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Virtual Building Explorer for ArchiCAD 13

Tibor Szolnoki
Graphisoft
Graphisoft
Dear Talkers,

I’m glad to announce that the English version of Virtual Building Explorer for ArchiCAD 13 is available from today. Further language versions are coming in the following weeks.

This new release introduces Virtual Building Explorer to our Macintosh users as well. Supported operating systems now are Mac OSX 10.5, 10.6, Windows XP and Vista 32-64-bit. The Windows 7 version is currently under testing. First results indicate that performance on Win 7 highly depends on the driver of the graphics card so compatibility check before purchase is highly recommended.

New features of VBE for AC13 include:

• Option to save self-running application cross platform (Win/Mac) project files
• Option to measure distances in imperial or metric units
• New Ray-tracing rendering engine (“Headlight”) with optional sun shadows (F3)
• New rendering styles (“Goraud” and “Metal”) for quick navigation in larger models
• New Background Options: Sky, Black, Gradient
• Option to display the Sun Flare during navigation

The upgrade for VBE for AC13 is free for all VBE for AC12 customers. VBE for AC13 is downloadable from the VBE website:
http://www.graphisoft.com/products/virtual-building-explorer/.
VBE for AC12 customers can use the same license serial number and password to run VBE for AC13 but first they have to deactivate their VBE for AC12.

The 7-days trial version and the updated sample project files are also available on the VBE website.

For pricing information and order please contact your local ArchiCAD reseller:
http://www.graphisoft.com/purchase/
Tibor Szolnoki

Product Manager
ArchiCAD Product Management
26 REPLIES 26

Anonymous
Not applicable
Thank you for the mac version. I also am thankful for the trial versions of this, Eco Designer and MEP. Good to play with them before purchase.

Anonymous
Not applicable
I couldn't wait to check out the Mac version so I downloaded the three sample VBE buildings. And found two bugs on my original MacBook Pro (CoreDuo 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, ATI Radeon X1600 256 MB, 10.6.1).

1. The program did not respond to an external mouse (usb or bluetooth - only worked with the built-in trackpad).
2. The responsiveness of the mouse in the VBE menu system was horrible, to track across the three lines of menus would take five to ten swipes across the trackpad.

Hopefully these minor issues can be corrected because I think this is a great tool for client visualizations (but clients will be even less inclined to overcome interface issues.)

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
I'm happy to have the Mac version - and that each version exports a runable viewer for either Mac or Windows. So, the workflow is good in terms of one-step export and then file creation for either platform.

Pictures / images in the model using the picture object in the library (with frame) or the parapicture object (image on a plane) work fine. The alpha channel in images is ignored though - so no chain link fence / etc. That needs to be fixed.

VBE still has a tremendous flaw in its programming that prevents me from really recommending it. When you run VBE, it takes over your input devices and you are not able to switch to any other application at all until you exit VBE. Not even cmd-tab (Mac) or alt-tab (Windows) will let you switch to another application. I saw this with VBE 1 under Windows, but just assumed it was a version 1 flaw that would be immediately fixed.

This might be considered a minor inconvenience for the base VBE product. But for the VBE-G with global illumination, it is a deal breaker for several reasons. I'm on an 8 core MacPro. While VBE-G computes the global illumination solution, I cannot do any other work... and it estimates literally hours to complete. Worse, VBE-G does not even use more than one core ... and in fact it only uses about 60% of one core! So, my machine is basically sitting idle, the process will take forever, and I cannot do any other work. This is just plain stupid and unacceptable. There should be a background Global Illumination computation process that can run on its own ... and it should be multithreaded to use all available cores.

After being used to Artlantis using 100% of all 8 of my cores ... in the background and in a low priority way that lets me continue to use my machine for all kinds of other work while renderings are generated, VBE feels absolutely like going back to DOS. I could scream over dashed hopes for this product.

The Global Illumination view gives such a superior sense of space than the other views in VBE, that this must be fixed.

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.2, iMac Pro

Anonymous
Not applicable
Karl wrote:
But, VBE still has a tremendous flaw in its programming that prevents me from really recommending it. When you run VBE, it takes over your input devices and you are not able to switch to any other application at all until you exit VBE. Not even cmd-tab (Mac) or alt-tab (Windows) will let you switch to another application. I saw this with VBE 1 under Windows, but just assumed it was a version 1 flaw that would be immediately fixed.

