The power of CAD architectural design with intuitive “stretch and pull” control handles directly on the models, all driven by powerful geometric and procedural nodes. Archimatix is several evolutionary concepts to swallow at once, but the smartly arranged workspace (2D-3D shapes on the left, manipulators and repeaters on the right) and infectiously ebullient training materials make the new concepts seem like the dawn of a grand adventure.
Immediately you can make geometric tunnels, platforms, and mazes just by extruding 2D shapes and compositing overlaying 2D patterns. In a few hours you’ll work out how to create dynamic rails, bridges, columns, and walls intuitively, just by exploring the node interface. When you do consult the manual, it exudes so much personality and humor it feels like a little reward – a user-friendly design feat in itself.
If Archimatix stopped there it would be an interesting plugin for Unity, but it goes to another level where you can give the models random and deterministic procedural design formulas. Walls fill in with windows, arches span between columns, corners follow special rules, skyscrapers grow to different heights…. Group nodes and expose certain parameters as control handles, then save them to the 3D library to re-use as dynamic “intelligent” models. It’s a game changer.
You’re not limited to architecture of course. How about a control panel that fills in with knobs/buttons? A table that adds more plates and chairs. A bookshelf that adds books… It’s not hyperbole to say the possibilities are endless!
PARAMETRIC MODELING – Create 3D models from 2D shapes using extrude, lathe, path sweep, etc. Combine and merge 2D composite shapes, and manipulate the resulting 3D meshes directly in Unity’s scene view by dragging outlines and control points.
PROCEDURAL NODES – Individual node settings provide granular control over smoothness, bevels, offset, and thickness. UV materials and collider types are handled automatically, and can be tweaked. Archimatix even creates secondary UV maps for light baking!
2D / 3D REPEATERS – Grid repeaters, line repeaters, radial repeaters… turn a column into a hall, a step into stairs, a post into a fence, a panel into a room, a wall into a multi-story building, a house into a village…. Add Unity prefabs to Archimatix repeaters to iterate particle systems, lights, 3rd-party meshes, even NPC’s inside your Archimatix models.
NODE LIBRARY – Save and re-use entire procedural node groups by editing and swapping nodes from the libraries. Make drastic changes to a floorplan while preserving style details like walls and rails, or instantly propagate a change throughout repeated architecture non-destructively. Buildings, props, entire game levels can evolve organically from pre-viz volume placeholders to final design, remaining editable and dynamic the whole time.
“INTELLIGENT” MODELS – Assign formulas and spatial relationships between various parts of the model. Add random jitter, scale, and rotation to arrays, or create flexible rules for repeaters. Dynamic models can be stamped into prefabs, creating an entire “city” of buildings or a variety of props that follow the same design rules. A building can have a ground floor and roof with any number of repeated floors in between, including connecting staircases.
CURRENT LIMITATIONS but FUTURE POTENTIAL –
• An API is promised that will allow dynamic models to be manipulated at runtime (Archimatix will become not just an advanced modeler but a revolutionary in-game mechanic!).
• no Deformers or 3D Boolean nodes yet. You’ll need other tools to accomplish these tasks.
• no OBJ Export… Trivial to use a free exporter for Unity, but you will wonder why Archimatix is “just” a Unity plugin. Seriously, I would have paid the same price (or more) for stand-alone software! With a few tweaks Unity is a plugin for Archimatix!
• no SVG/vector/font Import. For now we have to use the Freeform 2D shape tool or “turtle” script. Nodes for importing 2D data shouldn’t be difficult. Expect them in updates.
• The 3D Library jumps from a few basic primitives to full blown Italian villas, LOL! It leaves a pregnant gap of potential add-ons, in all genres and styles. An AX file exchange and 3rd-party artist support could make AX into a design platform, not just a modeler.