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Stair Tool Rehab for 2020

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Hey Biplab:

 You're not listening so let me reiterate.

 

FIX THE STAIR TOOL. FIX THE STAIR TOOL. FIX THE STAIR TOOL. 

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Just now, line-weight said:

Have to say, I'd hoped that door/window and stair tool rebuilds might have been part of 2019.

I echo your sentiments.  While there are some welcome improvements there are even more fundamental issues that have not been addressed IMHO.  So we continue to battle it out here in the forum.

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A program should not limit an architect's vision.  For someone who has come to rely on utilizing 3D in their work, I feel too many times that I am forced to compromise and draw it in 2D.

 

I'm no computer engineer, and I have no idea what it takes to create a commercially viable product.  But when I see other programs progress in the 3D realm, I ask "Why not Vectorworks?".  The stair tool in ArchiCad looks amazing.  I spent some time working in Chief Architect this past year and there were quite a few exceptional 3D tools (cabinets that resized by pulling a vertex, windows/doors that ganged together automatically when you grouped them, custom profiles for trim, on and on and on).  Unfortunately their 2D tools were non-existent.  

 

I have a simple solution... Vectorworks engineers should be forced to work in these other programs to see where they excel, and steal those ideas for us.  Obviously there are solutions to achieving these tools for which we are clamoring.  Maybe the price point for Vectorworks, which was a huge selling point for my company, doesn't allow for such innovation.  But at this point, we are beginning to feel left behind.  Raise the price if you must.

 

Please fix the stair, the door/window, and the cabinetry tools.  Please...

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9 minutes ago, bpsabatier said:

But when I see other programs progress in the 3D realm, I ask "Why not Vectorworks?". 

 

Same here; a few years back it seemed that the 3d capabilities of VW improved quite rapidly, to the point where I realised 'oh, I don't need to do 3d stuff in Sketchup any more'.

 

That was great - and massively simplified a lot of my workflow. And I've invested quite a lot of time and effort into transitioning into working primarily in 3d in VW since. However it now feels we are really getting left behind.

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I don't feel raising the cost of VW is justifiable when we finally get a functioning stair, window and door tool that should be updated and improved on an annual basis. Anticipating these improvements every year is getting pretty disappointing. 

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I was very happy to find something about Stair Tool Improvements in release notes.

Thought the Stairs Geometry Issues would be fixed.

 

Now I tried a simple UK Metric Concrete U Stair,

Made even a more simplified duplicate with straight vertical risers.

Duplicated both and Ungrouped these.

(1 Stair consist of 3 Parts, 2x Flight + 1x Podest)

 

When I export that File to DWG I have the same Mesh Salad as before,

Missing, Overlapping and Flipped Faces. No way to repair and convert

these into useful Solids.

 

And when I send these Stairs from VW 2019 into C4D R20 in native VW order

I get the non-ungrouped original Stairs even duplicated !?

 

1. Group / Group / Group / 3x Meshes

+

2. Group / Group / Mesh 1

3. Group / Group / Mesh 2

4. Group / Group / Mesh 3

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Don't forget to improve the stairs handrail and guardrail flexibility. I've previously posted here guards that do not transition well at landings in U shaped stairs where the risers are in line at the landing. In residential especially, the handrail and guardrail do not need to be continuous, and can rather be sections therefore this U shaped stair should be possible as it is quite common.

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Stairs, walls, roof, windows and doors, and components, detailing drawing. Is oxygen for architects. Like BIM. In my opinion you need a temporary architect teams that use VW for several years and talk whit them for 1 week minimum. 

 

Even this 2019 version I found amazing, but talking about the basic elements I don't see any really and important improvement from 2009 (I started to use VW in 2009). For 3D, rendering, Pointcloud, 3d NAVIGATION, marionette and some other direction I never imagined that VW would arrive at certain levels, but except for stories and autohibrid object for the architects there are no really others good news. And yes, every time I start to draw a stair I look forward to finish and hope everything is ok, but every time I lose something.

