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Quick Draw McGraw

Vectorworks Structural

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How about an additional VW package to include various tools for us Structural draftees out there. I've written several small ones which help but I think NNA could do better and include things like Reinforced Concrete tools, Footings, Retaining Walls, Steel connections etc. Just a thought.

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I had a wild old time a little while ago sharing site model info from VW to Microstation people

Question - is ArchiCAD good at that?

Are you implying it went well or the opposite?

As far as my experience goes there are very few apps that effectively exchange files (within my line of work that is).......importing files from 3DS or Sketchup are adequate but often too large, IFC is a start but still not really worth the time and effort.

The greater level of interoperability that can be gained at the base level of design ? engineering ? the better

Agreed!

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bentley, revit and allplan,but not archicad, offer direct files and have an engineering user base.

Chris, what on earth are you talking about? Are you suggesting clients should choose architects and engineers based on whether they use the same software?

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Gentlemen - could we please stick to the main topic of this thread being a wish list. Not an all out war between Architects and Engineers.

Sorry Bruce, can't agree with you there, this 'wish', if realized, affects us all in some way, i think it is important for all to vent their thoughts/ideas/criticism about it.

Whenever i post an opinion on this forum i do so mainly in the belief that the decision makers/engineers are registering our opinions and making well balanced decisions about how important we the users (and they) find certain issues and if (and how) they then can be included in future releases.

Edited by Vincent C

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I'm not sure I understand exactly what you are wishing for.

You can create a library of steel connections, footings, etc already.

If you are talking about adding calculation based design tools into vectorworks, I doubt anyone would be happy with the result of an NNA software engineer's understanding of structural design practices and the tools used to impliment them.

I believe that better dynamic interaction between vectorworks and existing third party tools via OLE, ODBC, and Visual Basic would provide a more robust and flexible solution.

There's already too much outside of NNA's software engineers' core competency that has been hard coded.

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Chris, when you stop talking in the abstract maybe I'll understand what you're trying to say. You seem to be completely immune to answering direct questions, which by the way was:

Are you suggesting clients should choose architects and engineers based on whether they use the same software?

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Right, I thought that was what you meant. And, for us, completely unworkable. And disagreeable frankly. We don't want to narrow client/contractors choice of engineers and architects based on whether they can read/write the same proprietary file format.

This problem is what IFC is designed to solve. And an open file-format is precisely correct way to approach the problem. Pairing architects and engineers based on proprietary file formats may be advantageous, if convenient, but mostly it's not convenient.

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seriously take some responsibility

Right... and this, from my understanding of what you're saying, is to purchase and use whatever software the engineer that we happen to be working with is using?

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We don't want to narrow client/contractors choice of engineers and architects based on whether they can read/write the same proprietary file format.

This is what's happening in the architectural industry (in South Africa anyway). Whenever I mention a program other than AutoCAD (be it Vectorworks or ArchiCAD) to Architects, they shrug away and most times their first question is whether it's "compatible" with AutoCAD. This is because all engineer's in SA use AutoCAD therefore it would be safe to say Architects are being forced to use AutoCAD. Even if they want to use a BIM tool they want to choose Revit because they think if they buy from the same company then they will have 100% compatibility with AutoCAD.

Trying to market VW is a difficult problem (at least here in SA) so what we're suggesting is a way to tackle this problem from a different angle.

A bit on a different point, in my experience, a lot of the decision makers are Architects or Engineers and NOT the drafters/technicians. It's the drafters/technicians that use CAD daily so why shouldn't it be them that makes those decisions. Also be it Architects, Engineers or Technicians, they all need to be educated that there are other alternatives to AutoCAD.

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Being only a wrinkle on the elephants ass requires using VW & OSX ...

yet this set-up routinely out performs all of our local A&E Acad users on a daily basis.

They actually come to us for most of the complex stuff.

Apparently, they are so intimidated by Acad that the original plans are rarely updated...

just overlaid with more stuff.

I get DWG files everyday with tons of old classes, invisible symbols , invisible layers,

old projects and crap all over the pasteboard running out to infinity.

On balance the Acad programming expertise ( in my experience ) is well below the average VW standard.

And the presentation is ... well ... just basic boring 2d line work.

Maybe that is why it is so darn popular... there's really nothing to it.

