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Excalibur (XBR) Notes

Posted by Ken Pimentel, 17 December 2009 5:57 pm

As some of you are aware, there was a leak of some slides that I presented at AU in Las Vegas in early December. We've since been trying to figure out what to do about that and we're getting closer to making some decisions. Meanwhile, we might as well give you the information that is already present on the slides that were leaked.

Preface: Excalibur (or XBR) is a restructuring of 3ds Max that is intended to occur over three phases (not releases) and addresses fundamental improvements in workflow, UI and performance. 3ds Max 2010 is part of Phase I and you can see elements of some of the changes in the release. Things like the visual quality of the viewport, the use of metasl, new UIs, etc. Well, that was a launching pad for XBR, but we're really only about 50 meters above the launch pad at this point and we still have a long way to go before we reach our destination. Yes, we could have built a new codebase from the ground-up, but we'd prefer to bring you all along with us on this journey instead of forcing you to "abandon ship" because we started from scratch with an application that was new and shiny but didn't quite solve any real problems for you. For a product in our position, #1 professional tool in the world, that isn't something you take lightly. So instead, we decided to approach this in three major phases. I think Bobo put it best when he said that, “you are changing the engine of the race car while it is going 100 miles an hour”, or words to that effect. Yes, this isn’t for the faint of heart, but we’re pretty confident we can pull this off, and 3ds Max 2010 helped build our confidence.

Until we figure out our official position on revealing XBR, here are the slides that were leaked presented a little more clearly.

51 Comments

mortas may

Posted 18 December 2009 6:46 am

Perfect ideas, sooner or later all this is going to need one file format, kinda like what adobe got with PSD files.
i can see this node based tech all working fluidly with an optional touch screen ui...Max future does look good indeed MR Ken

MM

Hi.Res

Posted 18 December 2009 9:53 am

if the 2010 version is the first step...there is a lot of work to do...

PiXeL_MoNKeY

Posted 18 December 2009 4:08 pm

Hi.Res, 2010 was a part of Phase 1, with 2 other phases to follow. Again remember this is being done in Phases, in which each Phase could spread across multiple releases. So 2010 was just a start of may or may not have been exposed in these slides.
3ds Max 2010 is part of Phase I and you can see elements of some of the changes in the release. Things like the visual quality of the viewport, the use of metasl, new UIs, etc.
At this point we don't know exactly what or how it will happen with each Phase, or release, all we know is that what is listed on the slides is going to somehow be a part of the XBR process.

-Eric

Ken Pimentel

Posted 18 December 2009 4:20 pm

re: Hi.Res
Yes, we know that the Ribbon has issues for some customers. We're certainly not going to expand the use of the Ribbon until it is working well in the manner that we intended. I guess you'll have to trust us that we're aware when we fall short and that we will work at something until it meets customer expectations. The process of restructuring can be a little bumpy and might seem even odd from the outside because no one knows of the dependencies that we're working with - and we're not allowed to explain them.

Hi.Res

Posted 18 December 2009 6:18 pm

sorry but...the ribbon is the last problem...for me...
i mean the stability. there are too many random actions to have a crash! i think you know what i'm talking about...
this is the first thing...the most important.
thanks


Ken Pimentel

Posted 18 December 2009 9:49 pm

re: stability
I agree that without stability you have nothing. The problem is that the experience varies widely. You experience nothing but problems but the next guy claims he hasn't had a problem for a week. This is such a complex problem because there are so many external factors that affect stability. This means the best we can do is to make 3ds Max less sensitive to these external factors. There are several XBR efforts that will do that - but this is always going to be a complex issue when working with complex problems.

djxyz

Posted 18 December 2009 10:03 pm

Glad to hear all those good news... max is great software with all its problems... yeah graphite tools are a bit slow sometimes, but they work great... and really don't understand all the negativity about the 2010... anxiously waiting for more info and new version!

brendang

Posted 18 December 2009 11:43 pm

2010 has been approximately the WORST iteration of the ever growing puss bubble known as 3DS MAX. From the screen space robbing tool ribbons and other nonsense, to the abysmal UI clearly designed by some poor colorblind flunky... It's just plain awful.

