PDA

View Full Version : !! Decision Time !!


David Lightbown
03-06-2002, 08:35 AM
The company I work for is gearing up to make a decision of what software we will be going with before we start our next few contracts. We've been to conferences about these products, and I've been testing out demo versions first hand for comparison.

Keep in mind that we're mostly concerned about animation tools, UV mapping tools, level design, stability and industry support. Modeling can be done in almost any package.

Here are the contenders:

- A|W Maya
Pros: Good features, good games industry support, stability
Cons: Requires powerful machine, slow modeling workflow, steep learning curve, expensive

- Softimage|XSI
Pros: Fast modeling tools, simple learning curve, stability
Cons: Expensive, less games industry support, requires powerful machine

- discreet 3ds Max
Pros: Simple learning curve, good games industry support
Cons: Instability, UV mapper lacks some options

- Lightwave3D
Pros: Good modeling tools, good price
Cons: Animation tools, less games industry support


I don't want to turn this into a flame war, my opinions are based on the last few months of comparison and from what I've read. I've used Max and Lightwave the longest, and Maya / XSI for just a few months now. I simply want everyone's experience with these softwares, comparisons if possible, in games production.

As for prices, has anyone tried something like a Maya Builder / Filmbox combo or something of the like ? Has anyone used Maya Builder and if so, does it have what it takes to go from A to Z in a production, or do you need Complete ? Has anyone used XSI for a full production ? Does Max 5 look fixed up and promising enough to go with that ? In your opinion, whats the best software for level design ?

These are the kinds of questions I want to encourage. I've already read through all of the last few posts about comparing other softwares, but they seem to degenerate. I'd like to rekindle the flame here, so to speak.

CADster
03-06-2002, 08:48 PM
what options are lacking with MAXs UV mapping ?

why must a 3D app support games 'out of the box' ? In my experience the project requires new exporters and custom tools anyway, and these are made in house, so i would think these exporters could be made for any 3D app. More tools may be released for MAX, but any app can have these tools.


I would think price, features and stability would be the big three requirements. Price, well we know MAYA will ream you (but, it may really be worth it). Features, all the big apps have tools enabling you to create additional tools to fit your needs. Stability, aint this more the OS and not the app ?


im confussed ... :(


CADster

Blue
03-06-2002, 08:59 PM
I hate to vote against my bread and butter (MAX), but the poll question was a listing of only a few features.

Yes MAX crashes ALOT more than i'd like it to.....

Yes MAX lacks many cool UV features.....

Depending on the type of animation MAX doesn't suck.....

If the poll had included things like poly tools, ease of use, scripting language, community support, developer support, 3rd party support, cost, then i'd have had a much tougher time.

But I had to go with Maya. Stable, move and sew, automap, advanced IK, rock hard dynamics, etc....

We set up everone here with a seat of MAX and we have a floating lisc of Maya. This was just our solution. Well actually my solution, I'm a former MAX instructor, so I can answer any tech question that our team has, and I'm a former Maya AE.

What ever your team chooses to do make sure it's well balanced and well supported. And don't waste that VC.

David Lightbown
03-06-2002, 09:05 PM
CADster:

I can see from your Avatar that you like Max :)

As for Max's UV mapping tools:

- You don't know how many vertexes you have selected

- You can't select polygons on your model and have them selected in the 3D viewport to move around, and you can't select points on you 3D viewport and have them selected in the UV view

- There's no auto map pieces distribution function
(to save time and optimize placement)

- Constant update isn't on by default, and I constantly have to turn it back on

- There's no "Atlas" or "VAMP mapping" style function in Max

- Can't put UV map into a 3D viewport, its always in a seperate window, dont have the option

ALL of these things I've listed are available in Maya, SoftXSI and Lightwave.

Like I said, I don't want to start a flame war. I want people's experiences. If I'm wrong in my opinions, thats cool. I'd like to know why.

You've made some good points, and I will take them into account. If Max comes out for Unix and it's more stable than on Windows, I'll be happy to use it. However, until this point, Max is the most unstable 3D software I've used on the Windows platform, and I've used many in production (and no I don't have a billion objects with a million modifiers on them... I collapse frequently, don't make overly complicated scenes, etc...)

Thanks again !

David Lightbown
03-06-2002, 09:10 PM
Blue:

I agree with you that the poly tools, community support and price on Max are great. Thats part of why we're using it now. Also, if used well and carefully, Character Studio can be pretty cool too.

