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Jonnoxx

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  1. Ha ha! You wish ... I DO miss the hordes of pretty young girls in the tracing office though, and the endless discussions over drafting tables! 🤣 We are living through another amazing step-change stage in the continuing development path of CAD. For the past few years the improvements have been pressing in the right direction, but were quite incremental only. However, the foundation was being steadily laid for this next spurt. Now ... it is arriving upon us ... really fast SSD's ... huge increases in computing speed and graphic power ... AI being directly put to use in compiling code more quickly, more intelligently, and more reliably than before. An internet that is ever-faster ... Quite literally, a Game Changer! In a few weeks time, for example, the new MS Flight simulator FS2020 will be released for PC games, and will be followed not long after - in time for Xmas season - by the arrival of the new gaming consoles (X-Box Series X and Sony PS5). These bring revolutionary improvements in computing power and access not possible before. The spill-over from everything that made them possible is going to effect the CAD industry in every which-way imaginable. And then some! All this, literally driven both commercially AND technically by the huge market of excited, demanding kids (from 5-70) and money to be made in the Games Industry (now bigger in revenue than the film industry). Imagine that ... the development of VR has been driven by the Porn industry. And everyone else from Medics to Architects to Estate Agents benefits in ways yet to be realized. Exciting times ... And if you've been along from the beginning ... what a Ride it has been ...!!! 🙂
  2. The "switching problem" between Revit and competing packages (and vice versa!) is not a straight-forward decision. There is a significant sunk cost (investment of money and expertise and building an ever-increasing project legacy!) in an existing software (whichever that is) of both workflow and expertise that cannot be suddenly casually uprooted without VERY significant consequences (some of which are only discovered very painfully afterwards). Because of Autodesk's very smart decades-long marketing policy of actively encouraging students and kids to play with their software (pirated or not!), and publicly - and freely - providing plentiful excellent Tutorials and Help files (that ARE helpful - I'm looking at you, VW!), they have naturally built up a HUGE public reservoir of enthusiastic operators that is very easily tapped - anywhere in the world - to competently operate their software at short notice. This is in sharp contrast to almost all the other Architectural software suppliers. The other thing that Autodesk got right - at least with 3DS Max, if not Revit - is that they made an interface and workflow that was genuinely easy for youngsters to understand and get the hang of quite quickly. And use to a level of competence that in some cases, is really impressive. While VW marketing may claim their software is "easy-to-use", I (and many others, it seems) find it incredibly complex to learn, and the workflow and concepts (around stories and classes for example) needlessly obtuse. An intuitive, user-friendly work-flow? Not! So, need a couple of Revit operators quickly? Check! Need a VW expert? Not so fast! The second problem is that the differences between the software packages are not tremendously dramatic. This is a HUGE sales problem for would-be alternatives. It's still very much six of one, half-a-dozen of the other. This "not-big-enough-of-a-difference-to-count" causes a major marketing or sales-friction which inhibits product switching. If you currently drive a Mercedes Benz and think changing to BMW isn't going to make much of a difference to your life, why would you be persuaded to change? A 5% difference in the purchase price? Nope! Not worth it. You know what you've got. A 25% reduction in price, ..? Maybe. Or otherwise some other dramatic feature difference that has become important to you (say, performance? ... or reliability? ... or fuel economy?). Now you're talking! Maybe that could be sufficient incentive to make you consider a change! Whatever ... it HAS to be a BIG enough incentive - important to YOU - to change your outlook. If VW wants to gain traction out of this Autodesk furore, it HAS to provide REAL step-changing incentives to prospective buyers who, even though they are quite angry and frustrated with their current software, are actually still too comfortable to actually make a change. Quite frankly, VW have done a terrible marketing job to alleviate this sales-friction problem to their own advantage. This is not some suddenly-developed VW marketing problem. It has been an ingrained sales-attitude problem of many years. "We supply a very complex software! You wanna learn how to use it? You gotta PAY for us to show you how to use our stuff!" Just WHO is doing WHO the favor in this sales relationship??? Certainly not VW! Spot-on observation! Blender is an existential threat to EVERY current software house in this field that refuses to acknowledge this problem, and doesn't get its act together quickly. It will take its time to work its way into customer production pipelines (that sales-friction problem again!). But it has now moved from a wild hippy idea to actual demonstrated capability for the animation industry. As the new Blender-inspired youngsters start rising through the employment ranks, so they will naturally take Blender along with them. Competent capability in the hands of legions of young - and expert - evangelists. For FREE ! Competing against EXPENSIVE, stuck-in-the-mud, navel-gazers??? Watch this space !
