Researcher Geoff Samuel has released a preview video of Agent, his crowd simulation software for 3ds Max.
According to Samuel, a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth, the tool was created to “help ease some of the problems associated with the current methods of generating crowds … giving artist the ability to create crowds and behaviours in a natural and friendly way, without need for any code”.
Agent uses a node-based workflow to create rules for the geometry and textures of the agents that make up the crowd. The user can then use a brush tool to paint the initial placements of agents into a scene.
The plug-in automatically skins each character based on its underlying skeleton.
There is no information on release dates or pricing on Samuel’s website, but many of his previous projects have been released open source.
Samuel says that Agent is “still very much a work in progress” – and in fact, the first video only shows the set-up process, not a simulation in motion. Still, a tool worth keeping an eye on.