Oy, developers of Real 3D and Realsoft 3D
give us some background:
Meskanen kindly allowed us to
"interview" him on the 18th February
2003. This is the full transcript from the
B: Vesa, could you please
tell us a little about yourself:
V: I'm 38 years old, married and happy
. My education is in mathematics, but my
work has always been 3D software development.
During my free time, I like to be out in
the nature, fish, and also do some training
at the gym.
B: Could you tell us a
little about your home town, Tampere in
Finland ? (I hear there is good fishing
V: Tampere is a medium size town: 200 000
people live here. I like it, because it
is a peaceful place, but still offers most
urban entertainments. The city is located
between two lakes so there are good fishing
opportunities here. For some reason, I do
not fish here: I often travel 1200 kilometers
northwards to fish in an artic environment.
I suppose the grass is greener on the other
side of the fence...
View out the office
window in the morning (February)
B: You have been hard
at work for well over a decade writing Real
3D and now Realsoft 3D, what drives you
to write software, what keeps you going
V: Many things. I often create 3D images
myself and i like to improve the tool by
adding new features and possibilities to
it. The second major motivation is of course
the great user community we have. It is
very rewarding to see how the efforts put
into the development carry fruit in form
of nice images and animations.
B: Realsoft Oy is the
company behind Real 3D and its successor,
Realsoft 3D. Can you give us a little background
behind the company and its staff ?
V: I started the company 1989 when Real
3D v.1.0, a product which Juha
and I had been developing for years, became
ready for a commercial release. Realsoft
started in a very modest way: we printed
the first 50 manuals with a laser printer
ourselves. By the way, that was the first
and last manual which was written in Finnish.
Computer graphics was growing rapidly at
that time. It was surprisingly easy to get
into the business, and the company started
growing. Juha joined the company next year,
and we started exporting the product. First
to Scandinavia, then to the Europe, and
soon to overseas.
Some employees from Juha's previous job
place ported the Amiga
version to PC.
was one of the three guys who did the porting.
We hired him after the successful project.
The port was finished just in time before
the difficulties of Amiga started. Pertti
has coded for example the SDS modeler.
expert, joined the team when v.4 development
was started in mid 90's. Stefan's main job
is at Nokia
- he maintains the Unix versions as his
side job. He played a very important role
in the design and development of v.4.
In the beginning of 90's, my little sister
was handling the sales office. We were a
real family enterprise at that time! Sirpa
had a business education and did a good
job in the office, but then she decided
to change her career into a more artistic
direction. She went back to school, this
time to study graphics design. Nowadays
she is creating our adverts and other such
material. So, we had to find a new employee
when Sirpa left. We found Satu
with the help of a local employment agency.
She has taken very good care of the office
Satu at work in the
B: I think you scared
a few people recently when www.Realsoft3d.com
went down for over a week. Care to tell
us what happened there ? I note that you
have a new improved site online now, faster
and with new links !
V: The internet service provider (FeaturePrice,
USA) just surprised us with their
bad service. That was their way to inform
us that it is time to renew the internet
account! Unfortunately we did not manage
to renew it, because it was impossible to
find qualified support persons there. So
we were forced to move the site to another
ISP. After all that trouble, we couldn't
really even consider using their services
any more. It also took quite many days before
all domain name servers linked to the new
site. That's it.
B: How do you think RS3D
sits in the 3D world and where do you see
RS3D going ?
V: We are a small player, but in many
ways different from the competitors. We
try to provide an open toolset which gives
a lot of performance for the invested money,
and there are lots of artists who appreciate
that. On the other hand, increasing the
customer base takes efforts and lots of
time, because the competition is so hard,
and the market leaders have so much better
It seems that this business is today difficult
for all companies. However, our position
is safe: all costs are covered with the
sales incomes. There are no risk investments
involved. It will remain safe as long as
we manage to add new features and improve
the product enough to keep the existing
B: Do you use / research
other 2D / 3D applications ?
V: Not much. We use feedback from users
for that purpose.
B: How do you feel about
Developers of Plugins for RS3D ? Are these
people important to your core program or
do you feel they just suppliment your basic
feature set ?
V: The existing and coming plugins have
an enourmous importance. The import/export
plugins are essential for most users. RealCloth
plugins represent state-of-the-art technology
and major development efforts which could
not be covered with our own resources. It
is a pity that some powerful but highly
specialized plugins are probably suffering
from our small user base - I'm thinking
here the Realman
B: Realsoft Oy is only
a small company. You have kept the team
tight and have not expanded over the years.
Why is this ? With so many other 3D companies,
expansion is natural progression. Is it
a case of keeping it simple ? Or do you
feel you keep the product the way you feel
it should be ?
V: I guess there are many reasons for that.
First of all, it is nice to work in a small
company, we are 100 % independent and do
what we like! Now I can participate in the
development, which I like very much. In
a bigger organiation, I'd have to choose
between a developer's job or a manager job.
In today's tight marketplace, expansion
is possible only by taking some serious
risks. A failure would probably mean end
of the story. We have chosen the safe way.
B: There is a lot of speculation
about version 5.0 of Realsoft, just what
sort of tidbits can you tell us will be
in v5.0 ?
V: We will follow 'the good old recipe':
one quarter of hot new innovations, one
quarter of improvements in the basic construction
blocks, one quarter of most wanted features
requested by users, and one quarter of bug
fixes & performance enhancements:) Featurewise,
there will be new SDS editing tools, new
v3 style compound tools, new VSL features,
a fractal tree generator, UV editor improvements,
new hair rendering solutions, etc. The list
is not yet fixed.
B: With so many other
3D apps touting new features - surely there
has to be an end to just how many new features
we can expect ! What else could we possibly
ask for ?
V: Developing a 3D software is like building
a pyramid. We can always add a new set of
basement blocks and then build a new layer
on top of the previous one. The work never
ends. Our existing idea lists already contains
work probably for the next 5 years!
B: There have been minor
murmers around with people asking for a
book on Realsoft 3D. Do you feel this would
have a market ?
V: It makes sense, if the book is good
and produced cost efficiently. I'm afraid
the author would not get rich by selling
B: Do you have plans for
support of realtime shader-languages (such
as OpenGL 2.0)? (Mirco is busting to know;)
V: We have been thinking that, but no development
has been done yet for that purpose. I'm
sure such an option will appear sooner or
B: Realsoft is renoun
for its tight knit community. User loyalty
is high in a marketplace that is very boyant.
With mailling lists, Image contsts, Forums,
IRC channels and dedicated websites, its
become quite diverse. Do you think this
is one of its best assets ?
V: Yes, indeed. For work motivation reasons
and also for financial reasons. It improves
user satisfaction remarkably, because people
on the mailing list are so helpful. New
users get help quickly if they encounter
B: And finally, is there
anything you wish to say to the RS community
V: One word: Thanks!
Vesa, Thank you for taking time out of your
busy schedule. We appreciate that you (and
Juha) are hard at work implementing new
features and pushing 4.5 SP1 out the door
now. We all thank your for persevering with
a package that we all use and highly appreciate.
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