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Christiaan

ArchiCAD technologies we'd like to see in VW

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I see Nemetschek bought Graphisoft before Christmas. The mind boggles at what NNA will do with the asset that is ArchiCAD. As a VectorWorks user obviously I'd like to see all the good stuff put to good use in VectorWorks.

I'm not hugely knowledgable of ArchiCAD and I wouldn't have a clue how transferable any of the technology is, but there is one thing that immediately came to mind: the 3D game-like navigation brought out in v10:

http://graphisoft.vo.llnwd.net/o1/AC10/ACClips/AC10_35.html

Also the custom wall sections and angles:

http://graphisoft.vo.llnwd.net/o1/AC10/ACClips/AC10_11.html

http://graphisoft.vo.llnwd.net/o1/AC10/ACClips/AC10_12.html

Two things I'd love to see in VW in some form. What do others think?

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Christiaan, we've had the first item in VW for years - walkthrough tool in OpenGL rendering. The only thing ArchiCAD has is a modifier key to switch to side-to-side movement, where we have to select a different tool for that kind of movement.

The ArchiCAD section views are vastly superior to VW, although the new Section Viewports are a step in the right direction. ArchiCAD can limit your view space to any rectangular prism subset of the building, and you can see into it from all directions if you want, walk through it, rotate it, etc.

I'm not sure how often I want to have a wall object that has a slanted serpentine cross section. I might almost rather model it from basic 3D objects in those rare situations. Then I can have complete freedom, including NURBS precision, which ArchiCAD lacks.

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I see Nemetschek bought Graphisoft before Christmas. The mind boggles at what NNA will do with the asset that is ArchiCAD.

Nemetschek AG of Germany bought Graphisoft, not Nemetschek North America, which is also owned by Nemetschek AG.

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Christiaan, we've had the first item in VW for years - walkthrough tool in OpenGL rendering. The only thing ArchiCAD has is a modifier key to switch to side-to-side movement, where we have to select a different tool for that kind of movement.

The ArchiCAD technology is aware of it's environment too (hence it's "3D game-like"), as I understand it, so it knows to travel along a horizontal surface, such as a floor, and up stairs, etc.

Nemetschek AG of Germany bought Graphisoft, not Nemetschek North America, which is also owned by Nemetschek AG.

And NNA is a wholly owned subsidiary of NAG, but NNA develops VW, hence I'm interested in what NNA would do with ArchiCAD, not NAG.

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And NNA is a wholly owned subsidiary of NAG, but NNA develops VW, hence I'm interested in what NNA would do with ArchiCAD, not NAG.

That's easy: nothing. NNA won't have anything to say, unless something really strange happens.

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That's easy: nothing. NNA won't have anything to say, unless something really strange happens.

So you're telling me that if ArchiCAD technologies do get used in helping to develop VW, NNA, the developer of VW, won't have anything to say about it? Er, right.

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ArchiCAD technologies won't be used to develop VW.

Petri, just curious - I wouldn't be surprised if this were the case, but how do you know this?

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Well, what would be the advantages to Nemetschek? Eroding the appeal of ArchiCAD simply does not make sense. Merging VW and AC does not, either - unless AC becomes the new "VW Architect". For that to make sense, the price should be that of AC, but I don't think there would be too many buyers.

Anyway, my guess is that "technologies" are entirely incompatible. Concepts, on the other hand, are free prey and nothing, except cost, has prevented VW developers from implementing similar features.

No, I think VW will continue to be the Volkswagen, ArchiCAD remains the Audi. That makes perfect sense.

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I wouldn't be surprised if this were the case

Another scenario is of course that any areas where the trusty old VW might compete with PorscheCAD, are left entirely to the Porsche-division.

Reading the commentary by VW-drivers, this might be wise. They are offered a lever ("gearstick") to reorganise the couplings in the gearbox, but they insist in crawling under the vehicle and moving the parts to the next appropriate position by hand, because they do not want leave it to the automotive engineer to decide which cog wheel should be connected to what...

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I think Pete was confused by your statement that, "ArchiCAD technologies won't be used to develop VW," which implied that you actually know something we don't. Maybe it would have been clearer if you prefixed your comment with "in my opinion."

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It is not an opinion, it is a fact. You cannot take a snippet of ArchiCAD code (=technology) and paste that into VectorWorks code.

