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AC26 Event - "Integrated design" and some other thoughts

furtonb
Expert

Hi all,

 

Having watched today's presentation, I have a few thoughts in mind.

 

Integrated design

I was just watching the presentation, and was wondering one thing since it was mentioned:

you said in the second presentation that the "reference model" concept is not that efficient as the "integrated design" workflow. This reminds me of rephrasing "virtual building" to "BIM", in this case are we talking "closed BIM" in GS linguistics? 

 

Right now the only integrated experience is provided by Autodesk with Revit and its satellite software and endless plugins. To show their commitment towards open competition, GS recently announced a lawsuit against a procurement where "closed BIM" was required, making it impossible for architects using Archicad to deliver (article in Hungarian, DeepL or Google Translate does a good enough job if you are interested).

 

If the "integrated design" concept means locking people into the blockchain-driven GS-ecosystem that was sketched up today , how different is that from the Autodesk ecosystem? As a designer, I have zero intention of locking up my intellectual property in formats that might become obsolete in a few years, and the timeline with strategic goals provided in the presentations (2022-2025) makes me question when a complete transition to subscription model will happen - already paying SSA today to access certain features.

 

How would this be different than the competitor's honeytrap?

 

Feature parity for the future GS ecosystem?

As DDScad is not available on Macs, and we don't have native M1 support yet (with promises of Q4 this year...), my question would be: how dedicated is GS towards cross-platform feature parity? If people using solely Macs in the office, or working in mixed environments are left behind and forced to move to Windows, there is the question, why not switch to Revit at the end? Features are being diluted in Archicad (rebar detailing, sophisticated SAF workflows, etc.), whereas long awaited questions are omitted (looking at in-place editing of hotlinks/blocks).

 

I guess there might be a user base to target, but I have yet to meet a structural or MEP engineer to use Archicad. I think it was said it at the end, that not many people are architects and MEP engineers (not even M + E + P), hence people using it on Macs are not many, but this is a chicken & egg problem: for instance we try to deliver our smallest project on a BIM-basis, where not many consultants would fire up Revit to deliver us 3D systems, usually it's a system design + 2D piping drawn, but if we don't have a cross-platform software under us, then we might even switch to a better integrated design workflow, which has a wider use-base among consultants. 

 

...but it would make sense for us to use DDScad that looks much more efficient than the MEP modeller.

 

3rd party extensibility

Opening up 3rd party development is very welcome, it is very hard to find people with sufficient C++ experience to develop custom solutions for Archicad. A Python or .NET API would mean more market penetration (much-much easier to find developers, either as employees or contractors with this knowledge). Just for this reason we are pushed in the direction of Rhino or Revit.

 

I appreciate the ideas, but having this mapped over a timespan until 2025 - I'm not sure that it's worth the wait. Something that bugs me: our industry is one of the driving factors behind climate change, and we haven't really heard about energy modelling improvements. That one slide that had some annual charts over it, doesn't really answer my doubts. We have extremely sophisticated ecosystems built around EnergyPlus and Radiance, which Archicad is basically left out - look at all the gbXML related issues on any forum, maybe they can be solved, but my hunch is that you can't really build a feasible workflow from Archicad to these engines. For example, I've asked the developers of Pollination when they will have a plugin for Archicad: no idea, they don't have people with C++ experience, maybe a converter could be written, but it's low on their priority list. The Python API to Archicad feels like Param-O: a nice POC.

 

Architects have enormous effect on the thermal envelope and passive strategies of any project - why not focus on this? The "sustainability" related questions on this forum are quiet for years, for a reason. Any new-founded business is asked the question: "who is your customer"? I'm just scratching my head having witnessed these presentations in the past 2 hour trying to answer it, as I slowly feel left out of the group.

 

Can we please address the few very serious hindrances:

- blocks, in-place hotlink editing (trying to explain how GDL objects could be hacked to freshly switched offices – well, good luck with that...)

- central/somehow vastly improved attribute management?

actively using: AC22-25 INT | Rhino6-7 | macOS / win10
14 REPLIES 14

Jim Allen
Enthusiast

"who is your customer" - couldn't agree more!

 

My takeaway from this event was that does anyone in Graphisoft know who their customers are and what they want?

 

I know that's a cheap shot, and not at all accurate, but looking at the event I think one could be forgiven for thinking that.

 

I found it ill-conceived and of no relevance to most Archicad users.

 

Honestly, the first 3 segments were tedious, poorly-presented and of zero interest to architects. 

In theory understanding the roadmap might have been interesting, but it was vague opaque management speak that was amazingly both pointless and meaningless.

 

The technical underpinning may have been interesting to programmers, but customers? zzzzz....

 

The video stream kept on dropping out (I'm in the UK on a very fast corporate fibre connection with an ethernet cable) and the camera kept moving while the presenters simply read fluent BS from an autocue in a monotone. It's like the producer had ADHD.

 

An Apple WWDC it definitely wasn't. The platform itself to view the event was also clunky. I registered with a new platform for that?!