I've been using 3D studio professionally since early in the DOS days, and though Max was originally a great step forward, it is now nothing more than a collection of bloated features and purchased 3rd party modules to appear to be software upgrades... The chimps running development on Max are clearly not serious long time users, and if they are, they no doubt suck at it. This sound harsh? Too bad. Being a pro doesn't mean checking our nads at the door, and speaking only in corporate polite-ese. From Digital Domain to Curious Picture, production is hard fought, trench warfare, and if you sensibilities are offended, then go to HR, and tell `em your feeling are hurt. You guys screwed up the central software for how we make a living out here. You'd think everyone would have learned the lesson of Vista, bloated is not welcome out here. Fix our software....

lynandal

Posted 19 December 2009 12:34 am

Hi Ken, using a Nodal system and RAM management on boot looks promising, good luck, looks nice.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 19 December 2009 12:43 am

re: brendang
Wow! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to keep you in mind for drafting cheery notes to people I particularly dislike. I mean you really did a nice job at not being nice. I'm sure the frustration is real - I hear that loud and clear. I think the way you deliver your message might get in the way of the message for some people, but not with me. I've been on the forums long enough and I've been beaten up by the best of them. No need for sympathy though, I much prefer the passion you express to someone not really noticing what we're doing or never saying anything to us. The most that I can say is that I believe XBR is exactly what you're asking us for and if you'd spend a moment looking at it to confirm that, then that would actually help me. Otherwise, there wasn't much information in your comment that would guide us to do anything better.

spacefrog

Posted 19 December 2009 7:55 am

[/quoting brendang]
you guys screwed up the central software for how we make a living out here. You'd think everyone would have learned the lesson of Vista, bloated is not welcome out here.
[/end quote]

I would be very interested about what place you are talking here ? If you can't tell the name , at least the scale of the facitlity and the sector you are working in. Again - i mean this serious - i have my own thoughts about several things in Max 2010's UI - but that does'nt mean those are up to that negativity level of yours. On the other side i think such expression of dissatisfaction can be important too in an ongoing development process, if it's meant serious and not just senseless bashing and frustration unloading...

rmejia

Posted 19 December 2009 11:52 am

Looks promising, thanks for sharing. So in that last slide... are we seeing a ribbonless future? I hope so

Hi.Res

Posted 19 December 2009 12:28 pm

I would be very interested about what place you are talking here ? If you can't tell the name , at least the scale of the facitlity and the sector you are working in. Again - i mean this serious - i have my own thoughts about several things in Max 2010's UI

this is not a war against 3D Max...i love this program, i use it from 3 version... believe us...this is not our fantasy...it's real.
for the moment, the 2009 version is the best.

so...i have a question: nurbs section will be updated? it's the same from 5 version...(maybe older)
bye

wilsimar

Posted 19 December 2009 1:09 pm

you already have a program like this. maya.

spacefrog

Posted 19 December 2009 1:23 pm

re: Hi.Res
Just to be clear - i'm not in anyway associated with Autodesk or anything - I'm a Max user like you and i posted my request for info from brendang just out of personal interest.
I consider my informationlevel about what the Max Userbase expects and what it misses from current Max to be quite well balanced, because i frequent a lot of places. Nurbs were definitly not the thing brendang was talking about, even if they are some kind of blank spot in Max (not updated since about what ...Max 4 ? ... just a guess ...)

superrune

Posted 20 December 2009 12:54 pm

Some great comments by Jorge García-Brazales, he really nails many of the most irritating issues about 3ds Max. Especially the thing about selecting overlapping objects (and also selecting overlapping polygons in sub-object mode). That's such a fundemental thing and very annoying. I've been doing screen captures of my work the past months, and I'm surprised at how much time I spend wrangling with the GUI and selections.

