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The new working environment, was Open two stories ...

Anonymous
Not applicable
I would like to be able to open multiple plan view windows, but it would almost certainly involve a major overhaul of the way the program works. ArchiCAD (despite inventing the BIM concept) is plan centered for historical reasons (it allowed the program to run on the much slower machines of twenty years ago). Prior to version 5.1 the plan view was the only way to edit the model with 3D and section views as strictly 2D output.

To allow multiple plan views would (IMHO) require the major change of going from the historically plan centered to a model centered approach. The primary interface to the project would become the 3D window and everything else would behave as specialized views of the model.

I don't mean by this to imply that I object in any way to the idea of multiple plan views. In fact it is part of my ultimate fantasy of how ArchiCAD should operate.

What I am imagining (perhaps in ArchiCAD 11?) is:

- The 3D window is the primary and central interface for developing and navigating through the model.

- 3D navigation and editing with the ease of SketchUp and the power and accuracy of ArchiCAD.

- Instant 3D cut-away views of any plan, section or detail in the main model window. This means that the model is cut as defined in the particular view but is still be free to move and edit normally in 3D.

- The option to ghost the 2D elements in the above cut-aways. (I'm not sure how useful this would be, but it sure would look cool.)

- View types: Plan (floor & ceiling), Section & Elevation, Interior Elevation (that knows what room it's in, and not a kludgy add-on), Details, and 3D Views. (This is really just the current types with the addition of Plan views)

- 3D views would be separate windows for axon or perspective views with the ability to annotate in the model or the view plane (ie. dimensions oriented to the model in an isometric projection and notes and titles oriented to the page).

- Plan views: In addition to the variable cut height also share the section tool's ability to offset so that split levels or other conditions could be easily and accurately drawn. Setting the plan's cut height also eliminates the annoying split walls we have to use to model transom windows etc.

- Ceiling Plans: Like the floor plan views only looking up. I probably don't have to tell anyone all the workarounds this eliminates. Imagine, easy ceiling plans that look exactly the way you want them to.

- Plan boundaries: The plans are (optionally?) bounded allowing the tool to be used for enlarged plans which are still live model views. (This is a major limitation of the detail tool for this purpose.)

- Sections: The section tool is visible and editable in the main model window (as is the plan tool; perhaps only when the view is activated in the 3D window). The section tool has the ability to offset both vertically and horizontally allowing different section locations through each floor (and ending up at the ridge if desired).

- Details: These are still 2D drawings (derived from the model) as far as I am concerned. I find that if I want to correct the model to make the detail work there is much more to it than just the limited area of the detail.

- General: All views have the option to display as line drawings, shaded views, or rendered by any available engines including any combination of these with or without shadows as appropriate (and feasible). Imagine a site plan with notes and dimensions rendered with shadows in a watercolor style for the Planning Board hearing.

What do you think folks?

Would you buy this upgrade?

PS: I know this probably belongs in the wish list. I got a bit carried away beyond multiple story windows or live details.
Perhaps this whole topic should move to the wish list. (What do you think Djordje?)
31 REPLIES 31

Anonymous
Not applicable
Djordje,

I don't see how to add a poll to an existing topic. I assumed that this was only possible when creating a new topic.

Tell me how and I will be glad to add the poll. Otherwise please feel free to add it. The responses could be: 1. Great stuff, 2. Sounds OK, 3. Maybe, 4. Yuck, 5. No way.


Note:
This started as a response to Adalbert's topic about opening multiple plan windows at:
http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=846

Anonymous
Not applicable
Matthew wrote:
Tell me how and I will be glad to add the poll. Otherwise please feel free to add it. The responses could be: 1. Great stuff, 2. Sounds OK, 3. Maybe, 4. Yuck, 5. No way.
I might have not expressed myself correctly, but 2 or more plan view is what I was talking about in this poll :
http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=836

Djordje
Expert
Matthew wrote:
I don't see how to add a poll to an existing topic. I assumed that this was only possible when creating a new topic.
Edit the post; then you can add the poll. Like I did ...
Djordje