 

It was an hour of my life (I left early) I won't get back.

 

In terms of the release itself (I went straight to the Graphisoft site to watch the 'what's new' videos)  the most interesting feature for me is the evolution of Library Part Maker. That now looks like what it ought to have been at the outset.

 

Full integration of the Redshift renderer looks interesting, but there doesn't seem to be much made of it. It looks way better than the somewhat lame and sloooow C4D that has been bundled for years.

 

Where are the energy modelling and lifecycle costing integrations that we need? No new tools to assist with sustainable design.

 

What about evolving the mesh tool (what about the ability to support properly vertical surfaces?) and making import of proper surveyors data usable. The current .xyz import is just not fit for purpose.

 

The worst release of Archicad for me since I first started with v19.

 

Disappointing is a huge understatement.

 


@Jim Allen wrote:

 

In terms of the release itself (I went straight to the Graphisoft site to watch the 'what's new' videos)  the most interesting feature for me is the evolution of Library Part Maker. That now looks like what it ought to have been at the outset.

 

This is what I feel for most of the tools/features in Archicad, they are often released 75% done with a promise to complete/update them in the future. How many times have we heard "coming in a future update", but said updates often bring new stuff that nobody asked for while sweeping the wishlist items under the rug? There are SO MANY TOOLS that could use tweaking and updates, which would make Archicad a lot more valuable to its users than whatever these new promises and partnerships with other companies will bring. 

Graphisoft is starting to feel a lot like some videogame companies out there; They need to sell a new game each year, and they release incomplete software knowing that their fans are going to buy it regardless. Maybe Graphisoft needs to move away from trying to release new software each year and focus on releasing software that works from day 1. I'm tired of the users being the guinea pigs that have to take the risk of migrating files/starting new projects each time a new version is released, only to find that there is a regression issue or something that used to work is now broken, etc. 

What about fixing the things that have been broken for years first and becoming the best in one field (architecture) before moving into different markets? Doesn't Nemetschek own a bunch of other software suitable for the structural and MEP fields? Why invest the time in adding features for other professions into Archicad (when said features have less functionality than the other Nemetschek owned software that specializes in what you are trying to add to Archicad)?  

I used to believe that Archicad was “by Architects for Architects” now it seems like it's “by the marketing team (that has not worked in Archicad a single day in their life), for all the other parties in construction except for architects.”  Who knows, maybe we're all just frustrated right now because it's fresh out of the oven; I'm sure we will all forget about it, stay complaisant and keep not holding GS accountable. 

iMac - MacOs Big Sur 11.6.6
Archicad 24 - Latest Build
Archicad 25 - Latest Build

"There are SO MANY TOOLS that could use tweaking and updates"

 

The mesh tool is sorely in need of an update, and the means of importing survey meshes are not fit for purpose.

 

Railings could be modified to be much more flexible (I build canopies with it) and curtain walls could be modified to build actual timber (wood) frame construction.

 

So many of the in-built components could be modified and improved - louvre doors out of the box, signs on doors, splayed internal and external reveals for doors and windows, parametric array options for objects, beams and columns, SEOs displaying on plan, new parametric road objects...

 

I like Param-O but even that hasn't been updated. How about options for 2D fills, conditional branching, more flexible user input options...

 

Archicad 26 gives me nothing genuinely useful which will make a difference.  The roadmap presented was complete BS. Did anyone actually find it meaningful?

 

Why did they even introduce that segment? If it was because they had little to announce this year, not only did it not alleviate concerns, it actually made us wonder whether anyone has a real idea of what customers want.

 

I have to question the role of Huw Roberts though. He came from Bentley where his last role was VP of marketing.

 

What is Bentley's market presence now? Anyone remember Aecosim? Microstation went from number 2 in the industry to nowhere now. Bentley are irrelevant in the architectural BIM sector. Bear in mind Roberts was responsible for marketing.

 

My office has used Bentley software. They bought out Hevacomp and ruined it. Poor customer service, awful support and a price hike - they made everything worse.

 

What on earth was he doing in that presentation for customers? Seriously - why?

 

I'm not at all hopeful for the future based on yesterday.

Ady84a
Booster

it's very frustrating to wait every year for real development and see something like today. Now we are supposed to fill the wish list for AC 27 or maybe it's already too late for AC 27 so we should wait for AC 28.

- Those "new" features today should have been Hotfix/update for the previous versions, but not to be presented as a huge achievement. Can offset a circle be something so innovative to mention in such an important event? this is like a basic 2D drafting tool that was missing in AC. The wish list is full of hundreds of missing tools. 

 

- GS presented PARAM-O as the innovation, which all people should use as it's so easy to create parametric objects with. But when we start using it we find out that there are limitations, which makes this tool useless for real parametric objects. Today we get the old Library part maker as a new tool. And as most of us know, you can't create parametric objects with it. So what is the target? parametric or non parametric objects? can AC focus on something and make it usable without limitations?

