You might be wondering what I’m up to in Sculpturaland.
Well, I’ve been working on a higher performance engine, which is now showing signs of life.
It became apparent that the existing engine has some undesirable limitations. In truth, the engine was written in a rush to have something viable. Rather than building more on top of it (more tools, tool options, layers, etc.), it’s better to have a more solid foundation.
So I’m aiming for:
- Lower memory usage, enabling multiple layers
- No spatial sculpting limit (there’s no invisible wall, which has always bugged me)
- Higher rendering and sculpting performance, enabling more detailed models
- Simpler code! Less code!
It’s very exciting to be able to take Sculptura to the next level of performance, allowing you to achieve even more detailed work.
Initial performance numbers are quite promising. Rendering is already faster (one of the example models renders at 120fps on an iPad). Carving looks like it will be extremely fast (though it’s not fully implemented). The big unknown at this point is deformation (deform, pinch, flatten, and various future tools), which requires more coordination between CPU and GPU than the old engine, which can lead to performance issues. That said, the new deformation code should do considerably less arithmetic, leading to a performance win.
The natural question is “when will you release it”? The real answer is that this sort of software development (GPU/numerical) is hard, and it’s quite difficult to estimate how long things can take. I’m already several months into the work. It’s also risky: suppose there’s a problem with the new engine I didn’t foresee. Some of it is based on intuition: I think something will be faster but I can’t prove it without implementing. Not to belabor the point, but because this project is to beat an existing implementation in terms of performance, there’s always the possibility it can fail completely.
All that said, I would love to have it done within a few months. In the meantime, I’ll be releasing a minor update or two with bug fixes and small features, like the user-requested left-handed mode