It is the day… or not? I really wish I could be more enthusiastic about the release of modo 10 v1, but as it stands, I’m one of those people who get pretty much 0.01 percent out of it or nothing at all. Not that it’s an issue, since I don’t have the money, anyway, but as someone whose relation to games doesn’t extend beyond occasionally firing up legacy consoles and emulators, playing a few affordable games on my iPad and from time to time picking up games from budget sites like GoG or Humble Bundle that my ageing computer can actually handle, it still makes you wonder.
Of course there is a rational reasoning behind this – the games market is huge and the current wave of VR will only further that trend. That and of course realtime 3D having reached a quality level where the separation to traditional 3D is lost more and more. This stuff is used so widely in presentations or pre-production on movies already, people of course hunger for more tools to prepare content. This is even more so now that all the big game engines are free in one way or the other and literally everyone can try their hand. So how does modo fit in?
Obviously modo had a lot of stuff that benefits designing realtime assets already, so a lot of what’s “new” is actually just polishing up some of that and tweaking it so the output is a hassle-free affair when importing it into the game engine. Naturally in huge parts this comes down to optimizing the FBX exports. Personally I haven’t done anything in that department, but I would assume that the people that actually tested this during the Beta have done their work and unless you use some of modo‘s more obscure features and create e.g. a super-fancy animation rig only driven by parametric animation, it should work.
The other part is emulating the actual look of the games and to that effect there are a few special shaders that can be used to judge the result in the preview renderer and the advanced viewport combined with a simplified texture baking. Being stuck with older graphics hardware some of the features of course didn’t work too well or not at all, but at least there’s a noticeable improvement in the viewport performance and response. For us oldschool 3D people the hugely simplified texture baking is of course perhaps the part that stands out most. It’s really just a one-click operation now instead of having to create complicated extra outputs and groups on the shader tree. This will naturally also benefit things like 3D painting in other programs based on these outputs.
While I’m unable to really judge how useful this stuff may be to game developers and the like, I’m more than willing to believe that some of them will jump the chance. Given, that this market is under firm grip from Maya and MAX, especially smaller companies might welcome modo 10 as a cost-effective alternative. One shouldn’t be under any illusion, though: With Cinema 4D entering the ring with similar features later that year, there will be blood and it’s going to be an interesting battle. modo got a head start by a few months, so they better make the best of it…