 

- Exactly like Python. it was supposed to be the big thing. but when you use it you find out that it is so limited. and then AC make Python ecxute C++ Addons. If I knew C++ and could create C++ Addons, why would I use Python?? Can AC focus on Python without these limitations or was it only for marketing to say AC has done something new?

 

Each year we face the same situation after the event. We are not asking for magical things. we want a road map for the features that are being developed and we want a real change.

 

I suggest to open a thread as a letter to Graphisoft to show how much the frustration level has reached. 


I suggest to open a thread as a letter to Graphisoft to show how much the frustration level has reached. 


I've just received the Skewed newsletter, where @Nathan Hildebrandt had a similar idea: https://www.skewed.com.au/blog/Archicad-26-review-and-current-sentiment-Archicad-users#.YtCF-S8RpR8

actively using: AC22-25 INT | Rhino6-7 | macOS / win10

Let me be clear. I prefer a conversation rather than an open letter. I know a lot of users across the globe that are suggesting an open letter because they feel they are not being heard. I hope my article is enough to raise awareness of the user sentiment and open up a dialogue. I am just a conduit for several large groups of users from across the world.

Nathan Hildebrandt
Director | Skewed
www.skewed.com.au

Thanks for the clarification Nathan, I was pretty tired yesterday by the time I managed to read e-mails.

actively using: AC22-25 INT | Rhino6-7 | macOS / win10

"But when we start using it we find out that there are limitations, which makes this tool useless for real parametric objects"

 

Actually I disagree with this. I've built quite a few genuinely useful parametric objects with it, including a washtrough. It's genuinely useful. There are limitations with Param-O, but they don't stop it being useful.

 

"Today we get the old Library part maker as a new tool. And as most of us know, you can't create parametric objects with it."

 

According to the video, it can build parametric objects in its new form, and isn't the old Library Part Maker.

David Shorter
Expert

The basic feeling I got was that a fragmented bunch of new features could be added over the years but marketed separately to provide new income streams. Sort of like Allplan. They are turning a fantastic product into something way less. Its not Microstation or  Allplan. Archicad is (or at least was) the best BIM software for architects. People seem to forget (or they never understood) how little time consultants, other than architects, spend on a project. MEP consultants spend very little as most detail work is done by subcontractors.  

Correct if I'm wrong.

Archicad 4.1 to 26 Apple Silicon
you can't build a line
Mac Studio
iPad Pro
iPhone

"MEP consultants spend very little as most detail work is done by subcontractors"  - not necessarily by any means, it varies significantly from one country to another.

 

Certainly is here in Aus, consultants do the basic design but often the final design is done by subcontractors. I remember looking a DDS 10 years ago and while consultants 'may' have use their involvement is small with the design being passed to the subcontractors who then take over the responsibility for the design (and something do a redesign). To make it work the subbies really need to use DDS.

Archicad 4.1 to 26 Apple Silicon
you can't build a line
Mac Studio
iPad Pro
iPhone

Here in the UK it varies. Larger projects and Design and Build it's similar to Aus, but the subcontractors still need the same tools to do the same thing.

 

With smaller projects the client-appointed M&E engineers do the vast majority of the design work.  

ethanbodnar
Booster

Exactly what you said here! The drafting of circles and the ability to search for views, are the most basic things. Most other software companies would be embarrased to highlight those as major feature updates.

 

> Those "new" features today should have been Hotfix/update for the previous versions, but not to be presented as a huge achievement. Can offset a circle be something so innovative to mention in such an important event

Chazz
Booster

Yes, my main takeaway from the live presentation was how much hate was flowing in the comments. It was just bilious. That, and how breathtakingly minuscule the upgrade list is. You know you’re scraping the bottom when resizing AND duplicating a circle at the same time gets its own line item.  Ouch. But after many years of such paltry “upgrades” I guess resizing copies of circles feels like a great year’s work.

 

Sorry, am I hating?

Perhaps more concerning, the roadmap (which I typically would be very interested in) seemed both inscrutably opaque and incredibly unsexy.  Nothing to see here, folks. It was sort of depressing. So, for this user, there’s not much to look forward to now or in the years to come except the increasing irrelevance of this tool and the continuing domination of Revit.  My only hope is that an upstart will disrupt the space. The duopoly of Nemetschek and Autodesk is about as ripe for disruption as fat/slow incumbents can possibly be. Come on Qonic!!  You can do it!!

Recently I have started to teach myself Fusion-360 for design and fabrication. It’s kind of an amazing tool and I recommend it if you want to do furniture or fixtures.   Very modern compared to the Jurassic lumbering of Archicad. I never thought I would use an Autodesk product but because MCAD is not a space where they’re dominant, they upgrade it and add features all the time.  You always feel like you’re working with somethings fresh, up-to-the-minute, powerful. It’s a great feeling. I wonder if Revit people feel that way.

 

 

Nattering nabob of negativism
2019 MBP
(2022 MBP M1 still in the box)

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