ArchiCAD since 4.55 ... 1995
HP Omen

__archiben
Newcomer
hmm. quite a bit to think about matthew! your notes provoked an immediate reaction from me and i felt i had to jump in, although i'm still not sure which way i'm going to come down on this. . .

upon seeing sketchup demo'ed at the archicad university in the summer, my first thoughts (apart from the initial 'wow' factor!) were: 'this is the future of CAD', and then 'this is how CAD would have started had the hardware of the time been capable'.

my reaction to your comments here come more from a hardware capability/project size perspective, something that is also a big part of my thinking for a response to your teamwork topic (which i am still trying to get together!), and my love-hate relationship with the virtual building model concept.

i think that the reality, as far as my experience suggests, is that a typical/average workstation still falls short on processing power than is needed for large buildings. as much as i hate the idea, i don't know how we would have managed a few of the jobs here without quite a bit of 'unlinking' taking place. i am still sceptical about our ability to take these jobs through into the full construction phase without a bank of arrayed G5's at each workstation!!! sure there is an IT budget, but a majority of our machines here are only less than a year old. try selling the idea to the directors that these 'new' machines just can't handle the job! doesn't work . . . and we wait for the next round of fees that could justify major hardware upgrades.

also, by "archiCAD 11", i would imagine that the fields held in the database for each element, and the additional features included from the wish list would have grown too, putting equal if not more strain on tomorrows processors as today! (the hardware-software neverending upgrade cycle!)

you refer to the historical plan-centric model as a way of enabling the program to run on much slower machines, and i think that you still have to allow for this in your proposal. but this doesn't necessarily mean that a model-centric approach cannot be used. i think that in this re-write of the program you suggest, could possibly be included a more efficient dynamic handling of the information required from the database to perform each operation.

i'm betting that much of the element information loaded into memory is not necessarily needed for simple editing, (please somebody correct me if i'm wrong here), and managing just when certain information is needed could be a way of going model-centric without killing big project files. for example, moving elements around on plan requires only specific information from a processing point of view, whereas editing it's parameters in a dialogue box could 'load-in' extra information at the point at which it is needed. this is also something that i've been thinking about with regard to the teamwork topic, and certainly not something that i have clear in my mind yet. there are flaws - direct editing in the info box?

i still believe that unless hardware advances dramatically in relation to it's software counterpart that the ability to 'unlink' information in order to efficiently work in larger jobs must be retained.

i think that despite all of this, i am going to be coming down on your side with regard to the direction archiCAD should take. as i said, mine is a love-hate relationship with the BIM: i do want to see it working well and in a manner that is efficient and intuitive to use, but sometimes i think that i need the pinch of salt to help me take a reality check. murphy couldn't have been an optimist all the time, eh djordje?

i am imagining your archiCAD 11 . . . and it looks just like sketchup 7!

~/archiben
b e n f r o s t
b f [a t ] p l a n b a r c h i t e c t u r e [d o t] n z
archicad | sketchup! | coffeecup

Geoff Briggs
Booster
Holy hanging chad Batman, how do you vote on this one

Is this really about multiple plan views or about the future of ArchiCAD and our collective vision of BIM?

Some random thoughts:

We have multiple plan views (with boundries) now using the detail tool. This tool could evolve to encompass more of the things Matthew is looking for. Live 2-way linking and detail-in-detail would be a good first step. User definable Z coordinate is another.

The option to manually control when a window is rebuilt (the subject of a recent poll) would probably be necessary to address the inevitable hardware issues Ben raises.

Which leads to another question: Shouldn't ArchiCAD retain distinct view settings (layer combination, view options, etc.) for each open window? Without addressing the 3D window specifically, this would make ArchiCAD more model-centric. Each window would represent it's own snapshot of the virtual model. That's the way it works when you save out to PlotMaker, why not when you're working?

As to the bigger question of whether the 3D window should become the primary interface, that makes sense in the design phase of a project. Thus all the comparisons to SketchUp, a product focusing on the design phase. Who wouldn't want to see their groovy interface come to the ArchiCAD 3D environment?

