Development Fund Report, July 2019

The fund almost doubled in the past months. Read about the activities we will support.

The Blender Development Fund is doing fantastic! Thanks to a lot of new members – but especially the Epic Games MegaGrant – we can almost double the efforts to support Blender development.

This success is thanks to a lot of reasons. First of all, thanks to the fantastic presence of the Blender community online. Then there is an increasing interest in open source by the media industry, there is the highly anticipated Blender 2.80 release, the benefits for members on, and last (but not least) it’s the result of a carefully built relationship network between the Foundation and the industry in the past years.

OK, enough back patting. Success comes at a price. What’s going to happen next? People expressed concerns about the influence that the industry will have, or how to keep volunteers of the community on board . This blog post is meant to clarify these challenges.

Report First Half 2019

The year started with 1272 members, bringing in €22.4k per month. There was a steady growth, we expected it to go to 30k at least within 6 months. In that period we supported 9 people:

  • Full time grants for Bastien Montagne, Brecht Van Lommel, Campbell Barton, Clement Foucault, Jacques Lucke, Sergey Sharybin.
  • Full time grant per April: Jeroen Bakker
  • Part time grants for: Sebastian Parborg, Dalai Felinto and Philipp Oeser.

Other people contributing to Blender (Ton Roosendaal, Pablo Vazquez, Francesco Siddi, Sybren Stüvel) were supported via Blender Institute projects.

All efforts for this period went to stabilizing Blender. Finishing half working 2.8 targets, solving usability issues, reviewing patches, and handling (literally) thousands of bug reports.

In the previous report I also noted a couple of new projects we could start working on. Only few have been picked up so far; most notably Jacques Lucke could start working on node systems and particles.

The discipline and commitment everyone has shown to only work on stabilizing Blender 2.80 was impressive and deserves admiration and compliments. For any developer building new features is fun – and not being able to do this for almost 2 years is really taking its toll here.

Professionalizing Blender Development – the Epic Grant

When the new Development Fund launched I contacted Epic Games to join as a member as well. The conversations with Epic Games general manager Marc Petit became more tangible in February and March 2019. It was clear that Marc’s main topic was that we could improve in attracting more professional contributors – a recurring topic, already discussed with friends working for Google. In some areas Blender is still a bit in the stone age. We should invest in quality.
So I wrote a proposal with the following summary:

“For Blender development we want to invest in our support level, project structure, standards and practices. Topics include:

  • Development coordination (for our online projects, and to be a contact for Development Fund members)
  • Technical Documentation 
  • Onboarding and support for (new) developers
  • Implement code standards and better engineering practices
  • Improve the Phabricator platform (design proposals, reviews, bug reports). Help professional users to report without copyright conflicts.
  • Better formalization of ‘module teams’ with artists taking part as review board.
  • Additional developers active online team for fixing and support.

I suggested to set this up as a 3 or 4 year commitment, to ensure continuity. The project would then materialize as a public ‘developers back office’ – providing a wide range of activities that will help developers and contributors in general – regardless if it’s a Foundation supported developer or an external developer or a volunteer. This is the basic level of support an open source project can always do well. By supporting developers in an open project, they will be able to provide user support of superior quality.

In the final grant agreement, as signed in June, the description was very simple – referring only to texts I wrote and confirming to support the Blender open source project in general for a period of 3 years. No strings attached, except for regular reporting and actually spending the grant on Blender.

Work on Blender in Second Half of 2019

Thanks to the growth of the Development Fund and the MegaGrant we can expand the team of paid developers with six people. And that was quite easy! Below is the list of people who currently are supported by the Foundation (directly as a grant, or via Blender Institute):

Bastien Montagne – project admin, dev support, overrides, assets
Brecht van Lommel – project admin, lead architect, Cycles
Campbell Barton – project admin, tools, UI, Python
Clement Foucault – Eevee and real-time PBR rendering, Vulkan
Dalai Felinto – project coordinator, viewport, VR
Germano Cavalcante de Sousa – precision modeling and snapping (3 months)
Jacques Lucke – node systems, particles
Jeroen Bakker – viewports, openCL rendering
Mai Lavelle – Cycles (per August)
Nathan Letwory – project coordinator
Philipp Oeser – dev support
Richard Antalik – Video sequencer (1 month)
Sebastian Parborg – dev support, animation systems
Sergey Sharybin – dev support, deps graph, VFX, Cycles
Sybren Stüvel – dev support, animation systems
William Reynish – UI design

Still talking to two more people, to be confirmed.

