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Rob Powers on LightWave’s new three-year roadmap

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 | Posted by Jim Thacker

NewTek has a “strong three-year roadmap” for LightWave, including the phased integration of its next-generation CORE technologies, company VP of 3D development Rob Powers has asserted.

Speaking a briefing to announce the company’s decision to discontinue CORE as a standalone product, Powers said that NewTek had unveiled new features “prematurely” in the past, but hinted at some of the directions LightWave development may take in future.

These probable directions include new dynamics features and the integration of Modeler and Layout.

Speaking about the decision to integrate functionality developed for CORE into future releases of LightWave, Powers presented the change of strategy as a more efficient way to deliver next-gen technologies to users.

“I think the most impressive way you can release those technologies is to [do so] a way that people can actually use them,” he said. “The vehicle is different but the destination is the same. We want an integrated application that is going to be effective for the users.”

Asked how subscribers to the company’s HardCORE programme – each of whom paid $395 or more to receive free updates to the software, with the expectation that these would lead to CORE itself – would react, Powers again pointed to the company’s recent releases.

“With their initial purchase they have received LightWave 10 with VPR and the CORE technologies in it and they are now testing 10.1 as a perk of their membership,” he said. It’s true we have changed the direction of the delivery of the technology, but I think most users want the functionality.”

NewTek’s three-year roadmap
One of the original selling points for CORE was that its C++-based architecture would accommodate new functionality in ways that LightWave’s legacy architecture could not.

Addressing this point, Powers commented: “The current product release has a full feature set and it’s patently capable of having its architecture changed to accommodate [new functionality].

As evidence, he pointed to the CORE technologies integrated into LightWave 10.0. “When I came on board, it was believed that integrating the VPR in LightWave would be extremely difficult or impossible,” he said.

YouTube Preview Image
The new Viewport Preview Renderer was one of the first CORE technologies to be integrated into LightWave. The developer says that more will follow in future updates.

Asked what direction development would now take, Powers said that NewTek had a “strong three-year roadmap”, but declined to give specifics.

“I’m very clear about where I want the product to go. Beyond that, I don’t feel comfortable doing the thing where we come out and talk about features months or years ahead,” he said. “One of the [ways] we have gone wrong in the past is [to] talk about stuff prematurely.”

However, Powers did hint that Bullet physics was due for integration into LightWave (“I will say that dynamics are very important to us”) and that one of the package’s thorniest legacy issues -­ the separation of Modeler and Layout into separate applications -­ was finally due for resolution.

“Ultimately, I can’t see a future trajectory of our product not including a unified interface for modelling and animation,” he said.

Version 10.1 and beyond
While many saw CORE as a chance for the company for NewTek to regain momentum it had lost to developers like Luxology, not all LightWave users were keen to adapt to an entirely new application.

For the latter camp, the announcement – and particularly Powers’ comments that any new unified architecture could feel “familiar” to Modeler users – will come as a relief.

For those who favoured a more radical redesign, the key factor will be the speed at which NewTek can roll out the former CORE technologies in updates of LightWave itself.

Version 10.1, due for release at the end of the month, builds on 10.0′s VPR and file interchange system, but adds no complete new toolsets. It remains to be seen what the rest of NewTek’s three-year roadmap will hold.

Visit NewTek’s LightWave 10 product page

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  • erikals

    this is the 2 features (bullet / modeler integration) i’ve been asking for for years and years,…
    …at last… :]

  • erikals

    Lightwave’s main problem i think will be the lack of great freelancers to show what Lightwave can pull off, here is a Lightwave render, done by one guy, except the modeling. Notice how the render seem to have post work? Well, no post work is done outside Lightwave :] \;]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPdzQIwUWVo

  • erikals

    LW IO linear colorspace also make photorealistic renders in Lightwave easier to achieve… :]
    http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=119729

  • http://www.cgchannel.com Jim Thacker

    On the subject of Bullet physics: Rob didn’t confirm that it would be integrated in LW in future – he just pointedly didn’t deny it when asked, if you see what I mean. He certainly didn’t go so far as to hint at a timescale.

  • erikals

    true, if so though, there is a Bullet plugin to be released, iBounce…

  • Giacomo

    Poor management and a never ending issue of user complaints regarding broken tools (In past versions), bugs not being fixed properly or at all, poor Mac performance compared to PC version etc have pretty much made this company irrelevant.

  • Giacomo

    Regarding my last post….my apologies to Newtek, my comments were incorrect (LW is relevant – to those who use it…broken tools/bugs do get fixed properly and the Mac version of LW is stable…………things are far from perfect though and Newtek management seriously need to get their act together. Hopefully the next release of LW will be a success.

  • Formaxcol

    Rob Powers, wake up!, they are using you as poster boy to make more smoke clouds, another scam from Newtek, now the users that already paid $500+ to be the exclusive “ELITE” just got 3 new features, realtime render?, Virtual cameras (Yes you need another $6000+ to get one) and a couple of crappy updates…., as today no CORE.

    For sure Mr. Powers will ask for another $600 at Siggraph to be LW Elite User level 2 for more 3 years. LOL!!!!!

    So sorry for newtek, they are going down, Tricasters for around $50000????, we got the DXC850 and is a full of crap, a lot of delay, jump cuts, full of bugs (Sorry my mistake, features), Blackmagic desing is making better switchers.

  • Joey

    LW used to be great, it WAS full of new features before anyone else, HDR?.

    Personally I was really looking forward to CORE, it could have been a REAL alternative to AD etc, but they killed it.

    I think they killed themselves too.

  • Oliver

    I use Lightwave and Maya on an everyday basis, and I have to say that I feel more confidence working with Lightwave. To say that tools get broken on new versions of Lightwave is just not accurate. Every new version of LW has remained compatible with most of my plugins in a way that I feel very thankful for and I feel like Maya doesn’t even try. When a new version of Maya comes out, it’s no secret that it is by default incompatible with most tools and you have to wait til new versions come out to become functional. Maya, and for that matter pretty much all programs, surely surprise us with things that stop working with new versions. I could have said that long ago when LW was the only thing I used, but when I started working with Maya I was introduced to a world of pain I simply thought did not exist.

    I have found that generally Lightwave is not only extremely fast to work with, which is mandatory especially if you have a tight deadline (a few people here and there happen to live like that), but also very trustworthy and predictable. My complaint: LW should have its own grid based fluids solution (and hopefully a very competitive one), and better hardbody physics (which I expect to be solved right now with 10.1).

  • Gilaro

    Whether it be Lightwave or any other app, it ultimately depends upon the person. If I had $100,000 to spend on all the software tools, I still wouldn’t be able to match a real 3D artist that would only have $1,500 to spend. I barely have any artistic talent but am fascinated by 3D art.

  • FormerLWUser

    Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice shame on you.

    How many times did NewTek fool their customers in the last two years alone? And there are still people who believe stuff like this?

    Not me anymore, just like before, NewTek will miss their stated goals, rephrase what they intended to do, claim that it’s all the customers fault anyway and request customers to pay for the same unfinished feature set again and again…

  • AnotherFormerLWuser

    The nerve of Powers to state that some of the tech of Core is in LW10 so be happy. Why not just offer LW11 to the Core community since it has features originally promised in Core? I wonder if I can get a refund for my dead Core membership since it’s non-delivery of an advertised product? Class-action anyone?

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