But we all know the difference between these products. SketchUp is a surface modeler, ArchiCAD is a database. A very special kind of database where most windows act as both records (input) and reports (output). Many of my own wishes speak directly to this. Things that reduce 2D drafting, like slabs with associated fills, or proper composite intersections in section, are more than time savers. They represent the intelligence required for the assemblies we model to report themselves correctly no matter the view.

All views reveal something about the whole. As the project progresses it becomes more technical. Plans, sections and details become valuable places to refine the design and the best area to focus our effort as we insure that our concepts can be built. Reduce not the power of the plan window, but bring parity to S/E and detail views.

So bring on the improvements to the 3D environment. Anything to improve the design and presentation capabilities of ArchiCAD. But don't banish the other windows to the second class citizenship of being mere extractions of the model. Nay, improve them too!
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Geoff wrote:
Holy hanging chad Batman, how do you vote on this one
I agree that this topic is a bit large for a simple vote.
Is this really about multiple plan views or about the future of ArchiCAD and our collective vision of BIM?
The original post was about multiple plan views. My response went a bit beyond this.
Some random thoughts:

We have multiple plan views (with boundries) now using the detail tool. This tool could evolve to encompass more of the things Matthew is looking for. Live 2-way linking and detail-in-detail would be a good first step. User definable Z coordinate is another.
I would rather see a different plan view type and keep the detail tool as it is. I think in the overall scheme it is better to maintain a distinction between plans and details. I presently use the detail tool as you describe for enlarged floor plans, but I would rather have them in a live model view and I think of them as a fundamentally different type of drawing. The enlarged plan is a drawing of one specific place in the building whereas detail drawings are usually of typical conditions which may occur in many locations. This is why I don't think the detail tool needs to be a live model view (perhaps I should introduce this as a new poll topic).
The option to manually control when a window is rebuilt (the subject of a recent poll) would probably be necessary to address the inevitable hardware issues Ben raises.
This would be very useful now and, you're right Geoff, would be absolutely essential in the model-centric vision. (The lack of this ability is the main, perhaps only, reason I still unlink the elevations.) I don't agree that hardware performance is such a big issue. The plan views in my scenario would behave similarly to the section views and I haven't found editing in section to be particulary tedious. The big job from a programming standpoint would be keeping the immediate feedback as it is in plan presently (and adding this in section?) but this doesn't seem to me to be a hardware performance issue.
Which leads to another question: Shouldn't ArchiCAD retain distinct view settings (layer combination, view options, etc.) for each open window? Without addressing the 3D window specifically, this would make ArchiCAD more model-centric. Each window would represent it's own snapshot of the virtual model. That's the way it works when you save out to PlotMaker, why not when you're working?
I don't see much of a change here. The present approach in sections and details seems fine. The distinction between the project map with the basic window list and the multiple associated view sets would work fine for the plan windows. The complex part is how to organize the plan views in navigator. Perhaps the existing story views would remain and would become subsets with multiple plan views stored within. The thing I haven't got a clear image of is how going up and down the story views would work; perhaps it would depend on whether a particular plan view crossed multiple stories (talk about recursion problems ).
As to the bigger question of whether the 3D window should become the primary interface, that makes sense in the design phase of a project. Thus all the comparisons to SketchUp, a product focusing on the design phase. Who wouldn't want to see their groovy interface come to the ArchiCAD 3D environment?

But we all know the difference between these products. SketchUp is a surface modeler, ArchiCAD is a database. A very special kind of database where most windows act as both records (input) and reports (output). Many of my own wishes speak directly to this. Things that reduce 2D drafting, like slabs with associated fills, or proper composite intersections in section, are more than time savers. They represent the intelligence required for the assemblies we model to report themselves correctly no matter the view.
I don't see a major issue here. I don't think the ArchiCAD 3D interface should be just like Sketch Up; only adapt some of the ideas as appropriate. Perhaps a new massing study tool would be nice (virtual clay). A model-centric approach would allow the possibility of 3D only tools like this. A quick (3D) space bar click and the massings could become zones with walls and floors. Perhaps the massings could have optional relationships between each other and with their contents (now THAT might require some serious hardware).
All views reveal something about the whole. As the project progresses it becomes more technical. Plans, sections and details become valuable places to refine the design and the best area to focus our effort as we insure that our concepts can be built. Reduce not the power of the plan window, but bring parity to S/E and detail views.

