic or user-defined command and control
- Ranged attacks
- Actors can be set to attack, defend, march, retreat, mill, regroup, attack area, etc.
- Cross-platform
- User-defined effectors to simlute the effect on Actors of fire, mud, boulders, force fields, etc.
- Support for Blender's character animation DupliGroups
- Fast (my Athlon XP1800 w/512 MB RAM was clocking 40 seconds of calc time for each 1 second of animation in an 800 Actor simulation).

I have done a lot of reading on crowd simulation/AI issues, and I have arrived at a slightly different philosophy than most of them. Most of the information I've had given to me concerns itself with the accurate representation of crowd dynamics. I'm not so into that. As an artist, I'm more interested in giving the illusion of reality. Movie makers do not produce things on the screen as they are in real life. They produce them as we are used to seeing them, so that the illusion of life is created. In designing and coding Blender People, this notion has been my guide. I don't really care if Blender People can be used to simulate crowd reaction to a bomb going off inside a building so that architects can more effectively plan disaster escape plans. All I care about is that it looks good. If that requires complex maths and accurate simulation of human behavior, then that's where the project will head. But so far it hasn't.

System Requirements  
Software: Available at:
Blender 2.42a - Character Animation Build Windows users:
  OS X users:
mySQL 5.0
MySQLdb 1.0
(self-installing .exe for MySQLdb included for Windows users)
Python 2.4


Don't be intimidated by the requirements list. People have found the documentation to be both complete and helpful, and have been able to get things running on their first try. Trust me, when you set up two 500-Actor armies, let them have at each other for fifteen minutes or so of calculations, then watch the results, it's really fun.


Blender People 0.8

For the latest development news, you can click here, subscribe to an RSS feed here, or read it below:

Animation Samples
All animations are in DivX5 .avi format.

Please right click and choose "Download link..." (or "save target as...") to get the videos. It'll save repeated hits on my server. Thanks!

BlenderPeople output for the current version, warts and all. I could have tweaked and sweetened it, but I wanted you to see the current state of affairs. 3.5MB XViD

The Blue team just wants to boogie, but Red wants to party down on the sacred ground, too. 5 MB.

Actors milling, while avoiding a barrier. 1.5 MB.

Nice swarming motion animation, featuring around 200 Actors. Fun music included. 1 MB.

First person view, before terrain following was added back in. 713kb.

Barriers added. 1.5 MB. Kind of lame, you may want to skip this one.

Things are finally working. 312kb.

First successful animation test. 256kb.

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