I recently had some software recommended to me by a six year old. Not directly, but via her Daddy, who casually mentioned to me this amazing software that his daughter was having a lot of fun with. The software is called BAMZOOKi Zook Kit and as the name suggests, it lets you make Zooks…
In case you think I've finally lost the plot completely, I'd better explain. Zooks are animated creatures—the weirder the better—that have their own television show on Children's BBC called BAMZOOKi. Unfortunately I haven't actually seen the show because it's on whilst I'm at work.
The Zook Kit is software that lets children (and adults!) construct their own Zooks and I believe that the best ones are featured in the show, where they take part in all sorts of challenges. It's sort of like the Olympic Games, but without the politics and cheating. There's also a gallery of the best Zooks on the BAMZOOKi website.
The best part of it all is the Zook Kit software, which is incredibly sophisticated. Maybe I've been asleep for a few years, but I was astonished by the professional quality of this tool, which lets you manipulate and combine three-dimensional objects and specify their behaviour. All the control you'd expect is there, from shape manipulation to motion control and colours/patterns. You can give your Zook legs and specify the order in which they move. Objects can be cloned, mirrored and imported and exported. It's an object-oriented construction kit for animated creatures and the best bit is that it's really easy to use. There's even an online Zook Kit Lite version, created using Shockwave.
Once you're happy with your Zook you can switch to test mode and watch it come to life. If you've only given your Zook one leg then at this point it will start to flail around helplessly! The programmers have used AI algorithms to animate the Zooks in a realistic way, which certainly works. The environment can be changed so you can see how your creation copes with obstacles and slopes, or perhaps see how fast it is in a sprint.
It may not increase your productivity or be the next big thing, but the Zook Kit is a ridiculously fun piece of software that put a big smile on my face, in a way that hasn't happened since I first clapped eyes on Delphi 1.0 or CityDesk.