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Meeting with discreet posted 3/26 at 9:18:21 AM PST by Dave Astle

Well, this really isn't an interview, but rather a summary of the things we learned through our meeting with discreet. There were three major things discussed that we think will be of interest.

gmax was announced recently and has been touted by some as a free version of 3D Studio MAX. While that's not entirely accurate, it is an impressive idea that should be well received by developers and players alike. On the one hand, gmax is a "free game development level editor" based on 3ds max. It's available for free, and can be used to create create and edit levels, materials, 3D objects, weapons, images, lights, and anything else allowed by a game using the gmax Game Pak. Which brings us to the other side of gmax. Developers can purchase a gmax developers kit which allows them to create a customized version of gmax as well as incorporating it's use fully in their game. Accordingly, they can add any plugins they feel are appropriate, custom controls, and even tutorials through gmax's integration with Macromedia Flash. By adding gmax support to a product, a developer can make it easier than ever to allow players to create custom content and extend the lifespan of the game. Overall, we were really impressed with what we saw of gmax, and pleased to see that 3ds max technology is now available to those who could not previously afford it.

reactor is a new 3ds max plug-in based on Havok's physics system. It includes five major features:

  • rigid body dynamics
  • soft body dynamics
  • rope dynamics
  • cloth dynamics
  • fluid dynamics

All of these features are fully integrated and can be used together nicely, and effects created using them can be easily exported and directly used in your game thanks to shader technology. The demos we saw using Reactor were convincing, particularly one with the most realistic looking ponytail physics I've seen.

Xbox Incubator Program Participation
Recently, Microsoft announced that it would be making XBox developer kits available to development teams who could not otherwise afford them, for a trial period of six months, giving them a chance to develop a demo or prototype to convince Microsoft to help them find the resources to create the full product. At the show, discreet announced that it will be making 3ds max, character studio, and reactor available with the developer kits.

For more information about these products, visit the discreet website at www.discreet.com.