Krakatoa v1.6.0 is here! Where? There!
Surprisingly, we actually hit the shipping deadline this time. Not that it would have mattered one way or another since all users with support contract and even anyone who asked for it had access to the Beta builds for months. In the past, we always went by the saying "It will ship when it is ready". Being a niche product developed by a small team, we always had that luxury large publicly traded companies do not have - we'd rather delay a release than ship with known bugs. That's not to say there are no unknown bugs in there - if you find any, please tell us!
As mentioned in previous blogs, Krakatoa is now heavily multi-threaded and thus a whole lot faster. It integrates better with FumeFX incl. v2.0, supports the shipping version of Thinking Particles 4, provides new MagmaFlow operators, produces some Render Elements, generates much better shadows and fixes a lot of shortcoming of version 1.5.1. The UI is faster and more streamlined, while the number of additional tools has gone up. Look out for the Krakatoa menu in the Main Menu bar of 3ds Max - it exposes most tools that required customized toolbar icons in the past.
The new version even comes with a new license dialog written specifically to replace the totally unusable FlexLM one that has plagued humanity for years. Yes, the number one support problem of Krakatoa was caused by a piece of code that wasn't written by us. We really hope entering the license server or file will be much easier now...
On the curious side, possibly the smallest change with the largest impact on usability (or at least my sanity as a user) was the addition of a separator between the Copy and Clear menu items of the Log Window's Edit menu. You have no idea how many times I have cleared the window instead of copying the selection in previous versions!
We committed some "crimes", too. A day before release, a user asked for better PRT object icons to easier distinguish between PRT Loaders, PRT Volumes and PRT FumeFX objects. The request came literally in the last minute and no developers in their right mind would start changing that amount of code between Release Candidate 2 and Release Build. Well, fearless team that we are, we designed new icons, wrote a script to export their meshes into C++ compatible vertex and face lists and submitted the new code AN HOUR before the final build was produced! The impact risk was low, the positive effect on usability was significant. We had discussed that change before, but there were so many more important features and fixes, we never found the time. When everything else was done, it felt like we could afford to sneak that in and make some people happy...
Now that we have the final build out there, I really hope to be able to produce some new videos - my first and last Krakatoa-related videos were recorded using v1.0.0 back in 2007!
You can read more about the features of Krakatoa v1.6.0 here and here.