  3. Well, VW really have to get a move-on actually DELIVERING on the high expectations created in the CEO webinars! Previous releases have under-delivered on the promise. Like an Elephant giving birth, and delivering ... a mouse! There's great marketing opportunity for VW to capitalize on the glacially-slow pace of development by arch-competitor, Autodesk - now famously brought to a head in the recent formal "Letter-of-Complaint", publicly-released by a list of 17 signatories representing some of the most widely-respected architectural consultancies world-wide. AEC Magazine provides an interesting review and comment on this furore - regardless of the software platform used: https://www.aecmag.com/comment-mainmenu-36/2046-autodesk-aec-customers-demand-better-value Unfortunately, Autodesk is not alone in drip-feeding product-development and overhauls at a frustratingly pedestrian pace. There are also major industry-changing developments looming on the near-term horizon. Massive step-changes in computing speed, graphical processing power, and software programming capability leveraging AI, are all coming together in a perfect storm dramatically benefitting the user in ways that were simply not accessible before. VW has alluded to working strongly in this direction for some time already. Also exciting in this industry is the ambitious BIM Development Project initiated by Blender in August, last year, which aims to challenge the ENTIRE existing paradigm of current commercial Architectural Software with a new application at the level of current top-end commercial Architectural programs. The price of FREE - and FULL CAPABILITY - from beginning to end is sure to have enormous industry repercussions! Microsoft has now also thrown it's considerable technological and financial muscle behind the Blender Foundation. VW is an unique and exciting product combining three different products in a single wrapper (Architecture, Landscape, and Spotlight). The challenge is that these three products are very different from each other; do not depend on each other; and each has a clientele which operates pretty much outside the requirements of the others. Although an obvious synergy exists between these products/clients, it is not very strong, and not essential for the success of the other individual products. Architects want to design buildings, and have little interest in Landscaping or Stage Shows. And no doubt, similarly vice versa towards Architecture from the Landscape and Spotlight clients. My point is that VW Architecture has to stand comparison against the other competing architectural programs on its own merits - without much regard to the presence of Spotlight or Landscape in the same wrapper. The competitive metric HAS to be the evaluation of Managements' laser-focus on actually delivering a "Best-in-Class" experience everywhere in the program: The most User-friendly interface ... the most Intuitive Work-Flows ... the best Individual Tools (eg Windoor?) for each - and every - facet of the work-flow ... the most complete toolset ... the most aggressive - and rapid - overhaul of long-time program deficiencies ... and the best integration with the Industry Standards ... and Help Files that are actually helpful! Not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea. I wonder where VW would score in such a comparative table? It is interesting that on the VW website, the most recent independent architectural reviews (under "News - Product Reviews") are from 2016! Yup, 2016! Food for thought right there. Competition is like a horse-race. Competitors cannot run the race at a speed according to their own convenience. The pace in the long-run is set by the most energetic of the competitors constantly responding to the perceived demands of the customers. And especially, also the unmet demands of their competitors' customers. Very much looking forward to which rabbits (and how many!) VW pulls out of the hat for Architecture this time.
