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Stories and Levels - Exchange

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1.
I think it needs a way to export Story and Level settings from one File to the other.

And in current state, an Error Message when you try to send Story/Level bound Objects into another File,
that this will not work.

 

2.
Default Level should keep Linking.
I think it is not good when you do changes and end up with lots of duplicates of Levels with same name,
that will only disappear when you activated the current ones manually for each story,
if you can ever keep overview.

 

3.
Also I do not understand the Default Levels Naming hidden under Layer Organisation while in Story Settings
you can edit their Z Values only.

Edited by zoomer

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These are all very good suggestions.

Another one I would add (related to #1) is when you copy a Level-dependent styled Wall to a Layer without matching Levels (inside the same file), the copied Wall just collapses and has 0' height. Instead It should offer to automatically create the Levels as required by the Wall Style.

Edited by rDesign
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That is very likely to happen for stairs too where the most top layer has no layer above :)
I this case you get a bold warning in Top Plan View. I think there is no yelling when using
Walls and such ...

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To make level bound objects transportable I would like to suggest some sort of inheritance system.

All Objects should be able to have their own levels defined by name, if needed. If matching levels exist, level heights are inherited form the container object.

The layer or story has its levels defined by name and height.

The wall style also has named levels. The user defines which wall component is bound by which level. The user also defines if the wall has any additional levels for instance sill height or head height etc.

If you put that wall into a story, levels with the same name will automatically connect. If there is no matching level you will be asked which levels to connect or whether to use numerical settings. 

Likewise a window, door or user defined symbol has its own levels for sill height, head height etc. If you put that symbol into a wall, level types are inherited form the wall. If the wall does not have its own level for sill height, the sill height is inherited form the story. If there is no matching level in the story, numerical input is used.

 

 

On 18. September 2016 at 9:29 PM, zoomer said:

1.
I think it needs a way to export Story and Level settings from one File to the other.

And in current state, an Error Message when you try to send Story/Level bound Objects into another File,
that this will not work.

2.
Default Level should keep Linking.
I think it is not good when you do changes and end up with lots of duplicates of Levels with same name,
that will only disappear when you activated the current ones manually for each story,
if you can ever keep overview.

3.
Also I do not understand the Default Levels Naming hidden under Layer Organisation while in Story Settings
you can edit their Z Values only.

Edited by Thomas Wagensommerer

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3 hours ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

To make level bound objects transportable I would like to suggest some sort of inheritance system.

I don't think it is that complicated to ask if you want to also include Story and Level Settings when
your bring an object from one File to another. I think that just no one thought about this.

I think a story should have 3 types of levels :

1. Default Levels that are linked to the Default Level Settings for changes
2. Default Levels that are (temporarily) unlinked to use an exclusive custom Height Setting. Option to re-link.
3. Custom Levels created from Story Settings, which you use in special cases per Story, to keep Default Levels amount low.

So if the Window Sill Level on one Story will be different, you unlink the Sill Level in that story and use a custom Height.
If you have different Sill heights per Story, you either use 2 Default Sill Levels or an a special Offset in Window Styles
 

3 hours ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Likewise a window, door or user defined symbol has its own levels for sill height, head height etc. If you put that symbol into a wall, level types are inherited form the wall. 

I think that will not work as Symbols and their Content can't see relative info of their environment.
They are just exact copies of what is saved in the Symbol Library, just a position marker that makes
that saved appearance occur at that position.

I also think that with Window Styles, it is no more needed to pack plugin objects like windows into
symbols as it was used to do in the german release of VW.

 

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I think it could be really easy: The object carries its levels along.

If you copy a symbol from one file to another, it will carry its classes, hatches, sub-symbols along. Likewise, if you copy any object that requires levels it should bring along its levels.

If the level already exists, the object will use the height of the existing level. If the level does not exist it will create the level and enter the height from the other drawing. The levels would be copied over by name. This could result in redundant levels, just like copying symbols can lead to redundant classes.

I suggest, there should be a simple list of levels in the resource manager or organization dialog (depending on implementation). This list should contain all the information belonging to levels. In this list you should be able to edit, copy, duplicate, delete and replace all levels. 

If you want to get rid of a redundant level you should be able to delete it from this list. In  that case, there would be a dialog similar to the one, when deleting classes. This dialog should allow you to define a replacement level for the one you are about to delete.

