Rendermonkey is a very useful tool. It's feature rich and easy to use. It have proven it self dosens of times while I was prototyping my game engine's sub systems. I think it is not a material shader editor, artist tool any more. There are many better material and artist tools available such as FX Composer and Mental Mill. However render monkey is better at low level and prototyping stuff. It more like tool for hardcore graphic programmer's shader prototyping IDE.
However, in graphic programmer perpective, I think Rendermonkey is outdated. It has few important bugs and many required features are missing. This problems does not allow rendermonkey became a development environment.
Some of the bugs and missing features are;
- Shader debugging; This is very important feature. As post effect, global ilimunation methods, deffered rendering and other advanced are around here for awhile. Only looking at render output is not enought any more. We have to watch variable and make step by step debugging.
- Shader profiling; We do not have a profiling information other than FPS. We have to looking into frame time, shader utilization and etc. We have to anlyse them per pass and per effect.
- First person camera. This feature is a requirement esspecially if you are working on huge geometries such as game levels. Current camera model is goog for material shader development but pain in the ***** in other kind of stuff.
- Line numbering on source code. Even notepad clones have this feature.
- Parameter tables; Creating and modifying effect parameters in workspace is really hare if you have more than 10 parameters. We need table/data grid like interface for adding, removing and modifiying effect parameters. In addition to this render monkey interface becames unstable and slow if you have too many item/node in workspace.
- Shader Compile error/warning list; Output window is has huge output noise. Figuring out the error on output window is a hard. Render monkey should provide a visual studio like error/warning window.
- Compiler error/warning line linkage; It is broken for 2-3 years after a directx sdk update. I think compiler and it's error output format has been changed on a sdk version.
- Grid on view port. Sometimes visualization about metrics is needed when you are not working on shaded stuff.
- Color value and screen position picker on view port. This is another debug feature if you do not have a proper debugger. Rendermonkey does not allow us to look at the value of a color on the screen.
- Accessible depth buffer; Depth buffer is not accessible and transparent in rendermonkey.
- Constantly changing layouts when you open render window. An application should not chage it's previously opened window's position and layout when a new window opens. This is very frustrating and makes hard to organize things in rendermonkey.
These all that I can remember right now. Rendermonkey should be updated and revised according to new industry requirements. Maybe, AMD can open it's soure. That will definitely improve its development speed.