This might be considered a minor inconvenience for the base VBE product. But for the VBE-G with global illumination, it is a deal breaker for several reasons. I'm on an 8 core MacPro. While VBE-G computes the global illumination solution, I cannot do any other work... and it estimates literally hours to complete. Worse, VBE-G does not even use more than one core ... and in fact it only uses about 60% of one core! So, my machine is basically sitting idle, the process will take forever, and I cannot do any other work. This is just plain stupid and unacceptable. There should be a background Global Illumination computation process that can run on its own ... and it should be multithreaded to use all available cores.

Karl
I just found out that this is true. While I like the global illumination, the time element and not being able to switch away to another program is tough to swallow.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Thompson, wrote:
I couldn't wait to check out the Mac version so I downloaded the three sample VBE buildings. And found two bugs on my original MacBook Pro (CoreDuo 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, ATI Radeon X1600 256 MB, 10.6.1).

1. The program did not respond to an external mouse (usb or bluetooth - only worked with the built-in trackpad).
2. The responsiveness of the mouse in the VBE menu system was horrible, to track across the three lines of menus would take five to ten swipes across the trackpad.

Hopefully these minor issues can be corrected because I think this is a great tool for client visualizations (but clients will be even less inclined to overcome interface issues.)
I ran into this same problem with the mouse. For people like me who don't have an internal trackpad is there a way to make the mouse work on a Mac? For me it is not a minor issue, it makes this program pretty useless. Karl do you have the same mouse problems?

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Michael wrote:
Karl do you have the same mouse problems?
No; mouse navigation completely fluid on my Mac Pro / 10.6.1 if I only have mice plugged in. (I tried with an extra mouse plugged in and switched between them.)

Aha. Yes, there is a bug in VBE and input devices. I plugged in my Wacom tablet and started VBE. My mouse worked normally- except that I could no longer look up and down while walking, only look left and right. I tried the Wacom, and I got the weird behavior you guys mention. I tried to switch back to my mouse and could not - the mouse cursor was stuck at the bottom of the screen. I could hit ESCape to get the VBE menus, but there are no shortcut keys to navigate the menus, so I had to force quit.

Apparently VBE is too dumb to detect multiple input devices that have different drivers. I'm guessing that the touchpad would have to be disabled from Preferences before running VBE for a mouse to work properly on a Mac laptop... I'd still call it a bug.

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.2, iMac Pro

Remark on Windows 7 install - moreover - serializing!!!
It is important for running the licence manager app - as administrator (probably due to new UAC in w7 - maybe only 64 bit)
When the licence manager is run as normal user - even with admin credentials - the VBE is serialized - but not the Archicad addon - resulting error exporting model to VBE - displaying that VBE is not serialized.

Best Regards,
Piotr

PS OT:the same thing hapens when trying to serialize Artlantis on W7 - the first - serializing run must be done as administrator.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Thanks for your input Karl.

Here's an update on mouse issues with VBE OSX. I have found a work around for the mouse problem. If I disable the drivers for my mouse (USB Overdrive in my case), the mouse works as it should in VBE. I had to disable the global setting, not the application setting, for it to work but there may be some tinkering that can be done to automate the process. Not thrilled about the extra steps I need to take every time I use this program but at least now it's usable.

Ben Cohen
Contributor
Karl wrote:
Not even cmd-tab (Mac) or alt-tab (Windows) will let you switch to another application.Karl


Karl if you have two monitors you can switch applications (on PC anyway). But you can't switch on a single screen. Zermatt was the same. This makes is very hard to work on the computer but its kind of possible. re Artlantis - I am amazed at how well it uses system resources, you really don't need a dedicated rendering box anymore.

I am really happy to have a Mac version, the sample file seems to play with very little problem. The only problem I have found with VBE is it will not run on lower spec machines, so when sending a VBE file to a client you have no idea if the file will run.

VBE is a great tool and I sure it was no mean feat to port it to the mac. Prop's to GS.
Ben Cohen

Mac and PC

Archicad (Latest Version) aus

www.4DLibrary.com.au

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
I've reported this multiple-pointing device weirdness.
Ben wrote:
Karl wrote:
Not even cmd-tab (Mac) or alt-tab (Windows) will let you switch to another application.Karl


Karl if you have two monitors you can switch applications (on PC anyway). But you can't switch on a single screen. Zermatt was the same.
Nothing let's you switch away from VBE on a Mac.

I'll have to plug another monitor into my laptop to see how this works on Windows, since alt-tab does not work there. Sounds like you're saying that you can move your mouse out of the VBE window/monitor and onto the other monitor. Not possible on VBE Mac.