 

Detail. Focus on details. That is what an architect need. From an idea to build drawing. from 1:1000 scale to 1:1 in the same model.

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Please get inspired by sister Archicad's detailing tools in section viewport abilities. As i've said before, VW is pretty old school when it come to details tools.

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On 10/10/2017 at 12:01 PM, line-weight said:

Yup, stair, doors, windows - potentially the 3 most useful of any of the parametric tools for architecture - the ones which if they worked well, could really save a lot of time and tedium, yet they are all fairly awful and don't seem to have been improved in any significant way over the past several releases.

How is it possible that VW doesn't have proper nana-type or pivot doors?  You could not be more right.  It's absurd, the stairs, doors, and windows are not better resolved.  How do we get this at the top of the list?

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10 minutes ago, jnr said:

Hey Jim I aplaud your wilingness to tackle this for the sake of the users. I'm really glad you're on it.  In Baltimore last fall I felt like there was something of a true arrogance on the part of some at NNA with regards to the stair tool (that there was nothing wrong with it and go away). It was offensive.   If architecture is going to continue to be the bread and butter revenue for the company, the powers that be need to wake up. And this needs to come from the top.  Again and again, there is a perception that to remain relevant, there has to be more bling every year. I would postulate that in fact it's the opposite. What we want is software that doesn't randomly vaporize off our desktops and that the tools we have are STABLE, yet continue to improve, evolve.  It's patently absurd that this conversation has been going on since yes, 2009 when the old tool was roundly criticized for lack of functionality to only then be replaced by an even worse overly complicated, SLOW module. That's ten years of this crap. What is it going to take to get managment to F'ing listen? We all migrate to Archicad?

Amen, jnr!

 

The stability is EVERYTHING.  Even outside of the stair tool, the fact of the matter is, the simple tools are not stable enough and THAT should be the focus.  There is a wonderful line from a BBC show that applies here: "I don't want more choice, I just want nicer things!"  If the tools we already have were working properly, that would be the big win!  (Stairs should be working well, of course).  

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Shall we talk about stairs that are non interactive with slabs? You need to subtract solids form slabs and then add the stair, separately...

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2 hours ago, Jim Wilson said:

I would say, and please do dissent if you disagree, that the issues mentioned here and elsewhere can be categorized into 3 general groups:

The Stair tool is not capable of creating the desired geometry.
The geometry that is created by the Stair tool is in some way unsuitable. (flipped normals, hollow meshes in sections, etc) 

The Stair tool is unstable. (hangs, crashes, unexplained failures on field entries, etc) 

 

I would add that the User Interface (Stair Dialog) is tedius (at best) and it's interpretation (manual) is not good.

 

It's as if one spends a lot of frustrating time creating a less-than-acceptable stair.  I mean just look at what the stair stringer does when it approaches top or bottom of stair...it flares out?

Edited by bc
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A few thoughts ...

 

2 hours ago, Jim Wilson said:

The core issues with Stair objects being messy when sectioned is the portion that is fully understood by engineering and planned to be addressed directly.

 

That may eliminate the Geometry issues as a side effect.

 

 

2 hours ago, Jim Wilson said:

The geometry that is created by the Stair tool is in some way unsuitable. (flipped normals, hollow meshes in sections, etc)

 

for Stair Body Geometry for Exports,

I am (probably the loudest) minority or maybe the only one having that issue !

 

If you don't Render too close, you won't hardly notice the holes.

If you export to Cinema, you may not notice overlapping and flipped Faces.

 

Beside people having problems with Stairs in Sections,

problems with Handrails ARE clearly disturbing visible for anyone.

 

 

2 hours ago, Jim Wilson said:

The Stair tool is not capable of creating the desired geometry.

 

I read that from time to time here.

While I personally do not have such problems or if I run into it I just divide

a complex Stair into smaller Components like single flight Stairs and

manual Landings.

But that will not work for everybody and not for complex Stairs with Winders

and such things so it would be nice if there would be some improvements.

