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My Fault
01-25-2003, 03:07 AM
OK, Steve has made me an offer I can't refuse ...that was in my best Godfather voice BTW :)

He's been reading this forum and wants to hear what issues we are having and what features we are interested in. However it is quite a bit for him to go through and he has asked me if I can gather up the best stuff and he will call me directly to discuss and get deeper in to it. So it would be a huge help to me if we could all get together in this discussion to gather up our wants and wishes so I can better present it to him.

A few thoughts.

It would be great to put all the wants in this thread, however if it's a bug, put it in the "Great Bug Hunt" thread (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=39260). It's a solid thread with tons of help and it seems sensible to keep all the bug info there so it's easy to find. Please also include info on your machine, OS and steps to reproduce. If possible, put a link to the problem project. Yes I know there are bugs that you may not be able to reproduce, but the more info the better and the better chance to get them squashed.

If you've got render issues, it would be great if you can post up some examples of them so I have something concrete to show him. For example, I don't want to go to him and say the aliasing is bad, I want to be able to show him what's bad about it and if possible how we think it would be better.

As for features, just like the rest, the more info I have the better chance we have of seeing it happen. The clearer the example the better.

He also wanted me to mention that... and this is straight from his email
-we can't fix "it just crashes all the time"- we need steps to repeat the crashes and often, the problem is data specific so we can't help without it.
- just because your suggestion doesn't get implemented tomorrow doesn't mean we don't care, we have tens of thousands of users, and damn near as many "feature requests" (however it's important to note we do print and keep every one of them!)
- again, stability issues, we needs steps to repeat the crash! render issues, we need concrete test cases with EXACT
descriptions of the problems, not "it's just looks bad", or "it's covered with artifacts".

Remember, Steve was cool enough to make this offer because he's actually interested in hearing what we have to say. He's a busy guy and wouldn't be taking the time if he didn't care. Please, if you have any complaints about Hash take them to another discussion. I'd like this thread to focus on positive things we as a group can do to improve the software and how we use it.

Thanks for listening guys/gals, your a helluva group! I promise to do my damndest to make our case and will get back to you after my discussion with Steve, which will happen in the next week or so.

lildragon
01-25-2003, 03:16 AM
:thumbsup:

Dearmad
01-25-2003, 03:34 AM
Well, I'll be the first to step on some toes here, because my biggest two gripes I have right now are these:

the OPRESSIVE ATMOSPHERE that seeps out of Hash into their mail list has got to stop. It's a part of the problem in that if Steve wants EXACT steps, well, tough luck dude, I don't want to spend a week (ALONE!) tracking down a bug that if I mention on the list might take a measly hour to figure out if we could ALL discuss it OPENLY. Doesn't he see how this is such a huge impediment to making AM better!? I'm sick and tired of feeling like I ought feel guilty for finding a bug, am unable to figure out EXACTLY how to reproduce it for Hash, and then get yelled at for wondering if others experienced it.

The other thing I want is this: The Subscription method based on a calender year has GOT TO GO! It is TOO SHORT a time for ANY development cycle of so complex a nature- I'm tired of being told this program is soooo much more complex than any 2d app out there, but then also told that a 1 year product cycle development is reasonable. Hello!?!?

No 2d app (or other pro. 3d app) goes through growing pains on that scale! the other reason I want it to slow down is that it takes me time to figure out where any real wekanesses are that are more than just the current industry sweetheart ideas. I don't just play with AM to see what sort of noises it's bells and whistles make and consider myself satisfied with stupid little ten second render tests- I want to create a real film, and I am doing that, having taken a long time to assemble the pieces I need in order to do that.

I'm supposedly exactly who they describe they are marketing to: the one-man studio/artist and yet they want to steamroll right over me.

STOP THE ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION! Work on a version until it is: STABLE AND ALL FEATURES WORK. Then go for the next incremental version adding what people request and work on it until: STABLE and it WORKS!

If you must, increase the price.

If both these problems were addressed a lot of the specific problems/features people will bring up would naturally follow because there will be a more solid product upon which to build them. God, don't tell me I'm a lone monk screaming in the desert here.

Natess44
01-25-2003, 03:50 AM
Increasing the price of A:M isn't a good idea. The Idea of subscription is still a good idea too but working on a version untill it's stable is a good idea. I thinn Hash should have some on the list to act as beta testers (volenteer beta testers wouldn't be too bad).

My Fault
01-25-2003, 03:50 AM
Ok, I will mention those!

Now can we get to actual features/bugs/wants/wishes etc?

Natess44
01-25-2003, 03:58 AM
I mentioned this on the other topic: I think those that have older versions of A:M should compile a list of bugs, then those that have the newest version of A:M can test them and see if they are still there. If they are then we add it to the list of bugs.

pabitel
01-25-2003, 04:01 AM
I can't help cynically thinking that this sudden change of heart has something to do with that offer that the NewTek director of sales made to A:M users.

But as tempting as that offer is, I'm still leaning to sticking with A:M. There just something I love about it, warts and all.

I think the best thing Hash could do -- something even more important than improvements in the software -- is make an attitude change. I don't think anyone can possibly expect $300 3d software to be perfect; but they could be a little contrite and accept that it has problems and don't get so upset when someone offers constructive criticism. They could also stop taking themselves so seriously -- animation should be fun. Perhaps they could even set up an alternative list for venting.

It is clear to me that most of the people posting -- especially some of the angry posters -- really care about the software. I care about the software. I think it's cool that a couple of people have developed a piece of software that does some absolutely incredible things for such an amazing price. I think it's cool that they don't give a damn about marketing, advertizing -- or a corporate image.

Just lighten up and meet the users halfway.

I mean, can't we all just get along?

My Fault
01-25-2003, 04:11 AM
Originally posted by pabitel
I can't help cynically thinking that this sudden change of heart has something to do with that offer that the NewTek director of sales made to A:M users.

Don't let the cynicism get to you, Steve mentioned this to me before the other offers ever popped up. It just took me awhile to get my feeble brain to write my post. ;)

Dearmad
01-25-2003, 04:13 AM
My fault,

You fail to see how my suggestion is a real wish? Man, that hurts. Especially since it's what addresses everything else. The cycle of development is-
-sigh- nevermind....

