Though I’m mostly watching from the sidelines these days without actually using creative software and thus I cannot be bothered anymore about a lot of things that go wrong in “the industry” (thankfully), I remain a keen observer and occasionally some news stand out and still pique my interest. One of those is Autodesk and e-on Software “canning” some of their software, as the people at CGChannel put it.
The Autodesk decision to cease support for their game-centric tools comes as little surprise. They never got a foot in the door in those markets and in a day and age where you can get even the most sophisticated engines like Unreal or Cryengine on a “free” basis for just doodling around and learning them (of course you have to pay if you use them commercially for a game) it’s too painfully obvious that they would not make much money of it, if any at all. They completely missed the bus in that department and now would have to pour endless money into it to even become remotely competitive. Nobody is going to miss it.
Things might be different for Carbon Scatter and Ozone. Personally I never had any use for them even at the height of my Cinema 4D usage since I didn’t have much to do in the way of architectural and landscape visualization. Even if I did the plug-ins seemed to be so clunky and flawed (slow rendering, massive data hogs blowing up your scene file sizes and the like) I probably would have just sat down and used MoGraph to create my own EcoSystems. On the other hand there seemed to be enough people using them despite their somewhat hefty price.
Either way, them being EOL‘d doesn’t surprise me much, either. It’s the same old gag of companys getting themselves in a cul-de-sac which they can’t get out of. At first it always seems such a good idea to exploit your existing technology and molding them into some plug-ins but after a few years it gets really muddy. You have to support tons of different versions to not break compatibility of project data you have no control over, every new feature you add becomes another burden because it too needs to honor that old code, it doesn’t benefit from advancements you made elsewhere in your core code and if your only developers leave that know the host APIs you’re pretty much screwed. I’m just waiting for the day Realflow for C4D, Houdini Engine and a couple of others fall into that same trap and the only means of escape is pulling the plug.
In this particular case, though, not everything is lost since they offer you to crossgrade to Vue Infinite. The tough question of course is whether it makes sense for you. Going from 200 bucks per year to 1000 is not what I call a simple decision. It’s easier when you already used both tools in your native 3D program and paid for them, but if you only used one this is quite a price hike. Therefore the interesting part will be what they have to show for in Vue itself to actually win people over. It’s a good thing SIGGRAPH isn’t too far away and we might find out soon…