 

 

2 hours ago, Jim Wilson said:

The Stair tool is unstable. (hangs, crashes, unexplained failures on field entries, etc)

 

I read that very often here.

While I personally do not have such problems or if I run into it I just don't care that much

if it was really a forbidden input or not and find the entry which causes that quite quickly.

 

 

 

General for the Stair Tool usage.

A german development from Computerworks (?)

I don't think it is the best organized and most ergonomic Tool Dialog I could imagine

BUT I personally really do NOT have much problems with it.

And I see no complaints about that on the German/Swiss/Austrian Forum.

 

But somehow I see that most US, UK and AUS VW User are 100% incompatible with how that

Tool works or hast to be used. They just don't like it.

That is no critique at all, just a notice.

So I think it is better to react to this by changing the Stair Dialog, than trying to adapt the

international Users into that Tool. And somehow that looks urgent.

(Unfortunately I can't see any feedback from Japan or China)

 

 

 

As for possible Stair Tool rethinking :

If the Tool may not provide all configurations users wish,

maybe my approach to divide into smaller simple components, which DigitalMechanics

also mentioned in the past, that you don't see a Complex Stair as one complex Object,

but an addition of simpler Parts.

Not only Flights and Landings as it already is but further divided into bridging elements

between Flights and Landings to get the finally manage complex Geometry by the

combination of simpler geometry additions.

Which could help Sections and Exports.

Maybe even at a Level of separate Geometry for each single Step with separate Riser/Tread

Structure that is instanced as Symbols or even Extrudes that will be finally wrapped by an

Add Solid.

Or maybe there are options to approach a Flight's geometry for its Side Profile that will

be extruded. 

Nevertheless, if I watch the current Stair Mesh geometry, those arbitrarily looking

Tesselations here and there or 2D Extensions without thickness do not look like

a future proof approach to me.

I see similar needs for Railings or better throw Railings completely out of the Stair Tool

and extend the Railing Tool for true 3 Axis 3D compatibility and some kind of Linking

the a Stair.

Edited by zoomer

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33 minutes ago, jnr said:

 In Baltimore last fall I felt like there was something of a true arrogance on the part of some at NNA with regards to the stair tool (that there was nothing wrong with it and go away). It was offensive.

Not an excuse, but possibly why the folk you spoke to may have behaved that way: The Stair tool in its current form is developed by one of our more advanced distributors. We file wishes and bugs and whatnot against it as we would any feature, but its development was out of the hands of anyone who you would have met at the summit. Generally the development folk will shy away from discussing any tools they themselves didn't work on or supervise, and most of our engineers other than the managers and directors are highly specialized. I suspect it wasn't arrogance but rather ignorance or deference to another team that caused them to act that way.

However, to end users like you, and myself more and more these days, we don't necessarily care WHERE the tool comes from as long as its made to work. When it doesn't work, we also don't care nearly as much about the reasoning why as we do about when it will be fixed. On these points I agree with you fully.  Even if it isn't true (which it isn't) that we have intentionally ignored feedback, it certainly appears that way, which in many ways is just as bad. 

Regardless, this will be rectified.

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And generally I learned,

that a parametrical Stair that can be bound to Story Levels and quickly adapted to design changes,

is far more comfortable and faster in Design and BIM than having NO parametrical Stair Tool at all.

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This:

12 minutes ago, zoomer said:

BUT I personally really do NOT have much problems with it.

And I see no complaints about that on the German/Swiss/Austrian Forum.

 

Combined with this:

8 minutes ago, Jim Wilson said:

The Stair tool in its current form is developed by one of our more advanced distributors.


Is the core reason of why we are where we are in my personal opinion, but this still does not render Vectorworks Inc. itself, or other employees like me blameless. All tools we choose to include are subject to our review and approval, and we consented to the current tool the way it is today. However, from this point on, I'm going to focus solely on where we go from here. I just wanted to at least briefly explain what it looks like from my angle.

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1 minute ago, Jim Wilson said:

All tools we choose to include are subject to our review and approval, and we consented to the current tool the way it is today.