How about this: Add an adaptive antialiasing method so that I can decide how many rays get cast through a pixel depending upon a numerical threshold I declare based on intensity, color channels, or whatever other data the pixel has with the first ray cast and it's neighbors. POVray has had this for a decade. And do it while KEEPING the averaging method they have now under the guise of subsampling (and oversampling). Once they've got this working aliasing is really under the control of the user and any bad aliasing is their fault- Hash oughta like that.

Link specularity to the additive amount of lights in the scene striking the specular surface- this is such a glaring error.

Fix focal blur through transparent surfaces and reflective ones.

Fix motion blur, period. This shouldn't be a feature dependent upon netrender.

How about adding in the ability to create a texture/map look-up chart based upon a color pallete index- it would simplify decalling multiple textures next to each other and in patterns- Polyray and POV have had this for a decade too....

are those more "real?" this time?

:shrug:

My Fault
01-25-2003, 04:18 AM
Sorry Dearmad, I was not saying your post wasn't "real". What I should've been more clear of was that I hear you loud and clear and was hoping that others would throw in some ideas involving the actual function of the software.

Great suggestions BTW!

Natess44
01-25-2003, 04:25 AM
More options for particals. Like if a streak hits an object you should be able to make it break into smaller pieces(like rain) and have each piece take off in another direction. Multible colours like a simple gradiant for the streaks(eg. black center fading to a blue or even multible colours.).

Someone Mentioned more control over glow other that ambience( I think that you should just have a glow option seprate with color, intensity and radius controls for each material. So you don't have to play with them in the chor and the material).

The refectivity option should also have options for what color it will reflect instead of just reflecting the whole spectrum without having to add light lists.

I'll probably have more:)

Hookflash
01-25-2003, 04:28 AM
Feature requests only? Ok...

I would like to see support for Subdivision Surfaces (come on, let's move into the 21st century here). I really dislike spline modelling, and I think anyone who has spent some time with a good SDS impelementation will agree with me. Aside from that, I think A:M has a very good feature set that just needs to be tweaked a little. I would be willing to pay much more than $300 for A:M *IF* it supported SDS and was more stable. Oh, and one more feature I think we really, really need:

A bug report app!! It could collect all the relevant information from your system (OS, A:M version, hardware, etc.), you could just type in a description of the bug & attach some files (prj's, jpg's, etc.), then click "Send". It would make the whole process alot easier for the end-user. Also, it would be good if there were a way to get confirmation of the bug. This process could be automated as well on Hash's end. In summary, I'd like to see a much more efficient bug-reporting facility on both our end *and* Hash's. As it stands right now, submitting bug-reports is a major pain-in-the-ass, and I imagine many people just don't bother with it.

Incidentally, it's nice to see Hash is listening. I hope this isn't just a superficial "gesture" to win us back, though.

Edit: Oh, and one more thing: A *real* printed manual! One that documents all of A:M functionality in great detail, in a well-organized way. If you guys don't like writing manuals (hell, who does?), hire someone else to do it.

JTalbotski
01-25-2003, 04:31 AM
Features wanted:

*Hair that casts shadows that are controlled by guide hairs and colored by maps(I know they promised last year that they were working towards that, but I fear we won't see it for many years.)

*Mac OSX version NOW! (Hire some more programmers! At least temporarily.)

*Fix the way refraction is handled through transparent surfaces, such as the cornea. Right now, you have to adjust the refraction based on how far away the camera is. And if you move the camera you have to tweak the refraction again.


Warning! Mini-rant coming...

I am leaning toward buying LW, not as a replacement for A:M, but as another tool to finish what A:M can't do. I love to model in A:M. I really, really do. But I get so frustrated because I can't bring that model in A:M to the level I want. I would probably continue to model in A:M and export the model in another format and render in LW.

I was and still am very disappointed that the OSX version may not even arrive this year. I feel like I've waited in vain for a lot of things in A:M and now I've been told to keep waiting.

Rant over..... Maybe I'll just go back to oil painting.

zandoria
01-25-2003, 04:34 AM
sub surface scattering, like the other kids have.

I'd like to use a HDRI image to light a scene like Debevec does in "Fiat Lux"

realistic hair--maybe a way to style it similar to Posers new Hair Room. Or a shave and haircut for A:M

I would like to be able to replace a particle with an instance of a model. Though I guess I could just use the new sprite feature for that...

I would like to be able to customise the toolbar, like I do in AutoCAD and Rhino--making custom buttons. with the new expressions being in the program, it seems like we ought to be able to make a custom toolbar or button to launch a wizard. --For example, it would be nice to make an ARRAY button, to start the duplicator wizard..like in CAD.

When setting an attribute color, for a surface or material, I would like an eyedropper that would allow me to sample the RGB value from anywhere on my desktop.

If any of my wishes already exist--which is possible, since I keep finding new cool things to do with this great program! someone please let me know!:wavey:

Kricket
01-25-2003, 04:35 AM
A Silhouette toon line option would be great so we could have thick lines on the outside and thin on the inside. (settings for each color group, not just the entire model)

Polys! Dear god give us polys + SubD! After learning XSI at school I got hooked on using polys and dread going back to using splines.. but I love AMs animation tools and workflow.

Natess44
01-25-2003, 04:36 AM
Total internal index of refraction.

Natess44
01-25-2003, 04:38 AM
Originally posted by zandoria

I would like to be able to replace a particle with an instance of a model. Though I guess I could just use the new sprite feature for that...

When setting an attribute color, for a surface or material, I would like an eyedropper that would allow me to sample the RGB value from anywhere on my desktop.


Yup and YUP. I was going to mention the 3D partical but I thought it'd be a little too much for now.

penguinpavilion
01-25-2003, 04:52 AM
This requests no features, but I think that feature bloat is actually more of an issue here. Since you say Steve may be reading these threads, I am addressing what I think are the real issues that caused the whole meltdown of the last week.

Here is how I see it, there are three basic issues Hash needs to address, and of course, there is some interplay between them.