  4. Not true, Scott! I DID indeed pay proper attention to your comment and concern. And respected it enough to address it head-on by pointing out that it would be easy enough to incorporate the feature that you regard as important INTO my proposal. How is that DIRECT consideration of accommodating YOUR concern "not good enough" for you?? I pushed back on you objecting to a proposal on the basis your example of use, which - in my opinion - represents a somewhat exceptional situation. And therefore NOT a rational basis to totally deny an improvement proposal out-of-hand. As you just did. If you felt otherwise (that the extreme use-case scenario you gave) is in fact - by far - the common scenario that you imply, then it is to be expected that you should have backed up, or at least re-iterated - in your response. Instead of constructively defending the - imho weak example you gave - and graciously accepting that I went out of my way to accommodate YOUR concern (to YOUR benefit!), you instead descend into personal attack ... A common thread over many years in this forum is that proposals in this forum are simply ignored, or slow-tracked to the back-burner. And furthermore - to really rub it in - competitor products are in the meantime, developing BETTER, more User-Friendly and Intuitive tools in the same space. This has become so frustrating for some users, that they have - quite reasonably - questioned why they should continue to invest in Vectorworks Nemetschek has THREE similar mutually-competing products in the architectural field. This seems TWO products too many! It must stand to reason that in the long term, this is an unstable company situation, and at some point MUST eventually consolidate into a SINGLE dominant product. Which one that will eventually be, and when, I have no idea! All I know is, is that the other two products are going to be working pretty damn hard to make sure it's NOT them that are put against the wall. Reading the responses over the years in this forum makes me wonder whether Vectorworks realizes the urgency of the task before them. And how fast the curtain is closing on the space to address the existential threat they face.
  5. I very much beg to differ - hence my proposal! I appreciate this can only be a personal opinion. And that others have every right to differ. 🙂 "Working with bulk changes" is not a constant, all-day, everyday, activity with this aspect of the program for the majority of users. For those that it is a significant activity, such a feature would be easy to seamlessly incorporate this in the proposal. And would thus overcome your objection. It would be easy enough for Vectorworks to alpha-test a proposal like this in a "customer user-test laboratory setting" (they do have such a facility for testing new ideas? I certainly hope so!). It alarms me somewhat - greatly! - that there seems VERY LITTLE interaction on a "Wishlist Forum" by actual Vectorworks representatives! Yet such user-forums present amazing windows of opportunity for Marketing executives! They should be on daily patrol here. Nothing less! Indeed, I frequently advise marketing/sales executives to actively patrol the forums of their competitors as much as their own, for new ideas. And especially, the valuable insights that can be gained into weaknesses of their competitors who do NOT respond to the opportunities presented on a plate right before their eyes! Any company that boasts having an "Easy-to-use" interface, and being "eager to implement" it's customer's ideas ... as it's differentiating marketing advantage ... HAS to walk the talk! Unfortunately, however, there seems a HUGE disconnect between the exuberant visionary claims in CEO webinars, and the body language of actual implementation in the field. Experience has long ago taught me to ONLY pay attention to the Body Language!
  6. I see. Seems it would be easy enough to incorporate this feature in the proposal.
  7. Thanks for your comment, Mark! Not sure what you mean here. Is it the "ability to show" ... or the "inability to show" that is the problem? 🙂
  8. Thank you for raising this point, because it highlights a FURTHER inadequacy with the current "eye" depictions, which is that the existing contrast with the "Visible Eye" and the "Grayed Eye" is far too subtle as it is. The "Visible Eye" should in any event have a MUCH more prominent use of a STRONG primary color in the eye. For example, make the entire iris and pupil a single circle of say, a bright blue (or green, or whatever). Such a bolder depiction will not take away from the symbolism of the existing icon. Thus when you inspect the column, your eye is not having to carefully scan for subtle changes in shade between the current symbols , but is immediately - and strongly - drawn to the ONLY icon with COLOR in it. 😜
  9. I find the current method of selecting the visibility status in of Design Layers etc in the Navigation Panel (and elsewhere) both tedious and redundant. Currently, one must inspect THREE columns, and then move your mouse cursor to one of these columns, and then click to indicate your choice. Problem Statement: There is NO need for 3 columns to indicate different choices of visibility states! Solution Proposal: Use just ONE column to accomplish this SAME functionality. In the proposed new SINGULAR column, the selection is by SUCCESSIVELY clicking at a SINGLE mouse position, sequencing either: 1. The Eyeball (indicating visibility) 2. a "X" (indicating visibility is switched off) 3. The Eyeball - Greyed Out (indicating grayed layer) Benefits - Immediately Implementable with negligible recoding! 1. Much Quicker, and much more User-Friendly! 2. No need for muscle micro-movements to have to position cursor slightly from one column to another. 3. Less cognitive load to have to visually scan what the current status of the eyeball in the columns is; and then have to make a decision on where to move cursor; then have to confirm the correct choice was made. And move the cursor to another column if mistake made. 4. All this is now unnecessary! 5. Position the cursor in one-movement over the selected eyeball, then quickly click through the options. 6. Make a selection mistake? No need to move cursor to another column! Just keep clicking on mouse to cycle through options again.