I dont think there should be different kinds of levels. The level system should become easier, not more difficult. Levels should also loose their strong connection to stories. Any layer should be able to receive any number of levels.

 

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3 hours ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

I think it could be really easy: The object carries its levels along.

______

I dont think there should be different kinds of levels. The level system should become easier, not more difficult. Levels should also loose their strong connection to stories. Any layer should be able to receive any number of levels.

 

Thomas, I don't think Objects should carry Levels.
For me Levels are just Z Preset Options on Layers, assigned to their Story Settings.

I don't think my proposal is complicated: Levels are still just Levels.
- Only that they should stay linked to their Default Levels.
- Plus an option to temporary unlink these if linked for a custom height at a special Story.
- Plus an option to create a new Level for a Story from from scratch from Story Settings Dialog.
  (without the need to go to Story Settings > Level Types and create a Level Name first >:()

And that there is a need to generally export Story+Level Setups to another file,
with or without exchanging any objects.

Currently, if you change a Height for a Default Level you will get a Duplicate with same name in your Story.
The one with the updated height beneath the old one with the old height.
The old one is activated and you have to change activation to the new one. And you have to repeat that step
for every story applied. Only when all Stories were updated manually, so that this old, former Default Level,
will no more being used, it will finally disappear.
For me that is a UI and usability catastrophe.

 

With that Level Features, I think I could control all Objects bound to Levels.
And if I exchange e.g. Windoes bound to a Sill Height Level, I think it will make sense that these will be
bound to the Import File's Level Heights, especially these may be different.

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I agree with almost everything you said.

Quote

For me Levels are just Z Preset Options on Layers, assigned to their Story Settings.

I don't think my proposal is complicated: Levels are still just Levels.

Yes! Levels are just  Z preset options. (Not necessarily linked to stories or layers.)

Quote

- Only that they should stay linked to their Default Levels.
- Plus an option to temporary unlink these if linked for a custom height at a special Story.
- Plus an option to create a new Level for a Story from from scratch from Story Settings Dialog.
  (without the need to go to Story Settings > Level Types and create a Level Name first >:()

Yes and no. Levels should not be linked to default levels or to stories. There would be no need to temporarily unlink them. You should be able to create any number of levels at any time.

Currently Vectorworks treats levels as if they were some incredibly heavy and difficult concept. The opposite is true. Levels are incredibly lightweight considering their information content: 

Step 1: Name

Step 2: Height (relative to story, layer or absolute height)

Step 3: Finished. There is no step 3

If I want to change a level from 250 to 255 I will just type a single digit.

This whole system of levels, linked to stories, linked to default levels, linked to layers, temporarily unlink etc.... creates much more work than it saves. A user interface nightmare.

Quote

And that there is a need to generally export Story+Level Setups to another file,
with or without exchanging any objects.

Yes I agree. You would simply go to the level list, copy any desired levels and paste them into the other files level list.

Quote

Currently, ......

For me that is a UI and usability catastrophe.

Yes I agree totally.

 

Quote

And if I exchange e.g. Windoes bound to a Sill Height Level, I think it will make sense that these will be
bound to the Import File's Level Heights, especially these may be different.

Yes I agree. But if there is no sill height level in the new file it will be created, when pasting the object.

Edited by Thomas Wagensommerer

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9 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Yes I agree. But if there is no sill height level in the new file it will be created, when pasting the object.

Yes, but by having them included in Objects but recognizing that an object definition was set this way
which will start an Level Import process after asking the user.
As it will also need Stories - which is pretty ok for me.


 

13 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Yes and no. Levels should not be linked to default levels or to stories. There would be no need to temporarily unlink them. You should be able to create any number of levels at any time.

I think that is mandatory.
Or will you want to edit all your unlinked Levels in Stories manually, if e.g. the Top of (all) Windows will need a distance change
from ceiling slabs for any technical reasons.

That is the whole idea why we have a Story System at all.
You could assign a Z value to Layers since many years. It is only that Linking of Layers to Stories that
1. all Layers will move automatically when you change the Story height, and
2. all Layers above or below will also change in a controlled way automatically.
 