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Well, what would be the advantages to Nemetschek? ... Anyway, my guess is that "technologies" are entirely incompatible. ... No, I think VW will continue to be the Volkswagen, ArchiCAD remains the Audi. That makes perfect sense.

"What would be the advantages [be]?" "My guess." "No, I think." "Makes ... sense." These are all speculative comments. You don't sit on the board of NNA and nor do you appear to have any other source of insider information, so, by definition, you are speculating. This whole thread is speculation. That was the point of it.

You cannot take a snippet of ArchiCAD code (=technology) and paste that into VectorWorks code.

I didn't say you could, but what can be done, and what is often done in situations like this, is to take a look at the source code of a piece of software, along with the people who wrote it, to see how someone else has achieved something and use this knowledge to improve another piece of software.

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"My guess" is that we won't see any significant cross pollination any time soon. A number of us have been asking for multiple views in VW for several years (never a response from NNA for or against). This feature has been available in Cinema 4D since I've been using it (~1999) and is common in many 3D programs. Maxon & NNA are part of Nemetschek and the most we've gotten is a $100 Exchange Plugin. This plugin is almost identical to the free one provided by Abvent for use with Artlantis.

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Yeah my guess is the same, but there's nothing wrong with a little speculation, especially with an aquisition like this one. smile.gif

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so, by definition, you are speculating.

Yes, I am speculating. Really wild, wild, wild speculations like "the board members of Nemetschek AG are rational people who understand both business and technology".

This whole thread is speculation.

Sorry for bringing a bit of rationalism and understanding of business and technology into it.

to take a look at the source code

Possibly, but mainly like "oh, so you've done it like that and therefore...? Professional programmers actually know their stuff; of course you have better ones and worse ones, not everyone can do everything etc etc. CAD is not a trivial area to do programming. And so on, but all in all, a firm like NNA would certainly have been technologically capable of doing the things you mentioned. Whether "a look" would make it any easier and cheaper to implement them in VW, I can't say.

Surely you have had a look at many buildings, even seen drawings of many.

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...they insist in crawling under the vehicle and moving the parts to the next appropriate position by hand, because they do not want leave it to the automotive engineer to decide which cog wheel should be connected to what...

My ears started burning when I read that. Guilty as charged. grin.gif

As far as beneficial results of the mergers, what about a common native file format for VectorWorks, ArchiCad, and AllPlan? Is that a possibility at some future point? It would be something the rest of industry would have to pay attention to.

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Perhaps a proven business model is at work here, the most effective way to beat the competition

is to buy them out before the threat becomes too great or costly to overcome.

Then force their User base to migrate or die from neglect ala' the Microsoft technique.

Possibly, one day this too will become the fate of VW Users

if , indeed, the valuable Graphisoft code is left to rot on the boardroom floor.

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Apple, on a number of occasions, has bought whole companies not to crush the competition (although sometimes this might have factored in their decision) but to acquire the software and expertise, often ending in a complete rewrite of the original software. iTunes is one example. Many of their pro apps in the video genre fall into this category too. Maybe some others, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

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Yes, there have been this kind of moves, too. Autodesk bought Revit, for instance. Yet, there is no interoperability whatsoever between AutoCAD and Revit. I understand that Revit cannot open an AutoCAD file in an editable format at all.

Anyway, VW is the only "universal" CAD program in Nemetschek's stable, so as such it has a pretty good prognosis - in my opinion, that is. The question is whether it will be allowed to really compete with ArchiCAD as an architectural or BIM-application.

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It is not an opinion, it is a fact. You cannot take a snippet of ArchiCAD code (=technology) and paste that into VectorWorks code.

Actually not necessarily true, if as I understand it, both are written in C++. In object-oriented programming it is possible to have parallel sets of modules and to write a class or function that calls functions and inherits from other classes that, while named the same, have completely different detail-level execution. Thus it is possible to write bridge code between modules with different bases. It may not be the cleanest way to go, but it can work, especially as an interim measure.

For example, suppose VW stores a rectangle from upper left to lower right, and ArchiCAD stores it from upper right to lower left (conceptual example). This difference can be bridged with a "pseudo-rectangle" object that can turn one or the other around, with switches that allow developers in different environments to work on a project that executes in both.