  10. Vectorworks has a real problem in regard to urgently needing a PLENTIFUL supply of free, high-quality, useful, up-to-date tutorials! Yes. Every single one of those boxes needs ticking! Some of the relatively few tutorials put out on You Tube by professional trainers are more an overt introductory advertisement for their further training services, than an ongoing useful tutorial series in their own right. Vectorworks is a VERY complex program, and it's very easy to get lost. And then very quickly - get STUCK! The "Help Files" are NO help at all !!! They have obviously been written by a team of mainly Technical Writers. Although Technical Writers generally have a good understanding of HOW the program operates, and are able to describe WHAT the program does, they generally (not always, of course) lack the hands-on experience that comes from personally dealing with the Users to ANTICIPATE the problems frustrated beginners get themselves into. And to reflect this empathy helpfully by providing useful, practical advice in their instructions to users who have got themselves into a bind, and DON'T need a mere recitation of what the program does, so much as DO NEED a helpful ANTICIPATION of what their problem could be. And most importantly, a USEFUL mini-tutorial on exactly HOW they can dig themselves out of the mess they got into! Who is the often the BEST real source - and repository - of WHAT knowledge and tutorial help should be automatically provided to the Users in the Help section of the Vectorworks program??? It's NOT the Technical writers. It's the Training Staff. By far! Vectorworks employs some really excellent trainers, but there seems to be a SERIOUS internal management disconnect with using their expertise to drive the composition of the Help files! The Help Section should be FILLED with (up-to-date to latest version!) Mini-Tutorials. A good excellent example of where this is done properly is Autodesk 3DS Max. I appreciate that Vectorworks University is an attempt to fix this problem. But it is - still - VERY MUCH - an obvious work-in-progress. Too little, too late! The webinars are really good. But - referencing PVA-Jim's YEAR-OLD comment above - there are - a whole year later - still far too few. What happened to the promise of this coming great change, Jim? The rate of adding additional new material is decidedly pedestrian! There need to be LOTS more! And urgently! For example, as a beginner, I really struggle with understanding how to get a project going from start to finish in Vectorworks. The shear amount of complexity - everywhere - is overwhelming! And the program is constantly fighting the beginner with "gotcha's" at almost every turn. It's like stepping into the pilot's seat of a modern jet airliner for the first time. And the instructor demands that you have to know everything - in complete detail - BEFORE you can even begin to taxi the plane down the runway. That's NOT how complex subjects are taught! The first training focus is to ignore most of the instrument panels, and just do the fewest simple steps to get the engines started, then we taxi down the runway, then I get you in the air (Yay! that's what I came here for!). Now I show you a bit about what the essential flight controls do, then YOU take over for a bit. Then I show you a bit more. Here's how we operate the radio ... and the trim .... and ... And enough for the day. Now we land. And then ... we continue our lessons in this style, gradually introducing you to handling ever-more complexity. And then, one day, you will do this on your own. Confidently! The point of this analogy is that there needs to be a graduated series of lessons - over the SAME material - of ever-increasing depth and breadth. I start with a collection of a few reference drawings: a site plan, surveyor's drawing, initial sketch layouts for each floor. I look at the Help files in Vectorworks, and find how to import and resize an individual reference drawing. Great stuff! But there's immediately a show-stopping problem! I haven't got just one drawing. I've got multiple reference drawings! How do I manage these multiple drawings? Nowhere can I quickly find a solution to my problem. User-friendly program or interface? Not so much, imo, when these simple little gotcha's (which SHOULD have been anticipated by the Help files) catch you right out of the starting gate! The Help files and tutorials that come with the program are obtuse in showing me how they get allocated to each floor, and how I can easily check out that each floor has the correct reference drawing. Stories, floors, slabs, and Layers? Total confusion for a beginner! And have I mentioned Classes yet? It's not