A couple more things I have noted down the past days:

- More modeless windows, for example making the object properties window modeless.

- Menus that can tear off (like Maya and Softimage), so that you don't have to create toolbars all the time.

- History dropdowns in the Import and Export file menus, and independent histories in map load, scene load, script load and so on. It's frustrating when you keep loading textures and objects from two different locations, and 3ds Max forces you to browse back and forth. Learn from Nuke in this instance, it has a great load window that has just enough customization.

- The Track/Graph View is starting to show its age. Most animators I've worked with refrain from doing Max work because of the track view (and also because of the relative slowness of the 3ds Max rigs). I think it's a combination of how slow the Track View is, and the way it keeps reformatting, to the clumsy way you have to move keys and bezier handles compared to Maya. I think most animators I know would be super-happy if the Maya graph editor was just lifted into 3ds Max!

Ken Pimentel

Posted 20 December 2009 4:50 pm

re: superrune, Jorge
Which versions are you using? I think some of those are addressed in 3ds Max 2010

Jorge

Posted 21 December 2009 10:17 am

I'm using max 2010, and you're right, the clean multimaterial and instance duplicate map are there in ME, but they are still duplicate though, which was the pojnt i wanted to remark. The point is that all the little details we mentioned make us feel that the change your're about to start should be started a while ago. Dont take me wrong, i love this software and i'm very happy with this xbr thing, just i expected it a bit earlier.

Cheers

loran

Posted 21 December 2009 2:04 pm

interesting evolution perspective. But is there any release dates for next version?

danpool

Posted 21 December 2009 2:29 pm

This really sounds promising. I agree with the suggestions of Jorge and superrune especially Jorge's comments on having the renderer run as a seperate process. Right now to accomplish this, you must do network rendering on the localhost.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 21 December 2009 2:35 pm

re: release dates/version
Autodesk cannot comment on future releases of products or give any dates. Doing so would create a financial disruption on our books.

re: xbr
We haven't revealed all the details of XBR, yet.

Massimo Bongiorno

Posted 23 December 2009 5:34 pm

Here is my top 5 better improvements needed :

-Responsive tools and UI (We don't want to wait 5 seconds everytimes we pass from poly to edge and vertices ...)

-One Uv editing window (Unwrap uvw modifier is not the best things for a good workflow --> Uv editing and modeling must be transparent passing from the one to the other need to be transparent.

-Uvs better editing tools such as the textools script made for 3Dmax.


-Highrez modeling integration such as mudbox merged into 3dsmax for the same price. (The only chance to improve the speed process for HD datas creations). And the only chance for autodesk to keep away peoples from Zbrush and GoZ.

-Hardware viewport engine supporting nodal shaders creation (Such as Unreal engine).

-Merging of the layer manager, the scene manager, and all those datas managers into one and only layer manager.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 23 December 2009 6:44 pm

re: Massimo
Well, we have some surprises for you...

re: Massimo
Well, we have some surprises for you...


ivon

Posted 24 December 2009 10:05 am

In reply to sinok:
Regarding Havok's "flashing" - do you mean when solved objects jump and spin in the viewport? Cos that is not a real problem..turn off Real Time playback.
Editable Mesh is needed for the games industry, and it has more robust Normal editing than Poly

jona vark

Posted 26 December 2009 5:53 pm

This is one thread I am not really happy to see. I have been a max user since Version 1.0 and I have never experienced a more problematic, error prone, frustrating program in alll my many years. Each new version appears to arrive with the same amount of problems and ineffective disfunctional features. There are as many black-magic workarounds as there are features. And you have to know them to get through a project. Or compromise and deliver less than stellar work just to make that deadline.

Don't even get me started on Backburner or Mental Ray.

That would not be a problem if they were addressed and fixed but it seems Autodesk doesn't think that way. And the price for Max hasn't changed.. now with subscription prices added on top.