So bring on the improvements to the 3D environment. Anything to improve the design and presentation capabilities of ArchiCAD. But don't banish the other windows to the second class citizenship of being mere extractions of the model. Nay, improve them too!
I wholeheartedly agree. Part of my conception is to bring improved function to all the view types while keeping the unique qualities that each requires. The idea is not to diminish the plan views in preference to the 3D but to enhance their function by unburdening them from being the central means of relating to the project.

Geoff Briggs
Booster
Matthew wrote:
I would rather see a different plan view type and keep the detail tool as it is. I think in the overall scheme it is better to maintain a distinction between plans and details. I presently use the detail tool as you describe for enlarged floor plans, but I would rather have them in a live model view and I think of them as a fundamentally different type of drawing
Isn't that just semantics. What if it were called the Partial Plan by Polygon Boundary tool? I'm all for the functionality you describe and have no problem with a new window type, unless that prospect keeps it from happening.

Maybe we already have the tool in place if only it were enhanced, as the section tool was, by allowing it to be linked or unlinked. The current section tool can be used for sections of course, but also elevations, wall sections, and sectional details. An enhanced detail tool would be just as versatile.
The complex part is how to organize the plan views in navigator.
Views may appear under the detail part of the project map, but can be put wherever you want in your view sets.
I don't see much of a change here. The present approach in sections and details seems fine.
Wouldn't it be more true to the virtual model concept if each view (window) retained it's own settings even through a rebuild?

Imagine seeing the completed exterior of your project in 3D (no interior parts), a framing plan in 2D (structural assemblies only), an enlarged plan in a detail, er partial plan window (composites, casework, furniture) and a section in an S/E window (composites, casework, no furniture). Each window is a live model view. Make changes anywhere, rebuild the lot and see how things fit, both in terms of design and documentation. As it is now all the views switch to the same layer and display option settings. To get the same feedback you have to cycle through all your views, rebuilding each in turn.
The idea is not to diminish the plan views in preference to the 3D but to enhance their function by unburdening them from being the central means of relating to the project.
I agree completely.
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Geoff wrote:
Isn't that just semantics. What if it were called the Partial Plan by Polygon Boundary tool? I'm all for the functionality you describe and have no problem with a new window type, unless that prospect keeps it from happening.

Maybe we already have the tool in place if only it were enhanced, as the section tool was, by allowing it to be linked or unlinked. The current section tool can be used for sections of course, but also elevations, wall sections, and sectional details. An enhanced detail tool would be just as versatile.
Just semantics? Semantics, along with syntax and grammar, are how we organize the expression of our thoughts and as such I would say they are quite important. The changes we are discussing are about how we organize the creation and expression of our design work and I suspect that we agree that the details of how this is done are very important (ergo our conversation here).

What I am proposing is a structure in which the different types of drawings each have their own environment which is finely tuned to their specific requirements. These drawing types, as I see it, are:

1. Plans; including floor plans, enlarged plans, site plans, ceiling plans, structural plans, etc.

2. Sections; including elevations, building sections and wall sections (etc.?).

3. Interior Elevations: this is separate from the section type because its reference annotation requirements are significantly different and it should have the ability to know what zone(s) it is in.

4. Details; including derived details (those with a source view in the model), drawn details (2D drawings specific to the project) and various other details (company standards, vendor details, shop drawings)

5. 3D Views; including axonimetric and perspective views with 3D and 2D annotation tools.

