Softimage has settled on a focus and shipping name for its long awaited Sumatra 3D animation suite – due for final release on 9 April at the NAB show in Las Vegas. Softimage|XSI, as it will be known, is aiming itself very heavily at the games market – although it will also contain many features for linear animation and video use.
Central to the new release, and the driving force behind the name change, is the .xsi file format that forms the core of Softimage. The format was developed for the games industry, and should allow tighter integration between artist-created models and animation and the developer-driven runtime engine.
Details are still sketchy, and little will be known until the official launch next month. One of the few features known about is the XSI viewer, an artwork validation tool for checking how models and animation will look within the runtime engine – before it leaves the artist.
The focus on games is hardly surprising. Both Discreet and Alias|wavefront have been pushing the potential of their products for the games market, for example with the recent release of the Maya SDK (software development kit) – which is also designed to more tightly integrate 3D artistry and games development.