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ArchiCAD Talk members Open Letter to Graphisoft

Podolsky
Mentor
This is the draft. Fill free to criticize, modify, fix errors, ban, copy - anything you want. I just wrote it, because I've been thinking about it too much - and these days and already several years.

To Graphisoft developers team
Graphisoft CEO Huw Roberts
Graphisoft founder Gabor Bojar

Dear ArchiCAD developers, creators and representatives.

ArchiCAD users, after several days of discussions on ArchiCAD Talk forum, showing major disappointment
and frustrations about new version 25 release, as most unsuccessful release, by opinion of majority of
users, have decided to write the open letter to share the common concern about present and future of
the software. Many of users have built their carriers based on ArchiCAD, following common vision of
future of AEC industry of Graphisoft, believing that this software is much more then just another
3d package on the market.

From the first beginning of ArchiCAD creation, Graphisoft was able to be pioneer in three-dimensional
technology for architecture and construction, showing many time absolutely brilliant and genius
mathematical solutions in computer-aided design world. ArchiCAD became natural tool
for many architects worldwide, it deserved this title because of very intuitive user interface,
both Apple and Windows support and deep understanding of architecture as a profession and art.

However the disappointment of the last release showed not only the fact, that people worldwide,
exhausted of COVID epidemy, lockdowns, economical and political crisises in different points of
our planet, was just expected new attractions but didn't get proper show, but most likely this
strange situation uncovered misunderstandings and unsatisfaction that was accumulating for years.
We would like to rise several important concerns, that touched most of ArchiCAD users worldwide:

1. Software instability. ArchiCAD was known for years as solid stable platform. But in past several
years - at least 5 - ArchiCAD started to show instability more and more often, especially working on
big serious projects. Many features are not working how suppose to, it affecting layouts, publishing,
BIMx models, scheduling, TeamWork. Many big companies are not risking to install new versions after
the release and waiting sometimes more then half year before updating to the latest version. Many
users also refuse to update their licences by the same reason - as new releases bring more troubles
and distractions to well established workflow, than benefiting from new features.

2. Poor support of national CAD/BIM standards. Because of government request in many countries to
provide architectural projects in BIM format, it became absolutely necessary to follow national
CAD standards, following governal guidance and BIM execution plans. When ArchiCAD mostly has
potentially tools and technology for full support of national standards, however done very little
in this field. Local ArchiCAD distributors and local Graphisoft branches mostly avoiding to be
deeply involved into additional developments of standards support. Standard libraries are showing
very poor knowledge of local standards, when users not always able to learn GDL programming language
or develop Add-ons on C++. Several well known third part developers trying to cover additional needs,
but they cannot cover all world with variety of local requirements and mostly concentrating on their
commercial products. Big companies (50-200 licences) very often do not trust to third part developers,
as they think can be risky for their workflows also they cannot find programmers, who able to
develop custom add-ons and libraries to them, or if they do - very often they are getting poor
quality and very expensive product.

3. Medium to poor support of construction documentation production. ArchiCAD is showing its lack in
production professional high quality documentation for construction purposes. Some solutions are
outdated (as Listing feature for quantity take-off databases) and became almost useless, but new
features (scheduling for example) cannot cover all needs and sometimes do not have similar or better
flexibility. Absolutely basics for construction documentation terms - as Structural Slab level,
Finished Floor level, Finished Ceiling level just do not exist in the software and every user managing
it the way how he imagines the best, discovering his own working methods. No solid tools for keynotes,
drawing register and detailed scheduling.