 

Wow, thanks for that Jim.  I was just going to post a comment saying this very thing.

It has long been a wonderment of folks in the Arch side of this  as to  wether there are any active architects involved in the software creation process.

I know it is far more acceptable for me to use a tool that sometimes has bugs than one that is difficult to use and produces results that just aren't real.

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25 minutes ago, Jim Wilson said:

Is the core reason of why we are where we are, but this still does not render Vectorworks Inc. itself, or other employees like me blameless. All tools we choose to include are subject to our review and approval, and we consented to the current tool the way it is today. However, from this point on, I'm going to focus solely on where we go from here. I just wanted to at least briefly explain what it looks like from my angle.

 

I don't see a larger Problem here.

I think Computerworks are doing a pretty good job and so many useful localized

Tools I would like to see brought over into the international(*) Version.

 

(*) That is not true as I hoped so much for a a global Version finally with this

release where users can mix up their custom Tool Mix from any location.

Like WinDoors from Australia, Lanquage Setting English, Walls Standards

German, Libraries US, ....

 

They know what they do and the Stair Tool seems to work reasonably for

the middle European market. Of course there is always potential for further

improvements.

It's just that in this case it is not compatible for the international market and

I don't think Computerworks gets enough feedback what the Bill of Features

and Usage exactly should be. If anyone knows.

So that is why we are here and everyone can participate and offer his wishes.

Edited by zoomer
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2 minutes ago, zoomer said:

They know what they do and the Stair Tool seems to work reasonably for

the middle European market.


Certainly, I don't mean to suggest that they made it flat out wrong, just that it isn't right for every market as is very clear in threads like these. We are a global company with users on every continent (except... maybe Antarctica but Im not sure...anyway)  and we should cater to all of them. Further to that, even Custom Stair which I believe was maintained by the US developers had issues that have yet to be addressed. Now, while Custom Stair itself is still deprecated and can't/won't be brought back , it still had functionality we lack today in current Stair tool.
 

5 minutes ago, zoomer said:

So that is why we are here and everyone can participate and offer his wishes.

Exactly, thats what I'll be posting about next.

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Jim excellent feedback. Clearly there needs to be a single tool, not one for the Euro market and another for eveyone else. Assuming Archicad's solution works, they only have one tool. That said perhaps if the tool were scalable (one level for simple stairs, another level for more complicated--sort of like the custom window option in the windows [which needs an upgrade but that's for later].  What I don't understand is the logic of the decision to farm such an important part of the software out to a third party vendor. It appears as abdicating responsibility and in this case after 10 years, and the amount of traffic about this issue, the paridigm is not working.  There may be a false economy in that thinking its cheaper to buy it from someone else rather than design it in house when there is clearly a cost associated with your time and technical support having to deal with this let alone what it costs us the users in lost productivity. I've lost count of the hours spent resurecting files corrupted by this tool or worse, wading thru reams of options to get a simple answer, that is, after having to usually wait up to 15 seconds in previous versions for the menu to open (which has gone on for at least three versions). Its better in 2019 now that the software has been modernized to make full use of the graphics cards (another one that should have happened two versions back but that's for another day)... Its almost Beer 30 by the way...

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17 minutes ago, jnr said:

What I don't understand is the logic of the decision to farm such an important part of the software out to a third party vendor.

 

I don't think it is that way.

 

Computerworks isn't a software Vendor only.

they are mainly developing the whole Localization of VW for the whole D/A/CH market

and maybe more for a long time. And there are many of their Tools that found their

way into VW US.

E.g. Handrail Tool lately

(which you could recognize by the CW_* in front of the Command Names in the past)

I wasn't on Vectorworks at that time but I think there was the Custom Stair Tool first in

VW US and at one time someone decided that Computerworks Stair Tool is already much

more capable and will be integrated into VW international.

If that would have went well I think that the Custom Stair Tool would have diminished from

our Workspaces already many years ago.

But looks it didn't work out as well as expected for the current Stair Tool finally,

as we know today.

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