Jump to content
Hash, Inc. Forums
Sign in to follow this  
Roger

Thoughts on AM

Recommended Posts

So I'm getting a very late start on my contest entry, and I got to thinking:

 

I have a laptop sitting on my desk that is probably faster (many times) than an SGI Onyx with Infinite Reality graphics (although I guess I'd be surprised if it wasn't, given 20 years of progress in technology).

 

And even though I don't use AM as much as I should always...whenever I come back to it, I'm able to pick things back up without too much trouble, so that really speaks a lot for its design. And it probably costs about as much as a single Softimage support call would have cost back in the day.

 

Funny how things change.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh geez... about 20 years ago... when I worked at Nortel they they set up a group to do "VR" and they bought an $80,000 SGI thing to run $30,000 Alias Power Animator, the predecessor to "maya"

Just to make simple low-poly models of phones and offices for a VR engine that Superscape had sold them for $1,000,000

 

After the dust settled from that debacle, a year later maybe, I went over to give Alias Power Animator a try.

 

"What does this do that my $299 A:M v5 on a $2000 Power Mac doesn't do?" I asked myself.

 

Nothing! There's no way that was worth the money it cost but people around the industry were lining up to get soaked and eager to boast how much money it cost them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh geez... about 20 years ago... when I worked at Nortel they they set up a group to do "VR" and they bought an $80,000 SGI thing to run $30,000 Alias Power Animator, the predecessor to "maya"

 

Just to make simple low-poly models of phones and offices for a VR engine that Superscape had sold them for $1,000,000

 

After the dust settled from that debacle, a year later maybe, I went over to give Alias Power Animator a try.

 

"What does this do that my $299 A:M v5 on a $2000 Power Mac doesn't do?" I asked myself.

 

Nothing! There's no way that was worth the money it cost but people around the industry were lining up to get soaked and eager to boast how much money it cost them.

 

 

Yeah SGI was seriously overpriced. Part of that is that you were getting a system at the time that was ten years ahead of everything else (this was true until about the late 90s, with the advent of affordable 3d accelerators for PC and the Pentium II and III processors). Once you could put together a $2000-$3000 PC that could compete with a $20000 workstation, it was game over for them. If they'd had a clue they would have made add-in graphics boards for PCs instead of driving away all their engineering talent to Nvidia and ATI. I remember thinking that my 486-133 wasn't that much worse than an R4000 Indigo once I finally got to use one in college. The only thing my 486 couldn't do was the real-time lighting and shading, but in terms of throwing polys around on the screen it was probably close to a low-end Indigo, maybe the R3000 class. I'd have to look up benchmarks but I remember being not that impressed.

 

 

**edit** OK strictly speaking I figure an R4400-150 Indigo has a similar MIPS rating as a high end 486, the edge would come in with the graphics board. So the ones I used in college must have been the low end R3000 ones, or they were the lower speed 100mhz R4400 models with entry graphics. I just remember that it felt roughly similar in speed in terms of moving raw polygons around on the screen. A Pentium Pro or PII with a Riva TNT or Geforce 256 would surely have demolished an Indigo and start creeping in on Octane territory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...