XSI tool proposal

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the_cX
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Post by the_cX » Wed May 24, 2006 11:46 pm

after surveying nearly ~40 ogre developers and asking the question:
Rank your experience with the following modeling packages.
(Likert Scale: 1 being no experience and 5 being most experience)
for SoftImage|XSI,

three people said 2.
one person said 3.
and the rest (30+ developers) said 1(no experience).

is one of the aims of the proposed tool to make XSI usage more prevalent?
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Post by joshcryer » Thu May 25, 2006 3:31 am

May I ask what "Tool for one-step solution for artists" actually is? I don't see the proposal, but maybe I'm going blind or just overworked here. Is this the procedural generation stuff? Or something else? Thanks, and sorry for bugging with this stupid question, I'm sure I'm just overlooking it.
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Post by xavier » Thu May 25, 2006 4:17 am

the_cX wrote:after surveying nearly ~40 ogre developers and asking the question:
Rank your experience with the following modeling packages.
(Likert Scale: 1 being no experience and 5 being most experience)
for SoftImage|XSI,

three people said 2.
one person said 3.
and the rest (30+ developers) said 1(no experience).

is one of the aims of the proposed tool to make XSI usage more prevalent?
It's actually irrelevant whether or not a developer is familiar with a modelling tool for actual modelling -- they only need to be able to read an API doc to be able to write plugins. For example, I don't have the foggiest how to create a model in Max or Maya yet I write and maintain exporters for them.
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Post by the_cX » Thu May 25, 2006 4:38 am

@xavier: i guess you missed my point.

if their is only a very small fraction of ogre developers that know how to use XSI, leave alone actually use it for their game development, there is definetly a relevance issue there.

-> why make a full featured XSI plugin on the level of oFusion if there is only a very small minority of people that are using XSI to begin with?
->-> is one of the aims of the proposed tool to make XSI usage more prevalent?
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Post by xavier » Thu May 25, 2006 4:49 am

I fully get your point, I just don't think it's justified. Who cares if a developer (which I read as "programmer") is familiar with, or knows how to use XSI or not? From a programming standpoint, it's a simple matter of looking at an API ref, which is why I referenced above, my level of modelling experience with Maya and Max.

Your point, in fact, stems from the fact you don't think it's worth it, correct? That some other project should have been picked instead?
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Post by the_cX » Thu May 25, 2006 5:13 am

lol. not quite, i think all the projects are great and im all for modeling package plugins on the level of ofusion.

and by developers, i meant programmers and modelers.

i was merely asking the question: there arent many xsi ogre users out there, does the ogre team hope to get more xsi ogre users with the release of this software?

im just spurring peaceful conversation, dont get all dramatic ol chum. :)
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Post by Vectrex » Thu May 25, 2006 6:06 am

well to be honest I find max very bad (from a programmers view :) ). It crashes constantly, it has a clumsy way of doing just about everything. It's just that it's been used by game devs for longer. Not to mention it's way more expensive. Perhaps if xsi had an ofusion type thing then more people would use it? I know I would.
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Post by Lodes » Thu May 25, 2006 7:11 am

Oh boy, I better jump in since I am the one concerned here :)

Tool for one-step solution for artist, is a XSI plugin with very similar functions to oFusion. When I originally wrote my proposal, I even said so in my proposal but eventually removed that from it because of some good comments from the community.

I'll update my wiki page either tonight or tomorrow to list the various features that I will implement over the SoC. I've said it before and also in my proposal but what I will be implementing during the SoC is really what I would consider the base stuff and I have a whole lot more planned for after the SoC.

I hope that Maya and Blender will also get similar treatment in the future. I truly believe that this is the best type of tool you can develop to allow artists to get their work in the engine and in their team's application.

Another function that I engaged myself to do over this period, is to release a small library that will hopefully be useful to everybody, which allows you to get various information about meshes, materials and all that stuff in memory. It was suggested by Tuan and there are a lot of snippets flying about in this community about this kind of things and I hope people will use it and improve upon it.

