From the blog of Roman Ormandy (CEO of Caligari) :
Dear Caligari community members,
I am pleased to announce that Caligari Corp has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation. Specifically we will be working with the Virtual Earth team which is in the process of building out an immersive 3D Web experience. If you haven’t seen it yet check it out using the 3D mode at http://maps.live.com
I am deeply convinced that union of Caligari technologies and the scope of Virtual Earth project and vision behind it creates the perfect home for us and new opportunities for each one of you as part of the Virtual Earth community.
You know me and my ambitions for trueSpace and web-based 3D collaboration. Let me tell you right away that there were no compromises I had to make to accommodate our vision within the Virtual Earth platform, in fact I was challenged to increase the scope of our vision. I talked to many people at Virtual Earth group and I am convinced that the technical team behind Virtual Earth has a significant, long-term commitment to the 3D Web.
At the same time you will be pleased to hear that our development team and tightly knit community of Beta testers will stay the same as before, only now we will have more resources to rely on, larger market to consider and I hope more fun doing that.
The future is bright for all of us!
This is a pretty big deal, and congrats to Caligari for the new lease on life. 3D Modeling companies generally don’t make money (which is why I haven’t gone that route, despite my strong interest). They ultimately get sold to Autodesk, or Multigen-Paradigm, or Microsoft after some cash flow problems. I’m not saying Caligari was in that state — I have no idea. But this much is clear: the world doesn’t need is yet another 3D polygonal modeler, no matter how good it might be or how loyal its customer base is.
What it needs is one that everyone can use.
Well, Google has done its best with the SketchUp acquisition, going for the simple-n-easy approach. Caligari isn’t as simple, but it is richer in terms of output, which perhaps matches Microsoft’s apparent goal of more detail for the 3D world at any price.
I personally wouldn’t go with either. If only there was money in 3D modelers, you’d see something totally new. But for now, I’m content to see what will happen with Google and Microsoft racing to build mirror worlds of unprecedented quality and richness. Even if the content they’re rushing to roll out lacks all the key semantic information to make it really useful.
It’s as if we were seeing the construction of the world’s largest movie set, where the big players expect us to just step in and live there and not notice the doors don’t work and the walls are propped up by 2x4s.
Well, at least when the real 3D world comes, we won’t have to re-model all of the polygons and textures.