What Happened Max XBR


What Happened Max XBR (Excalibur) project. Is that abandoned. :banghead:

Just curious, didnt heard anything since last webinar on Feb 2011



I can’t seem to find the source now, but I remember reading from one of the Autodesk guys/gals that XBR is more or less abandoned. Which, IMO, isn’t necessarily good or bad. With the recent shakeup at AD, they’ve had to adjust their direction. Users are pretty optimistic about the new product manager, Frank Delise.


Ughh - wait …
You are definitely out of the loop, 'cause Frank Delise switched over roles again months ago already. After some time without any named Senior PM for 3ds Max Eddie Perlberg has take this role. Seems to be a great guy and since that announcement, overall 3ds Max community spirit recovered to some degree, after being sour and low after Frank Delise walked away.



Wth?! Where this boat goes, nobody knows. Well, I don’t.


There were rumours about Tom Hudson jumping on the bandwagon again.
We’ll have to find out what’s going on. :slight_smile:


In case someone missed it:


To my knowledge XBR wasn’t something specific or radical that you’d sense or could point to, it was and probably still is their plan to modernize Max in a way that would have the smallest amount of impact on your workflow and interaction with Max, for instance the whole MassFX system and it’s evolution or Nitrous and it’s evolution or different UI enhancement are all part of XBR, so I think the road map that was XBR is still there.

And Tom Hudson did jump on the bandwagon as far as I know.

The new PM says there’s a new spirit and a celebration of Max at adsk, I guess we’ll find out soon enough if that’s true.


In less words - marketing BS.


Hehe, I’ll have to disagree, IMO it was and probably still is a genuine effort, usually the new version of other packages contain mostly new features, but in Max’s case we all know that it’s going to be more than that if it’s still going to be relevant today, so I think the effort to modernize it from the grounds up makes quite a lot of sense, and also if it was really a marketing scheme we’d probably hear a lot more about it, as far as I know they had kept it under the wraps for a while before even letting us know about it.

But in the end it’s adsk we are talking about, the company that rewrites an entire package’s core and then wraps it up and puts it into the attic.


Holy crap, does this guy (Chris Murray) actually know what he is doing there? Doing simple beginner-mistakes all the time, and his answer to the question about the animatable pivot point receives a totally-failed!

He is trying to suggest to use the CATOffsetTransform Controller, which is something totally different and in no way usable as an animatable pivot! Suggesting to use that means he has no idea what an animatable pivot actually is. At least he should have chosen the CATHDPivotTrans controller as this really allows you to create an animatable pivot (but if, he would have to point out the technical limitations there, and I’m sure he wouldn’t have done that). Also the way he is animating that (manually in Curve Editor) actually shows the problematic even if it was an animatable pivot at all! :banghead:

Same goes for the question about the loopable cloth. Holy crap, Chris! :rolleyes: Glad Kelcey helped this poor guy out.

No surprise Max development is doing like that if we have guys like him sitting there. And what makes me even more curious is nobody is jumping in to say: “Eh, Chris, sorry, but you are on the totally wrong track there.” He is always looking at Kelcey for help and she is even pointing to his screen from time to time! :smiley: They both look like two helpless kids who are trying to do something they are not familiar with.

Eddie Perlberg is trying hard to keep the users calm, repeating too often how proud he is. Just because he has a Max tatoo on his arm doesn’t mean anything better.

Just like a user commented: Very depressing and also embarrasing video!



once i finished watching that Expert Challenge video i immediately thought “My god, if THESE people develop 3ds Max, then it will certainly die within 3 years…”

It was absolutely awful… they managed to avoid specific and useful answer to every single of the questions that were asked, including something as simple as animating a flag flapping in the wind.

And i also did not know if i should laugh or cry when i saw the guy browsing around Hair & Fur modifier searching for something, and then he gave up as he could not find it. Of course he could not, because the UI arrangement i Max is an absolute mess… but i never though it would be such a mess even developer himself can’t find his way around. :applause:

Only people still left in 3ds Max dev. team i believe in are Kelly Michels and Zap.


Yes, the Hair&Fur part also caught my attention. It is obvious he was actually very surprised about so many rollouts popping up there.

