We’ve been hard at work for the past few weeks working on more improvements to the agent software. For those of you running Windows, you’ve probably already seen the updates, as they were released a couple days ago. Those on the Mac platform will need to download the update and move it into their Applications folder.
Version 2.70 brings with it several notable improvements. First, you can thank Son-of-Superdev for the darker theme. It’s not an eyeball buster any more, as we know most of the render apps have darker skins to them. A news section is visible on the left side of the Home tab now, to enable you to never have to leave the agent to see farm updates. Click on the article buttons to be taken to the full version on our site. Other UI enhancements include the return of tooltips. Hover over buttons or sections of text for brief instructions on use.
The “Submit job” tab now has quick links to point you to the two most important support portal pages relevant to the render app you select. Those two pages are the list of software versions deployed and the general scene file prep directions respectively. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for you to pre-validate your scene with the information we provide by making direct access to the relevant information a single mouse click.
The About button now gives you access to information about agent beta versions. We’re trying to make rollout of new features easier for people to retrieve, use, and test. The “Email support” button pre-fills the new email with a bit of relevant information about any jobs you have in the queue, as well as who you are and what platform you’re running. We encourage you to make use of it when/if you need to contact support requesting assistance. It will often save an email roundtrip or two if we have some basics in the first message you send to us, so again, we’re trying to make that as easy as possible.
Under the hood, the agent should be a bit more friendly to firewalls. We now have it attempting connectivity to our farm on the same TCP port we’ve always used, but also on another standard TCP port that is typically always allowed through firewalls. We hope this makes it less likely that customer firewalls will prevent agent-farm communication. This is commonly a problem in larger corporate environments. Another invisible change is that we’ve substantially increased the frame count limit per-job. This is due to no longer being constrained by the fixed limits of the previous farm management software. You can thank Harpoon for the collar-loosening.
In other updates not specifically related to the agent, we officially mentioned 3D Studio Max’s ART render engine and Cinema 4D R19’s Prorender render engine as deployed software. ART has actually been available since we deployed Max 2017 and up, we just never mentioned it explicitly on our site. Likewise, Prorender was always available in our C4D R19 instances, but scene files using it were always sent to our CPU farm. That has been changed so that all Prorender jobs will go to our GPU farm.
Enjoy the updates!