It unnerves me when I walk into an A&E office and see a bunch of CADmonkeys staring at large black displays

festooned with bright neon 'kool-acid' lines blasting out.

How do they ever get any work done :-?

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I think that VW would benefit greatly from having an official MEP/Structural package or at least integrating it into VWA. It is a market sector that is at least as big as Architects and you have to have both to design a building. I think that you would quickly add to the building design percentage with this addition. It's certainly a bigger market sector than Landscape and Theatre Design make up.

69% Building Design

5% Landscape

5% Theater Design

22% General Design

All this being said, the true solution to our issues is a common file type that can carry all necessary information. IFC was supposed to be that to some degree but as we all know it will take forever to develop. There is not much incentive for the big software companies with the most market share to go this direction. I was at the NNA office not to long ago speaking with some people who said that Autodesk who started the IFC ball rolling has now gone silent and is not actively pushing it. It's sad and frustrating.

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Architecture, landscape design, and theater design are all highly dependent on the aesthetics of graphic presentation. MEP and structural engineering are not.

Because vectorworks does not readily integrate live data from outside applications it is difficult to drive parametric objects based on trusted tools - such as a time tested Excel spreadsheet or an HVAC manufacturer's software. This probably makes it less attractive to many engineers when compared to discipline specific tools.

The existing MEP and structural tools within Designer are probably approaching the limits of NNA's resource commitment.

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Actually, while graphics do count in landscape design, cost and ease of use are more important. Ask any AC user, they produce graphics by using photoshop.

The landscape module is limited (IMHO) in marketplace by lack of education of AC users, and by not having an valid irrigation module included or available from a 3rd party vendor.

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And what are you proposing Christiaan?

If you're asking what I'm proposing in place of a structural module for the purposes of interoperability I'm not proposing anything; I'm simply agreeing with those who propose an open file format.

It seems blatantly obvious to me that achieving interoperability by tying ourselves into closed proprietary formats is about the dumbest way to go about it and it's already a road we've taken with CAD to our detriment.

The U.S. government already requires that all their buildings have a BIM model and that this comes in an open file format (i.e. IFC). Singapore, from my understanding, requires building control applications to be BIM models, again in an open format.

This means vendors don't have any choice. They don't have the option of tying us in like they have in the aeronautical industry, etc. This is a huge opportunity for the architectural industry.

Of course time is needed to develop this interoperability but responding to this delay by building a structural module into VW is a balmy idea and a diversion of resources that could be used for building interoperability at the file format level.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not wholly against the idea of a structural module per se. I just don't see it as a sensible response to the question of interoperability.

Edited by Christiaan

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This discussion is quite interesting. As far as I see it you all are saying the same thing. VW needs to be a more efficient tool. The whole idea of VW having a structural module however, is at best, a real wish. When one can't get the bread and butter modules to work right I would be very concerned about trusting the Engineering Info... LOL

examples:

Stair tool, Door/Window tool, Roof/Wall tool, Worksheets, SAT import/export, GIS information, DTM, etc., etc., etc.

Do they work? Yes... 100% of the time with 100% accuracy? Well you all can be the judge. (That is without work-arounds ;o)

Now don't get me wrong... I love VW based on years of experience using most of the competing programs (Arcicad, Allplan, Revit Architecture, Revit Structures, and of course Anticad (LOL), blah, blah, blah) Each one has a nice piece of the Architecture/Design puzzle of total design. In my opinion,VW has an enormous amount of potential yet it makes only baby steps in a meaningful direction while making a few in the opposite.

I just have to get this out.... PLEASE FIX THE CORE MODULES "BEFORE" moving on. It is really pathetic when we expect to get different results while doing the same things.

This is what I have learned since I started using Minicad to this point.

1) 10% of the tools work properly

2) 25% of the tools are workable

3) 10% of the tools are basically the same tool but broken into

separate ones (kind of like original Architectural Practice

and what we have now)

4) 25% of the tools are useless but are there as Legacy tools

5) 25% of the tools move back and forth between the #2,3 and 4

with each release and hope to reach #1 classification

6) 5% of the tools are new and move between the rounds unless (VERY RARE) are an automatic #1

While I would love to have the "bells and whistles", I actually prefer the key modules of most importance to work on point without the work around steps. What about that as a wish?

