Going MentalMill

Last week I spent my time learning MentalMill, which is a node based realtime shader authoring tool. Most of my shader related experience comes from Unreal’s material editor, which is very specific to the engine, so I wanted to learn a more generic approach.

3DS Max 2010 supports hardware shaders and Mental Mill’s MetaSL shader language which is amazing: I can create complex shaders and see them realtime in the perspective viewport with soft shadows and SSAO. What’s even better, Mental Ray will render the same shaders. This is a huge step ahead workflow wise.

In spite of the shortcomings of the current implementation (no transparency, software render baking and shader caching issues) I’m very enthusiastic. I’ve already made a deposit shader which I intend to do in ShaderFX and in Unreal as well, so they will be the subjects of my next tutorial.

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Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act

Cars, especially electric ones, became more and more quiet in recent years. While the decrease of noise pollution is welcome, a new problem emerges: pedestrian safety. A ton of metal moving at 60 kmph (or mph) can be pretty dangerous if it only makes as much noise as a bicycle.
This bill is about “the minimum level of sound that is necessary to be emitted from a motor vehicle, or some other method, to alert blind and other pedestrians of the presence of operating motor vehicles while traveling.

The time of downloadable engine tones is coming. You’ll have a wide selection of engine sounds ranging from K.I.T.T. to the space shuttle.
H. G. Wells fans could use steam engine sounds to complete the riveted copper dashboard and the analog gauges in the cherry wood interior.
When coming from work that “tap-tap” feet sound from the Flintstones (here at 0:30) would be perfect, while this sound could really set the mood when going to a romantic dinner.

But I hope, god, so hope that actual pop tunes will be forbidden. Or I’ll step in front of the first car playing Macarena.

(Here is a semi off-topic video on the Flinstones and their vehicles.)

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