As an aside, I want to publicly thanks Sinbad for all his great work so far. Staying up till 1am to tell us that we have been accepted before google even knew anything, to go through all this trouble of setting this place in the forums, giving us developer access to CVS, setting up wiki pages. OGRE really feels like a world apart and when I hear that some students in other organizations don't even know who their mentor is, it really makes you feel like you are being given everything to succeed and deliver something great.

Thank you Steve.

EDIT:

To respond to you the_cX, I don't think it even matters how much XSI is currently used. It is a fact that XSI is a top-end tool to create 3d-models. It is being used by big developers like Valve. When teams look at engines, they also look at the tools and delivering such a tool to XSI can and I sincerely, hope will make teams seriously consider OGRE.

I hope there are a few XSI users though, I am going to need testers, to get feedback, in the middle of this project :)
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Post by xavier » Thu May 25, 2006 9:18 am

Vectrex wrote:well to be honest I find max very bad (from a programmers view :) ). ... it has a clumsy way of doing just about everything.
No argument. Max's biggest problem is that it's not really an application so much as it is a collection of plugins, and there are four different ways to do anything. ;)

I'm not getting dramatic, cx, but your first post in this thread does reveal your disappointment, and the fact that you polled dozens of folks to see who has experience with what, tells me that your interest is more than just idle curiosity.

For what it's worth, I doubt Sinbad cares who uses what, much less would be trying to get people to use one or the other. XSI is what is most well supported, however, since for the longest time was the only professional, commercial package for which he had a license.
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Post by jacmoe » Thu May 25, 2006 2:54 pm

If OGRE is going to win over commercial teams, OGRE needs professional level tools.
oFusion is one, and the XSI based solution would be another one.

This doesn't mean the we don't need other toolchains.

I would love to see your tool, the_cX! :)

And an OGRE tool for Blender would be absolutely smashing. :wink:
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Post by jacmoe » Thu May 25, 2006 3:00 pm

the_cX wrote:if their is only a very small fraction of ogre developers that know how to use XSI, leave alone actually use it for their game development, there is definetly a relevance issue there.
Realise that professional game companies are using professional tools.
And you are right: only a small fraction of OGRE developers knows how to use XSI, because they're programmers.
And because the main majority of the active community members here are either indie or personal project devs. :wink:
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Post by CaseyB » Thu May 25, 2006 4:01 pm

xavier wrote:and the fact that you polled dozens of folks to see who has experience with what, tells me that your interest is more than just idle curiosity.
Actually he did this a long time ago for the project he was working on at his Uni, I took that poll! :wink:
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Post by sinbad » Thu May 25, 2006 5:39 pm

The problem with straw polls is that they are very much skewed by the people you choose to ask. Autodesk (and previously Alias) have for many years 'seeded' universities with free / cheap licenses, so a poll of students is bound to be biased in that direction. This is also one reason why Max is so common in the industry, despite not necessarily being the best tool out there. The other factor is that if they're mostly coders, they might not be familiar with any art tools. But the fact is that XSI has a much lower profile in universities so I'm hardly surprised by your results.

That said, I'm well aware that XSI is not the most popular modelling tool out there. That doesn't mean it's not used by many people though, here's some relative stats based on exporter downloads:

Max: 1600 per month
Blender: 833 per month
Maya: 700 per month
XSI: 360 per month

That shows the approximate community split. So yes, XSI is the least popular of the big 4 at the moment, but it's still very far from 'hardly used'.

I think one of the best things for Ogre right now is more (and better) toolchains integrated with existing art tools. I would have supported any well thought out project along those lines - it just so happens that the one proposed was for XSI. No-one proposed a project like this for any other modelling tool - one isn't necessarily needed for Max since there's oFusion already, but there were no applications to do the same for Blender or Maya - but I would have supported them the same way if there had been. As it happens, I happen to be very fond of XSI anyway. The things proposed in this project are the exact things I would love to do, if I had the time. Which is precisely the definition of a good SoC project, provided we think the student has the capability, which in this case we do.

