We just spotted this intriguing piece of software from Hong Kong-based developer Basefount Technology.
Miarmy is a Maya plug-in that seems to offer Massive-like AI-driven crowd simulations, with a fairly extensive range of fuzzy logic features.
The software also includes a PhysX-based physics system, which can be used to drive ragdoll animations or to enable actors to be affected by forces or by Maya Fluids systems.
The system is compliant with MotionBuilder and HumanIK-based pipelines, while rendering is RenderMan-compliant, via a dedicated 3Delight plug-in or the option to export RIB files.
Best of all, the Express edition of the software – there are rendering limitations, apparently, although we couldn’t see what they are from the product website – is “free to download forever”.
Updated: According to the Basefount site, the Express edition does not support multiple render passes, only exporting the beauty pass; and cannot export RIB files.
The Chinese-to-English translation on the video above is a bit idiosyncratic (one caption reads, simply, ‘Dream is collapsing’) but the tech looks promising. Updated: okay, that’s an Inception reference. I’m an idiot.
If anyone tests out the plug-in and can let us know how it performs in practice, we’d love to hear from you.