Open positions: A UI developer (one who understands our event code, UI drawing, code, operators, RNA, Python, …) and a Developer Manager or Product Manager (to take over part of my workload especially).

Back office & overhead – the team is being supported by me, Francesco Siddi, Pablo Vazquez and administrator Anja Vugts-Verstappen. We would urgently need a web developer and technical writer!

As you can see – this is close to 20 full-timers – an amazing feat for a Free and Open Source project like Blender. This also means that your donations and Dev Fund membership is more important than ever! (And I know some more big ones coming on board soon :)

New Features and roadmap!

You know the saying – under-promise and over-deliver. It’s super easy to whip up excitement about all the development areas we want to work on. However, the best people to do that are the developers themselves. Or better – the module teams, in which users can participate as well.

One of the main goals for the new Developer Coordinators Dalai and Nathan is to work with the module teams to provide reports on their current activity and roadmaps for the coming releases. That will be worked in the period after the release.

Stay tuned! And, enjoy the ride… the 2.80 release is coming, Siggraph is around the corner, I expect a lot of news around Blender to be released in the coming weeks.

Thanks everyone!

Ton Roosendaal
Blender Foundation chairman

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    Also, could you wait until the first cpu tile is complete before moving onto others? This is to get the time ASAP so too many tiles aren’t rendered from the start which might not be competed at the end.


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  21. Well, after a bout 3 months I think we can safely say we have not seen anything negative, yet. I hope this continues. I think Epic is a great partner for a project like Blander.

  22. nice report, thanks for sharing…

    anyways, i have question, will Germano Cavalcante going to stop working after 3 months? what happen next? i’m asking because i really need that better snapping tools…

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  25. Good for blender.

    I did try the game engine, I thought it was poor, but it gave me the chance to create some small levels with some help. I failed at getting exactly what I wanted, but it was at least a try. Better than no attempt.

  26. Is Mai still joining in for august?

  27. Complaining about performance and downplaying new features because of a couple of bugs is insane. Cycles is 70% to over 110% faster depending on the project, also improved performance for particles. There is a whole new f—awesome Realtime Rendering Engine. New usability features like workspaces, collections, quick favorites will improve workflow so much. Haters are envy autodesk fanboys for sure.

    • performance is not just couple bugs it’s a complex core problem all those features are worthless if you can’t make your project & you have to fight your way,it seems you are the fanboy here, autodesk users won’t come and ask for better performance they would be happy that blender stay like this a is no match to 3ds or maya performance actually blender performance in undo system and edit mode is the worse in any 3d app, the community concern is a legit one and the devs should do something about it instead of giving false hope with major upgrade but no optimization what so ever.

      • Blender have the money now
        it just needs a little time now
        They are working on Undo and Performance improvements

  28. Performance and optimization problems are the worst part of blender experience. You can find a way around for any other issues but not the core ones. And it is not a 2.80 problem.

    I prefer performance over UI, Grease Pencil or EEVEE. But as Ton said: Blender is personal for each developer and free to work on what they like. I admire what you do but I hope you will more often prioritize needs over wants.

  29. don’t tell me you are going to release 2.80 with the performance in edit mode,undo/redo worse than 2.79?, with all this money and fulltime developers u guys want to focus on new features and what not, this is just pure stupid,the quick the fund went up the quicker it’ll be down when people starts using 2.80 with edit mode, which is worst than any other 3d software on the planet.

    • Blender 2.8 is way better. Stop crying kid, the bugs will be fixed.

      • i am not a kid and this is not about bugs but performance regression, learn to read first before coming here as an arrogant jerk who knows nothing.

        • and 2.80 is worse than 2.79 in many areas but the blinds can’t see it!

  30. i don’t expect less from Epic games they are always supportive to open source projects and Tim Sweeney is like Ton in a similar way, i think both can help each other in their domains, Blender is a great Content/Asset creation tool and Unreal Engine,Marketplace..etc is a great AAA game engine and a platform to publish and sell products…the more blender becomes powerful and popular the more epic benefits from it same as tangent animation is doing.