Issue One:
========
Customers are lead to believe that AM is something its not to entice them to purchase it. And once it is purchased, and they start having problems they are treated as if they should have known what they were getting into. New customers find that they paid $299 for the priveledge of being a beta tester, and yes that is what you are if you are expected to fill out detailed reports to help duplicate the conditions surrounding a program crash. If Hash addresses this problem, many of Steve's mailing list headaches will go away.

For refrence see the Hash front page:

http://www.hash.com/

Is there anything there that leads one to beleive that they are getting anything but a bargain for Hollywood production class software? It sure doesn't hint that you will be submitting bug reports! It insinuates that you will be animating your f*cking heart out.


Issue Two:
========
Martin indicated that a feature, once set into a production release will not change until the next production release. This hasn't been true in the past, and it should be. Example: Between 9.0j and 9.0k(I may be off on the versions, but it was in that neighborhood) Hash changed how distortion boxes worked. Thisi should not have happened. So the request here would be that features be architected as thoroughly as possible up front, and if a change turns out to be necessary, do it in the next major release not between minor revisions, those should be for bug fixes and only bug fixes. Another aspect of this would be feature introduction, that should not happen in the production releases. That should only be in the beta for the next major release, but Martin stated that was the case in his open letter to the list. Please live up to it then.

Issue Three:
=========
Hash indicates themselves that their users are Artists not programmers. But then when it comes to bug submission they expect them to know the protocol. A better bug submission system is really needed, along with more than a three line set of submission guidlines found in the FAQ is in order. Again this also goes back to issue 1, you can't lead the people to think they are buying one thing and then turn around and tell them that they are expected to be a Beta Tester/Customer.


I really hope they plan to take this feedback to heart.

artfan1
01-25-2003, 05:19 AM
Not that it will do much good but I will contribute as a beginner. After all, if you want any new customers to say, "Hey, I just bought A:M and I LOVE IT". then you should listen to us guys also, who can't yet give you a "wish list" of features because of obvious reasons. (That being, we can't run the program to get experience enough to know what features are missing.)

Anyway. I second, or third, whatever, the subscription method changing to a stable version, not a calendar year. I started with v9.0, it never worked. I should still be downloading updates until it does but that stopped the first of the year.

Also, change the "Requirements" on your box. Mine says;

Windows:
Pentium or compatible
Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP
64MB of RAM
CD Rom drive

Macintosh:
Power Mac or compatible
OS 8.6 or higher
80MB of RAM
CD ROM drive

It didn't run on my Pentium. Nobody knows why.
So I bought a Mac G4 800ghz. Won't run on that either. Nobdy knows why.

So the Requirements are not correct. If there are preferred machine setups for AM to run, then please tell me that on the box so I know.

It is my STRONG feeling that if my v9.0 or 9.5 worked then I am on my own to decide if I should upgrade. But it doesn't. So, just as other faulty products are recalled, this one should be to. Or at least, give us a version of 10 that will work with our 2002 disc, if it is really that stable. Mistakes happen. I don't get upset about that. But stick with me until it is fixed if you want me to stick with you when things go bad for a while.

OSX. YES on that one too.

As for "the list" issues. I think it is already fixing itself. CGTalk has allowed us to come here and talk freely. Which I think is better anyway. Even the loyal list users are reading this forum, (though they don't tell anyone, ssshhh). Why? Well for me it was because it was just so much more interesting. Plus, I feel less pressure to keep my tongue at check. In the long run, after some fires are put out, everyone will once again be talking about new plugins, showing their work, etc. When that happens, (if it does), I would suggest some friendly input from the folks at Hash from time to time. Steve has always been a great guy to me. It's too bad he has to be the "deliverer" for another and get all the blame.

Oh yea, one more thought. Even if it added $50 or so to the price. A USB dongle instead of the CD. My Mac has only one cd drive and there are times that I just need to put another disc in. Can you guess what happens now when I try that? I don't like dongles. Though I understand the need for them, it makes us honest guys pay so make it convenient. PLEASE.

Thanks,
artfan1

My Fault
01-25-2003, 05:20 AM
Originally posted by penguinpavilion
I really hope they plan to take this feedback to heart.

I really believe they do and you guys rock! :beer:

Gotta go put my list together too....

Email Steve about the USB dongle, they do have them.

Kricket
01-25-2003, 05:25 AM
Originally posted by artfan1
Oh yea, one more thought. Even if it added $50 or so to the price. A USB dongle instead of the CD. My Mac has only one cd drive and there are times that I just need to put another disc in. Can you guess what happens now when I try that? I don't like dongles. Though I understand the need for them, it makes us honest guys pay so make it convenient. PLEASE.


Last I heard Hash does sell USB Dongles, email them about one.

jayrtfm
01-25-2003, 05:34 AM
I understand that Hash doesn't have the resources of an Adobe or Macromedia, so having a dedicated hardware qualification lab isn't an option. There are some things that I think could make the whole process less painful for both sides.

1) I'd like to see Hash put together a $600ish pc and publish all the specs. This way we can duplicate it exactly. If we come across a suspected bug, we can try it on our reference machine. A repeatable bug on the reference hardware would prove that the cause is AM. On the other hand, if it works then we know it's a problem on our setup, and we can start looking for other causes. On the gripping hand, the problem may be a bug in AM that the reference platform tolerates, but most other systems wouldn't.

I'd like to go into more detail on this, but it looks like messages here have a 2K character limit.

2) Automactic bug reporting.
Mozillia / Netscape use Full Circle.
Something like that would be nice, especially if we can have contact info saved, so that the only thing we need to type is a description of what happened. On the Hash end, with the right kind of database, patterns will emerage. For example, if multiple bug reports start comming in by users who've just installed the latest ATI driver, that would be a real clue.

3) As I've mentioned in another post, having a user acessable bug database could save us from lots of grief. As in the above, if I install the ATI patch, then try something new that causes the crash, the bugbase would show me that it's the patch, not me doing something wrong. Instead of wasting hours on trying work arounds, then fileing a duplicate bug report, I could just revert to the older version, and happily continue working.
I'd be willing to sign an NDA for access to the bugbase.

Nonproductive
01-25-2003, 05:43 AM
Let's not run away with ourselves here. If I read the initial post corerctly this is a "Help us fix what's wrong" request - not a wish list per se.

