"There has been a distinct lack of competition in the 3d DCC space for over a decade. It’s almost like there has been an unwritten agreement that no one was to rock the boat and start a 3d arms race".
The next BIG step forward would be to replace 1960s Polygons, Vertices, Faces, Ngons and so forth with completely new and different mathematical descriptions of 3D surfaces that are not “digital chicken-wire” based.
You can even describe a complex 3D surface using nothing more than “surface curves this way around the Y axis here, surface curves that way around the X axis here, surface runs in a straight line here, does a 90 degree turn there, and becomes wavy here” and so forth. Continuous surface curvature flow description with hard numbers, not a surface that is like a cracked mirror with facets, as you have in polygons.
A computer does not need “polygons” to define or animate or render a complex 3D model. A computer can render many different types of mathematical descriptions of 3D models to the screen just fine.
This would make 3D CG literally 10 X times easier to learn - no more quad topology retopo or bad deformation concerns, no more booleans fuckups, no more vertex pulling or edgeloop adjusting, no more fucked up rigging deformation, no more UV unwrapping to texture.
Basically everything that is shittily frustrating and time consuming about working with polygons would be gone forever.
This would, however, severely piss off the big-budget content producers like Hollywood.
Polygon workflow related problems and dirt-slow frame rendering speeds have kept “independent visual artists” from encroaching on Hollywood’s monopoly on eye-popping 3D CGI ever since Jurassic Park and the Abyss.
If you keep the modeling and animation workflow deliberately slow, and the final result rendering even slower, 15 talented people can’t get together in an apartment in some city with cheap rent with 10 x 2,000 Dollar Windows PCs and make something fully CGI that rivals The Avengers or Star Wars.
The minute you can model a detailed 3D hero character in 20 minutes, that character gets auto-rigged with one mouse click, and nobody has to worry about topology, UV unwrapping or any other shit, you are direct competition to Hollywood and its powerful international investors.
20 talented 3D artists could rent a loft together and become a small studio that can rival Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and everybody else that is peddling CGI-heavy content to the world market.
Considering just how much money is at stake - tens of Billions of Dollars in a good year - the idea that the 3D DCC software makers have “agreed not to compete” is not wholly unrealistic.
Go on. Ask Autodesk, Maxon, Foundry and so forth to give you a “a brand new non Polygonal workflow”.
They can give you exactly that purely technically speaking, but would rather pretend that this takes 1 Decade of serious R&D, and maybe give it to you in 2027 or so.