Alias Wavefront has announced Maya 4.5, which features new fluid simulation capabilities, new 3D modeling tools, and additions to the Maya API.
One of the major new tools in Maya Unlimited 4.5 is Fluid Effects -- tools for simulating and rendering atmospheric effects, viscous liquids, pyrotechnics and space effects. Fluid Effects will allow users to create various types of atmospherics (billowing clouds and cigarette smoke); thick, viscous liquids (mud, lava); pyrotechnics (fire, explosions, nuclear blasts); and space effects (comets, nebulae and meteors). Fluid Effects is integrated natively in Maya and includes a fast interactive 2D solver, 3D fluids solver, interactive control with Maya Artisan, an Ocean Shader, and volumetric and implicit surface texturing and rendering.
In modeling news, the Advanced Modeling functionality of Maya Unlimited has been included into Maya Complete. This functionality includes advanced NURBS tools and support for hierarchical subdivision surfaces. There are also new polygonal mesh and editing tools, with a re-designed UV unwrap interface, along with a expansion of the Maya API. Of particular interest to game developers are an expansion of the Polygon API and enhancements to the hardware shaders API, the latter of which allows for more flexibility in developing pixel and vertex shaders.
A|W says that all versions of Maya 4.5 will ship on or before September 30, 2002. Maya Complete is priced at $1,999. Maya Unlimited is priced at $6,999. Version upgrades are priced at $999 for Maya Unlimited, and $699 for Maya Complete.