Lightwave appears to be sold, with handover aimed for end of the month

TheLexx

Well-known member
It popped up on Facebook to join Future of Lightwave Discord and Andrew Bishop has a pinned message:-

Hi Everyone, over the coming few days I will try to answer as many questions as possible, but needless to say i am extremely happy that we are in the final stages of getting LightWave up and running again. We have huge plans for its future, not just short term but also long term. We are extremely pleased to have worked closely with VizRT in making this come together and thank them hugely for enabling this. I look forward to giving you loads more information over the coming weeks and months.

Messages flying about everywhere. Something seems brewing for sure...

And Vizrt and Newtek turned out to be the good guys. Cooperated in full apparently... Those with egg on the face please raise your hands.. :)
 
Wait a minute. This wasn't posted on the first of April by any chance was it?
The timing is certainly close to 1st April, but is no hoax. Already the Discord is looking like a Who's Who of Lightwave names, though I think patience will pay off and some form of announcement will come I am sure.. :)
 
If this turns out to be true and LW has new owners then my most immediate concern would be if Andy Bishop is one of them. The guy with at least three failed companies.
 
If this turns out to be true and LW has new owners then my most immediate concern would be if Andy Bishop is one of them. The guy with at least three failed companies.
Hi, sorry you feel that way - but to be acurate i have 1 failed company that lasted 25 years, but the last bit of it was a mess - That was 6 years ago. I dont think we did bad for most of it though. Also for the last bit of it, i wasnt running it, which is no excuse but the reality. Feel free to get in contact directly and if i can answer any of your questions please feel free to get in contact.

By the way i also handled the distribution of LightWave and took LightWave in the UK to the number 1/2 position in 3D seats in the UK, again something im very proud of, at the time we were part of VTR plc (later purchased by Prime Focus).

I then set up Darkside at Molinair that later became a stand alone company called Darkside of which, depending on what we were aiming at at the time did have some sub names... darkside animation, darkside animation films and darkside studios etc. We were purchased by COMS, that had us as their internal animation company, though we did continue creating work for our existing customers in TV and advertising (we did effects on shows such as Spooks, Hustle, Outcasts and loads of other shows). Finally when COMS changed ownership, we were put under a lot of financial strain (due to us having to buy ourselves back)... and at that point we never really recovered.

As for the remnants of that team, most went on to form Little Shadow headed by Simon Percy, an amazing company producing outstanding work in the advertising and TV area.

I didnt want to build another Darkside, so went into engineering visualisation. Which i have done since Darksude ended (and have been very successful at)

Finally, it was a senior member of the Newtek team that asked me to put together a team to save LightWave, didnt want you thinking i just chose to do this because i had nothing else to do.

Obviously thats really just a very loose summery, but in general i think we did some amazing things over the 20+ years we were around and obviously im sorry you felt you needed to voice your concern. I will try my absolute best to hopefully turn your opinion around over the coming years.
 
Last edited:
Regards the activation purchase model, we havent really fixed anything on that as we only just finalised the negotiations - But which ever path we take we will always do everything to look after the animators who use our product. Over the coming months we will keep everybody informed on what we are planning. Also thank you for sticking around, i know how difficult it must of been.
 
Last edited:
Well Andy, I thank you for coming on here and attempting to put my (our?) mind(s) at ease when you really were under no obligation to. And also confirming that LightWave will be under new ownership and does indeed have a future. It is very much appreciated.

With regards to how well LightWave will navigate the new AI focused CGI industry with you at the helm; at this point in time I think all we can do is give you as much of a chance as we would any other new owner and just watch this space.

In any case, my respect and thanks for managing to rescue LW from oblivion.
 
I mean good for Vizrt in selling it but they left users in the dark for the last two plus years, selling software that they had no intentions of developing.
Hopefully the new owners can actually do something with it- but anything more than NT or Vizrt did would be a good start.
 
This is a fantastic surprise! I am thrilled that Lightwave has a path forward and very anxious to see it receive further development.

I will stick by what I have stated all along; if Lightwave continues development, I will continue supporting it.
 
This is unexpected news! Very glad to hear a group of LightWave veterans have succeeded in convincing Vizrt to let LightWave go and be managed by people who actually appreciate its qualities. A world without LightWave is a darker place indeed.

[:devilish: devil's advocate mode on]

That said --playing the devil's advocate-- after reading through the Andrew's Discord messages, it seems that the unification of Modeler<->Layout is a long long way out (years), and the new team decided to continue to develop Layout the way Newtek did after Core's demise by adding modeling tools in Layout bit by bit.

It's great to read about bug fixing (including ancient bugs still around from the 5x release), a focus on GPU rendering, removing the existing redundancy in Modeler tools, improving interoperability (import/export) with other apps,

Yet without that much-needed unification LightWave will remain hampered by its legacy split code base - and not only for its users. Even the new team probably realizes that having to maintain two separate apps with all the Hub issues and limitations will gobble up more development time to keep both apps updated.

For example: I assume they will (need to!) update and replace the OpenGL viewport API to Vulcan/Metal to remain future-proof. But that now needs to be implemented in both Modeler AND Layout with two different code bases. It's a waste of time to have to update both. (ps I do hope the new team will support Linux as well!)

