Several months ago Microsoft acquired a company called Caligari largely because of their advanced 3D toolset called trueSpace. Well now the latest version of this powerful tool is available for free. Yes, the favorite price point for educational organizations!
What can you use it for? Glad you asked. I first found out about this from the Virtual Earth team who is excited because this tool lets users build 3d models and use them with Virtual Earth. If this interests you at all you will want to read all the details over here. If it doesn’t interest you then you may also want to read the Virtual Earth blog post so you’ll have more information to make up your mind. Personally I see some really educational potential here for teachers of geography to say nothing of courses that are about teaching the power of Web 2.0.
Now for you game people this tool should interest you because you can use it to create 3D models for use in XNA games. And since it imports 3D models from a number of different formats it may be a good way to use models that have been created by and for other applications. Actually for those of you who are “in to” graphics arts or teaching graphics arts this may be a great tool for your classes as well. Did I forget to say that it lets users animate their models as well?
You can go directly to the Caligari trueSpace 7.6 site from here. Lots of details there.