6. Schedules & Specifications; including door, window & finish schedules, product specifications, general notes, etc. (these would be in a word processor, spreadsheet and/or database format either internal to ArchiCAD or live linked through add-ons to external apps.)

This arrangement, I believe, is superior to trying to make one tool do multiple functions. Certainly the detail tool can be used to make floor plans and the section tool can make interior elevations (I use them for these purposes now) but I would prefer an appropriate and unique enviroment for each of these primary functions. This also makes maintaining standards and training staff much easier. I would prefer to tell someone "use the plan tool to make plans, the detail tool for details..." and so on, than to say "use the section tool this way for an interior elevation," and "floor plans are drawn in the main plan view (along with ceiling plans, electrical plans, etc.) but enlarged plans are drawn using the detail tool." Each of these methods (workarounds, as far as I am concerned) requires substantially more documentation and training to maintain standards in an office with more than two or three architects.

Another big attraction to me is that my proposal allows all annotations to be done on one layer which is the same in each drawing. I presently (as I m sure most others do) use separate layers for annotating floor plans, ceiling plans, electrical plans and so on. It is the limitation of having only a single plan/story view that requires all these layers. (I suppose that I could do all my floor plans, etc with the detail tool now, but this not very appealing for obvious reasons.) I love the idea of setting all the 2D tools to one layer and never have to change them again.

The way I see it the is that these drawing (and schedule) views are the output/production part of the program. Design work is done in the model and story views (the latter is my new conception of the evolution the current plan view freed of the burden of annotations). The various drawing views could be made visible as reference keys or ghosted images in both the story view and 3D model.

Wouldn't it be more true to the virtual model concept if each view (window) retained it's own settings even through a rebuild?
Imagine seeing the completed exterior of your project in 3D (no interior parts), a framing plan in 2D (structural assemblies only), an enlarged plan in a detail, er partial plan window (composites, casework, furniture) and a section in an S/E window (composites, casework, no furniture). Each window is a live model view. Make changes anywhere, rebuild the lot and see how things fit, both in terms of design and documentation. As it is now all the views switch to the same layer and display option settings. To get the same feedback you have to cycle through all your views, rebuilding each in turn.
This is a great idea. To be able to have multiple windows open each with their own independent layer, display options and dimension preferences etc. would be terrific.

Geoff Briggs
Booster
Matthew, it's hard to argue with the elegance of your logic or the eloquence of you argument. You have my vote.
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Geoff,

Thank you for the compliment.

Your commentary and suggestions have been very helpful for refining the ideas. The image you painted of multiple open windows with different layer and diplay settings has stuck in my head so much that I wish I were using this proposed ArchiCAD 11 right now (and I was enjoying 8.1 so much ).

One issue occured to me with the new plan windows. Overlaying different drawings for coordination would need to be worked out. This could probably be handled by an ability to ghost one plan in another.

I have also been thinking about the performance and implementation issues. After my last post the whole picture became more clear and the changes seem less dramatic than I originally thought. The main difference from the present is the addition of the new plan view window. The story views would remain for overall viewing and editing of the model. They would also retain the up/down/go to story navigation. The plan views are where the drawings would be annotated.

In this scenario it seems the demands on the hardware would be about the same as now. It just adds some new views to the navigator. The function and performance of the 3D & story windows would certainly evolve and improve as time passes and brings newer faster machines. The one thing that we would really need is the ability to turn off the auto rebuild in live model views. I would like this right now for the section windows, but it is much more important in the plan views since there is so much more work in them.

I think what I like most about what I am proposing is the symmetry and clarity of it. Design is done mostly in the story and 3D windows without being encumbered by annotations and the layers needed to manage them. Drawings are all created, developed and annotated in views made to suit the particular needs of each type of drawing.

I would appreciate any further thoughts or comments anyone might have as I am enjoying this topic very much.

aahatimo
Newcomer
wow, great discussion you guys!
sign me up.
tim hanagan
aaha! design studio durango, co
27" retina 5k iMac 4ghz i7 os 10.13.6 m395x 4 mb, 32gb ram, 512 gb ssd ac 22 current
15" retina mbp 2.6ghz 1mb 16gb ac 22 current[/size]

Djordje
Expert
Matthew wrote:
One issue occured to me with the new plan windows. Overlaying different drawings for coordination would need to be worked out. This could probably be handled by an ability to ghost one plan in another.

