Someone tweeted at Microsoft to release the 27 year old source code for 3D Movie Maker, so they did

Foone, a self-proclaimed “hardware/software necromancer” and chaotic keyboard makerconvinced Microsoft to release the source code to 3D movie maker— apparently all we had to do was ask. The 27-year-old animation program is now available, archived and available to anyone who wants to tinker with it.

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“Hey Microsoft, give me the 3D Movie Maker source code,” Foone wrote on Twitter last month. So earlier this week, Microsoft Scott Hanselman Quote retweeted it and removed the source code, crediting the Microsoft Open Source Office for their efforts.

Now the slightly bizarre 3D Movie Maker, a little ahead of its time and a lot of the 90’s is available, in its entirety, for everyone to own and play with. The program lets you place cartoon characters and assets in 3D environments, control their movement in a timeline, and export it as a mini movie. With the source code, Foone has plans to update it to run on modern PCs and potentially add features that can make sharing your unique videos (in .3mm file format) much easier than you can by default.

“I hope to get the basic version modernized in the next month to a few months, depending on how many issues I run into,” Foone told me.

Foone has a long-standing love of 3D Movie Maker: they started using it in 1996 and started making addons for the software in 2001. They belong to a surprisingly active community that continues to discuss and share animations with each other on a unofficial forum. As you would expect, the forum is ecstatic with the news.

“I never thought I’d see the day,” a moderator named HMC I wrote.

“This is a dream come true. Thank you Foone for always pushing 3DMM forward,” Business man he said.

Part of the reason 3D Movie Maker’s source code may be released is because the engine it runs on, BRender, also had its source code released this week. With both available, Foone can work to update it without having to deal with licensing issues. It’s like having Kid Pix in your browserFoone wants to make 3D Movie Maker available for everyone to use, whether it’s creating and exporting finished animations or testing raw ideas that will later be finished in more modern tools like Source Filmmaker.

“I didn’t know if that would happen, but frankly I thought it was worth a serious try,” Foone said when I asked if they thought the original tweet would lead to anything. “I had asked before and [Microsoft] I couldn’t find [the code]… turns out it was buried deep in some file of a file of a file. Apparently someone had to pull it off the backup tapes to actually get it!”

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