What you are missing in your analysis is that the market does not consist of VW and ArchiCAD politely competing. Revit, and possibly others, threaten to become the default standard, thus freezing both Nemetshek assets out of the future. So there is not only a business incentive, there are technological methods to accomplish what Christiaan is suggesting. If I were a VW executive, I'd want to share resources on developing a new capability, and start to build bridges between the programs that could filter down at some point in the future and allow the programs to easily share features that one or the other lacks.

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Actually not necessarily true, if as I understand it, both are written in C++. In object-oriented programming it is possible to have parallel sets of modules and to write a class or function that calls functions and inherits from other classes that, while named the same, have completely different detail-level execution.

True, but if the internal object mechanisms are fundamentally different, the interface (bridging) can be quite difficult. Well, this is what I've been told by people who really do know, I'm no expert.

What you are missing in your analysis is that the market does not consist of VW and ArchiCAD politely competing. Revit, and possibly others, threaten to become the default standard, thus freezing both Nemetshek assets out of the future.

Firstly, Revit is not a major player outside the USA and the USA is not a major player in BIM - the EU is.

It will indeed be interesting to see how Nemetschek goes about the situation.

The market for BIM-software is in Europe and the more expensive programs do quite well there; I believe the German version of VW is quite a lot more expensive than the "generic" (=US) version, with tons of localised functionality and content. Government sector clients are the first ones to demand BIM-style work; eg. in Finland IFC-compliance is now obviously mandatory (from 1.1.2007) in Government work.

The market for new CAD-licences is in the various developing economies, Eastern Europe included. Will these follow the American "computerised drafting" -paradigm of the European "modeling" -paradigm? We do not know.

(Trivia 1: all the early building modeling programs were European: GDS, Acropolis, ArchiCAD etc. At this time, the American effort in this respect was approximately "The Cuckoo Clock", as Orson Welles might have described it.

Trivia 2: Hungary, of ArchiCAD fame, has been one of the leading countries in object-oriented programming since the 1970s.)

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Yes, that too.

Architectural practices in Europe are organised as "studios" and there are no huge "drafting departments" or "documentation teams" churning out drawings. Architects do their own drawings, specifications, schedules ets. from start to finish, the project is not usually passed from one to another person.

On the other hand, sole practitioners doing houses for private clients are also a rare breed as most people live in apartment buildings in real cities.

European architects do a broad variety of work from planning and urban design to buildings and product design.

Governments are a very big client, either directly or indirectly. Projects are generally of reasonable size. Few enormous projects, few tiny ones.

Pure speculative projects are something of an exception: it is not common that a project would not be completed and built. Eg. in Finland you know that you get the building permit as long as you comply with the (often very detailed) planning/urban design requirements. (It is not legally possible for the LGA to decline to issue the permit.)

Standardization is at a very high level and products from different suppliers are very often interchangeable. I've never needed to bother where the windows, kitchen cupboards & appliances and so on come from.

All in all, the overall situation is quite different from what I believe is the American situation. (At least it is quite different from the Australian situation, which I do know pretty well.)

Thus, CAD-software needed in Europe is different from what is needed in the USA, Australia or whatever. (I'm not sure if the UK is a part of Europe.)

In my experience, ArchiCAD did not really work in Australia (and I can't quite understand how it could work in the USA). There are users, of course, but not a lot. Revit, on the other hand, does not seem to be gaining a lot of interest in Europe.

Of these three programs I believe VW is the most flexible. Firstly, it can be used for any type of design and for both modeling and drafting. Secondly, it is customizable and expandable even for smallish markets. I don't know anything about Revit, but ArchiCAD's built-in language GDL is only for object descriptions, it is not a functional language. Obviously there is an API that allows new functionality to be added, but if it is C++ -based, you need to be a software engineer to do anything, whereas a humble architect can do quite a lot with VectorScript.

This has nothing to do with the subject, of course. I just think that VW has great potential even without "ArchiCAD technologies".

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I've never used Archicad, so I took a look at their website and was surprised to see a version called Maxonform. It claims to tightly integrate Archicad & Cinema 4D so that there is a two way link between the two. This is a feature I'd hoped to see between VW & C4D, not just an Export plugin from VW to C4D. The current plugin just creates a VW "container" in C4D housing the objects created in VW, but it's best not to modify them in C4D and it's not easy to go from C4d to VW. I can import dwg, 3ds, etc but not c4d.

http://www.graphisoft.com/products/archicad/solutions/maxonform.html

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