enough to merely talk about this stuff. This has to be explained to beginners by way of actual examples in a " real-world" example project. Vectorworks needs a series of dedicated tutorials of complete end-to end projects. There should be several of these projects, beginning with simple residential projects, alterations to existing houses, then gradually stepping up to more complex examples like multi-story office and residential or hotel buildings. Better still, would be if Vectorworks opened up a dedicated YouTube tutorial channel, which actively - and swiftly - presented tutorials in response to topics that viewers raised. Even better, would be if Vectorworks could actively sponsor some really good trainers to provide their own individual - freely available - Tutorial channels on You Tube. There is real tutorial merit in having a wide variety of different trainers each tackling similar projects (but individually different). What you didn't follow in one lecturer, may be more easily understood from the style of another. An excellent example in this regard is Robert Mann, an Australian university Architecture lecturer who provides - imho - the very best tutorial material for Archicad. Free, in-depth, Up-to-Date (no lazy padding with out-of-date old-stuff baggage from 2008 or 2014!). Robert is an excellent teacher, with an engaging personality and style. Even if Archicad is not your scene, just check his channel out to see the full extent of the tutorials presented. Complete projects - from beginning to end! Some in like 20 -30+ individual bite-sized video tutorials! Comprehensive is an understatement! View some of his lectures to see what i mean. For example, here's the very first lesson (Part 01 of more than 34 parts!) in an example of how to complete a House Project. Now imagine if Mann, or better still, several trainers as engaging and energetic as he is, each did a similar tutorial in their own personal style for Vectorworks! Chief Architect is another program that understands the importance of providing a LOT of up-to-date - and really useful - tutorial material. Free too! It always amazes me how marketing executives with expensive sales and marketing budgets deliberately short-change the company's long-term marketing strategy by being hesitant and reluctant with providing plentiful and useful - and FREE - training material for the program their own business future depends on! Nickel and diming in this area of market strategy is a seriously self-defeating strategy in an ever more competitive market. Enthusiastically investing in ACTIVELY facilitating the potential market to learn for themselves how good your program is, should be a no-brainer!
  11. Sorry to hear that despite you having given over +1 000 suggestions to Vectorworks, they haven't even had the interest to discuss this with you? Am I reading your comment correctly? If so, I am aghast. This is how NOT to treat the loyal customer base! There is little reward in supporting a company claiming to respond to their customers' wishes, if the end result is that they seemingly ignore the customers' opinions, or at least engage with them on the subject. This has to be a warning sign of sorts.
  12. Yes, Zoomer, while it is true that one must be aware of possible IP restrictions, my experience of offering improvement suggestions to companies has been that there is OFTEN a great deal of resistance to actually want to change. And, unfortunately, it often does come down to the individual personal attitudes of the executives. Companies that GENUINELY seek out customer participation MAKE sure their SENIOR staff go out of their way to be enthusiastic participants on the forums where their customers congregate, and ACTIVELY engage with them. They don't leave it to the customers to have to form their own groups to self-help themselves. This is indeed a real-world test for validating a company's commitment to listening to its customers. And the results are not all good in this arena. Autodesk, for example is getting good at this. The execs at 3DS MAX came in for torrid criticism (and some of it very much deserved!), but they stepped up to the plate, and did not flinch from publicly engaging with some (very!) angry users. And do you know what? If they now release as good a new MAX release early next year as they promise to do, they will have scored a major PR victory, and made lots of their user-base v happy. The Nemetschek group? Vectorworks people seem quite friendly. But the guys running the US Archicad forum?? Oh Boy! Now ... onto the important stuff ... What do you think of my suggestion. Good? Bad? Ugly?? I'm quite cool if you have an opinion (how else do I learn?).