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3 minutes ago, zoomer said:

Yes, but by having them included in Objects but recognizing that an object definition was set this way
which will start an Level Import process after asking the user.
As it will also need Stories - which is pretty ok for me.

I think that is mandatory.
Or will you want to edit all your unlinked Levels in Stories manually, if e.g. the Top of (all) Windows will need a distance change
from ceiling slabs for any technical reasons.

That is the whole idea why we have a Story System at all.
You could assign a Z value to Layers since many years. It is only that Linking of Layers to Stories that
1. all Layers will move automatically when you change the Story height, and
2. all Layers above or below will also change in a controlled way automatically.
 

I respectfully disagree.

Yes, it is nice to have stories, but it is not mandatory.

Levels would be useful in Landscape design, urban design, furniture design, machine design, etc. No stories are needed there.

Most of my buildings have less than 4 stories. It would actually be faster to edit some unlinked levels, than to set up the vectorworks story system through a clunky user interface.

Some of my building are really difficult, containing many different levels, including split levels. Stories or default levels would be useless.

Some of my buildings have many stories, I would not even think of implementing the vectorworks story system, and I draw them in 2D.

Story levels are not changed that often. Not much work is saved.

Having said that, it is nice to have levels connected to stories, but it is not mandatory.

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41 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Levels would be useful in Landscape design, urban design, furniture design, machine design, etc. No stories are needed there.

I didn't expect there are used so many elements used that share a same Level.

As long as you don't have MANY Elements that share a same Level, Levels have no meaning at all.
Same as Stories in these case mentioned above.
And yes, as it is, you have to set at least one Story to use Levels which I think isn't a big deal.

But the key Feature of Levels + Stories is that you can use an oversee-able amount of the same relative Level "Heights"
in different World Heights according to Stories.
And like a Symbol the ability to edit 1 and remotely change all at once.
 

41 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Some of my building are really difficult, containing many different levels, including split levels. Stories or default levels would be useless.

In this case even the whole current Layer + 2D Top Plan View System in VW will fail anyway.
But no reason to question the use of current Levels in itself, that works well in 95% of building cases.
 

41 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Most of my buildings have less than 4 stories. It would actually be faster to edit some unlinked levels, than to set up the vectorworks story system through a clunky user interface.

Other users may have other projects and workflows.
Beside that the Levels UI my have room for improvements, I'm convinced it is much easier to edit one Parent Default Level
at one place than editing all Instances each manually one by one at different places.

 

41 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Some of my buildings have many stories, I would not even think of implementing the vectorworks story system, and I draw them in 2D.


And some users want or have to create 3D BIM models which means having the complete model
although many Stories will be similar.


The Story + Level System itself is quite unquestionable.
So if there are wishes to additionally use Levels from outside of Stories or to implement additional other systems beside Story+Layer,
I have no problem with.
But I think that is a completly different topic.


 

Edited by zoomer

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And yes, as it is, you have to set at least one Story to use Levels which I think isn't a big deal.

Binding levels to stoies suggest it would not be appropriate to use them in landscape design, carpentry or any other industry that does not use stories. Why not use a level like "Terrace 3" or "Shelf 4". Why call something a story if it isnt.

Quote

But no reason to question the use of current Levels in itself, that works well in 95% of building cases.

I am not questioning the use of levels at all. I think they are an universal concept and could be much more useful. I am questioning the current implementation which in my opinion does not work well in 95% of the cases.

Quote

And some users want or have to create 3D BIM models which means having the complete model although many Stories will be similar.

Levels would be extremely useul even in 2D. You could link levels to any kind of object, plugin or symbol like title blocks, annotations, markers, worksheets even when working strictly in 2D. 

Quote

The Story + Level System itself is quite unquestionable.

In my opinion the Story + Level System in its current implementation is highly questionable.

Quote

So if there are wishes to additionally use Levels from outside of Stories or to implement additional other systems beside Story+Layer,
I have no problem with. But I think that is a completly different topic.

I agree again. Sorry for capturing your post. I already started a new thread.

Your original question of level exchange would be solved by modifing the level system a little bit. I am convinced that we would not loose anything by broadening the concept of levels. Quite on the contrary, everybody would win. I am not against linking levels to stories, only this should be optional and not mandatory.

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13 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Sorry for capturing your post. I already started a new thread.


