Blender 2.61, 3DConnexion and Ubuntu

After a couple of hours experimenting, I got Blender 2.61 (blender-2.61-linux-glibc27-x86_64) on Ubuntu 10.04 64bit to work together with a 3DConnexion SpacePilot 3D input device. The support is built-in and doesn’t require a plugin (which was required in earlier blender versions). For quite a long time the 3DConnexion support didn’t work because the event structure of blender was re-designed and there’s now a lot of confusing information out there (look at this thread, for example). I did so many things that it is difficult to say which of them made it finally work, but I think these are the most important steps:

    • get Free Space Nav from Sourceforge (http://sourceforge.net/projects/spacenav/);
    • check it out with subversion:
       svn co https://spacenav.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/spacenav spacenav
    • compile and install libspnav (configure, make, sudo make install)
    • compile and install spacenavd (the daemon which is then accessed by blender)
    • disable the 3DConnexion from being a normal mouse in xwindows (more details can be found here):
      root@deepsea:~# xinput set-int-prop "3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator" "Device Enabled" 8 0
    • If the daemon is running, blender should detect the device during startup (ndof: using SpacePilot message at startup)
    • if the daemon is running and blender detects the ndof (n degrees of freedom) input device but it is still not working, try to plug and unplug the device.
    • There’s a test program in spacenav/libspnav/examples/cube which should work when the daemon is running. If the cube doesn’t work, blender will probably also not work.