Same for raw performance: Layout beats the pants out of Modeler. Modeler's performance is (let's just call it as it is) dreadful compared to any other DCC. Does that mean having to optimize Modeler separately from Layout as well? More lost development time?

But on the other hand unifying LightWave is going to take at a minimum 5 to 7 years to complete. This was Newteks conundrum: LightWave's user base and place in the market is diminished to a trickle of where it was all those years ago, and initial revenue is minimal. Refactoring and rebuilding LightWave into a unified app will take time and a good team of expensive developers (GPU rendering developers are in extreme demand!), and the immediate solution to generate income is to continue to develop the separate Modeler and Layout. But that takes away development time from the unified rebuild, which then would take much longer - time that no-one can afford, neither user nor developer.

So I am very very curious how the new team plans on tackling these challenges in the years to come. The decision to stick with the current split app structure is going to slow down development, no matter how you look at it. And unified apps will offer all the functional advantages on top of that, which makes it harder to compete on features alone.

And then there is the issue of existing DCCs that have continued to grow their feature list, while LightWave stood still for the past three years or so. Modeler far longer than that. LightWave cannot compete with any of the major DCCs on a feature-by-feature basis. Yes, I know; LightWave has its own unique advantages. But LightWave is, for the most of it, a forgotten software. Absolutely no-one under 30 that I speak to knows about LightWave. How would any newcomer in this industry be attracted to LightWave as a non-unified app? Perhaps the odd duckling who wants something different... Everyone else? No.

And while the new team challenges itself to update LightWave to become feature-par with other DCCs, those other DCCs are already 5 years or more ahead of LW in terms of features, and the new team will have to catch up as well. But where is the new influx of users going to come from?

Worse, the open source competitor is very much ahead of the current LightWave as well and continues to develop at a momentous speed. Sure, in certain aspects LightWave can compete and even still better the competition, yet in quite a few crucial areas it cannot. Why would a newcomer --or for that matter user who left LightWave-- choose LightWave when it cannot compete on either pricing (free!) nor feature set?

Let alone on community? The vast ecosystem of free support that it has?

I haven't got a clue. I am really really trying to understand how this reboot of LightWave is going to work. I truly hope this isn't to become a second TrueSpace or an "Amiga reboot" that sounds wonderful right now that everyone is stoked that LightWave is "saved", but ultimately proves entirely impractical and insolvent as a business proposition in the end in a few years down the line.

[:devilish: devil's advocate mode off]

Then again, I might be blind to the business opportunities presented by LightWave, and the new team knows exactly how to circumvent the aforementioned dire straits.

I wish you @akbishop and your team all the best. You convinced Vizrt/Newtek of the validity of your business plan, which means you may have discovered a route to navigate and overcome all the above icebergs on your route to a successful reboot of LightWave. If that turns out to be the case, I wish you all the luck in the world. The underdog deserves a place in the sun! :cool:

More information is forthcoming, I read on Discord. My interest is piqued no matter how this plays out. At least NewTek/Vizrt is out of the picture, and THAT can only be a good thing.

@BernieBn I believe the new team intends to take over the LightWave site and create a new forum. The current Discord is only used for the upcoming few weeks while they make the transition.
 
What's the future licensing? Will this be another software going to rental with live Internet connection. Or is it too early to say?
 
This is unexpected news! Very glad to hear a group of LightWave veterans have succeeded in convincing Vizrt to let LightWave go and be managed by people who actually appreciate its qualities. A world without LightWave is a darker place indeed.

[:devilish: devil's advocate mode on]

That said --playing the devil's advocate-- after reading through the Andrew's Discord messages, it seems that the unification of Modeler<->Layout is a long long way out (years), and the new team decided to continue to develop Layout the way Newtek did after Core's demise by adding modeling tools in Layout bit by bit.

It's great to read about bug fixing (including ancient bugs still around from the 5x release), a focus on GPU rendering, removing the existing redundancy in Modeler tools, improving interoperability (import/export) with other apps,

Yet without that much-needed unification LightWave will remain hampered by its legacy split code base - and not only for its users. Even the new team probably realizes that having to maintain two separate apps with all the Hub issues and limitations will gobble up more development time to keep both apps updated.

For example: I assume they will (need to!) update and replace the OpenGL viewport API to Vulcan/Metal to remain future-proof. But that now needs to be implemented in both Modeler AND Layout with two different code bases. It's a waste of time to have to update both. (ps I do hope the new team will support Linux as well!)

Same for raw performance: Layout beats the pants out of Modeler. Modeler's performance is (let's just call it as it is) dreadful compared to any other DCC. Does that mean having to optimize Modeler separately from Layout as well? More lost development time?

But on the other hand unifying LightWave is going to take at a minimum 5 to 7 years to complete. This was Newteks conundrum: LightWave's user base and place in the market is diminished to a trickle of where it was all those years ago, and initial revenue is minimal. Refactoring and rebuilding LightWave into a unified app will take time and a good team of expensive developers (GPU rendering developers are in extreme demand!), and the immediate solution to generate income is to continue to develop the separate Modeler and Layout. But that takes away development time from the unified rebuild, which then would take much longer - time that no-one can afford, neither user nor developer.