    • and the list needs to be updated , Pablo has joined the team YAY :)

  31. Wanted to jump in and say a huge THANK YOU, yet again, for your diligent hard work with 2.80. The results are mind-blowing already!! The entire Blender team rocks!

  32. Great news all around! Congratulations to Ton and all devs for the deserved success of Blender. It’s an unstoppable rocket ship on its way to exciting new territory!

  33. Hey Ton,

    Do you guys plan to improve the contribution workflow? Right now its a bit unclear what happens once a diff is submitted. Sometimes things get reviewed sometimes not and end up on a ever growing list of never reviewed things…

    I know its always a tradeoff to review and do the communication work for developer instead of just doing it themselves (and not everyone likes to do this work too).

    someone taking care of these would be an improvement, even if it’s a rejection ;)

  34. personally i think instead of hiring many other devs with this new grant and the upcoming ones find a top one who specializes on optimization and high performance that’s the big issue with blender not the new features..etc with dev team and projects becoming big and large and now with EEVEE and PBR shading in the viewport it would be hard to focus solely on that and blender will be extremely slow and difficult to work with that’s what other softwares are doing like 3ds Max and Maya they have improved the performance 200% especially edit mode ,complex scenes and rigs and of course they have the money to hire the best devs in the world, just think about if blender foundation also focuses on that.

    • lol – 1 sentence, 127 words, no idea what you just said :-D

      • what’s hard to understand? maybe you need to go back to school or something lol anyway i am sure the developers understand what i mean.

  35. Hello! Awesome post, such great news for Blender! Also I wanted to ask a question about the third-party external renders support. As Blender is getting more and more refined and professional will we see maybe some stand-alone proprietary engines willing to provide support for Blender? Were there any contacts negotiations with developers regarding that topic? Any news from Vray, Octane? There were talks about Redshift support in the beginning of the year and then they got bought out by Maxon, they’re afraid of competition, is that another dirty move from proprietary 3d software packages aimed against Blender? Will we see Redshift now or not? What to expect in this regards? Thank you Ton and the team for your awesome job! I love Blender 2.8, it’s epic! You’re a legend!

  36. Hey Ton.
    congratulations on everything MegaGrant,New Devs onboard & especially the 2.80.
    i have two questions regarding this topic.

    1. when you say “Professionalizing blender developement” by attracting more professional contributors,support level…etc does it mean that subsequently also targets lets say more studios, big or not? as it did with tangent animation, blender becomes more heavy production ready the more they use it and therefore we’ll know the things that needs to be fixed or are missing in their pipeline or you would say you prefer blender to be mainly used by individuals and indie studios?.

    2. question, now with the fund reaching the code quest level and beyond, the core dev team can work from the HQ under one roof or do they prefer to work from their home countries, i know many of them are bilingual and already working there like Sergey,Brecht,Jeroen..etc, i think nothing beats daily communictation and meetings,maybe having them all in one place will improve developement immensly or another code quest next year???

  37. Let’s stay on topic, and not have feature requests or feature discussion here.

  38. So how’s the texture compositor going? Anything started on that?

    • (I’m referring to the 2d finite-resolution texture compositor that was talked about in the wake of Allegorithmic selling out)

      • I feel that the outroar back then was a bit ungranted and uncalled for.

        Nothing has changed since then, and many feel there are way higher priorities right now. Substance remains the same, so no need for Blender to tackle that now.

        • So because there’s Maya there’s no need to tackle animation, because there’s zbrush there’s no need to tackle sculpting as well?

          I’d *love* to have a texture compositor inside Blender. Think of all the amazing animated effects you could do by driving texture parameters!

          And the depressing thing, there’s already a compositor in Blender that does 90% of what is needed. All we need is a way to hook the output up to a texture and a few more nodes.