We all shout for feature freezes so that the programmers can work on stability - and at the first opportunity - cry out for more features. Baby steps are what's called for here. Simply put - get what you have working before you move on to more features.

I think several folks here are on the right track:

1) stability. Hash, however, needs to understand that not all crashes are going to be repeatable and do some bug searching internally instead of relying on the people trynig to get work done with the software. See point 7 - maybe Steve can actually figure out how to work the program and track some down himself ;)

2) Renderer - bear in mind that (if I recall correctly) this is Martin's baby and his ego is fragile. Simply put though - it is horrible. As slow as it is the output is terrible. Either ditch the renderer altogether or speed up it up a LOT so it can be used to render drafts and then incorporate links to external, stand alone render engines. *Something* needs to be done though, as it stands now the renderer is too slow for drafts and too visually unappealing for finals.

3) Honesty - yes they are running a company and a certain amount of marketing spin is to be expected. A:M is known for it's animation tools - not it's hair, cloth, particles or whatever. If they can't be done in a manner that works and is stable - drop them for now and add them back when they *are* stable. No one wants to see a list of features that don't work. Embrace the aftermarket (see next point) to fill gaps.

4) Stop trying to be everything for all people. Support import/export to OBJ at the very least. Capitalize on your strengths and abandon your weak features in favor of bolstering the program as a whole. Aftermarket communities have made Maya, LW and Max incredibly strong - and to a lesser extent, Truespace. Work with 3rd parties to develop plugins to do what you don't have the resources to do. You can not be blamed for plugin stability...

5) Subscriptions are fine but they need to a) be based on reg date not calendar year and b) Finals better be freakin' final. It should be rock solid stable before you expect another $100.

6) Consistancy - Stop changing the way things work and file formats. Find a format that gives you room to grow and settle on it. People that are trying to use the app for paying projects are having features changed, removed or broken in the middle of work. This would not be an issue if Final versions were final. As long as Hash is perpetually in beta (due to new code) people need to keep up to date with releases in order to get old bugs fixed.

7) Endorse these forums. Put a link on the Hash website. You can then specify that "the list" is *strictly* for tips and help and this forum is for all else. In addition it will keep your users honest without fear of "The Hand of Steve." Would you rather 100 people had their nose to your butt on the list and you never knew about program bugs - or have 200 people openly discussing issues in attempts to solve the "little problem" without calling Steve just to have him tell them they need to update their video drivers? It saves you on internal resources and $$ on phone bills.

8) Recognize that even though you have an MSCS and PHd - your users put money in your pocket and use the program for many more hours a day then you do. If you want to continue putting gas in the Ferrari in today's frugal economy - you had better recognize the community as an asset not an adversary. The customer is not always right, but he's probably got a good message in there somewhere. As a businessman you should be able to discern the junk from the jewels instead of censoring it all.

Embrace open communication. It will light a fire under the company arse and make the users feel good. Put your money where your mouth is - if you think A:M is the best app for the money - then make it so that the users agree. Don't hide behind bogus accusations and insinuation. Most of the people that are speaking out against A:M right now are doing so because they are frustrated with an App the once liked or want to like. To call them "angry" or dimiss them as frequenting "flame boards" is insulting and belittling. Companies are allowed to make mistakes - we all do. However, continuing to perpetuate the stability myth when anyone that uses the app regularly knows better makes the company look dishonest...


With all of that said - that is what I would consider ideal circumstances. In all honesty - 3 things are keeping people away or pushing people away from A:M:

1) Stability - stable code base and stable bug fixes instead of constant betas.

2) Renderer - Either address speed and support links to external render engines or address quality. Speed + Quality would be great - but I'm trying to be fair here ;)

3) Company attitude - Hash has been known for years as a company that treats it's customers like crap in public. I don't care how nice Steve is on the phone (and in fairness, he has always been nice when I *spoke* to him) - the public image is the way the rest of the "world" perceives you - and that perception is reality in their eyes. Don't dismiss people or mock them - 90% of the people that have dealt with Hash think they are rude - it's an issue.

Address those and most people will be more willing to accept the rest.

PJC
01-25-2003, 05:52 AM
First of all, I must say that Steve and Martin and the whole crew at Hash have ALWAYS treated me with nothing but respect and professionialism.

I still use AM, I just have had to use other software to hit some deadlines and that's why I'm waiting to hear v10 is rockin' and solid (love the new renderer personally) and I will continue using the software as my main

With that said, one of the biggest things I'd love to have in AM is an update to the "PROP" 3DS import. Right now it just supports basic things, but most of the 3DS stuff that I would use has multiple materials on the same piece of geometry. Example is our 3DS model of a NASCAR Monte Carlo....tons of different texture maps on one piece of geometry....AM doesn't see all of them...prop is worthless in AM.

There isn't much of a database of AM models out there, and there are nice 3DS models that I would love to use as props....If you want even more detail, let me know.

I would also like to see Multi-Threading to be brought back and work. I can't tell you how much hair-pulling we had in the days of 8 in the middle of a huge project dealing with the render errors (huge black chunks and spots), but I'd love to use my quad and dual CPU Render Farm Machines to their fullest, right now I have 15 CPU's, if they had Multi, I would have 32, big difference.

- patrick j. clarke

dfaris
01-25-2003, 05:58 AM
OK on with some features:

1. Usable cloth, cloth so we can make cloths for the models. Like they have in messiah and others, it works.

2. Hair we need hair, Hair like shave and SAS, if they cant do it then get the SAS or Shave people to do it.

3. Modeling tools like SUBd's hell talk to the wings people I bet they would help. I just looked at TS modeling tools and they look pretty good. stuff like that

4. The renderer has to go we need a renderer that is like LW's or better. Or an export option so we can export our projects to a better renderer.

5. We need to be able to use AM with other programs like 3d paint programs and such.

6.Stability, Stability, Stability and I mean test the software much better then it is tested now. If they want to use users for that its fine but dont release it and make us pay till its done being tested.

7. true booleans not this crap that only works at render time.

8. put back raytraced soft shadows

9. more lighting options like light linking and models that can be use as lights.

10. Better GI something like Monte Carlo based GI

11. fluid dynamics AM need something like this.