  13. I'm a brand new user of Vectorworks (trial copy, so no investment except of time and gray hair), and I just can't resist throwing my own few stones at this bush. I've been working through trials of all the major programs (Revit, Archicad, AllPlan, Chief Architect etc). Each of them to seem to have their own (for me) major, deal-breaking issues. It would actually be refreshing if the programmers at these companies would put their selfish ego's aside, and have a good, humble look at all the other programs, and SHAMELESSLY COPY what was BETTER in the competition - instead of refusing to admit somebody else had a better idea or implementation, and continue with an imperfect solution that their users must continue to suffer with (all because of the programmer's ego!). The company that does this will soon best the competition, and become the User's favorite. Seems a no-brainer to me. Just the ego problem to get over, huh? Vectorworks touts itself as particularly "User-Friendly". All these architectural programs tout themselves to be user-friendly, but the actual user experience often falls very short of the claims. I have been really struggling in Vectorworks to get my head around understanding how to set floors up, and my head is just spinning. It's all as clear as mud. The User Interface all seems so unnecessarily complicated and convoluted on what should be quite a straightforward issue. The very fact that the tutorials "explaining" this only ADD to the confusion points to a MAJOR UI problem. There is even a video on Youtube where Jonathan Pickup is being interviewed to explain this stuff, and at the end of the interview, although the interviewer says he now understands the subject, it's pretty clear he is none the wiser afterwards, and is just being polite. One of the commenters on this video remarks on this fact also. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And in my opinion, that is EXACTLY what is missing from the Vectorworks UI dialog. Instead, the User is asked to make selections from a table format, and is expected to somehow visualize in his head what his tabular choices would mean and look like. You will note that whenever anyone is pressed to explain what is happening here with floors in Vectorworks, they CANNOT do it just in words! Almost invariably, they resort to producing some sort of sketch to help explain themselves, and to try to get the message across to the other party. THAT - right there, Gentlemen - has to be the AHA! moment for the Vectorworks UI Designer. (Or it certainly SHOULD be!) Attached at the bottom of this post is an example of a model worksheet that was provided by Wes Gardner in another thread. I use this example to illustrate what I would like to see INSIDE the proposed new dialog box for setting up floors. And yes, if that is a HUGE dialog box that takes up half the screenspace or more, then so be it. Not a problem for me. Ideally, this diagram should ALWAYS show THREE floors simultaneously: the floor ABOVE (on top); the CURRENT ACTIVE floor (in the middle) the floor BELOW (show at bottom of sketch) As the User moves between floor levels, this view of the "current 3 floors" should move dynamically up and down also. And the User should then be able to just input his values / or tick his choices, DIRECTLY into that diagram - which dynamically changes accordingly. This dialog box is pretty much the most important - and useful - dialog at the beginning of a project. In ONE diagram, a LOT of the project defaults are both visible and accessible. There is no hunting around into several disparate windows to try and solve a problem. The User can immediately see the full picture, and directly intervene, and confirm that his intervention is doing what he wanted. In this ONE diagram, the User could also have the opportunity to set some other important defaults right there as well. For example, the User could also visually set the window sill appearances, as well as the initial top and bottom window default heights. Same for the door heights. And of course, the User must be able to VISUALLY set which feature is LINKED to which other feature eg THIS wall height is linked to THAT surface of THAT slab or Floor. It must be visually clear where the linkages/relationships are (by similar color-coding or special symbols or "connecting lines" or whatever). And it must be easy to click and change them at will. So the INITIAL opening view in this dialog box looks just like one of Wes' Sectional Views in his example worksheet And just as Wes has provided several sample worksheets, so too should there be an initial dropdown list from which the User can select his initial basic "Section View" setup. He should then be able to subsequently save his final adjustments as a custom setting or favorite, and be able to call this up later for other projects. And be able to export it to his colleagues for their own use. And likewise, import similar from other users. Section View - MSW - Residential (16 Dec 2016).pdf

 

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