Microsoft 3D Movie Maker from 1995 is now open source

Microsoft has released a number of programs as open source over the years, and today it digs deep into its back catalog to make 3D Movie Maker freely available to all.

First released in 1995, 3D Movie Maker lets you put together animated scenes using 3D characters, props, backgrounds, text, sound, and special effects. This release also comes with a build of BRender from Argonaut software. While it’s a welcome move, you shouldn’t get too excited by today’s news because there is a catch.

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Announcing the release of the files, Microsoft warns, "This project is unlikely to build successfully under modern hardware/software, but you can get started with compilation and get partial completed binaries."

It provides the following building instructions.

  • Make sure this repo is checked out to a folder with a short name, ideally right on the root of a drive (i.e. C:\3d).
  • You will need Visual C++ 2.0's dev tools (located under MSVC20\BIN on its installer disk) on your path. Modern compilers dislike some of the pre C++98 conventions.
  • From the root of this repo, run setvars.bat you can change the values in this script to change what your build will target.
  • Locate and place font files (see
  • Run nmake and you'll begin building 3D Movie Maker.

In order to make the software open source, the code was restored from the Microsoft corporate archives, third party permission (for software like BRender) was obtained, and developer names and aliases were removed (with the exception of current Microsoft employees who worked on the original release and agreed to keep their names in place).

You can access the files on the Microsoft 3D Movie Maker GitHub page here.

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