updated 03:20 pm EDT, Thu March 20, 2014
V-Ray 3.0 for Maya released in beta today
Chaos Group has released a beta of the latest version of V-Ray, its rendering software used for 3D animation and film. V-Ray 3.0 for Maya introduces a new path-tracing engine, a Progressive Image Sampler, and other features that provide artists with instant feedback during the development process. Hair rendering and Ray-Traced Subsurface Scattering (SSS) have improved, and its newly-optimized core raises speed levels when adjusting lighting, shading and rendering. V-Ray 3.0 adds support for common open source formats like OpenSubdiv, Alembic 1.5, Deep Images, OpenEXR 2.0 OpenColorIO, and, in the near future, programmable shaders with Open Shading Language (OSL). The public beta is available for use for all existing V-Ray for Maya users.
FireChat for iOS launches its hyperlocal anonymous chat network
Open Garden has launched its first iOS product today, offering users access to a hyperlocal chat network. Entitled FireChat, the app utilizes the Multi-peer Connectivity Framework in iOS 7, meaning that through a combination of Wi-Fi, peer-to-peer connections and Bluetooth, users can connect to others within a 100-foot range or larger. One can chat and also share photos with everyone on the local network, or to a single user. There are no user accounts, so users can remain as anonymous as desired. FireChat is free, and available for iOS 7.0 later.