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Milo Update: Multiplayer?
3D Modeling / November 20th, 2019 12:06 am

Milo Update: Multiplayer?


Milo report! The question currently on our minds is this: how can we best make use of UE4's built-in networking capabilities? We're building into the core architecture the ability to support multiple connections if we want to use it. It seems pretty cool! Here are some fun potential ways we envision using it:

Co-working: Milo's core could allow for multiple machines to be working in the same project at the same time, with one acting as host. What happens when two people try to do conflicting operations? We have no idea yet, but that shouldn't be an impossible problem to solve. Do people even want this capability? We also have no idea, though we suspect so. It's definitely intriguing.

VR: We're in the process of adding VR support to Milo, and we've always intended it to be VR-fluid, meant to work equally well both inside and outside of VR, and even side by side. With networking and the ability to join a session, you can have Milo up with a project loaded on one machine on your regular screen, and join the session with another VR-dedicated machine to work on your model in VR. It saves on processing power, allows easy access to a non-VR version when you need it, and allows others nearby to view progress more easily while one or more people are lost in VR working.

Remote client demonstrations: This one's particularly useful for archviz (we think), but your clients in a different location could open Milo and join your session via networking, allowing you to easily show them what you've been working on or take them on a fly-through. Perhaps a free viewer-only version of Milo could be available to send to your clients to install.

Modeling lessons: Have a bunch of students join your "class," either as observers only, as co-editors, or perhaps each with their own little model they have ownership of, so you can move around the scene and talk to them at their stations (with supported voice chat?) as they work.

As a point of clarification for any who may have wondered, Milo will be its own, standalone application, just like Silo; it's running on the Unreal Engine but doesn't require you to have the Unreal editor installed. We also have a question for you: what other 3D tools are you aware of which support multiple users in these ways? How (and how well) do they work? Any other interesting networking uses you've seen or would like to see?

We also enabled and tested raytracing support, and all is working there. We'll need to grab a newer graphics card at some point, though, before we can really see that shine and have something to show you all. We're excited to try it out more fully in the future!

-John
Milo Update: more fundamentals
3D Modeling / October 22nd, 2019 4:11 pm

The past couple of weeks we've been largely focused on the upcoming new version of CameraBag, but we've also quietly made good progress on fundamentals in Milo. We created a new selection system and have face and object selections (with multi-select) and manipulation working with the new system. This was more complex than it may sound, but the result is a very solid foundation. It's fun to start being able to play with shapes while all the realtime rendering capabilities of UE are active.

We also enabled and tested raytracing support, and all is working there. We'll need to grab a newer graphics card at some point, though, before we can really see that shine and have something to show you all. We're excited to try it out more fully in the future!

-John

[edit: whoops, sorry about that offset cursor in the gif]

Exciting news for Milo!
3D Modeling / September 20th, 2019 12:22 pm




We're thrilled to announce we've received a MegaGrant from Epic Games for Milo, our Unreal Engine-based companion to Silo which we envision as a realtime renderer, modeler, and much more. Milo was already under active development in the background, but this grant makes a huge difference; it will allow us to take several months and really focus on experimenting and exploring the possibilities.

 

We're excited. Epic's Unreal Engine offers a ton of potential new avenues to explore, beyond the rendering capabilities we're already taking advantage of. We're asking the same questions we had when first developing Silo: how can we as a small team make something new and innovative that's also practical and genuinely useful for artists working today? (For example: we're intrigued by Unreal's VR capabilities, but can we make something non-gimmicky that you'd want to use day in and day out?)

 

Please keep in mind that some of what we show in the coming months will be experimental. But the end result should be a more exciting and interesting product than we could afford to develop otherwise.

 

Our progress so far has given us both a solid base to work from and a crash course in the inner workings of the Unreal Engine, which we'd never used before. So far, so good! But we've got a lot to learn. We're excited to share our progress with you along the way.

 

-John

Update on Silo+Milo: PBR materials support
3D Modeling / September 5th, 2019 3:18 pm


We've been making some good progress lately on Milo, our experimental Unreal-based companion to Silo which we envision as a realtime renderer and possibly much more.

 

We've already shown a base version of Milo up and running using Unreal, including basic scene navigation and UI. (I'm trying to be better about blogging, but if you've missed updates so far on Silo/Milo, the best place to get realtime info is our social media: Facebook and Twitter.) This includes a lot of custom code to allow for shape generation and potential modification directly inside Milo, as well as generating models from loaded files. It also can export quick turntable renders to gif at the press of a button, which is handy for sharing your work online.

 

As the next step, we've added experimental PBR (physically based rendering) multimaterial setup tools in Silo. Those of you who have used Unreal or Unity will recognize the PBR material workflow. These materials besides diffuse are not rendered in Silo, but are rendered in realtime in Milo. We've set up a bridge between the two apps using modified FBX (though we're keeping an eye on PBR-native formats such as Pixar's USD; currently FBX can't export PBR to third party applications.) These developments are good for both apps: more robust FBX and materials support is a natural next step for Silo, and it's a lot of fun to be able to see the results in realtime in Milo.

 


Here's an example model with diffuse, specular, displacement, emissive, normal, and bump maps applied, along with values set for metallic and roughness, in a modified version of Silo. Milo auto-updates from the model whenever you save it in Silo.

 

So far we've focused on establishing a strong base for Milo, but we're also hoping to get a little more experimental with its future and features in the coming months. Unreal offers some intriguing possibilities. We've recently had some good news in that regard, and we'll share it with you as soon as we can!

 

-John

Silo 2.5.6 with beta GoZ support is now available!
3D Modeling / November 30th, 2018 11:30 am
Silo 2.5.6 is now available, and it adds a significant new feature: GoZBrush support for sending models back and forth between Silo and Pixologic's ZBrush. Please note that this feature is currently in beta and may not work for all users. *You may lose work*, so avoid using it for critical tasks during the beta. Theoretically, though, all should be well. If you run into any trouble, please let us know by emailing support[at]nevercenter.com.

Silo + GoZBrush

Download the v2.5.6 update here

Here's how to get up and running:
Step 1: Make sure ZBrush is installed on your machine.
Step 2: In Silo, go to "File > GoZBrush > Setup GoZBrush". This will add Silo to ZBrush's list of applications it can interact with.
Step 3: Try sending a test model from Silo to ZBrush via "File > GoZBrush > Send To GoZBrush". This is how you save files out from Silo when you want them to appear in ZBrush.
Step 4: Within ZBrush, use the GoZ button to send a model to Silo. You can read more about the GoZ interface on the ZBrush side here: http://pixologic.com/zbrush/features/GoZBrush/

That should be all you need to do. If you run into trouble, restarting ZBrush might help. If you still run into trouble, let us know. We appreciate your beta feedback.

Note for Steam users: GoZ may have extra trouble locating Silo within Steam. You should still be able to send files back and forth as long as both applications are already open (and you've performed the steps above). You can also try specifying the path yourself within ZBrush. (Find the path by right clicking on Silo in Steam and going to "Properties".)

Cheers!

-John
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