4. Lack of presence of important 3D building parts, inconsistency of tools. Some tools representing
building parts was developed well - for example curtain wall and stair, when another tools are staying
as they were for long years without any update, that is not giving to architects efficiently built
BIM models. There is no tools for foundation, reinforced concrete rebars, facade covering systems,
wall and slab panelling as SIP or CLT, roofing membranes and roof tiling. Does not exist proper solution
for framing - both timber and steel. Excellent solution for such elements as accessories today look very
old, not supporting new ArchiCAD features and cannot be counted as any proper solution.
ArchiCAD do not provide any simple technology for software customisation to build similar tools,
when it's almost impossible to imagine modern construction without such elements. Mesh and Zone tools
was not updated since version 6. Do not exist any proper tools to model roads, soft surface, parking
lots. Zone not always detecting elements correct, cannot be shown in sections. Doors and windows do
not have lintels, that can be detached from them and shown for example in structural plans. There is
no posiibility to schedule separately ironmongery. In MEP tools missing plastic pipes, that used today
everywhere. There is nothing about having default electrical sockets and switchers as part of MEP, no
cabels. Graphical representation of MEP tools on plan is not really acceptable by CAD standards.
Use of MEP is very limited without serious GDL programming involving by developing custom libraries.
Construction elements do not have connection to Level Of Details, library parts supporting only
three levels of details instead of five.

5. Poor interior design support. It's quite hard to produce quick and efficient elements of interior
design. It's hard to work with finishes, there is nothing related to wall and ceiling painting tools,
creation of custom furniture and light can be very time consuming and complicated. Labeling of surfaces
is limited and not detecting surfaces of library elements by default. Very limited libraries of sanitary,
furniture and decoration elements. Production of interior elevation is time consuming. Interior
elevation markers are disconnected from zone tool (when they can be as one tool). Although interior
elevations now can have textured fills, there is no real shadows distribution engine from lamps and
opening - how it happens in real world and how it always was in classic hand drawn interior elevations.
BIMx models do not have any support of light sourses and any modern global illumination visualisation
engines.

6. Lack of introduction of tools for virtual construction. Virtual construction technology, introduced
first in version 7 and continued by VICO constructor was completely dismissed. Construction simulation
add-on from goodies today is totally useless. There is no built-in construction timeline, construction
phases, it's impossible to set demolition and new built in several phases. Nothing related to building
material deliveries and storage.

7. Not-well established communication with ArchiCAD users. Many users are rising conserns that they are
not heard and they wishes are dismissed. When many of users would like to know more or future development
of software, only small amount is allowed to take part in beta testing. There is no public development
roadmap. Almost does not exist di-directional communication between users and development team.
Communication with local distributors and Graphisoft representatives are too commercial. When some users
would like to be involved into development deeper (by programming GDL libraries, for example) they are
not receiving enough support and attention from Graphisoft representatives, who leave them to manage
their development on their own. Some users have concerns about software protection and scale of piracy
worldwide, when if they will continue their private developments - they risking to give their work
into hand of pirates. Some new features, introduced in last ArchiCAD versions, users can find not
important at all for their workflows, when features and new working methods that are highly important,
they can wait for long years - as that happened with Morph and Survey Point, when users received these
tools with about 10 years delay.

8. No simulation engines. ArchiCAD do not have any built-in simulation engines. There is no global
illumination engines (like radiosity) to work with lighting (apart of CineRender photon mapping, that
is limited to imaginary only), heat distribution, physics for load calculations, wind or liquids or
simple animation timeline - anything that making digital twin of the building 'alive'.

9. Lack of support of workflow automation and future use of Artificial Intelligence. Today's technology
is stepping into complete automation of workflow, artificial intelligence and new technologies, that
aiming to change our lives completely. However many ArchiCAD users have serious concerns that they are
binded to manual input by working with ArchiCAD. If ArchiCAD - Grasshopper connection opens to
ArchiCAD users possibilities to build their own robots that can automatically produce architectural
projects, ArchiCAD itself is not ready to full or partial automation. Today exist already solutions,
based on Rhino or CATIA, that letting automatically generate models and complete construction
documentation on remote servers sending only initial information via internet. However ArchiCAD itself
do not have any, at least visible for users, tools for automatic drawings generation, publishing,
annotating and dimensioning. Does not exist terminal mode for ArchiCAD and set of commands that can be
launched autonomously by robot. All examples of automation showed so far, still require manual input
and presence of ArchiCAD graphical interface. This is strange, because on the dawn of ArchiCAD was
conversations coming from Graphisoft about science-fictional future of ArchiCAD and construction driven
by robots and when this future is coming - looks like ArchiCAD is late.

