Windows

Microsoft open-sources 3D Movie Maker, its animation program from the 90s

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Microsoft has open-sourced the code for 3D Movie Maker, an animation program it had originally released in 1995. If you don’t remember 3D Movie Maker, that’s understandable, seeing as it was a relatively short-lived piece of software.

3D Movie Maker was an animation studio geared towards children, and it gave users the ability to create animated movies. The program included a series of 3D character models, along with some music and voice clips, and in tandem with pre-rendered backgrounds, it was possible to create a video scene frame by frame. It was also possible to record voice clips and import audio files for your creations. Plus, 3D Movie Maker was the first appearance of the well-known (for better or for worse) Comic Sans font.

While official versions of 3D Movie Maker didn’t go much further than the initial release, enthusiasts have developed a number of expansion packs to make it more useful over the years. It was seemingly in response to one such enthusiast that Microsoft decided to publish the source code for the software, as Microsoft’s Scott Hanselman shared the news in response to Twitter user foone.

Hey friends – we’ve open sourced the code to 1995’s Microsoft 3D Movie Maker https://t.co/h4mYSKRrjK Thanks to @jeffwilcox and the Microsoft OSS office as well our friends in legal and those who continue to put up with me being a nudzh. Thanks to @foone for the idea! Enjoy. https://t.co/6wBAkjkeIP

— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) May 4, 2022

The source code is published on GitHub under the MIT License, and while Microsoft warns you probably can’t build the app from this source code on modern hardware, but developers can experiment with it and potentially update it for the modern age. Microsoft itself won’t be publishing any updated versions of 3D Movie Maker as the official open-source repo will be static, but users can fork it and mess with it in their own repositories.

Microsoft has been leaning more into open-source software over the past few years. PowerToys was revived in recent years as open-source software and gets frequent improvements thanks to the developer community. The Windows 10 Calculator app was also open-sourced a few years ago and was even ported to smartphones.

Source Microsoft (GitHub)