However, one of the presentations we saw was Maya and when I saw Move and Sew, and painting on seams, animation, the flexability and options, etc... I was impressed... and I'm usually jaded when it comes to 3D software presentations (Now I can MIRROR my object ! WOW !!! What a feature ! <snore>)

What do you think of Maya's learning curve ? Have you used or head anything about XSI ?

Thanks again

Blue
03-06-2002, 09:33 PM
David:

Maya will take some serious devoted hours/days to learn, assuming the user already has a strong 3d foundation. Most of this time will be spent in understanding workflow and placement of tools in Maya.

I have no experience with any soft product. I'll leave my opinions at the door on this one.

CADster
03-07-2002, 12:03 AM
Originally posted by David Lightbown
CADster:

I can see from your Avatar that you like Max :)

hehe, no not really. i tell people that you must pay me to use it :D
LW is my app of choice.

Originally posted by David Lightbown
As for Max's UV mapping tools:

- You don't know how many vertexes you have selected

ahh, ok

Originally posted by David Lightbown
- You can't select polygons on your model and have them selected in the 3D viewport to move around, and you can't select points on you 3D viewport and have them selected in the UV view

oh... umm, i thought you could select a face in the viewport and have it show up in the UVunwrap window (im wrong i guess). The point issue is correct.

Originally posted by David Lightbown
- There's no auto map pieces distribution function
(to save time and optimize placement)

ever hear of chiliskinner ? http://www.chilliweb.co.uk/chilliskinner/

its not a true automapper, but its very powerful.

Originally posted by David Lightbown
- Constant update isn't on by default, and I constantly have to turn it back on

- There's no "Atlas" or "VAMP mapping" style function in Max

- Can't put UV map into a 3D viewport, its always in a seperate window, dont have the option

ALL of these things I've listed are available in Maya, SoftXSI and Lightwave.

ok, but these features are in MAX just not with the same options you like (i like the seperate window for UV mapping in max, i dont like how LW only uses a viewport, and atlas would be about the same as using chilliskinner IMO )


Originally posted by David Lightbown
Like I said, I don't want to start a flame war. I want people's experiences. If I'm wrong in my opinions, thats cool. I'd like to know why.

You've made some good points, and I will take them into account. If Max comes out for Unix and it's more stable than on Windows, I'll be happy to use it. However, until this point, Max is the most unstable 3D software I've used on the Windows platform, and I've used many in production (and no I don't have a billion objects with a million modifiers on them... I collapse frequently, don't make overly complicated scenes, etc...)

Thanks again !

i see your point with the OS and i dont see MAX getting a port to another OS any time soon.

and thank you, i replied with more questions and i thank you for answering them.


I would vote for LW :D

CADster

Jin3D
03-07-2002, 12:04 AM
I think maya would be the best bet.

It's true that it lack a couple a good modeling features but MEL is there to fix that, and UV mapping is very solid and easy to use. Maya is also very stable. Has for the learning curve, I really don't see were the problem is, there so much ressources available on the net, from alias|wavewfront (learning maya, the art of maya, manuals ...) and you can always come here if you need help. i come from a softimage background and I had no problem switching over, I think that it's a very easy software to learn (I've tried lightwave but ... I think it's pretty hard to learn). I think that the biggest weakness in maya is it's renderer but if you doing realtime no problem with that!

You should also take in considaration that your in montreal, so the qualified personnel is mostly softimage/maya users, with a couple studios using 3dsmax and I don't know any using lightwave.

btw I dropped a reel at DC Games did you get a chance to see it :D :D :D

ciao

David Lightbown
03-07-2002, 12:10 AM
CADster:

Thanks for the replies. I've used Chiliskinner too, and its pretty good, never really stuck to it tho. You can select a polygon in 3D space and have it show up, but it takes about 3 or 4 clicks (Open + on UVW Map, Select Face, click the face, click show faces) instead of just one.

I've been a Lightwaver for about 6 years now :D I'm totally sold on Lightwave, for organic modeling... but for level design and character animation... something else is required.

Thanks again CADster !

David Lightbown
03-07-2002, 12:12 AM
Yann:

Thanks for the info, I will take that into account. We have a lot of ex-Softimage people here too, so I think the switch would be easy for them.

Finally, I'm not in charge of looking at the demo reels :D But I can tell you that we will continue to grow over the next couple of months... thats why I started this post so we can choose our software before we grow too big and its too late hehe

XSI is pretty hot tho... I like the modeling...

Thanks !

CGTalk Moderation
01-13-2006, 03:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.