So I am very very curious how the new team plans on tackling these challenges in the years to come. The decision to stick with the current split app structure is going to slow down development, no matter how you look at it. And unified apps will offer all the functional advantages on top of that, which makes it harder to compete on features alone.

And then there is the issue of existing DCCs that have continued to grow their feature list, while LightWave stood still for the past three years or so. Modeler far longer than that. LightWave cannot compete with any of the major DCCs on a feature-by-feature basis. Yes, I know; LightWave has its own unique advantages. But LightWave is, for the most of it, a forgotten software. Absolutely no-one under 30 that I speak to knows about LightWave. How would any newcomer in this industry be attracted to LightWave as a non-unified app? Perhaps the odd duckling who wants something different... Everyone else? No.

And while the new team challenges itself to update LightWave to become feature-par with other DCCs, those other DCCs are already 5 years or more ahead of LW in terms of features, and the new team will have to catch up as well. But where is the new influx of users going to come from?

Worse, the open source competitor is very much ahead of the current LightWave as well and continues to develop at a momentous speed. Sure, in certain aspects LightWave can compete and even still better the competition, yet in quite a few crucial areas it cannot. Why would a newcomer --or for that matter user who left LightWave-- choose LightWave when it cannot compete on either pricing (free!) nor feature set?

Let alone on community? The vast ecosystem of free support that it has?

I haven't got a clue. I am really really trying to understand how this reboot of LightWave is going to work. I truly hope this isn't to become a second TrueSpace or an "Amiga reboot" that sounds wonderful right now that everyone is stoked that LightWave is "saved", but ultimately proves entirely impractical and insolvent as a business proposition in the end in a few years down the line.

[:devilish: devil's advocate mode off]

Then again, I might be blind to the business opportunities presented by LightWave, and the new team knows exactly how to circumvent the aforementioned dire straits.

I wish you @akbishop and your team all the best. You convinced Vizrt/Newtek of the validity of your business plan, which means you may have discovered a route to navigate and overcome all the above icebergs on your route to a successful reboot of LightWave. If that turns out to be the case, I wish you all the luck in the world. The underdog deserves a place in the sun! :cool:

More information is forthcoming, I read on Discord. My interest is piqued no matter how this plays out. At least NewTek/Vizrt is out of the picture, and THAT can only be a good thing.

@BernieBn I believe the new team intends to take over the LightWave site and create a new forum. The current Discord is only used for the upcoming few weeks while they make the transition.
Hi Rayek, great to see your interest and read your comments - regards intergration of LightWave, this has always been an issue - some want it, some dont, but let me clear this up a little bit. First, if we decided to intergrate it wouldnt take 5 years+ - But its more about what are our priorities. Initially with LW we need to finish the last set of planned updates and de-bug the existing software, we also need to complete the updating of the code (which had a load of work done on it, but is incomplete). Then we need to add some functionality that would allow LW to be competitive with current software.

We also need to further develope the tools we have that are currently highly competitive such as Unreal Bridge etc. As for the competition, yes LW hasn't really been developed or focused for a long time, but also the other packages have in some ways stagnated so i disagree about them being 5 years ahead... that said Blender has had a lot of growth with some fantastic features added and of course has great third party developer support. But Blender does have its issues, i know a lot of third party devs wont touch it because of the open source requirement.

All that said, we know we have a load of things to do, when i handled distribution of LW in the UK, LightWave had a tiny user base in the UK... and everyone felt that it was no use trying to compete against Maya and 3D studio Max etc... and yet within 3 years we took LW to the number 1/2 spot in the UK and the same happened in the US with LW dominating TV and Film production. Obviously i dont have a crystal ball and no one can predict the future, but the animation industry is the biggest its ever been, in fact the returns in 3D software are also the biggest they have ever been. So does the market place have room for LW... of course, how do we achieve that, by adding features that help animators pump out great looking shots quickly.

Finally most production houses use multiple bits of software, animation software is no exception - Houdini's fluid dynamics are awesome, Maya's character tools are outstanding, Blenders instancing is amazing and LW's Unreal Bridge tools are incedible - all have a place in the modern pipeline.

Haha... didnt mean that to be a rant - and what ever you do, stay involved - it would be great to have your ideas and comments going forward.
 
by the way if possible get involved on the discord chat, much easier for me to chat to everybody in one place - oh, regards the forum question earlier... we are taking over all that stuff on the 27th.... but it will take us a while to get it all up and running again
 
I personally can't think of any one better than Andrew to take Lightwave 3D forward. To be succesful you need to be Passionate, determined and have a will to succeed, Andy has all these attributes and more. I did an interview with Andrew Last year and meet him when he was a guest speaker at the Create Expo event in 2017.

So it begins:

My interview with Andrew from last year:
 
and regards LightWave accounts - i think the aim is to switch it seamlessly accross.... but until we do it we wont know what problems could arise. At some point though will update and modernise the whole experience... but this will take us time
 
Back
Top Bottom