I’ve always liked that term “roadmap” in reference to software development, but I’ve too often imagined it as a straight line. The truth is, it’s like a road full of twists, turns, and unforeseen obstacles. Much like the on-going journey of CameraSim 3D!
Here’s an update on where we’ve been with CameraSim 3D, and what you can expect as it moves on down that winding road.
CameraSim’s future is in 3D
If you’ve been following CameraSim, you know that my big initiative is to use 3D gaming technologies for a more powerful version of CameraSim. The main reason for this? 3D game technologies are based on using virtual cameras and lighting — it’s the same paradigm as real-world photography so it only makes sense to leverage this for learning photography. Plus, 3D games have an intrinsic “cool” factor and can be just plane fun. That’s why so many people with a gaming background loved the CameraSim 3D preview that we released a couple months ago.
The problem was this: non-gamers hated it.
Know thy user, for they are not you
I’ve been having major episodes of that hind-sight-20/20 stuff. I set out to create something that I thought would be educational and fun, but what I created was complicated. Crazy-complicated. The accomplished 3D gamer in me thought nothing of the complex keyboard and mouse controls, but the UX professional in me was aghast at watching non-gamers faced with such a steep learning curve. The unpardonable outcome of this was that a player had to learn CameraSim before they could learn photography. CameraSim had gotten in the way of its own purpose.
Rome wasn’t built by one guy
The other challenge I encountered was the scope of developing massive 3D worlds. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about thinking big and working hard, but I need to work within the constraints of being a sole developer. This is both for the quality of CameraSim as well as for my quality of life. Moving forward, I’m going to keep the focus on quality even though that means a less epic-sized product.
The great news
The developments of the last couple months — for better or worse — are part of the process of building anything great. But here’s why I am so optimistic about the future of CameraSim 3D:
- Most of my development efforts thus far have been spent building the core technology of an accurate 3D-based virtual DSLR. It has no dependencies on the current “first person shooter” implementation, so I am free to insert it into a totally different (and better) learning experience.
- Based on the gushing praise and scathing critique I received, I feel nicely equipped to reimagine CameraSim 3D. I know I can combine the engagement of a next-gen 3D learning tool with the simplicity and approachability of the current CameraSim app. (I’ve already got a very promising prototype designed.)
As a final note, I’d like to thank everyone that has left me a comment or sent me an email over the past few months to request a feature, provide feedback or simply offer a word of encouragement. You all are my ultimate source of inspiration that allows me to keep working towards a better photography learning tool for everyone – not just us 3D gamers.