Thanks,
Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.2, iMac Pro

Anonymous
Not applicable
I don't know about you but I can only see advantages in the VBE. I would absolutely advise anyone to get VBE.
Pros for the client:
-Clients can walk through the Building themselves, without any CAD-knowledge!
-Stereo view for a true sensation of spaces
-Viewed on MAC or WIN
-Can run predefined routes through the building

Pros for ArchiCAD users:
-Directly made from AC model
-Fast generation of Unlit, Shaded, Cartoon and Shade Cartoon
-Created on MAC or WIN
-Only one license needed per office (de- and reactivate via internet)

Cons:
-Global Illuminiation takes a while to create, but after that it is superfast.
-When your architectural design is bad, the client will know. Because with the VBE, the client experiences the building far better than any drawing or rendering. I do know architects who use the VBE in their designstage instead of drawings to communicate with clients.


BTW switching on WIN is possible, so why not on MAC. Does this work? Use cmd-tab to activate the other monitor(2 monitor necessary), and move the (invisible) cursor to the second monitor and click to activate the window.

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
Ben wrote:
Karl wrote:
Not even cmd-tab (Mac) or alt-tab (Windows) will let you switch to another application.Karl


Karl if you have two monitors you can switch applications (on PC anyway). But you can't switch on a single screen. Zermatt was the same.

Ben, thanks again for posting that! I was completely wrong about Windows. My apologies to the group for the inaccurate information earlier in this thread.

VBE 1 as well as 2 on Windows will let you switch to another running application using alt-tab. Don't even need a second monitor. But, if you want to do something else - including running another program while VBE generates the GI solution, you need to have an Explorer or something window open to switch to ... then you get control back and do whatever you want while VBE continues to compute the GI solution. This is really important, as the GI solution for a small home on my laptop takes about 6 hours.

The Mac behavior, though, must be a bug. Since they managed to let VBE recognize alt-tab and send that to the OS, they probably just forgot to let VBE Mac recognize cmd-tab.

Hope it'll get fixed soon.

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.2, iMac Pro

Chazz
Contributor
Quick note that the installer did not work here in Snow Leopard land because I had the ArchiCAD 13 app name changed (to ArchiCAD13.app, so I could distinguish it from the other 4 versions I have on the machine all with identical icons). Changing the name back to the factory default (ArchiCAD.app) allowed the installer to finish.
Nattering nabob of negativism
2019 MBP

Anonymous
Not applicable
After i set the scene global illumination and vbe show the remanining time (about 2 hours) instead ALT-TAB i use CTRL+ALT+DEL to open aplication manager select archicad or other app. and mouse_right_click_menu select - bring to front .

Karl Ottenstein
Moderator
archibaldo wrote:
After i set the scene global illumination and vbe show the remanining time (about 2 hours) instead ALT-TAB i use CTRL+ALT+DEL to open aplication manager select archicad or other app. and mouse_right_click_menu select - bring to front .
Reasonable alternative on Windows. But, there is still no capability to switch applications on Mac. 😞

Karl
One of the forum moderators   •   AC 25 USA and earlier   •   MacOS 11.6.2, iMac Pro

Anonymous
Not applicable
That sounds great!
We'd love to purchase a commercial licence of the VBE for AC13 on Mac, however the Italian reseller doesn't carry it. Is it possible to buy a licence online?

Thanks!

Enrico Bonilauri

Anonymous
Not applicable
Is it really worth getting the VBEg, the global illumination version of VBE?

Is there a really nice, noticeable difference ion the quality of the output?

Cheers.

Mike

Paul King
Advocate
Unfortunately, VBE (for ArchiCAD 12) has a tendency to corrupt ArchiCAD geometry during export and you very often get VBE models with lots of stray polygons stretching off into the distance. A great idea, but rather poor implementation.
I reported this to GS a long time back, with no response whatsoever, so presume nobody is at the development helm for this product.
PAUL KING
https://www.prime.net.nz
ArchiCAD 8-25
Octane Render Plugin for ArchiCAD
Twinmotion 2021
Windoze 10
Intel Core i9 10900K
Nvidia Gforce RTX 3080
32 Gb DDR3
2x4K monitor extended desktop

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hi Paul,

One time I had these 'stray polygons', they were generated from a SketchUp file I had imported. Once I cut the SketchUp files in smaller pieces, it worked fine.

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