Hi @sculpterra, thank you for reaching out! This is a fitting question to inaugurate the new forum. Apologies for taking some time to reply, we are slowly making the move from our own forum to being kindly hosted by McNeel here.
The project is alive and well, even though our website is badly outdated at the moment and doesn’t reflect our latest news. This is in the process of being fixed. Soon…
We are growing our infrastructure these days: launching servers all over the world, improving responsiveness and perhaps most importantly for Grasshopper users, we are days away from finally supporting Rhino 6 on the platform. I hope that addresses your concerns about our reliability in the future.
As for our plans, we have found that the main use case is 3d product configurators.
At the moment, there are essentially two kinds of 3d product configurators on the market:
- Modular configurators: they consist essentially of a limited number of options, allowing users to choose between a few shapes, colors and accessories. See a typical example of this category: https://threekit.com/3d-product-configurator/
These configurators generally display a set of precomputed outputs, and there are many companies developing software automating the process of creating such configurators and therefore allowing non-technical people to do it themselves.
- Really parametric configurators: there is an increasing number of those, allowing much more flexibility and customization depth than the first category. Those configurators are typically built through custom development and necessitate a lot of resources and expertise. Some famous examples include Tylko (tylko.com) and the works of nervous system (https://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/shop/search_tags.php?search=custom)
We believe that ShapeDiver occupies a sweet spot between those two categories. By interpreting and displaying Grasshopper definitions online, one gets rid of the need to recreate complex geometry operations with web technologies and can just rely on the Rhino geometry kernel. In a word, non-programmers are able to create online interactive 3d applications faster than any developer could. Not to mention out-of-the-box generation of CAD drawings when needed by the application (think 3d printing, CNC, etc…).
On a more concrete side, and in addition to supporting Rhino 6, there are three areas that we are pursuing at the moment:
- Interactivity: we will soon allow object hovering, selection and dragging in the viewer. This was a key missing element for building truly intuitive configurators.
- Analytics: this is a bit more middle-term, but we will upgrade the dashboard with advanced analytics about shapediver models. The idea is to help the product designers understand how users and customers interact with parametric models, and how they can improve the interface or the model itself.
- Augmented Reality: soon…
The main reason we joined the McNeel forums is to get more frequent and honest feedback from the community, so I’ll be happy to hear some thoughts, suggestions and feature requests.
Looking forward to the upcoming discussions in this forum.