  39. Talking about compliance with industry standards or common studio pipelines for ads and cinematics …
    Blender is still missing:
    – UDIM (almost there I guess)
    – OpenVDB import
    – Cycles Scatter?
    I consider Corona Scatter to be the simplest and most convenient implementation, it’s perfect for most archviz cases (no spline scattering though).
    At the moment, we have to scatter things via hair(!sic) particle system, which is outdated, contains unnesesary tools and doesn’t have a features crucial for the typical workflow
    (avoid collision based on Bounding box size, randomize transforms, better display options, objects list … )

    • There’s an addon called Scatter Objects that ships with Blender that may be some help to you. UDIM is supposed to be ready for 2.81.
      As for OpenVDB import, I don’t know when it will come, but the groundwork has been laid for it. Tangent animation had a patch for vdb import, and Blender supports baking to vdb internally. I think the current plan is to implement a volume object, and use vdb to manage volumes AND sculpting– see the latest Blender Today with Pablo Dobarro and Julien Kaspar. Pablo shows a fast voxel remeshing feature that might potentially replace and supercede dyntopo. As an added bonus, it would mean being able to sculpt smoke simulations. But that’s a long way in the future, so the plans will certainly change. In fact, I think Pablo Dobarro is in Amsterdam specifically to discuss a new mesh format for sculpting.

  40. Thank you for the update, really exciting times for Blender and a fun ride for those following its development!

    While I’m really excited about all the features coming to Blender, I hope one of the first priorities will be performance. There are talks on the Blenderartist forums about performance being worse than even 2.79 and the impression seems to be that these issues won’t be remedied for a long time.
    (Main discussion happening here:, but not isolated to that thread)

    And I’m sure all the developers are aware of this, as well as complaints about the undo system. I found myself avoiding undoing in my first serious project with 2.8 because it was actually faster to just change the value to the old value instead of undoing. But this also meant I was uselessly adding to the undo stack, and at some point, I found myself needing to go back to an earlier point, but couldn’t because that history was no longer available.

    I’ve sadly been scarred by this, and find myself more excited to read any little notes about something being optimized and made faster than feature additions, haha.

    • Yes everyone is aware of it! It’s always the fight between: deadlines, roadmaps, finishing things, and bug fixing. Four topics, pick three!

      • Good to know everyone’s aware! I don’t envy your struggle overseeing so many things within several constraints. Keep up the admirable work!

    • In my opinion and experience, viewport 2.8 is nevertheless faster than 2.79 and it is much more pleasant to work with it. In object mode for sure. I dealt with a scenes from 3ds Max and after converting to Blender they work much quicker.

    • the viewport is no longer the bottleneck, in 2.80 u can select heavy meshes,armatures..etc in object mode even wireframes drawing is much faster than 2.7x, it’s just the devs didn’t tackle edit mode,undo/redo because of time constraints,they want to push 2.80 for release instead of dragging it another 3 months or so, there are already tasks for them and i am sure in 2.81 and up they will get the highest priority.

  41. There is a typo in “Mai Lavelle – Cycles (half tine, per Sept)”
    Not to be annoying, but it looks a bit unprofessional..

  42. UDIM still coming?

  43. Trust Ton. Epic is a great company as well and by no means a direct competitor with Blender.

  44. This is a really clear and succinct summary. Great thinking reaching out to epic games for funding!

  45. What about Alexander gavrilov? He commit a lot of codes for the blender 2.8 animation system,
    Blender need a dedicated developer for animation a developer who will improve animation capabilities for every new version of blender

    • We talk to everyone! We do a lot in public here, but let’s respect how you want to contribute to Blender as a private matter. If there’s a Dev Fund grant, it will be made public.

  46. Yo Ton,
    What about Pablo Dobarro (the sculpting branch dev.), will he be a part-timer or still a volunteer? And in the modules list page it will be good to add some users those we know and have been around for sometimes or who show interest in the Blender development, to be kind open a bridge between devs and users. This is really important for development, the best Blender features are the one that user(s) and developer(s) worked together, for example dyntopo (Bishop and Sick), Motion tracking ( König and Dr Hackerman :) ).
    There is couple of typo may be you need to read through again.

  47. Hi Ton,

    This is Amir. If you remember, about two months ago me you and two students at MIT were talking about integrating new physics engines in Blender. Although that plan didn’t workout but I hope you continue thinking about hiring people to do that.

    I hope the stuff I wrote here a while back are not forgotten and are still somehow in your mind and priorities:

    Lastly, I wanted to ask you to give more priority to Blender’s Python module. The Python module is HEAVILY used in research and offline renderings. Every time that I posted an issue about the Python module I got comments like “The Python module is not officially supported” or similar comments from the developers, which were very very annoying. I hope the Python module would be a priority given that researchers use it a lot in academia.