12. Get something like messiahs smart bones so we can forget the damn assigning CP's.

13. Change the way MAT's work so that we can program Sub-Surface Scattering

14. Allow other people to write plugins, like the people that do SAS and Shave. A better SDK

15. A freaking manual

I will give them another chance if/when this stuff is done. I know it cant be done over night but if they lay out a plan of when some of this stuff will be done it would be nice.

dbissell
01-25-2003, 06:32 AM
I am just starting to get into the more advanced features of A:M just now having developed a character that needs rigging. Up til now I have had decient stability...but with the occational crash...

What I find most irritating are the crashes I get when I try to use a context menu (Right Mouse Button Pop-Up Menu) over a bone or in the project window. I have yet to report one of these crashes to hash simply because it doesn't happen all the time and I can't take consistant steps to repeat it. Could the problem be a WinXP driver issue for me?? Maybe... but I don't know (an issue solved with the related idea of a public bug/fix archive). The solution to this GUI issue is to close and restart A:M.

If I need to shutdown a program and restart to solve a problem...as a programmer... my first thought would be to look for memory leaks in the code... a leak isn't a problem till you do the activity that leaks memory to many times then... blam-o... you've blown the stack.

My suggestion then is along the lines of Stability... make sure all the GUI code is rock solid. I've done GUI and API programming in Windows, Mac's, and BeOS. I know that one string misplaced or a pointer pointing to the wrong place (or not cleaned up in memory) can bring down a program... it may not happen until you've used the feature 20 times...but it will eventually happen.

To highlight...an example, in A:M I've run into a problem of the Drop-Down text listbox... esp in the place where you set a relationship TARGET in a pose constraint ("Bone1 Aim At ***") I have found the Drop-Down often is filled with nothing but empty strings that runs the length of my monitor. Something is wrong with the fundimental GUI code (unless it truely is my system...then I apologize to everyone reading this).

To sum up... make sure the little things work so they don't make A:M crash. If you want... or can... have A:M give me a dialog that says "Error 255 has occured. Press OK to exit A:M" before the program goes down so that I can send a report that says... "I just got Error 255 please help me"

Thats it. Thanks for reading and I hope that A:M will become everything it can be by years end.

Raist3d
01-25-2003, 08:10 AM
Features here in order of priority.

#1. Stability above all - I realize this is normally not a feature per se but it could be considered as such. It doesn't matter if a program is faster if it crashes often or if it has x, y and z if it doesn't work well. All current features have to work well and stable. I understand it's impossible to not have any bugs, but the stability issue has to be solved.

#2. GROUP Hierarchies I would like the ability to be able to make a hierarchy of subgroups. The basic idea is that you can then hide complexity of sub groups within the same model when you want to edit and refer to them. So the same way you can create a group, that you can then put a subgroup or more underneath it and so on.

Since I have not used A:M all that much and there are level 25th A:M experts out there, I would appreciate if if someone can review my #2. feature request and see if it's really needed or there is a simple way to do it already.. thanks!

Squeakypics
01-25-2003, 08:20 AM
Could they PLEASE get someone in to write a MANUAL!!!!!!!!
Preferably one that matches the current version of the software.

Taco Dude
01-25-2003, 08:40 AM
I would like to see the first stable release of A:M start at version 10 :)

Longterm, I would like to see Sub-d modeling and a new renderer as well as more third party plug-in support and a better sdk.

I really enjoy this software and hope Hash is listening.


btw its great to find an active A:M board where we can speak freely!

elam
01-25-2003, 09:07 AM
*POLYGONS! SUB-D's!*
I like patches well enough, but it's really limiting to have only one modeling tool.

Linux support
I'm not talking about a Linux version of AM, although that would be great, but how about a Linux NetRender version? I'm making some assumptions here, but since no GUI code is involved in NetRender, wouldn't porting the OSX version be fairly trivial.
I would make it much more economical to set up a render farm.

And for God's sake, put real motion blur in the regular version of AM.

Drakkheim
01-25-2003, 09:39 AM
Im going on the assumption that this is supposed to be a collection of reproducable bugs to pass on to steve. If it's supposed to be a wish-a-feature-a-thon like it's turning into, feel free to ignore this.. i dont mind :)

Using am 951.e
windows 2000
vaio 1ghz athlon system
512mb ram
Gforce4400 Latest drivers (as of 1/25/03)

1) corrupttree.jpg.
shows the project tree after: project>new. creating a blank model(icon on toolbar) &importing 2 materials (right click materials>import.)
I've tried the workarounds of minimizing then remaxing tree to no avial.

2) after creating new project and click new model import 2 materials (off of hash cd)(just like #1 above) hit close project, hit no to save. 2 clicks around interface (not hitting buttons just clicking) later AM crashes (3 out of 3 times)

3) infinite 'finding textures lockup' coming soon as soon as I duplicate in a smaller version of file

zandoria
01-25-2003, 02:17 PM
I guess since a lot of us are new to the forum, it will take some adjusting to get everything into the right thread.

I posted my "feature request" to the feature request thread, but the originator of that thread said we should post it in this thread instead...
that's confusing, since now there is a feature request thread where we're being directed to this thread. Can't the moderator move messages into the proper thread to keep it organized?

Whatever the case. I think that it makes more sense to post feature requests into a thread titled "feature requests" rather than one called "hash is listening..." at this rate, it will ber very difficult to navigate this forum in another week...

maybe we do need a little structure

dbissell
01-25-2003, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by Raist3d
Features here in order of priority.

#1. Stability above all - I realize this is normally not a feature per se but it could be considered as such. It doesn't matter if a program is faster if it crashes often or if it has x, y and z if it doesn't work well. All current features have to work well and stable. I understand it's impossible to not have any bugs, but the stability issue has to be solved.



How to solve Stability as a feature: USER COMMAND LOGGING

Another thought on how hash can help us help them. Have an option that will allow A:M to make a command log. This log could be turned on or off depending upon if the user wishes to use the feature. All it does is log what commands (repeatable steps for bug reports) a user does will using A:M. Then when A:M crashes (which A:M could know by a simple string placed in an *.ini or configuration file on start-up that is read then written as 0... if A:M closed properly on load time is a 1 if not it will stay the pre-written 0 .. so you know if a crash occures...)

you could then have an automatic bug sender that:

1)Says to the user A:M Crashed
2)Ask if the user wants to enable Command Logging to help track down the problem (if it isn't already active)
3)If Command Logging was active then ask if the user wants to send in the command log as a bug report.

