Saturday, September 25, 2010

Servicing the Pack

The Krakatoa build released on August 31st is no more. It has been replaced by a build released on September 24th. If you are already running 1.6.0, you should do yourself a favor and update now. Go, I will be waiting!

This is the first time we replace a build without incrementing the version number. We call it a Service Pack 1, but you can read it as "The build we should have released to start with" :) It fixes several bugs related to rendering FumeFX, adds the Icon Size spinners to all PRT objects that were missing one in the original build, and because there have been more than three weeks since the release, it also adds some new features here and there - Yours Truly cannot sit around without touching up the user interface...

Here is the list of changes:

Bug Fixes
  • PRT FumeFX with FumeFX 2.0 was causing a crash when switching to Post Cache mode. This has been fixed.
  • PRT FumeFX was showing only a portion of the simulation due to incorrect handling of Adaptive bounds. This has been fixed.
  • Thinking Particles was causing particle evaluation to hang at render time if there were two or more TP objects in the scene. Fixed.
  • Deformation Modifiers were inverting the Velocity Channel in PRT Loaders. This has been fixed.
  • Fixed the MAXScript call for saving all rollouts to presets which was causing a System Exception.
  • Fixed a crash when trying to load a Save Channels Preset.
  • Turning off the Viewp.Spacing in PRT Volume causes the render-time Spacing value to be used for the viewport, too, but changing the spinner wasn't updating the viewport cache and required a manual update. This has been fixed.

Feature Improvements
  • The Thinking Particles Partitioning code was tweaked to allow an Integer Helper containing "*RandomSeed*" in its name to be incremented just like a regular "RandomSeed" property. This can be used to adjust the Random Seed of MatterWaves by connecting an Integer Helper node to the RandomSeed property which is otherwise not exposed to MAXScript.
  • Undo/Redo wasn't restoring the Input Nodes' value correctly. This has been fixed. Please note that if the track is keyframed, performing Undo/Redo can affect the complete curve as the animation state at the time of Undo creation is not stored and there is no way to store/restore the complete controller. This fix also improves the Macro Recorder playback.
  • The ">Interactive Mode (SLOW!)" option in the Krakatoa Channels Modifier wasn't handling Geometry objects used in Surface Operators. This has been fixed.
  • Added conversion buttons to the SurfDataValue Operator to quickly turn the output value from Integer to Float, from Float to Vector, extract X,Y and Z components of Vector or transform Vector From World to Object space or into View Space.
  • Added an explicit INSERT/BRANCH mode displayed in the title bar of the MagmaFlow Editor and controlled by the Insert key in the Numeric Keypad. When set to Branch and a single node is selected that has an output socket connection, creating a new operator will not insert into the existing connection but branch into a new output connection. Once the node is branched, the mode will revert to INSERT automatically, since it makes more sense most of the time. In previous versions, this was done with the SHIFT key, but it could collide with some keyboard shortcuts that use the SHIFT key as a modifier key.
  • Fixed the mouse right-click hit testing when the MagmaFlow Editor is docked as Extended Viewport.
  • Added support for Schematic Flow as Extended Viewport, including correct right-click handling.

User Interface
  • PRT Volume, PRT FumeFX and PRT Source now expose an Icon Size spinner to the UI. The MacroScripts now use the XY size to define the icon size of PRT Volume and PRT FumeFX.
  • Added support for saving and loading the Channels To Save list.
  • Added all rollouts to the right-click menu of the Float/Dock icons with a check mark for visibility. Selecting will toggle visibility, holding SHIFT will navigate to the rollout.
  • Added right-click handling to all "Back To Main Controls..." buttons in addition to the left-clicking.
  • Added the keyboard shortcut names to the right-click menu of the Float/Dock icons.
  • Changed the navigation buttons throughout the UI to unhide hidden rollouts before navigating to them.
  • Reworked all MacroScripts to disable themselves and avoid any crashes if the Krakatoa path is removed from the plugin.ini.
  • The Rollout Preset files were not restoring the visibility of the "Shader Parameters" rollout correctly - even if saved as hidden, it would be displayed because the update of "Main Controls" rollout's Shading Mode list was forcing it to appear. This has been fixed by processing the "Main Controls" before "Shader Parameters".
  • Optimized the "Load From History" dialog to use the History Cache instead of scanning the files from disk. With 8281 History files on disk, the old code was taking 47 seconds to update the first time the dialog was opened, and 10 seconds in consecutive attempts. With the new code, the time to open the dialog went down to 0.078 seconds!

Just the first 4 points of the Bug Fixes list should be a good reason to update if you are using FumeFX 2.0, Thinking Particles or modifiers on PRT Loaders. In fact, I had to postpone a video tutorial recording session I had planned because it totally depends on a modifier on a PRT Loader and would behave quite strangely in the original 1.6.0 release... Stay tuned! And if you haven't watched the other YouTube videos, go here, here, here and here.

If you find more bugs hiding in the newest build, please let us know. We will chase them and hit them with a big hammer!

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