With the launch out of the way and having figured out a lot of the initial steps to build a sustainable workflow, the question on my mind this month has been:
Now that we’ve “succeeded” in making Poly Haven a thing, how do we keep going? What should we prioritize and work on next?
We have a plethora of small ideas for specific assets to create, but I want to think bigger.
We’re toying with the idea of a system of “seasons”, much like video games use, where we pick a theme and work on content for a few months at a time, resulting in some kind of major project like the Pawn Shop scene, or perhaps an interactive Unreal environment, or maybe even (one day) a short film.
Then we schedule the assets we made to be published over the next couple of months (with Patrons having early access to everything) all while we work on our next season of content.
Just ideas at this point 🙂
I’d like to get our community and Patrons more involved in the process of selecting a theme or even working on the content itself in the future, but for now as we’re still figuring out if this is a good idea or not, we’ve chosen our own theme to work on for the rest of this year. I’ll explain more in next month’s Dev Log when there’s more to share, but for now at least you can have the working title: A Smuggler’s Cove
With that out the way, let me share what we’ve been working on this month 🙂
Early Access on Site
No more silly separate Google Drive folder that doesn’t stay in sync with the site – Patrons who support us with $3 and up now have access to all of our future assets directly on polyhaven.com:
You can read more about how to enable this here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/new-early-access-55049064
Download Graphs and Stats Page
For most of this week I’ve been working on aggregating our download stats into a usable and useful form.
This is mainly for us to see what’s popular and what to focus our energy on, but it had the side effect of making this sort of thing quite trivial:
All assets now have a little graph next to the download count that indicates the last 30 days of unique downloads.
Not particularly useful for users, but interesting and fun to have nonetheless 🙂
Also, I’ve started working on a Stats page, which for now shows the daily downloads for the last 3 months:
Some ideas for other graphs I have:
- Downloads per month over all time
- Number of Patrons over time
- Comparison of resolutions downloaded
- Comparison of formats downloaded
- Assets published per month
- Downloads per $ donated
- Downloads per day relative to number of assets of that type available at the time
HDRI World Map
Another not-so-useful-but-fun feature, this time just ported from the old HDRI Haven site, is a world map showing the locations of all the HDRIs we’ve captured (when GPS coordinates were recorded): https://polyhaven.com/map
GLTF is not enough. FBX/USD? Native formats?
One thing that’s become clear is that GLTF as an alternative to .blend downloads for models and textures is not a perfect solution.
Some software that does support it (e.g. Unreal) often has some bugs you have to work around, while other software requires a paid plugin to import it (Autodesk), or simply has no way of importing it at all.
We’ll definitely keep providing our assets as GLTF, since we need them for our fancy webGL viewer, but we’re thinking about what other formats we can support as well.
FBX is the last resort for me, but it does seem to be the most widely supported right now. USD is a promising contender, but we’ll need to wait until Blender 3.0 is officially released before we can automate exports for it.
Alternatively, what if we forget interchange formats and provide actual native software formats like .max, .mb, and .uasset? That would require an insane investment of time and money, but maybe it’s worth it?
This requires some more thought and testing.
Dipping our toes in YouTube
Some of you may know that I got started in the Blender world making tutorials on YouTube (please dear god don’t go look those up), so I’ve always thought it’d be a good idea to jump back in a little and make some simple videos for our community.
To get started, I worked on an update to my old “How to do HDR Lighting in 15 seconds” video that goes into a tiny bit more detail:
James also made some videos that give an overview of certain assets he worked on:
Graphic Design Elements
Designing believable (but fictional) logos, labels, and other graphical elements is a challenge, and not something that any of us 3D artists are particularly good at.
She also helped us with the Poly Haven logo itself last year 🙂