If a command log was used I would think that hash could know exactly what area of code caused the crash and significant time (and money) could be saved.

-Dan

Natess44
01-25-2003, 03:50 PM
This should also record what they where doing in A:M as well (eg. the last 3 or 4 tools they last used). This would make bug reporting much much easier and you even have it as an automatic bug report program.

pequod
01-25-2003, 04:00 PM
Above all else we need features they have to be stable and that work. A feature freeze would allow Hash to improve what they already have.

1. Better control over eliminating model creasing. Maybe something like adjustable porcelain.

2. The renderer needs improvement. Decent anti-aliasing without resorting to
oversampling. The renderer compared to other programs is fairly sluggish as it is, but when you are forced to render twice the size to remove the jaggies and crawling in your animation, then it becomes hideously slow. Failing that, what about an option to export to a 3rd party renderer.

3. Since most characters have some form of hair or fur, this feature I think is essential and therefore still needs alot of improvement. Shag that doesn't bunch up on the edges of patches, self shades, and looks more realistic or even casts shadows. Again, maybe the option of using a 3rd party plugin would solve this.

4. A manual!

Stephen Millingen.

My Fault
01-25-2003, 04:51 PM
Originally posted by zandoria
I posted my "feature request" to the feature request thread, but the originator of that thread said we should post it in this thread instead...

Actually no, you are completely wrong about this Will. Roger started the feature request thread and I was asking if we can post in this thread since I will be talking to Steve directly. Two completely different people. Perhaps your like me and don't function as well without the requisite 90cc's of caffeine (I've only had about 40cc so far today so if I seem rude, I don't mean to be... I am just useless without my coffee fix..twitch, twitch :p )

That being said, Will's idea is a good one. Could maybe Balistic or Wegg throw these two topics together as Sticky and name it Featuire Requests?

zandoria
01-25-2003, 05:00 PM
I didn't realize that it was a different person than the originator of the thread who asked to move it over hear, my mistake...

In that case I think that Feature requests should be it's own thread.

Bugs; Hash Bashing; software comparisons;etc.

all separate threads to make it easier to not miss anything interesting:beer:

My Fault
01-25-2003, 05:06 PM
I just fired off an email to our kindly, benevolent moderators to "Stickify" (that could be a word ;) ) the "Feature Request" and if possible roll this thread in to it as well.

Good idea Will!

dragonfollower
01-25-2003, 05:52 PM
OK, OK, OK, my turn!!!

First I want to state: THE CHAR. ANIMATION FEATURES ARE PERFECT!!! DON'T DO ANYTHING TO THESE!

I think the main thing is to take a step back and concentrate on the core of the program. So, along those lines:

STABILITY

SUBDIVISION SURFACES (for modelling)

NO MORE CREASES (goes with above feature)

BETTER RENDERER (Speed and Quality)

FUR RENDERER (one that works fast and is efficient. Look at Sasquatch...now that's how it should be done in every way.)

and finally...

TAKE OUT ANY FEATURES THAT AREN'T ROCK SOLID.

They would be on their way to having one HECK of a program...

-bRiAn

zandoria
01-25-2003, 06:16 PM
If you don't like a feature, just don't use it. That way it'll be like it's been taken out.

There are other customers who may use the feature that you don't want.

Motion Capture got taken out for a version because Hash didn't think that anyone wanted it. Once they realized that some people did use it, they put it back.

A:M version 10, is working great for me. The only glitch that I'm having is using an image for camera fog...Do you think camera fog should get taken out? What if it's working fine for everyone else?

New releases seem to come out every Friday, so why not just hope that whatever you're having trouble with will be fixed with the next release?

I like getting an updated version every week or so. You can always just install the version on your CD and only install a newer version once a year if you want. Heck you could wait until 2004 and get a CD that could be at version 11 or 12 by then...

You can even stay at version 8.5 forever if you want. But I don't understand how a company can hope to win against a group that wants all features frozen, but also wants new tools added!

It seems like there is something fixed each week, but it seems like you would rather Hash wait and only release the update every year or two... I just don't understand why you wouldn't want to get the newest release?

If you want features taken out, just uninstall the newest release and go back to using 8.5. --Wish granted!

JoeW
01-25-2003, 07:03 PM
Although I agree with many of the posts, IMHO what AM needs more than anything is to make the features it HAS work the way they are SUPPOSED to work. The feature set is pretty robust - when you read it on a web page - but when you try to make a lot of it WORK it's obvious that it hasn't been taken to the level it should have been before it was shipped - if it was tested at all, it was tested on a cube and shipped out as "working."

A few examples from the above posts: hair, refraction, a request for SDS (which I am assuming is related to smoothing). HDRI (aka REAL global illumination and radiosity) - and one of my personal favorites - softbody dynamics.

I have access to just about every major package - including XSI and Maya, and am at least semi-competent in most of them. If everything in AM worked the way it was supposed to work, then there'd be no reason to look elsewhere. Sure, there are strong suits in every package, and there are things that AM doesn't do well at all, but overall, I'd never look any where else if everything worked as advertised, AND it had a kick-ass renderer.

So, after much verbal diarrhea, here's my feature request: Make sure everything works as advertised - get it out of the "Alpha" stage, and get it into the "Rock-solid Gold" stage. More features aren't going to help the core problems - they're going to muddy the waters.....

Joe Williamsen

Natess44
01-25-2003, 07:19 PM
I agree, it's a dumb move if you start down grading by taking out features. A feature freeze is better.

Taco Dude
01-25-2003, 08:00 PM
Originally posted by JoeW
Make sure everything works as advertised - get it out of the "Alpha" stage, and get it into the "Rock-solid Gold" stage. More features aren't going to help the core problems - they're going to muddy the waters.....
Right On!:buttrock:

Rangler
01-25-2003, 08:55 PM
My sympathies to those who purchased A:M 2002. I too feel slightly abandoned with the poor orphaned and crippled v9.5e, but you are stranded without the option to revert to a prior release.