I have also been thinking about the performance and implementation issues. After my last post the whole picture became more clear and the changes seem less dramatic than I originally thought. The main difference from the present is the addition of the new plan view window. The story views would remain for overall viewing and editing of the model. They would also retain the up/down/go to story navigation. The plan views are where the drawings would be annotated.
Hmmm ...

The ghosting is already there; maybe I am old fashioned, but even now I find the workspace rather cluttered, and cannot really keep more than one WORKING window open at one time - plasma wall mounted 50" monitors with gigapixel resolutions will probably sort that one out.

If I understand Matthew correctly, the plan windows should be more or less like the S/E is now - for the production of con docs, more than the work itself. Or, it CAN be as it is now, BUT we can open any, all or none stories as we do with S/Es now, and the center of the universe is the 3D window.

I do think this will put quite a strain on the hardware; even more strain on the people who are still edicated to think in planes and do the drawings, not the buildings, myself included.

Regardless, I am for it - you know that I am the 3D window person - and to that effect, I would ask to:

- have the intersections of different elements snappable in the 3D window
- have the ability to create at least interesection hotspots if not full reference directions in the 3D window
- have the hidden line in OpenGL
- have the user defined working plane in the 3D window (yes, EXACTLY like the UCS in AutoCAD); we already have the Look To - so the data are there
- have the full hatched section of the elements in the 3D window (see my wish at http://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=756)
- have the 2D elements in 3D window

In fact, what Matthew's wish, and the subsequent discussion are all about, is to (please don't kill me!) make ArchiCAD fully 3D instead of 2.75 D. Until we have to have the drafting workarounds and the unlinking, we cannot say that we have full 3D. Now the machine power is there, even on the Macs there is no excuse for not providing this.
Djordje



ArchiCAD since 4.55 ... 1995
HP Omen

Geoff Briggs
Booster
Having a separate window for each plan drawing, like S/E is now, would certainly simplify the layer structure. If each retained it's individual view settings and the rebuild issue was addressed (manual for now, instant in the future) then these multiple windows could be quickly accessed through the navigator or stacked and accessed with Exposé (Mac plug).

But this brings up a few new issues:

One place the current plan/story/layer scheme excels over multiple windows is in the re-use of annotation and 2D objects. Dimension strings, notations and 2D time savers can be shown on floor plans, framing plans and RCPs without duplication using simple layer management. (I'm constantly copying things between S/E windows. Associative dimensions would probably not survive the journey.) If anything I've longed for these object types to gain the option to display on multiple stories to ease the placement of common dimensions and general notes. One possible solution is the transformation of everything into a 3D object type. Anyone who hasn't done so should check out BOA for an example of this and some other innovative thinking: http://www.boa-research.com.

My other thoughts go more to philosophy and workflow . If plan documents now reside in their own windows, why retain the story views as they currently exist? Why have stories at all? Why not just define where along the z axis each of the plan windows is cut, or do it graphically like we do now with sections? (This is the way BOA works, all plans are sections of the model.)

So here's my sci-fi vision of the working environment of this mythic future ArchiCAD. Multiple working windows, like the 3D OpenGL but showing all composites, hatching, etc. and having all the snap points and dimensional precision we're used to in plan. I imagine at least 3 open simultaneously, for example plan, section, axon/perspective. Or maybe the situation calls for two plans cut at different heights and an elevation. Thus I wouldn't confine these working windows to particular roles but let each be a general purpose 2D/3D view with streamlined navigation tools and savable views. Cutaway planes could be dragged, as in SketchUp, or set numerically, and could be shown ghosted in the other windows for reference. Cutaways would also have an adjustable depth to limit what is available in ghost or x-ray mode.