No problem at all.
We are sharing our different views.
I already start to think about what something" Levelish", outside of Stories, could be useful for.


 

16 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

In my opinion the Story + Level System in its current implementation is highly questionable.

"Implementation" in my opinion too of course.
I meant the system itself, "Levels + (in) Stories"


 

27 minutes ago, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

Your original question of level exchange would be solved by modifing the level system a little bit.

I am not against linking levels to stories, only this should be optional and not mandatory.

Yes, just a few "new features" for Levels and improvements in UI and usability, from my side.

In that case Levels, to what I said before, need a 4th feature :
Checkboxes in the Default Layer Box - if a Default Layer will be used in a linked way or not.
(So that you can chose your same non-linked Levels from your Story* Settings, without the
need to create a new "custom" Level on each Story* again)

(* I know about your Story aversion ;) )

I'm curious about the Thread for Outside Levels. I think it is good to separate that.

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Now let me explain why I suggested, that objects should carry their levels along, when pasted into a different drawing.

This is based on an educated guess how the level system is coded inside a wall or a plugin object:

If numerical data is entered, it is stored inside the wall or the plugin. If you enter a level instead, neither numerical data nor the name of the level is stored, only an internal reference to the level. Thus, if you copy the wall or the object to a different file, the reference will loose its source and the object creation will fail.

For this reason I suggested, that the object should carry its levels along. Which would mean, that the name and the numerical data should also be stored inside the object. If you copy the object to new drawing, the code would first look for the internal reference. If it is there, everything is good. If not, it would look for a level with the same name. If a matching named level is there, it will link to that levels height. Lastly, if there is no matching level, it will create a new one with the internal saved name and numerical height.

So copying over an object would never fail.

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I sum up my Wishes to upgrade Levels and Stories :


1.
There needs to be a way to export Story and Level Setup to another File

2.
Default Levels and their Names should be created and edited from Default Levels Settings
in Story Organisation only (Not from Layer Organisation like Level Names)

3.
Default Levels Settings Dialog :
needs checkboxes :
That Default Levels can be either used as Parents by Default when assigned to Stories,
that are linked to the Default Level Settings to change all their Instances in Stories at once,
or,
if deactivated, assigned in a non linked way to Stories, as Level Presets only,
that will be used more than one Time

4.
Story Settings Dialog > Level Assignment :
needs checkboxes + input fields :
To uncheck the "Linking" of a Default Level used in a Story and apply a custom Height instead,
but with the option to go back to Linked State by reactivating the "by Link" checkbox.

5.
Story Settings Dialog > Level Assignment :
Needs also an Option to create new Custom Levels,
That will be used only one time in one Story and so should not appear in the Presets List of the
Default Levels.

6.
No Story Layers Warning :
No questions about not creating Stories without Layers. On at a time.
I set Stories, I set their Levels, and finally I will apply these Stories to my Layers.

7.
Stories should have "Presets", Styles or "Default Stories" like Levels too.
Currently it uses the last settings used before.
But it would be very handy if we would not need to set each Story manually for changes but
could change our "Default Story" to change all our 3-52 Floors at one time.

Alternatively allowing to choose more than one Story at once to Edit.

8.
If Objects using Storiy and Level Setups are transferred to an other File that missies those
Setups - there should at least appear a Warning.
Or better with an Option to open a Dialog if you want to also Import all, or selective Setup Parts.

Edited by zoomer

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On 21.9.2016 at 6:25 PM, Thomas Wagensommerer said:

I respectfully disagree.

Yes, it is nice to have stories, but it is not mandatory.

Levels would be useful in Landscape design, urban design, furniture design, machine design, etc. No stories are needed there.

 

 

Some of my building are really difficult, containing many different levels, including split levels. Stories or default levels would be useless.

Some of my buildings have many stories,

 

 

Having said that, it is nice to have levels connected to stories, but it is not mandatory.

 

Thomas,

 

While BIMing, no I understand !

There have to be kind of Levels outside of Stories.
Maybe with absolute world Z heights.
I need this for Facades, needing the use of Wall Tool at many additional Levels, and even simple interior walls

where needed stories would not work because of doors. I can't cover everything with story levels and want to avoid

absolute top extensions that will prevent from refreshing story levels.

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