Yes currently VW does just about everything need it to do. Shoot I have never been one to complain as I do what it takes to get the job done. The problem is the incredible number of work around steps. I would prefer to spend those extra hours on the beach rather than in front of the computer writing scripts for a program that says it is the way to go. Am I that better a programer than the ones in charge? I highly doubt that. Hmmm.....??? Should I?

Finally, we "ALL" have our wishes and as before, a structural module would be nice. Interoperability would be even better. Unfortunately, the wishes mean nothing without having Architect, Landmark,Spotlight, Machine Design(what's that... LOL), and Core modules that are on point and efficient and move on from there.

"I would like a bowl of chicken soup please. Just hold the bowl."

Edited by d1solution

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Though I completely agree with what you say Patrick, I'm just curious there are many enlightened souls on this forum that demand these(and other) changes/upgrades (partly in an attempt to 'catch up' with the likes of ArchiCAD Revit etc. but how in hell are they to compete with the 'big' boys with 1/4 (I'm guessing based on the retail prices) of the budget?

When one can't get the bread and butter modules to work right I would be very concerned about trusting the Engineering Info... LOL

Perhaps the challenge of integrating a BIM Structural Module will help in upgrading/fixing the other existing modules, in general the basics/parameters must be the same, right?

Edited by Vincent C

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I'm just curious there are many enlightened souls on this forum that demand these(and other) changes/upgrades (partly in an attempt to 'catch up' with the likes of ArchiCAD Revit etc. but how in hell are they to compete with the 'big' boys with 1/4 (I'm guessing based on the retail prices) of the budget?

Good question, and one you're unlikely to get an answer to. It's worth noting, however, that they?ve competed so far.

It's also worth noting that VW is marketed as a BIM tool. So let's hope they can back up the marketing with the engineering.

Edited by Christiaan

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"...I'm just curious there are many enlightened souls on this forum that demand these(and other) changes/upgrades (partly in an attempt to 'catch up' with the likes of ArchiCAD Revit etc. but how in hell are they to compete with the 'big' boys with 1/4 (I'm guessing based on the retail prices) of the budget?"

Hmmmnnn.... I am quite curious also.

As I stated in my previous post I am all for running with the "big boys". However I also know that the "big boys" have many flaws that VW does not have one of which is the price ;)

Anyway, just for some fun...

I look at VW core as a chassis. All of the modules are based on fitting onto this base. You have the engine, body, headlights, break lights, yada, yada, yada. Now what is a house without a window or a door? What about one without walls or a roof? Well guess what... we know we need those and we have something but lets go out and get the HDTV! (yes, even though it would be stolen as we don't have the means to protect it) Further more, lets say that we are the best and try to build our base as such while we continue to patch the worn tires taking us there. What's wrong with this picture? Shoot... and I thought it was wrong putting the cart before the horse! Could it be that we are so accustomed to our inefficient savior that we have neglected the fundamentals? Have we become more concerned with the "flash" of new tools while the ones we have had forever take work-arounds to get "Ummm DUHHhhhh" required results. (stair tool, door, window)

Come on people!!

LOL.... getting off my soapbox (obviously designed with VW... LOL)

"Perhaps the challenge of integrating a BIM Structural Module will help in upgrading/fixing the other existing modules, in general the basics/parameters must be the same, right?"

YES! I would hope so...

My point is, What is the sense to continue to add onto the chassis and the body and the modules if the required systems don't operate properly at least 95% of the time or efficiency? Isn't that part of the reason GM and Chrysler are where they are? 1000+ different options when a few well made ones would do... What makes it worse is these companies were selling more fuel efficient cars elsewhere while creating gas guzzlers for others. I want efficiency so I can save my time for the beach or a fishing trip.

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Patrick, i've been pointing out the fact that the "new paint job" and "go faster racing stripes" and the "flash 20" rims" are worth sweet fanny adams if the engine lacks compression and the chassis twists & flexes in the corners, for what seems like a lifetime.

Just glad to see someone else can see it. :)

As far as resources go, if VW is made to work as everyone expects, the resources would be there because at the price no one would miss the chance to use it. Even if it did cost a little more for the full module/package . . . . .

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