And what’s the point about the dragon rig actually? Yay, we have a dragon rig. But what to do with it, Chris? Ah, better use a teapot. :rolleyes: And let’s just move to somewhere else in the scene so that annoying, strange rig doesn’t come in the way, as I didn’t manage to put it into a proper layer to hide it quickly. :rolleyes:

Showing Nitrous DOF performance: Yes, let’s load in a nice-looking but slow-as-hell scene a user provided and let’s show scrubbing the timeline like hell. Nice one, Chris! :smiley:

Also, Kelcey and her Ribbon. Holy moly. The summary of Kelcey’s input obviously is she is very proud of the help dialogs she introduced with Ribbon. Regardless of the huge mess the Ribbon produces to the overall Max UI. Congratulations. Looking forward to more of that…?

Another thing I was wondering about is Eddie Perlberg saying the Max / Max Design separation was requested by the users. Probably true in some way, but the point is (as always) the way it’s being done. I’m sure nobody from the community wanted to have it like that. It was purely a marketing decision and Eddie is putting it the other way around and is even close to making the users responsible for the mess. This statement alone proves he is not a tiny bit better than the previous managers.


While i share some of the concerns of you guys, i also find that the personal attacks on this people in your postings are really bad style.


Well , Chris Murray is surely NOT a Max developer, but a demo artist, besides 100 other things he propably have to do for Autodesk. The video shows how much 3ds Max development is suffering because of lack of dedicated resources.

AFAIK there are dedicated autodesk people producing demos for Maya who know the advanced parts of Maya inside out (eg. Duncan Brimsmead).
Chris Murray has all possible things on his agenda and i’m sure he could do a better demo than shown in that video.


Right !:applause:

They get up in the morning and try to do their job as good as they can.
The fish is stinking from the head. Why for heaven sake did the management chop
the 3d-Dev team. So much experience lost, so many chances for max wiped out.

The people we see in the videos are not responsible for the current situation. And compared
to some “power user knowitall gurus” around here, they only can loose.
So guys be nice… it is like it is.


Well, the point is, if I’m not sure about what to answer because I probably have too many other things to do, it’s a better idea to skip the question, rather than producing confusion. By the way, I’m also not happy about the questions being asked in that interview. It doesn’t matter much to the overall Max development how someone would animate a loopable flag. But if you come up with an answer like “Try something different like Waveform or try to solve it using Morpher”, it’s just an incompetent answer, and I’m allowed to criticize that. I’m sure Chris never tried to use Morpher to create a loopable animation, because if, he would have realized it’s not possible, as you will always see the loop. So why he is suggesting something he does not know about? And this is the point. Answering without knowing, that is the problem. It’s supposed to be an interview with experts, so I’m expecting good answers.

And I think it’s an important point. If you keep answering questions like that, saying “Hey we have that feature already, you just didn’t realize”, it means the feature is being ignored, although there is actually not such a feature, or the feature is not satisfying. That’s actually what I want to make clear.

The fish is stinking from the head.

Not always true. Decisions made by the responsibles is dependent on the feedback they get. And if a technical expert in their team is saying we have that feature already, it’s fine, although it’s not, we have a problem. I even think this might be one of the big reasons why certain things in Max development are being ignored like that.


But if you come up with an answer like “Try something different like Waveform or try to solve it using Morpher”, it’s just an incompetent answer, and I’m allowed to criticize that. I’m sure Chris never tried to use Morpher to create a loopable animation, because if, he would have realized it’s not possible, as you will always see the loop.



The tutorial basically describes the Point Cache method, the Morpher is just being used to create the blend between both. It’s not necessary to use the Morpher as you can always do the blending within the Point Caches themselves. The main idea is to use the Point Cache and create the time offset. A Morpher alone wouldn’t work, as pointed out in that tutorial as well.

A little thing that is missing in the tutorial though is a proper weight-balancing as two different animations tend to cancel each other out in the middle of the blending.