I hope reviewing our concerns will be helpful for everyone. We believe we did not make mistake choosing
ArchiCAD as our favourite architectural software and would like to see this package leading on
international AEC market, helping us to succeed in our profession too.
21 REPLIES 21

Braza
Newcomer
Thanks for your initiative Podolsky.
Allow me to disagree, but I don't think that any big player in this industry will ever change their course of actions because of a regretful letter.
Honestly, I think GS is very aware of all of your concerns and many others in the AC community. Graphisoft has always been (and still is) the underdog in the AEC industry. And against all the odds, they are still here giving a fight. I am pretty sure that if they haven't done all this long expected improvements in AC, is because they simple can't for now. I know I may sound condescending, but I don't think those guys are stupid. They know what they are doing and have an ambitious plan to raise the standards in this industry. So for me I think they still deserve some credit for all these years of relentless fight.
My 2cts.
Paulo Henrique Santos, Architect
AC24_INT#3008 / I7 / 16Gb / 512Mb SSD / Windows 10

Podolsky
Mentor
Of course they are not stupid. Users are shocked of new 'silver' release, I'm bloody tired of this never working till the end technology (when this is obvious - that many things in AC you could do faster and better, if pay more attention to the construction process and actual project delivery, not how to sell old feature of ArchiCAD in new release - as that happened with MEP in AC 24) - and we are reading perfect article of AC 25 in AEC magazine. Of course, paid article.
Finally people wanted letter - get the letter. Modify it, if you want, sign, dismiss... I wrote my concerns, as I know this system very well and don't think I'm stupid (remember I even appeared in hall of fame after making online test - as one of ten best users worldwide), also collected the summary of what I'm reading on this forum already for half year. I knew this forum for much much longer, but always was busy with projects.

Rest is not my business.

Braza
Newcomer
IMO This "Letter" thing that happened last year sounds more like a pre marketing campaign for Revit. Revit directors now see Archicad in its rearview mirror in fast approach. They know they are droping the ball for a long time. They simply came up with a brilliant marketing move to first: Admit they are doing a sh** job and second: Gain some time with this new pseudo roadmap and "we are listening you" mambo jambo until they come with some billion dollar acquisition to stop Nemetschek.
Paulo Henrique Santos, Architect
AC24_INT#3008 / I7 / 16Gb / 512Mb SSD / Windows 10

Podolsky
Mentor
Braza wrote:
IMO This "Letter" thing that happened last year sounds more like a pre marketing campaign for Revit. Revit directors now see Archicad in its rearview mirror in fast approach. They know they are droping the ball for a long time. They simply came up with a brilliant marketing move to first: Admit they are doing a sh** job and second: Gain some time with this new pseudo roadmap and "we are listening you" mambo jambo until they come with some billion dollar acquisition to stop Nemetschek.
Fine. Then I'm switching off my computer. And also stopping work in architecture. What's for? Finally properties worldwide are overpriced, we are paying 10 times more for apartments then real price. 90% of properties price seems simply stolen by clever net of various agencies, who do nothing apart of getting percentages - from the deals, from insurance, from loans, from providing misleading information of building material price, from fake estimations etc... And on top coronavirus produced in the laboratory. No meaning of life. No point to say anything or have any opinion.

jl_lt
Enthusiast
Hi Mr. Braza I have to disagree with your statement that a letter and more pressure cannot change things. Of course it can, pressure can even turn a bunch of carbon molecules into diamonds.

Also, if for some reason Nemetschek has this idea of pushing Allplan or VW over Archicad (which now seems like a possiblity) something could be done about it.

jl_lt
Enthusiast
Mr. Podolsky, i agree in principle with all your points, but that would be like the song of a most loved rock band, i want it all and i want it now .

I think for us to be more effective we need to think in terms of whats possible within the realms of the current Archicad tecnology, what would benefit the most users and a time frame of 1, 3 and 5 and 10 years maybe. People with coding experience might have more insight on this.