    • To my knowledge issues with Blender as Python module are handled just like any core feature. In the 2.8 dev period it broke often, but that was to be expected. Show links to core blender devs claiming it is not supported. Maybe i misunderstand the use case.

      • I didn’t mean I posted stuff for the Python module of Blender 2.8. I mean in general, the developers often say that the Python module is not officially supported which makes me feel that it has a low priority for the developers to extend it/support it. See examples are below:

        I have seen similar comments many times when searching for solutions to issues I had when using the Python module. I’m sure the developers are just trying to make it clear that the Python module is not their priority, although they still maintain it more or less. However, this is not good specially for people in academia as many people use Blender as their rendering tool and many (like me) are waiting for Blender to become a tool that they can use for robotics research and training AI models that learn about causality (this includes pretty good physics to start with).

        Aside from the Python module, what’s your stance on the other things I talked about? Like new physics engine, a game-like interactive mode and relevant stuff? As I mentioned in my long post, Blender has the potential to pretty much close the current gaps in robotics research software We really look forward to all of these in Blender.

        • This is a spesific conflict, while we keep Blender building as a Python module – we can’t always handle cases where other Python modules conflict with Blender.

      • The Python module here refers to using the bpy module outside of Blender, as a programming API. This is not an officially supported Blender feature, rather an experimental build option that adventurous users can try.

        Using bpy from inside Blender is of course supported.

        • I hear this use case coming by quite often. The users who depend are welcome to come on board to maintain it and make it a supported feature then. Some companies also depend on it for server side rendering of assets… will check on what I can do to connect people or make things possible.

  48. great news. personally besides having Pablo Dobarro on the team for sculpting, retopoing and he also seems interested in developing tools for modeling,UVing..etc , i think we need another experienced developer to help Clément with EEVEE/Vulkan..etc especially real-time PBR raytracing is becoming the future also to push EEVEE for character rendering and i mean hyper-realistic ones that we see in AAA games trailers or the latest tech demos, to be able to do all of that inside blender from conception to final product is a dream to live for :).

  49. what happened to the interactive mode aka game engine? wasn’t Mr.Benoit supposed to work on it part time for a full year but stopped half way! is the idea scrapped completely with this epic’s megagrant and the foundation is going to only focus on better interoperability with other game engines, open source or not?
    i am very skeptic by this epic’s sudden generosity after the game engine’s removal, they’ll definitely expect something in return not to mention Marc Petit is autodesk’s former VP, he might still have senetiments to a company he managed for years that considers blender a direct threat in a way or another.

    • yeah strange move from Epic since Blender is direct competitor to UE4 in fields like architecture visualization for example. but game engine removal is a long ago decison I don’t see any issue here

      • While Ton has already replied and everything is clarified, just wanted to say that Blender is, in no way, competitor to UE4. It’s fully complementary and a great addition to UE4’s workflow.

        While both can do Archviz, it’s not the main purpose of any of them, and UE4 needs a 3D editor to feed its engine, a full stack software capable of modelling, texturing, uv-unwrapping, animating, etc.

        And Blender, like UE4, being open source, is the ideal candidate for that task.

        Yeah, both overlap in one single thing, but both help each other a lot.

    • That project is on hold, during past year of development focus was on stabilizing first. Interactive 3d is my pet project, but the time was not ready for it yet. I would not tolerate any of our Dev Fund members to use influence to halt Blender in any area, nor did this happen ever.

      • thanks for the assuring reply Ton, i know you’re not an easy guy to influence and always tries to acomplish what is the best for blender and open source, no doubt about that.
        i have followed the project early on then the news stopped, in the BConference Benoit laid down his plan for the interactive mode but i guesss now it’s on hold as you say, his it because everything nodes needs to be more flourished?..i am eagrly waiting for it so i can start testing and prototyping.
        Best of Luck.

    • There is no need for a game engine inside Blender! It was not good enough, it was used by nobody and and a new one will have the same fate. Software such as Godot Unreal Unity are and will do it way better because they are committed to games. No need to bloat Blender with non needed features than will anyway never reach high end pro level. I would even remove the video editor because no high end pros edit videos in a ddc software anyway, that’s not even a practice I saw once. Blender should target high end animation and vfx shot creation, do it the best possible and leave the not CG parts to not CG sofwares.