I’m not saying a demo artist needs to know every little trick in every field of a 3d software. I guess nobody is able to do that. The question about the loopable flag is dispensable and a bit unfair too as it is a specific question about animation. What really bothers me is the way Chris is answering, saying we need to discuss the question from the ground up and bla bla. It’s obvious he had no idea how to solve it, so why he is answering like that? I’ve watched another Expert Challenge from March this year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys5dr9OQNbk) where Chris tries to explain the differences between Edit Mesh and Edit Poly, saying Edit Mesh is more like a triangle-based workflow, where you can see and edit triangles better than in Edit Poly. Holy crap? And he says Edit Poly is used for subdivision workflows. Does that mean subdivisions do not work on Edit Mesh? He is just producing confusion rather than answering questions. I was sitting there throwing up my hands in despair. Never seen a demo artist talking so much rubbish, sorry. Glad Joe Gunn summed in up in just a few words.

Ok, this is now getting very personal against Chris Murray, I’m sorry about that. My actual point however is that Max development, whether XBR is still alive or not, can only go the right way if the responsibles listen to the right people. Having people in their team who have no clear vision or who don’t know well about workflows will no be good for the decisions being made in the future.


I do agree with some of your points but I think you’re projecting all your frustration with Max on one guy, which isn’t really fair.
As for the flag question, I have to disagree.
He might have a convoluted way of saying things, but technically he wasn’t wrong.
Point Cache is the go-to answer, obviously, and he mentioned it, as well as offering different approaches which might very well be sensible, depending on the situation.
Since he knew he was going to mention Point Cache, I’d say give him some credit and assume he had a reason to mention the other stuff anyway, even if your experience tells you differently.
If you have a very short loop, simulation is not necessarily the best and quickest way to solve it and if you have a long loop and find some roughly matching segments in your simulation, a short, blended, live Morpher might do the trick just as well and in some cases better than a long transition where you then have to compensate for interference, like you mentioned, or use tricks like in the linked tutorial.
Same goes for Point Cache of course and for longer transitions it’s clearly the better tool, but the Morpher can handle shorter ones just fine, when you are dealing with a limited amount of keyframes.

But I do agree it would be better to actually show things like that, instead of just mentioning them in passing, which also begs the question why they have to do things like that “live”.
But then what might be confusing to some, others can use as starting point for further research.

What I liked about the presentation was the fact that there’s apparently still some love for Scanline in the team and that they plan to rely heavily on user feedback.
How this will turn out we’ll have to see.
In a way Autodesk has been feeding us hopes for years now, though, and they can’t play that card much longer.
Ironically 2014 is quite a reasonable release for my needs, but boy has it taken them long to get there. Always eager to take our money while stumbling along.
They better step up the pace now and take care of the neglected areas in 3ds Max instead of nudging us towards their other products.
I don’t really buy the story about the newfound spirit quite yet, either, especially when it comes to the higher-ups.
My impression is that they want to sell Maya and their suites and they have been working hard to eliminate immediate customer feedback in the only language they understand: Money. New customers seem much more important to them than the ones they already have.


I have to disagree with you about the Morpher. Morpher will always be the worse solution compared to Point Cache, simply because it does not contain animation. It will just blend into a pose and that means you will most probably see the loop, even if you use very short transitions. Also there is no “pre-pose” to get a good transition, very important for a really smooth loop, so most of the time finding a pose that looks similar will also not help much. Additionally, using Point Cache on long loops does not necessarily mean to use long blendings too. You can always use short blendings, whether the loop is long or not. That’s also what Chris said wrong. He was pointing to the length of the loop for no reason.

I don’t want to talk about Chris Murray too much anymore, enough being said from my side. I just want to add that my opinion about him is not going to change. He did not mention Point Cache at the first place, he forwarded the question to Kelcey who was obviously introducing the Point Cache workflow to him before the interview. Again, I don’t care much about whether he knows about that workflow or not as it might be a bit too specific for him. I do care about the way he is answering though. First thing he says is putting the question into another context like it is a strength of Max that there are different approaches to solve problems (although those approaches do not help answering the question). It’s not a strength of Max, it is what you can do in any 3d package. My impression is they don’t really know what to say or what to do with Max in the future and rather say how proud they are, how great the community is and trying to put things into another context so it sounds nicer.