After reading most of the content in CGTalk's A:M forum I have decided to move on to v10. Hopefully it won't be as traumatic as 9.0's developement and we will see some improvement on the 2 key issues with A:M. Now I have a suggestion for Hash Inc., but first I thought I would knock it around here before submitting it to Martin.


Feature Request to: Martin Hash


Subject: New purchases and annual subscriptions CD distributions.


Perposals:

1. Make all previous revision key to current CD.

2. Make avialable via FTP site, finalized versions of previous A:M releases keyed to purchased CD.

3. Transfer previous A:M software manuals in PDF form to current subscriber distributions or available to new subscribers through FTP.



Any comments, flaws, approvals or disaprovals?

walasek
01-25-2003, 09:03 PM
Originally posted by zandoria
You can even stay at version 8.5 forever if you want. But I don't understand how a company can hope to win against a group that wants all features frozen, but also wants new tools added!

It seems like there is something fixed each week, but it seems like you would rather Hash wait and only release the update every year or two... I just don't understand why you wouldn't want to get the newest release?

I believe what we want is to get a rock solid program on what release we paid for. I think everyone, including Hash, can agree that version 9 was a disaster. Basically user's are left with a non "rock solid" product on which they paid, and there will be no future bug fixes for that version. If you want to pay more, you can of course upgrade to v10 (which is just continuing to fix the v9 bugs).

The problem is that they paid for v9 and in essence, it never was finished...

Putting myself in Hash's shoes, since they are on a yearly subscription basis, I don't know how they could have avoided this (unless they just granted another year on the 2002 subscription - which in turn, means loss in profits). Hard place to be.... on both sides.

pdaley
01-25-2003, 09:16 PM
a real manual - able to at least reference EVERY function that is available

some parametric primatives - shouldn't need plugins to make simple shapes.

Antialias controls - even Blender has this

textures that don't 'twinkle' when animating the surface they are on

support for other renderers - I know hash wants AM to be a one-stop 3D prog, but a simpler solution to the renderer problem is giving folks the ability to use AM for everything BUT rendering if they want to.

copying and drag and drop type behaviors within materials. Wouldn't being able to drag an entire material and drop it on a gradient node (instead of having to copy the entire thing, attribute by attribute, node by node, be great?

Wegg
01-25-2003, 10:08 PM
I'd just like to agree with those who have mentioned that AM needs to stop adding features.

Take the fur, particles, dynamics, flocking, GI, shag and all the other crap out. It doesn't make for better character animation and if it isn't implemented properly. . . then it shouldn't be there at all. Concentrate on a georgous renderer, great character animation tools (which it already has) and a way of getting rid of the creases.

I know people like to play with all that crap but again if it isn't implemented right, then its really just. . . embarrasing.

pabitel
01-25-2003, 10:32 PM
The one exception I'd make to the above list is that they should keep sprites. I think they work quite well.

Raist3d
01-25-2003, 10:45 PM
I think what they can do is this:

* you pay $100 for a year subscription for updates and support. You can keep whatever version you are at. Preferably, your year of support starts at the moment you paid the $100

* then every two-three years when a new verison with new features has been tested and truly ready to go, you pay $100 as an upgrade fee

Or something like this...

Comments?

Of course another way would be to simply just you pay your $100 for yearly support but you get the new version wherever it is that comes out.

- Raist

HellBorn
01-25-2003, 10:50 PM
1 Stability.
2 Stability.
3 Stability.
4 SubD modelling and animation.
5 No creases.
6 Faster and better renders.

ragtag
01-25-2003, 10:52 PM
I'm just going to ask for ONE feature. A better way to avoid CREASES.

:bounce: Creases go away!

I have three ideas how this could be done:

1) Improve the rendering of patches somehow, so creases don't happen as easily (don't know if this can be done).
2) Average normals controled at each vertex by a number. Just like you would do vertex coloring for games, except it doesn't change the surfaces color but the amount of "smooth".
3) Average normals controled by a b&w texture map. Probably more work for the user than option 2.

- That's all the features I'll ask for. -

Ragnar

p.s. I kind of aggree with Eggington's post above. Particles, hair, simple cloth etc....can all be faked.
pp.s. [edit] stick with one modeling type. I find the splines work fine, but if you do decide to change to subdivs...don't include both.

Wegg
01-25-2003, 10:53 PM
What they charge for software is pretty much insane. I don't know how they get away with it. To pay that many programmers full time. . . I couldn't even imagine.

Your already using the most in-expensive 3D animation software on the market. . . paying them any less isn't really going to get us very far. Hell I'd buy it for ten times the price of what they are selling it for now if it'd just work. :-/

Raist3d
01-25-2003, 10:58 PM
I don't know if you were referring to me but the amount of money to pay that as I broke it down would be identical to what we pay now.

I am not suggesting paying $100 for a new version at all. And the first idea I proposed you actually pay them more because you have to shell an extra $100 for a whole new version instead of being part of the subscription.

Just making that clear.. and again maybe you were not replying to me making this clarification totally unnecessary..

I fear I might get kicked off the list for this....:D

- Raist

Stychentyme
01-25-2003, 11:01 PM
I think the most important thing I would like is a decent MANUAL! Not the "comic book" that they have now. Something that explains all the features and uses in-depth tutorials to help explain the process. Will Sutton recently put up a tutorial on UV editing, which I didn't even knew that AM could do! I bought David Rogers book to help me understand the program, but if they made a decent manual, I wouldn't need it at all!!

I'd also like to see the return of dual-processor support. I was told that the feature was removed for ver. 9. I'm not sure if it's back for ver. 10.

I would like to see more compatability with other programs. Flash, Dreamweaver, OBJ import/Export, other renderers, etc.

I really like the patch modeling. Polys and Sub-d's aren't that important to me, ....but I would like HASH to please try and find a way to eliminate creasing. I find it very frustrating.

And yes, please put up all the updates to AM on the FTP site. That way if the current version (9.5e) has problems, and I didn't keep the old exe file, I could still get it from their site.

That's all I can think of for now.

