DigiBahn, Blender, and Google SketchUp

One of the primary difficulties facing the DigiBahn Project is the development of realistic 3D models to simulate an authentic German environment. One workaround we have been employing is to mine the Google 3D Warehouse for models and exporting them into Blender as a COLLADA file.

The workflow is fairly straight-forward:

  1. Download the SketchUp model as a COLLADA .zip file.
  2. Unpack the .zip file.
  3. Import the COLLADA 1.4.1 .dae file into Blender
Blender provides an easy way to import COLLADA files via an embedded Python script, which, of course, requires Python to be installed:

Supposedly the script that ships with Blender is slightly dated, so a new COLLADA import script is available on the Web.

Importing the SketchUp models into Blender works well, although the script seems to generate extra edges and some unnecessary vertices, which need to be cleaned up within Blender edit mode. After this is done, the textures need to be reapplied to the mesh:

In any case, grabbing these models from the Google 3D Warehouse and cleaning up the meshes is a lot easier than trying to create the models based on incomplete images. Here is a list of the models we have grabbed so far:
  1. Stuttgart Central Station
  2. St. Andreas Church in Weißenburg
We will probably be grabbing more in the near future in order to flesh out the pedestrian zone for the game.

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