And since I'm shooting the moon here, none of this would come at the expense of the new plan or S/E windows which would remain live linked and editable with all dimensions associative, etc.
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

Laci Neda
Graphisoft Alumni
Graphisoft Alumni
Great discussions!
Added to wishlist, wishes:
-Multiple Projects/Multiple views
-Better editing in the 3D window
-Hidden line view in 3D OpenGL view
-2D elements in the 3D window
-User defined working planes in the 3D window
-Composite structures in the 3D window
László Néda
Architect
Business Development Manager
GRAPHISOFT SE

Anonymous
Not applicable
Well folks, the holidays are over and I can't resist getting back to this thread. So to ease into it I'll respond to Geoff's thoughtful last post.
Geoff wrote:
Having a separate window for each plan drawing, like S/E is now, would certainly simplify the layer structure. If each retained it's individual view settings and the rebuild issue was addressed (manual for now, instant in the future) then these multiple windows could be quickly accessed through the navigator or stacked and accessed with Exposé (Mac plug).
The plan view windows could also address one of my (and others) long standing wishes: opaque fills in roofs and slabs. The story view (i.e. the current plan window - which I think should remain, at least to start) can retain the transparency for ease of editing, while the new plan view would use opaque fills like the 3D and section views do now. This way floor patterns can be shown without having to apply a fill over the slab, roof plans can be live model views (or renewable drawings) instead of snapshots from the 3D top view (as I do them now), and attic plans can show the roof coverage below the cut height.

This does require the manual rebuild option (for now) of course since the projected fills are the slowest part of the program in my experience. (This would be my first request for multiprocessor support; calculate the fills on the other processor if available, or if this is too complicated, at least have different views calculated separately so that batch rebuilds can be sped up.)

Local view settings (as opposed to the present global setting) is an interesting idea. But now that I think of it this is already available (sort of) by using view sets instead of the project map in navigator. Nevertheless, it seems that the local settings would be better. Since each view is generally just one drawing it would be unusual to need to change the scale or layer combination (I often change view options between "Draft" & "Print"). It would be nice to switch between windows and always have the view you want or even be able to look at a floor plan and site plan side by side.
But this brings up a few new issues:

One place the current plan/story/layer scheme excels over multiple windows is in the re-use of annotation and 2D objects. Dimension strings, notations and 2D time savers can be shown on floor plans, framing plans and RCPs without duplication using simple layer management. (I'm constantly copying things between S/E windows. Associative dimensions would probably not survive the journey.) If anything I've longed for these object types to gain the option to display on multiple stories to ease the placement of common dimensions and general notes. One possible solution is the transformation of everything into a 3D object type. Anyone who hasn't done so should check out BOA for an example of this and some other innovative thinking: http://www.boa-research.com.
Reuse of annotations is nice. I have a drawing title part that I place on the main floor and show on all stories so that the plans all align from one sheet to the next and are numbered & titled automatically according to the type of plan and story name. For over-all dimensions I have sometimes used dimension string library parts which can then show on all stories. These feel like workarounds though and I think things could easily be improved with the plan view idea. Overall dimensions could be put in the story view on a dimensions layer, which could then be turned on or off in each plan view as appropriate. The same thing could work for common symbols like section markers etc. Another way might be to reference elements from a base plan or cross reference layers between drawings. These or other approaches could easily get complicated and would have to very carefully thought out since the goal is to make the work easier.

