View Full Version : Master's Thesis - FREE Procedural Building Generator

09-16-2011, 12:18 AM
Hey guys, I hope you can spare some time to try out my script. It's a procedural building generator designed to make buildings suitable for game environments.

You can download the script HERE (http://www.scriptspot.com/3ds-max/scripts/nassers-procedural-building-creator) Plese be aware that version 1.06 is for Max 2012.
Version 1.05 is for 2010. I don't have Max 2011 to test on.

Please, PLEASE fill out this survey (http://kwiksurveys.com?u=elsamadisy) as this is for my thesis that I will be defending soon - the more responses and advice\criticism I get the better!

Thanks, have fun, and I hope you use this in your workflow! Remember this is absolutely free to use!

If you have any questions you can email me (nsamadisy@yahoo.com) , and I'll reply ASAP.


09-21-2011, 06:49 PM
Point #1:
I've written some scripts and I think that most people have a difficult time learning how the script works if you don't supply some kind of training or explanation of how it works. You understand the script, because you wrote it, but others will face a steep learning curve. That steep learning curve will make most people avoid it. I would suggest supplying some training material for the tool.

Point #2:
Tyson (http://tysonibele.com/) and Kilad (http://www.kilad.com/) have both written building generators. "Procedural" refers to "content generated algorithmically rather than manually", so both their scripts can be thought of as procedural - just like yours. You've thrown your hat into a ring that already has hats in it - so how does your script stand above the rest? What's different about it? I ask this because a user (who is familiar with the maxscript landscape) will ask the same. If someone has already invested the time into learning the free versions of buildingGenerator (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=808733) and/or ghostTownLite (http://kiladghosttown.blogspot.com/), what motive do they have to learn your tool? Remember that high polycount meshes can be reduced in a variety of ways, making them suitable for games.

Point #3:
A thesis has to claim something (http://www.cc.gatech.edu/faculty/ashwin/wisdom/what-is-a-thesis-defense.html). What are you claiming and how does the script support that claim? From your smu page (http://guildhall.smu.edu/portfolio/nsamadisy/mitproject), "My project is designed to ... let architecture modelers and artists produce more assets in a fraction of the time than they normally would". From that, I'm assuming your claim is that this process is a quick and viable method of building creation suitable for games? This claim would fall into the category of "process X is a feasible way to do task Y". A defense for this is explored in the previous link.

Point #4:
Finally, I don't understand how getting users to fill out a survey will help you defend your thesis. Feedback from users ultimately drives the development of a program (when developers choose to listen), not necessarily the reason why it was created in the first place. Users might tell you that the UI needs to be clearer, or that the script needs to be faster or fails in a specific circumstance. I doubt such questions will arise during a defense of the thesis, as the thesis itself is a concept/idea and the script is an implementation of the thesis.
Instead, I would suggest collecting examples from users of how the script actually saved them time. Then you can use these examples to make a stronger case for your script, which in turn will help support your thesis. However, users must first learn how to use the script (point #1).

Hope this helps.

09-21-2011, 07:28 PM
Fist - thanks a LOT for the input. You bring up some really imortant topics.
About the user manual - The UI is part of my thesis. How intuitive (how how horrible) the UI is a part of what I spent lots of time on and I don't want to explain that ahead of time. After I defend I will not only post instructions - but also a video of it in use for everyone. So I absolutely agree with what you say - I just want to postpone that for a few weeks.

Second - what my tool does is allow you to very specifically add assets and textures and tweek them to a large degree - I believe this fills out something where the other tools allow you to place lots of stuff fast - but at the price of loosing lots of the control \ decision making that comes with the use of my tool. Also - after I defend I will have the freedom to feature creep my way into a complete city generator, but for the purpose of this thesis I'm capping it off where it is.
Also - I'm thinking my next phase will include development of this and all the extras I have in mind using ICE nodes in Softimage.

Point #3 seems less like a question and more like advice - I'll look into that link and hope I can find a way to make my thesis better. Thanks for that bit of info!

Well - the survey will help me see what I did wrong and what I did right - and finally ways to add and improve to it. That is all very important stuff to put into my thesis - and also really important for when I continue this project. So it's all great stuff to know.

As for asking how it actually saved time... I kinda asked that in the first question - asking why they would use this tool in their workflow - and also in question 6 asking to explain why it would speed up their workflow. These aren't directly asking your question head on - but I believe it will yeild the same needed results. I could be wrong, either way I will review those questions and make sure I don't miss stuff - a question like your's seems like it should be the main focus of questions being answered.
If you have any more questions that you think are missing - please let me know as I belive these are a great source of info!
Thanks so much for the input - I wish everyone took the time to look into this and give the kind of observations and advice that you have.


09-21-2011, 08:05 PM
It sounds like you are heading in the right direction. But, one more thing:

Well - the survey will help me see what I did wrong and what I did right - and finally ways to add and improve to it
No, the survey captures user's thoughts on your tool. Different users have different thoughts, workflows, and modus operandi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_operandi). This means that you will receive a variety of ideas, some good and some bad. What you as a developer have to do is filter the good ideas from the bad, and then translate those good ideas into the program in a manner that helps. I think Einstein summarized this particular aspect of humanity well with the following quote: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."

09-21-2011, 11:16 PM
This means that you will receive a variety of ideas, some good and some bad. What you as a developer have to do is filter the good ideas from the bad, and then translate those good ideas into the program in a manner that helps.

That goes without question - I didn't get this far not being able to think for myself. I'll definitely screen the answers and draw my own conclusions.

Thanks again for helping out! Very much appreciated!

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09-21-2011, 11:16 PM
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