For example, as i said in the other thread, some people want Archicad to become a parametric nurbs modeller while others just want better dimensioning tools and cabinet making. But to achieve the first, my guess is that they would basically need to rewrite Archicad from the ground up (which by all economical logic is not feasible in the current time frame and maybe for the next 10 years), and also not practical because they would never catch up with Rhino. But cabinet making? buy Cadimage and presto! you can have that tomorrow, same for keynotes!

same for many of the other wishes. Which of them could realistically be produced by a company with not as much resourses as Autodesk?? (actually that is also somewhat misleading, because yes, Autodesk has much more people and resourses than graphisoft, but also like 100 more software titles to mantain, so its not like everyone is working on Revit, and it shows). Which of the other wishes that need multiyear development are more important??

An example. They used resourses for this shadow thing in 25. Is it nice? yes. Can it be done with current Archicad technology? of course (they already did obviously). Will some people benefit from it? definetly. Is it critical for project delivery? NO. Will the benefited people amount something to 80% of the current user base relative to the time and effort put into developing it? i say absolotutely no. This excericse can be done for any wish, and we can come up with the most feasible ones, within the time frame, that are need by the majority of the users. Then we bust Graphisoft´s a++ until they hear or at least provide some insight while they work on their long term projects.

On the other hand, when i say big offices actually do answer questions, im talking BIG and OMA scale offices. Even in their world of super high budget projects they do struggle with software same as the smaller office. So im sure more than one of those office would have something to say about all this, and im sure many of them actually used Archicad at some point.

Takis
Participant
Although we all understand how much difficult it is for Graphisoft, I agree with Mr. Podolsky.

Braza
Newcomer
Podolsky wrote:
Fine. Then I'm switching off my computer. And also stopping work in architecture. What's for? Finally properties worldwide are overpriced, we are paying 10 times more for apartments then real price. 90% of properties price seems simply stolen by clever net of various agencies, who do nothing apart of getting percentages - from the deals, from insurance, from loans, from providing misleading information of building material price, from fake estimations etc... And on top coronavirus produced in the laboratory. No meaning of life. No point to say anything or have any opinion.
Hey Podolsky we are all in the same boat here.
This Forum has been the main channel to be heard by Graphisoft for ages. I joined this community long ago because here I always have found along this way many people like you that are willing to help other fellow AC users and improve this beloved software we call Archicad. And we all thank you for this. But sometimes, the best thing to do is to hold on our positions, continue our jobs the best we can, and be thankful to what we have now. Yes. Perhaps this pandemic is now presenting us its nasty shockwaves. But when I tell you my opinion regarding this "Revit Letter" replication, is not to say that we can't do anything to change it. It is to show that are better ways to try to change things. I always thought that the best way to help is to be part of the solution, not the problem. If not, it will by like you well said: a bazaar of unsatisfied people. Of course we first have to know/describe the problem/issue, but lets be more proactive and not focus on the problem and propose solutions. GS Development Team Top members and Product Managers are constantly passing by here with lots of useful insights, specially in the GDL and API sections. So yes. They are listening. Our posts in the Wish Section are here to show them the things that are missing or not working as we expect, and also can show how we would like things to be. And IMHO this is the best we can do to try to change things.
Cheers,
Paulo Henrique Santos, Architect
AC24_INT#3008 / I7 / 16Gb / 512Mb SSD / Windows 10

Braza
Newcomer
jl_lt wrote:
Hi Mr. I have to disagree with your statement that a letter and more pressure cannot change things. Of course it can, pressure can even turn a bunch of carbon molecules into diamonds.
Hi jl_lt. I guess this one is for me.
Hey I don't have time to wait for a diamond to pop up.

jl_lt wrote:
Also, if for some reason Nemetschek has this idea of pushing Allplan or VW over Archicad (which now seems like a possiblity) something could be done about it.
IMO I think Nemetschek is trying to level all its CAD software (Allplan, VW and AC). And get 3 distinct "flavors" of the best world class BIM. VW and Allplan have had significant improvements lately, while Archicad is being attached to other Nemetschek brands. This is an strategic move for the medium/long term. Yes. It hurts us a lot, but I am pretty sure things will get better in the near future.
Paulo Henrique Santos, Architect
AC24_INT#3008 / I7 / 16Gb / 512Mb SSD / Windows 10