      • *Dcc not ddc

        • clearly you don’t know blender and what’s trying to aim for as a complete 3d package including interactive media..

      • An interactive mode can be quite useful in a lot of situations, like say for example you want to animate a jet fighter, instead of moving it and rotating it by hand (which would look very awkward) you can make it controllable inside the interactive mode, drive it yourself (like a video game) and bake the animation. And that’s just an example. The reason people are excited about the interactive mode is because it’s ‘not’ a game engine like Godot or UE4, it’s a useful tool that allows the user to dynamically interact with the scene which is a great feature.

      • Clearly Mfx has no idea what a 3D program. Everything in blender now exists in a game engine, the only thing missing is scripts, logical nodes and exporter. Don’t need game engine? Thought like this that slowed the evolution of blender. In the past the engine was archaic, so there were no corporate donations. Only today with the upgrade that became attractive, and this for both 3D with a game engine. The godot you mentioned, their logical collision system up to now is problematic for 3D games. Unreal engine only works in windows, and their programming language is the worst among engines. What is raised at godot if we had eevee years ago could be the blender receiving now $$$$. And the resources applied in eevee and game engine could be used between both. This thought to take away resources from blender that will keep delaying development. The more modern features (video editor, game engine, modeler) the more attractive to other people, and the more potential donors (just improve them). To say that the game engine was unattractive is an empty statement. Similarly the 3d modeler was not attractive as it was archaic. Only now the new graphics engine it’s attractive, now being attractive that large companies have are donating.

        • Not really, even with Eevee it’s not a game engine. A game engine is a far larger task – I don’t want to mystify it, but a scene hierarchy, a nice realtime rendering engine and a physics engine won’t make it capable of running a more complex game. Just look at Unity, they’re still considered more like a mobile engine than a full AAA PC/Console engine even if it’s not true anymore.

        • No, Mfx is correct. Blender needs to focus on its key features, doing too broad is never good.

          • Investment is precisely to bring new programmers. Limiting only one thing is to make blender similar to 3d max. What does this imply? No future investment, will be another 3d program 3d max, cinema 4d. Eevee 70% + game engine, unity his biggest problem was the lod level, even BGE’s lod level was best than unity. if game engine wasn’t important UE4 wouldn’t exist and uniyt 3d. Is the fastest growing segment in the world, but it’s no use talking to people with nearsighted vision. Animation? Vast majority who use blender will never reach hollywood. This is a fact.

        • I don’t think you understand what a game engine is.

          Many game engines don’t even have a UI, and most of the work with a game engine happens completely outside of any UI. A real game engine is just as far from Blender as InDesign.

          Sure both game engine and 3D softwares can handle 3D views, but Blender USES 3D views whereas game engine shape them. The whoelr endering pipeline is completely different in a game engine and blender, as well as the fundamental data structure and logic.

          Making a useful game engine for Blender would require at least 10 full time devs during years, and for what ebnefit? Blender is pretty easy to script, it is much better to focus on integrating it with other game engines, it’s not like the world is missing a new open source game engine, there are hundreds!

          • Clearly you don’t understand are you. “and for what ebnefit?” that alone shows how much you don’t understand. A game engine can be used for both game creation, interactive mockup demo, architecture projects, robotics ….. But but continuous with your “and for what ebnefit?” will never understand….. what is understood is that you are the same person with many fake profiles. Did you really think they wouldn’t notice? lol

      • I’ve using the sequencer in 2.79 to do a motion graphics music video and I think it’s pretty damn good. So for me, this feature (VSE) has value.

        I’m using a number of apps, including a separate animation program and separate graphics applications, to achieve the end result. But I’m stitching it all together in VSE and am pleasantly suprised at how well it all works and how useful some of it’s features are (color correction, etc.).

        I did this partly for the learning experience, but if they keep the development going on this, it’ll be a sure fire addition to my media arsenal in all my future projects.

        I’m freelance and independent. Perhaps if I was doing this for a larger company, I wouldn’t be allowed to make this choice for myself…

    • I heard that Blender is removing the Blender Game Engine and suggesting Godot Engine as a free and open source alternative. This is an excellent idea in my opinion, as Godot has the same goals as blender for free software, but an excellent focus on game development and ease of use that blender would never achieve.

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