Now, the idea that the entire codebase is going to be changed.. well that's good and bad. If you consider Autodesk's propensity for using paying customers as beta-testers I think I am rather down about the idea.

Good luck with it though. I hope you can deliver on the promise of bug-free, fast efficient software but I would be happy just to have a dependable tool that works. And the thought of going through a ten year beta process is painful.


jona vark

Posted 26 December 2009 5:53 pm

This is one thread I am not really happy to see. I have been a max user since Version 1.0 and I have never experienced a more problematic, error prone, frustrating program in alll my many years. Each new version appears to arrive with the same amount of problems and ineffective disfunctional features. There are as many black-magic workarounds as there are features. And you have to know them to get through a project. Or compromise and deliver less than stellar work just to make that deadline.

Don't even get me started on Backburner or Mental Ray.

That would not be a problem if they were addressed and fixed but it seems Autodesk doesn't think that way. And the price for Max hasn't changed.. now with subscription prices added on top.

Now, the idea that the entire codebase is going to be changed.. well that's good and bad. If you consider Autodesk's propensity for using paying customers as beta-testers I think I am rather down about the idea.

Good luck with it though. I hope you can deliver on the promise of bug-free, fast efficient software but I would be happy just to have a dependable tool that works. And the thought of going through a ten year beta process is painful.


PiXeL_MoNKeY

Posted 28 December 2009 5:11 am

So has anyone else seen the surprise that Ken actually left us in his blog? Try clicking the little white box at the end of his post for a chance at one last holiday gift. Give it a ride and see where it leads you. ;-)

caebrasil

Posted 28 December 2009 8:13 pm

Dreamco says all I want to say.
And hope 3dsmax will be more intuitive, for me this is always the biggest problem of 3D applications. BUT without forces me to relearn everything again...

PiXeL_MoNKeY

Posted 28 December 2009 10:31 pm

Well it looks like a little digging and poking around has found a few more surprises that Ken left.

**HINT: The Slides don't end at 9.**

Have fun on the hunt and let me know if you find anything.

-Eric

sinok

Posted 28 December 2009 11:57 pm

heheheh thanks for the notice PiXeL_MoNKeY thumbsUp

sandykoufax

Posted 29 December 2009 1:27 am

me too. haha. thanks PiXeL_MoNKeY

robbx

Posted 5 January 2010 4:43 pm

Max's Mat Editor is poor compare to other professionals Mod/Anim/Render 3d App..

robbx

Posted 5 January 2010 4:45 pm

They finally decided to change it, thanks god..!

Nimadv

Posted 9 January 2010 10:44 am

Thanks guys, I love 3dsmax 2010 ... But "graphite tools" have really bad Appearance, it is far from default 3dsmax interface, also eat lots of memory and reduce performance ... I love to see more optimized "graphite tools" and better integration to 3dsmax Interface...

Thanks again
Best Regards

bill n

Posted 11 January 2010 1:38 pm

I'm really encouraged by that last slide, where the developers seem to have finally got the message that we all use wide-screen aspect monitors now. It's hardly a news flash, but vertical screen space is valuable, horizontal not so much, so don't muck up the interface with ridiculous horizontal ribbons.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 16 January 2010 7:54 pm

If you haven't seen this:
http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/ken/register_for_excalibur_xbr_webinar

Grumple

Posted 18 January 2010 9:40 am

Am I the only one that thinks 'node-based interfaces' look rediculously confusing... Tad apprehensive about all this tbh : |

Grumple

Posted 18 January 2010 9:41 am

Am I the only one that thinks 'node-based interfaces' look rediculously confusing... Tad apprehensive about all this tbh : |

GorillaMilk

Posted 26 January 2010 10:54 pm

I'm ready for the performance gains. Everything else is inevitable. Arranging everything won't be too hard to figure out. The right panels are important though. Glad they did't change them too much.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 28 January 2010 4:25 pm

Here's a blog posting some stats and a link to the captured session:

http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/ken/excalibur_xbr_revealed


jboadas

Posted 2 February 2010 1:31 pm

What about 3DS Max on Mac OSX

Ken Pimentel

Posted 2 February 2010 1:40 pm

re: os/x
Not a direct goal of ours at this time (though that can change). We've already published our desire to work better in virtualized environments that run under os/x.

koberko

Posted 3 February 2010 9:27 am

And how about Linux version of 3dsMax??? Because, 3dsmax is only reason why I'm still on Windows (and I'm sure that I'm not the only one)!