I'm not so sure about making everything 3D. I'll have to check out the BOA site you mention.
My other thoughts go more to philosophy and workflow . If plan documents now reside in their own windows, why retain the story views as they currently exist? Why have stories at all? Why not just define where along the z axis each of the plan windows is cut, or do it graphically like we do now with sections? (This is the way BOA works, all plans are sections of the model.)
I'm not sure that I would want to get rid of the story view. I do a lot of design work in plan view and I think having a standard top view with ghost stories etc. is superior to using a top down 3D view. Maybe after the methods develop I would change my mind. I could just be invested in methods I've been using since the early days of plan view only editing.
So here's my sci-fi vision of the working environment of this mythic future ArchiCAD. Multiple working windows, like the 3D OpenGL but showing all composites, hatching, etc. and having all the snap points and dimensional precision we're used to in plan. I imagine at least 3 open simultaneously, for example plan, section, axon/perspective. Or maybe the situation calls for two plans cut at different heights and an elevation. Thus I wouldn't confine these working windows to particular roles but let each be a general purpose 2D/3D view with streamlined navigation tools and savable views. Cutaway planes could be dragged, as in SketchUp, or set numerically, and could be shown ghosted in the other windows for reference. Cutaways would also have an adjustable depth to limit what is available in ghost or x-ray mode.
I agree in general with your vision but I would still retain the current single 3D and Story views as modeling/design windows that the operator can work freely in without worrying about the final output drawings. The new plan and 3D views would be defined in their own windows with the ability to refine and annotate them as finished drawings.
And since I'm shooting the moon here, none of this would come at the expense of the new plan or S/E windows which would remain live linked and editable with all dimensions associative, etc.
Of course.

I have to put the kids to bed now so I'll have to save any further thoughts for another time.

Geoff Briggs
Booster
I'm not sure that I would want to get rid of the story view. I do a lot of design work in plan view and I think having a standard top view with ghost stories etc. is superior to using a top down 3D view. Maybe after the methods develop I would change my mind.
Matthew, I'm sure you will always have the option to design in plan and hope for all our sakes that working in other views just becomes easier. Indeed, while I do imagine the working environment of the future to be a 3D top view, I see it enhanced to provide all the features of our current story view and more.

The reason for stories as I see it is to enable multiple plan views without necessitating duplicate layers for each plan. Having multiple plan windows would accomplish the same end. Thus it makes sense to develop a working environment unencumbered by the limitations of fixed stories.

What if you could scroll down through (or across) a structure using an intelligent cutting plane. At the plane the internal (composite) structure of the cut elements would be shown. The user could define how things above (in front of) and below (behind) the plane would be displayed. Adding a distant area option, like we have now with the S/E tool, would be the equivalent of a ghost story that would move with the cutting plane.

I would like to see at least two (or three or four) of these windows available simultaneously, and I do envision them being true 3D environments so at any time the model could be rotated from the orthogonal to provide an axon or perspective view.

Views in this environment could be saved to the navigator so we'd have similar, yet more flexible functionality to the current story paradigm. Thus the working window(s) could evolve toward facilitating design and engineering while being freed from the rigidity of the 2D extractions which would now reside happily in their own windows.
Regards,
Geoff Briggs
DeForest Architects
Seattle, USA

AC24 INT, Mac (home), Win10 (work)
Yes, you read that correctly, we are in the US but use the INT version.

Anonymous
Not applicable
Graphisoft ought to hire Matthew and begin implementation of the new working environment. Of course if they are doing it already, never mind.
Obviously, I wholeheartedly agree with this working concept.

Anonymous
Not applicable
WAY too much stuff in here (that's why I just did a semi-thorough skim-read). But, an idea...
Geoff wrote:
...Indeed, while I do imagine the working environment of the future to be a 3D top view, I see it enhanced to provide all the features of our current story view and more.

In the interest of working this out, do you think a "3D ghost" option would do the trick? So you get the benefit of a 3D top view, and the ease-of-comprehension-for-CD regular plan view also. Hope you can understand between my ramblings. But I would think this might/should be the way for the future?

Just some unorganized thoughts due to lack of time.

Anonymous
Not applicable
I would like to suggest to all who are interested re-read and comment regarding the posts from this thread for suggestions for version 10.

I would also like to have a live link and workable views in plotmaker. It would be cool to work on 2 elevations at the same time from within plotmaker. Move a door in 1 view and instantly see the changes in the other view. All from within plotmaker on the same sheet. I suppose that would that we would have to have the ArchiCad tools available to work with. This is just a quick thought as I'm working on some elevations. I'm definitely not a programmer just an architect thinking of and wishing for ways to best accomplish my work.

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