Mental Mill


#1

I’m writing an article about node based editors with special focus on
shader authoring. Such discussion can’t be complete without covering
Mental Mill, but it has been unavailable for the past few months with no
official information about it’s fate. I reached out to Nvidia and Mental
Images but they never replied, so I was wondering if anyone here knows
what’s going on.


#2

I think they killed it. I remember getting an email stating something to that effect. I thought it was pretty cool tool, but I guess they just didn’t have that much interest in it from the industry.


#3

:\ Shame, I kind of hoped that they eventually replace their crappy (and also abandoned) FX Composer with it.
I used MMill extensively at my last workplace and it was great in spite of its issues… real shame…


#4

It was a failed experiment, I fondly remember the bashing we gave Autodesk on the CGTalk forums when they tried to talk about how it was the future of shaders… sigh.


#5

You can still grab it off the Autodesk website under 3ds Max Service and Support.


#6

@ Rob Galanakis: I don’t think it was a failure, on the contrary. MMill had some
unfortunate design choices (floating input/output slots, curvy links) and missing
features (comments, grouping, parameter instances) but it was a very capable
tool. It had nothing to be ashamed of when compared to UE3 shader editor,
FilterForge, Lumonix ShaderFX, 3DSMax’s Slate, Lightwave’s or Blender’s node
editors.

If you meant MetaSL then again I have to disagree. Offline and realtime rendering
will become the same thing soon. A unified framework like MetaSL would make
the transition happen earlier and smoother.

@djTomServo: Indeed, too bad that version requires and only works with a
3dsMax 2011 license, nothing more, nothing less.


#7

Search for artist edition, that’s also still floating around.


#8

I tried to use it fairly recently to mock up some game shaders for use with Nitrous in Max. It didn’t seem to support vertex data like vertex colour or alpha. That made it pretty useless for me since the shaders I wanted to make all use vertex colour channel as inputs. Although it’s still out there, the chance of it ever gaining vertex channel inputs seem slim now.

I much prefered the interface for ShaderFX. Much less technical, which is good for me, but it seemed ok. Just not ideal for game shaders.


#9

Oh right, no vertex color support, totally forgot about that one. I think there
were hacks but never tried them.
ShaderFX is great indeed, too bad it’s held back by the very limited UI.
The lack of node previews and value sampling (like in MentalMill) made
debugging a real drag. And this too seems abandoned… :\


#10

[QUOTE=Zoltan;16826]
ShaderFX is great indeed, too bad it’s held back by the very limited UI.
The lack of node previews and value sampling (like in MentalMill) made
debugging a real drag. And this too seems abandoned… :[/QUOTE]

You will eat those words soon enough. :slight_smile:


#11

And I’ll be happy to do so. :slight_smile:


#12

Hahahah - Kees, you’re such a tease. :0)


#13

I knew Kees was up to something, but I didn’t want to mention it. :slight_smile:

Still looking forward to seeing what it is.


#14

Zoltan: I agree and disagree. I agree that the concepts behind MentalMill/MetaSL are conceptually sound, the problem is, the world isn’t ready for them and their implementation was destined to fail. It was a closed system and it had far too broad applications to succeed as a closed system. Unfortunately they had no choice because the applications there were targeting are also very closed systems.

I’d have respect for the failure, but they weren’t revolutionary either- they were ‘successful’ due to marketing and integrations, their product was evolutionary at best.


#15

The plot thickens…
http://forum.nvidia-arc.com/showthread.php?12284-mental-mill-1-2-release-and-download