Massive Software has been quiet the last couple of years during its reorganization, but has dramatically re-emerged just in time for SIGGRAPH in LA this week with Massive 5.0. This means new modeless manipulator, scrubbing, 3D lanes, and improved Agent Fields (plus a surprising 3ds Max plug-in).
Massive 5.0 introduces new technology that enables simulations to run up to 3.9 times faster on typical workstation PCs. Simulations that might have taken hours before can now be done in minutes, and scenes of a few hundred agents can even run in real time. You can even simulate a town out of CityEngine or populate a Sim City-like environment only with movie quality. Indeed, Massive 5.0 is more interactive and one of the many improvements is the new patent-pending 3D manipulator. “Other applications mostly have the usual 3D manipulator but we wanted to do something better, easy to use and requiring no complicated key switches. So we came up with a design that utilizes screen space better, is easier to handle, and doesn’t slowdown the user with key switches for selecting modes, ” said CEO Stephen Regelous.
In terms of improved interactivity is the new scrubbing and transport control interface. Previously, users would write out image sequences to be able to review the results of large simulations, but the new scrubbing technology allows for immediately visiting any frame in a huge simulation of many thousands of agents. Quickly scrubbing through simulations allows users to easily review details of epic scenes from any camera angle. This new feature also works with cloth and hair simulations, and handles spawning and deletion of agents during the simulation.
Meanwhile, Agent Fields has proven to be a very successful hybrid of particle animation and AI functionality, especially useful for interaction between neighboring agents. Massive 5.0 extends this functionality with group behavior parameters, field offsets, and several other improvements inspired by user feedback. Three-dimensional lanes have been requested, and the feature is now available. Agents still know position relative to one another even though they’ve left the lane.
The placement editing in Massive has received significant upgrades, too. Maintaining consistency of crowd variation throughout continuous revisions of placement has always been challenging. Massive 5.0 takes a new approach to solving this problem which provides much more consistent crowd variation, unaffected by significant changes in crowd layout. The new 3D manipulator has been leveraged to provide much more convenient control of placement. Plus many new placement features have been added to increase interactivity and improve workflow.
And the popular production quality of Massive will finally be available for 3ds Max users. “We know that 3ds Max users like to work within the Max environment so we are giving them what they’ve been asking for: a Massive plug-in for 3ds Max.” revealed Regelous. The new plug-in allows Max users to easily and conveniently load scenes of many thousands of characters and see the Massive agents in the scene just like any other 3ds Max objects. V-Ray rendering is fully integrated, and all the user has to do is click the render button to see the Massive agents rendered along with the other objects in the scene. The plug-in is expected to be released shortly after the release of Massive 5.0 in the next couple of months.