In general, if this new UI will speed up work flow, then OK. But what about all user made content for 3dsmax, all over the net; tutorials, plugins and so on?? They all will be useless... Current user base will probably continue to work in 3dsmax, but new users will probably start to work in some other 3D software, becouse they will suddenly have much more tutorials then 3dsmax.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 3 February 2010 11:29 am

3ds Max has evolved always. I don't see us doing anything that doesn't allow people to keep pace with our changes. New workflows are always being introduced and old ones should pass from the scene. I think we've got this covered. We're bringing the community with us on this journey, we're not abandoning them and starting fresh somewhere else.

k4noe

Posted 24 February 2010 6:45 pm

What about viewport navigation, they are getting heavy each time new 3dsMax lauching, I work on 3dsMax 9 right now and do the work as 3d Arch which is I do work in many complex and hard scene, I do hope that autodesk 3dsMax team will reconsider to make viewport navigation more lighter than 3dsMax 9 in complex scene......

Ken Pimentel

Posted 24 February 2010 7:16 pm

re: k4noe
You should either upgrade your GPU or try downloading 3ds Max 2010 and see if it doesn't have better performance. We made lots of performance improvements since 3ds Max 9.

k4noe

Posted 5 March 2010 8:22 pm

I did download 2010 trial and tried it my self.....so I can talk about viewport navigation.....my GPU is ATI (HIS) radeon 3650 Turbo, 1024 GDDR3, with intel core2duo e7500 ,2.93 GHz, 4GB ram and run in windows XP 64bit, the thing I want to compare is FPS count, in same scene with 1 M pol i got 200 FPS in 3dsMax 9 and 50 FPS in 3dsMax 2010,

3dsMax 9 setting = just turn "object display culling" on

3dsMax 2010 setting = adaptive degradation setting

bounding box - on
use cuurrent display - on
hide object - on ()
distant from camera = 0.5 (when I navigate viewport and it regenerate model it need some time)

thank

Ken Pimentel

Posted 5 March 2010 8:38 pm

We don't actually recommend using that particular GPU on XP 64. Yes, if you're telling me that you're getting different performance between the releases using a non-supported GPU, then I'm not overly surprised. This does not mean that everyone is experiencing the same thing - I know they are not. I hope you can see that it is impossible for us to fully support the ever-changing mix of GPUs/drivers that might exist in the world. The best we can do is to optimize for a bunch of them and tell you what they are. I hope we will publish a "Graphics checker" soon to help customers understand what they really have.

http://download.autodesk.com/us/qualcharts/2010/3dsmax2010SP1_qualifiedgraphics_win.pdf

k4noe

Posted 6 March 2010 6:08 pm

I see now, there are many tested gpu for nvidia but a little for ati product, so I must upgrade to nvidia that tested..... time to upgrade.....well thank for the answer

k4noe

Posted 6 March 2010 6:22 pm

is there any low class gpu (Consumer Graphics Cards) that fully tested for 3dsMax 2010 (x64 and x32) ?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 8 March 2010 2:28 pm

re: low class GPUs
We have a few of these identified on our hw requirement web site. The problem is that there are too many vendors with too many configurations for us to test. We can test the Quadro's and FireGL's because they generally come from one manufacturer. There is no way to do this consumer boards. We cannot afford to hire a dozen people just to test our various products with an unlimited number of GPUs and drivers. This is why we focus mostly on the professional boards - they are much more predictable (and don't change quite as often).

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