Windows 3D Movie Maker becomes open source: and it is immediately amarcord ’95

Who remembers 3D Movie Maker? It was software included in the Windows 95 package (by the way, you saw the themed sweater and the easter egg discovered 25 years later?) which showed its potential in the field of rendering in three dimensions, allowing create short films where characters, music, texts and special effects could be placed in predefined environments.

They were real shorts, which at the time seemed very advanced and actually gave a certain satisfaction. Here, today they come back to the fore because, almost thirty years later, the source code of the software has been made open source.

It all started with the request of a user on Twitter, such @Foone, who remembering the good old days asked if it was not possible to make what is now an amarcord software available to everyone. No sooner said than done, his wish was granted: Microsoft made it available for free on GitHub.

Of course, getting it to work on Windows 10 or 11 will take some effort as compatibility issues are sure to arise. A build of the BRender engine is included in the package, a third-party component developed in the 90s by Argonaut; in the same period a customized version was also launched by the Nickelodeon television station, with the characters of its programs of which collectors can still find some copies on CD in the eBay catalog.

Windows 3D Movie Maker allows you to insert 40 different characters in predefined scenarios and assign them different actions, objects and audio effects, but also recordings made in first person with a microphone. The result is a very 90s video at 6 fps: nothing sci-fi, but certainly able to arouse enthusiasm on the part of lovers of old school graphics and software. Surely it can be useful, now as then, to introduce the little ones to the wonders of 3D animation. What do you say, will you try it?

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