I think XSI is woefully overlooked by many. It is far, far more cohesive than most other tools I've used (not that I'm an advanced user of these things) and is really a joy to use. Consistent interface across the board, consistent SDK interface, ability to handle staggeringly large scenes, superb animation features, it's all there. Obviously I started off having a soft spot for it anyway since they were the first tool company to sponsor us, but the product itself has really won me over. I think everyone owes it to themselves to try it out, I think too many people assume it must be inferior to Max just because it's got a lower profile.

So - bottom line, am I trying to promote XSI? Well, maybe a little ;) But the most important factor is that art tool integration is good, period. If we'd had applications for each of the tools above perhaps the % usage would have mattered - since we didn't, it doesn't.

[edit]I've split this since it was going way off topic[/edit]
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Post by gLitterbug » Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:11 am

Apart from the University reason Sinbad stated, 3dsmax is also so popular because everybody and his grandma pirates it. Autodesk probably is glad about the fact that people who can't/don't want to afford it get it off the net somewhere even. When they made gmax I was kind of surprised, but so far I never really heard many if any people using it. Is it still around at all? Mod teams and the like all seem to use 3dsmax and I would bet much on the fact that they did not buy it. I don't blame them, but I do think that an engine like ogre needs to check their target audience too. Hobby developers or small studios surely prefer stocking 6 artists with 3d applications instead of just one for the same money. If the software doesn't affect productivity in a bad way. And let me tell you that XSI Foundation is in no way a crippled product. I prefer it to 3dsmax in every possible way now, already do since using the Trial for the first time. The features from the more expensive versions it lacks are nothing to miss if you don't have some very special needs or work in an area which is not realtime.

To me XSI + ogre seems like a real winning combination, for both actually. As XSI Foundation could see increased sales too if Ogre were to become a really widespread tool with very excellent XSI support which gets used by lots and lots of small game developtment enterprises. I for one would like to see both do well and am glad that the Ogre team has chosen to support XSI. But then I guess Softimage pulled a very wise move already when stocking Valve with XSI and taking away a big piece of mod community pie from Autodesk.
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Post by Jerky » Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:06 am

gLitterbug wrote:When they made gmax I was kind of surprised, but so far I never really heard many if any people using it. Is it still around at all?
GMAX is not offered by Autodesk any longer and they are letting support go on for it at TurboSquid (IIRC). Check here:
http://www.turbosquid.com/gmax
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Post by SunSailor » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:34 am

Actually, I don't think the downloads of the binaries say anything, even the oppisite argumentation is possible. E.g., we're having two XSI installations running, but never have downloaded the exporter, as we compile it out of the source. Max is not only the most common used software in the industry (hell knows why), but also the most copied application for this purpose. And someone who is downloading the binary version may be someone, who isn't able to compile the sources himself. Actually, the focus group of ogre consists of many hobby and independent developers. I doubt, that *legal* copies of max are that spread in its community, as it is *very* expensive. We choose XSI because of its price and its primary support from ogre, we never regreted this decision. Blender seems to be the first choice for hobby developers, as it is free, support for this is vital, no doubt. As the XSI exporter is the most advanced, we should stick to this, not only because I doubt we're the only ones, who went for XSI because of ogre. Shurly, because of its spread in the industry, a max export is important, too, but not that important, as the numbers seem to show.
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Post by Jerky » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:21 pm

SunSailor wrote:Blender seems to be the first choice for hobby developers, as it is free, support for this is vital, no doubt.
Not to veer off topic too much, but Hexagon is now the cheapest viable modeling solution, IMO, aside from Blender. $75 (or $150 when the sale ends) is better than XSI's $495, if you don't need an animation tool.
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Post by Kentamanos » Tue Jul 25, 2006 8:19 pm

Jerky wrote:
SunSailor wrote:Blender seems to be the first choice for hobby developers, as it is free, support for this is vital, no doubt.
Not to veer off topic too much, but Hexagon is now the cheapest viable modeling solution, IMO, aside from Blender. $75 (or $150 when the sale ends) is better than XSI's $495, if you don't need an animation tool.
I hear good things about Silo too ($110 I think). That's if you just need a modelling program as well...
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