Alias|Wavefront used its second 3December community event in London yesterday to announce a new plug-in for creating interactive worlds within Maya that can be published as Web 3D content. It also gave attendees a sneak peek at the future of Maya – in the shape of a new particle and fluids system. Maya Real-Time Author (Maya RTA) is designed by used in conjunction with Macromedia’s Director 8.5 Shockwave Studio. Unlike the free Shockwave 3D Exporter – which only exported model, animation and surrounding data to Director – the £695 plus VAT Maya RTA allows interactivity to be created at the same time as modelling and animation. This is designed avoid one of the main criticisms of the 3D-suite/Director 8.5 workflow – that it can be too restrictive and/or time consuming to create the 3D worlds in one tool and add interactivity in another, and that you have to keep swapping between tools and re-exporting while working on most projects. It also aims to allow 3D creatives to make complex 3D worlds without having to learn Director’s Lingo programming language. Maya RTA allows users to tie events within the scene to visitor actions such as pressing a key, clicking on an object or merely being in a certain place. Events can include animations, sounds, hyperlink jumps or switching cameras. Creation and editing of sensors, actions and viewers is performed using the Interaction Editor. This new pane includes all of the information about interactive elements and uses the same dependency graph, node-&-connection metaphor as the rest of Maya. When a scene is finished it is exported to Director with the interactive data enclosed as Lingo scripts, allowing experienced Director users to edit them if they wish. Maya RTA will become available from the Alias|Wavefront Web site from later this month. It will ship on CD in January 2002. Alias also showed off the new particles and fluid system at 3December. The system offers better looking and more realistic results, according to Alias. Mooted features include real-time particle previewing and the ability to use any surface as an emitter. More details and images of the system will be shown in the next issue of Digit.