Autodesk acquires Alias
Congradulations to Autodesk on the acquisition of Alias. This brings two of the major players in the CG market under one roof. We don't know the short term or long term plans and how this will effect future versions of 3DS MAX, Maya or their other products. We see this as a good thing for the long term future of nPowerSoftware plug-ins. The consolidation of the two major players in the CG business means that there will likely no longer be pressure on 3DS MAX to drastically reduce thier price to compete with Maya. It also probably means that 3DS MAX will have a stronger future and a longer term life because of new markets being opened by acquisition of the Alias customer base in the film industry and the automotive industry.
How Will This Effect Power NURBS?
One might ask if this will effect Power NURBS.
Will the Maya NURBS technology move into MAX?
The fact of the matter is that MAX already has the same core NURBS technology as Maya and has had it for many years. Alias (formerly Alias/Wavefront part of SGI) utilizes AGLib. 3DS MAX has embedded the ACIS modeling kernel from Spatial Technology which also has AGLib. Basically when you create a NURBS Surface in MAX and Maya you are calling the same AGLib functions and getting the same AGLib NURBS surface. Why are Maya NURBS so much better than MAX NURBs then? The answer to this probably has more to do with how NURBS are integrated into the platform rather than the underlying technology.
AGLib - Applied Geometry Library History
The AGLib was originally developed by Bob Blomgren's company, Applied Geometry which was based in Seattle, Washington in the late 80's and early 90's. Spatial Technology integrated AGLib NURBS with their ACIS modeling kernel. In the early 90's Applied Geometry was acquired by Alias/Wavefront/SGI. AGLib was for all intents taken off the market and development of the underlying NURBS technology stopped. The bottom line is that both the Maya and MAX NURBS are based on older AGLib technology that has not been actively developed for the past 12-15 years. Power NURBS is based on SOLIDS++ a new technology kernel that has been developed over the past 9 years by IntegrityWare, Inc.. SOLIDS++ is actively under development today by the original architects.
AGLib - Old Technology
SOLIDS++ - New Technology Still under Development
The Bottom line is that we think that this acquisition of Alias will help Power NURBS more than it will hurt it.