Podolsky
Mentor
Braza wrote:
Podolsky wrote:
Fine. Then I'm switching off my computer. And also stopping work in architecture. What's for? Finally properties worldwide are overpriced, we are paying 10 times more for apartments then real price. 90% of properties price seems simply stolen by clever net of various agencies, who do nothing apart of getting percentages - from the deals, from insurance, from loans, from providing misleading information of building material price, from fake estimations etc... And on top coronavirus produced in the laboratory. No meaning of life. No point to say anything or have any opinion.
Hey Podolsky we are all in the same boat here.
This Forum has been the main channel to be heard by Graphisoft for ages. I joined this community long ago because here I always have found along this way many people like you that are willing to help other fellow AC users and improve this beloved software we call Archicad. And we all thank you for this. But sometimes, the best thing to do is to hold on our positions, continue our jobs the best we can, and be thankful to what we have now. Yes. Perhaps this pandemic is now presenting us its nasty shockwaves. But when I tell you my opinion regarding this "Revit Letter" replication, is not to say that we can't do anything to change it. It is to show that are better ways to try to change things. I always thought that the best way to help is to be part of the solution, not the problem. If not, it will by like you well said: a bazaar of unsatisfied people. Of course we first have to know/describe the problem/issue, but lets be more proactive and not focus on the problem and propose solutions. GS Development Team Top members and Product Managers are constantly passing by here with lots of useful insights, specially in the GDL and API sections. So yes. They are listening. Our posts in the Wish Section are here to show them the things that are missing or not working as we expect, and also can show how we would like things to be. And IMHO this is the best we can do to try to change things.
Cheers,
I can be sarcastic, but now I'm serious - I had enough. Plus one my post disappeared somewhere... Maybe I started to ruin celebration of 'silver version anniversary'.
I shared my password to the library (see BIM management section) - feel free to use, share, modify... I'm talking very-very long break. Don't want to know what Nemetschek is planning. ArchiCAD just cannot deliver what is advertised and been advertised before and not meeting users expectations. I don't have power and any physical support to reprogram ArchiCAD for real project delivery. I know it's possible, I got some interesting results, but cannot do that anymore - it does not bring me any satisfaction.

Ignacio
Enthusiast
I strongly disagree with most of the content of the letter and its tone.

And never claim to speak in the name of others, or “a majority of” whatever. Just add the signature of whoever wants to sign.

jl_lt
Enthusiast
Ignacio wrote:
I strongly disagree with most of the content of the letter and its tone.

And never claim to speak in the name of others, or “a majority of” whatever. Just add the signature of whoever wants to sign.
hi mr. Ignacio. please read the last third of other thread about Archicad 25. what mr podolsky wrote is a first draft in order to prepare a useful document about the needs and vision we, as users, have about archicad. please, if you have other or better ideas express them here.

Ignacio
Enthusiast
jl_lt wrote:
mr. Ignacio. please read the last third of other thread about Archicad 25. what mr podolsky wrote is a first draft in order to prepare a useful document about the needs and vision we, as users, have about archicad. please, if you have other or better ideas express them here.
Mr. jl_It: I've expressed the idea. Don't talk in terms of 'we, as users'. Speak in your own name. Another useful idea would be: don't clutter the forum with this ....

jl_lt
Enthusiast
just, wow. if you dont like it, then dont read it and stay away from it, will ya son? geez, the kind of attitude one finds these days

Ignacio
Enthusiast
jl_it: the draft letter asked for feedback, I gave my feedback.

jl_lt
Enthusiast
completely useless feedback by the way. if you are going to criticize in that way you should be able to propose something too.
the idea is to come up with many counterproposals, but given your current answers i seriously doubt you can do that, or can you? (propose something useful that is)
--
edited by moderator

Podolsky
Mentor
Ignacio wrote:
jl_lt wrote:
mr. Ignacio. please read the last third of other thread about Archicad 25. what mr podolsky wrote is a first draft in order to prepare a useful document about the needs and vision we, as users, have about archicad. please, if you have other or better ideas express them here.
Mr. jl_It: I've expressed the idea. Don't talk in terms of 'we, as users'. Speak in your own name. Another useful idea would be: don't clutter the forum with this crap.
Usually people who are making noise about their opinion about nothing like to point about some sort of cleaning forums from something. Clean your head first from yourself. What kind of vacuum cleaner philosophy it is?

Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
I have split this discussion into two topics as the discussion started diverging into BIMx and its functionality. You can find and continue that thread here:

https://archicad-talk.graphisoft.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=74106
....................................................................................................
Laszlo Nagy, Lead Moderator, Community Admin
Get Archicad Tips at https://twitter.com/laszlonagy
AMD Ryzen 1700X CPU, 48 GB RAM, NVidia GTX 1060 6GB, 500 GB NVMe SSD
2x28" (2560x1440), WIN10 PRO ENG, AC20-AC25
Loving Archicad since 1995

I have a lot of respect for Graphisoft and their team and their decision making. However, I also feel we need to provide feedback to ensure they know what we want, and the open letter is one way of doing this.
I agree with a lot of what is stated in the letter as shortcomings of Archicad, however, the alternatives don't come close to being as thorough or as powerful; so “best” but not “perfect” is fine with me.
I think to expect so many specialized tools and processes in the one package is asking quite a lot. Yes, we all want to live in a utopia where everything is at its full potential but when we reach that we will still want more, as it is human nature to want to evolve.
We should look at it differently; most users of other platform rely heavily on 3rd party add-ons and tools. Many of these 3rd party providers are users helping users, such as myself. We know exactly what the needs are and can provide that. This also establishes another economy to support those whose push the possibilities of the platform. Large software developer also know that 3rd party tools a crucial to the strength of the community and that is why they support (knowledge and time, not financial) their 3rd party developers. However, Archicad users are generally spoilt by such a capable package and expect it to deliver everything, so they don’t support 3rd part developers and so the community is weakened.
Direct feedback;
1. Can’t comment on this as I have not experienced the issues stated as I do very little project work these days, other than helping fix issues on large projects. The only instability I have witnessed has been due to user applying inefficient methodologies.
2. CAD/BIM standards keep changing so Graphisoft provided the means for custom classification systems that the user can set to their interpretation of the local standards. I think this is the key to their approach – don’t provide the rigid rule (like Revit) but rather the means to establish any rule. This results in a more agile solution that can evolve easily. If we supported more on 3rd party content, then I am sure someone would make their classification system available for others. I know a few users in different locations who have set up their classification systems very thoroughly for this purpose, so that if there was a strong demand, I could acquire these systems and provide them to others… but neither I nor the creator of the system could do this for free, as we both owe our “free” time to our families.
3. Compared to what? I think Archicad compared to every other system OOTB wins this category without question. Also, I think construction documentation is changing and therefore so will your requirements. I would think a key notes tool would be easy for them so I am unsure why they haven’t but if you really need one, I could build it in a few days work. Schedules and list need work, I agree. However, I also think properties and the classification system can be better manipulated for this. The Interactive Schedule is great but slow, so I agree this is a failure.
4. Support the 3rd party community to make a much stronger Archicad community. I have tools to solve most of your issue raised.
5. Same as item 4. Also, I know some users who import Archicad into other packages for the illumination visualisations. Again, I think asking for everything in a single tool is overkill. Surely adding more packages within Archicad would further affect the speed and stability of the platform.
6. As per item 5 I think construction simulation is complex enough to require its own package.
7. The support for and communication with 3rd party developers has been wonderful in my experience. The average user has far less communication options, I guess.
8. Would be great to have simulation engines for all sorts of things in Archicad but I think this is best done in software dedicated to that requirement. So there simply needs to be good translation between Archicad and the simulation package, preferable a direct link and bi-directional communication. But I don’t believe we should expect such inside Archicad.
9. I agree that work should be done in this area.

I hope that helps.
Creator of Cadswift's parametric GDL libraries
Creator of Infinite Openings and Component Catalogues
Push the envelope & watch it bend
website: https://cadswift.com.au/
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