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I think materials should be handled similar to the Torque3D Game Engine. They put all information about the material in a script and simply execute that script to set up all textures and shaders.
We could achieve that by using Lua scripts and the new Lua API that gives you full control over the material. The material editor should be implemented as an external tool that is launched whenever the user wants to edit the material of an object, this way we can keep the editor small and fast.
The plan is not to re-create what Blender does but to merely give the opportunity to customize every object independently without switching to Blender. All UV maps need to be created in Blender and it will remain this way.
Btw: Thanks for the link. I had no problems with the default exporter yet, but I will try this script.