By Charles-Arthur BOURGET
Following 2 months of pre-production, we are proud to present you our development roadmap for 2020. We have ambitious plans yet again this year and they aim at fulfilling the needs of Indies as well as mid-sized studios that want to achieve their animations with an accessible, simple and efficient tool.
2019 brought a lot of new things to akeytsu among which a macOS version (now in synch with PC), additive layers, geodesic voxel binding, joint light display mode, blendshape controls, tween machine, customization options, improvements for our reverse foot controller as well as many other software enhancements. We ended up delivering everything we set ou to in July when we communicated publicly on what we were up to. For those who missed it you can read about it here
We want to keep that momentum going in 2020 and keep adding to akeytsu to make it the most accessible 3D animation solution keeping professional needs in mind. Through well-designed tools we'll make the workflow more permissive, simple and accessible to 3D artists. In short, we want to make 3D animation as simple as it can be.
Priority Development Areas
To build the dev roadmap we went through minutes collected at numerous trade show meetings, we toured across several studios to ask them what it would take to get akeytsu in their pipeline and last but definitely not least we paid a special attention to constructive requests (emphasis on constructive here) posted on forums
or chatted about on DISCORD
Our objective this year is to complete our keyframe toolset to be the go-to 3D animation you'll want to use for mid-sized productions, mobile games, indie projects and VR experiences. All this boiled down to 4 development thematics listed below that can be considered absolute priorites for us.
- FBX exporter/importer overhaul (Pack 1)
- Fully-featured on macOS (already done)
- Global IK solving
- Auto-Rigger (Pack 1)
- Retargeting (Pack 2)
- Audio support (Pack 1)
- Cameras (Pack 2)
- Looker (Pack 1)
- Space switching / Dynamic Parenting (Pack 2)
- Roll joints (Pack 3)
- Meta-Controllers (Pack 4)
On the use of Beta Features
We have also factored in additional testing for all our releases to improve the quality of each delivery. On the other hand you will note that some features like Auo-Rigger for example will be delivered as "Beta Feature" but it doesn't mean QA will be skipped for them. Each feature released will follow the same quality checks.
Beta Features will be delivered within public releases and tagged as such in akeytsu. There will be two occasions in which we will release Beta features:
- We know that somehow you'll break it if you deviate from our use cases ie. we did not have the means to reproduce every possible user scenarios and may not have anticipated all technical issues as a result.
- We are delivering a fully functional feature that does not yet comply with the final experience we want to deliver in terms of UX.
Beta Features will be flagged in Release News and Release History on our website as well as in the software as mentioned. We will be extremely transparent with you on why it should be considered Beta. In the first case described you'll want to use them with caution ie. save before you proceed if you're doing something fancy. In the second occurence it should be considered fully functional but feedback will be extremely welcome.
Cameras and Meta-Controllers are also potential candidates for Beta Features. We will reevaluate this closer to the release of each patch.
We have a few bonus in mind in case production goes smoothly and the further away the more likely things are to move slightly. That being said we are commited to do our best and ship what we are sharing with you today. We hope you are as excited by this roadmap as we are internally to make it happen.
We need your help to make akeytsu a better tool.
Write us on forums or our discord channel if you would like us to consider improvements.