Stych.

pabitel
01-25-2003, 11:05 PM
Originally posted by Stychentyme

I'd also like to see the return of dual-processor support. I was told that the feature was removed for ver. 9. I'm not sure if it's back for ver. 10.



I didn't even know they took out dual-processor support. I was even planning on buying one specifically for A:M. How do people find out about this kind of information?

Wegg
01-25-2003, 11:13 PM
You buy a dual processor machine and you have Hash Inc. take dual processor support away without warning. ..

I did read about a "trick" you can use to turn it back on. . .

But it comes at the sacrifice of stability. ..

Dearmad
01-25-2003, 11:28 PM
Two more:

I'd also like flocking:crowds to work right (the distance setting doesn't do anything)

And I'd like the strange decalling bug I'm encountering to be fixed (where your patches can't be too disparate from each other in size or the decal won't take).

Hito
01-25-2003, 11:38 PM
Another thing that many were dissatisfied with before is the approximately 12 month schedule that Hash adheres to in churning out new versions.

I started using AM in v7, back in 1999. Now its v10, 2003, 5 years have passed, 4 versions have come and gone. The quality of those release have been far from consistent. I'm still using 8.5h, from around 2000.

Why not have open betas for as long as it takes to reach a stable, well functioning release version? If it takes 6 months, great; if it takes 18 months, then keep from releasing a final version till then...

This won't conflict with the annual subscription scheme. People can subscribe each year and get what new final version comes out. If a version comes out midyear people can either choose to upgrade there and then, or wait till the end of the year to renew their subscription and upgrade in one fell swoop. If no final version comes out, one can stop the subscription for a year, or continue, as one sees fit.

Kentaurus
01-26-2003, 12:07 AM
My first feature request would be to ask for blobbies as modelling primitives. This would make it much easier to model organic behaviour such as mud or even water.

In addition to this I would like Hash to open up an API to the particle systems in the SDK.

If I indulge in the luxury of having a third wish it would be to ask Hash to give us a better SDK in general (more extensive and documented!) This would make it easier for us to customize A:M to our own liking. This in turns means that Hash could focus on the main functionality, such as modelling and animation, to make it stable as rock, while third party developers will produce nifty FX plug-ins for lightning fast cloth and rigid dynamics, breath taking hair and physically accurate fluid. The result would be a stable software with all the fancy accessories.
:)

pequod
01-26-2003, 12:10 AM
Take the fur, particles, dynamics, flocking, GI, shag and all the other crap out. It doesn't make for better character animation and if it isn't implemented properly. . . then it shouldn't be there at all. Concentrate on a georgous renderer, great character animation tools (which it already has) and a way of getting rid of the creases.


Yes ... but what's the point of a gorgeous renderer without the ability to simulate hair or fur, we need both improved. You can just about fake very short fur with materials or decals, but not really.
Now, if you could export your model and animation files to another app that could complete the textures and rendering, that would at least allow you to use AM for the jobs it does best.
I've tried to discover how Anzovin Studios export their AM models and animation to Lightwave, but I guess they have their own secret proprietary software to achieve this.

Stephen Millingen.

My Fault
01-26-2003, 12:19 AM
Originally posted by pequod
Now, if you could export your model and animation files to another app that could complete the textures and rendering, that would at least allow you to use AM for the jobs it does best.
I've tried to discover how Anzovin Studios export their AM models and animation to Lightwave, but I guess they have their own secret proprietary software to achieve this.

Stephen Millingen.

Raf had mentioned about doing a CD to show how it's done, but I think he just got too busy.

I'm real curious how Joe W and the Avalanche crew are getting their stuff in to Maya. Those guys are mindblowing!!! That Mike Tyson pic still makes me shudder and their cinematic for Rampage is one of my favorites bits of 3d animation.

Kentaurus
01-26-2003, 12:22 AM
Originally posted by Natess44
Yup and YUP. I was going to mention the 3D partical but I thought it'd be a little too much for now.

I believe this is possible (however very hard ;) ) since there is an API to flocking in the SDK.

What is not even possible, is to have metaballs (blobbies) in the flocking system. I know I've already mentioned this, but I just want blobbies as modelling primitives so bad:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

:)

Natess44
01-26-2003, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by pequod
Now, if you could export your model and animation files to another app that could complete the textures and rendering, that would at least allow you to use AM for the jobs it does best.
I've tried to discover how Anzovin Studios export their AM models and animation to Lightwave, but I guess they have their own secret proprietary software to achieve this.

Stephen Millingen.
I heard on the list(I think or their site) a while back about their plugin for A:M. I believe it exprots actions and choreographies as well.

Rangler
01-26-2003, 12:50 AM
There appears to be two camps here. One sect want features and the other desires stability to complete projects. :bounce: Everyone agrees to the creasing issue, so there is some commonallity between the postings. :beer:

This would suggest that Hash host two versions of software. One version basically static until R&D squashes bugs. Pretty much using the current system; Production class (dongle) and annual R&D versions (CD).
:lightbulb
The only added feature would be keying for previous A:M revisions for backwards compatibility and new subscribers who wish to revert over to production class software using the CDkey.

Kentaurus
01-26-2003, 01:11 AM
Originally posted by Rangler
There appears to be two camps here. One sect want features and the other desires stability to complete projects. :bounce: Everyone agrees to the creasing issue, so there is some commonallity between the postings. :beer:

This would suggest that Hash host two versions of software. One version basically static until R&D squashes bugs. Pretty much using the current system; Production class (dongle) and annual R&D versions (CD).
:lightbulb
The only added feature would be keying for previous A:M revisions for backwards compatibility and new subscribers who wish to revert over to production class software using the CDkey.

Or, they release a more potent SDK for third party developers and stay focused, themselves, on the core functionality (i.e. modelling, animation and rendering.)

Natess44
01-26-2003, 01:21 AM
I think they should take it one step at a time.
1) increase stability
2) work on the features/add them
3) increase A:M's frexability(SDK)

They can't give everyone that has ever had A:M a special version that works with all the cd key(and dongles) but they can make it more worth while to buy the latest version. Maybe after making A:M stable they could have a demo version to show eveyone how good it is (for skeptics).

ragtag
01-26-2003, 01:24 AM
I don't see a problem with keeping subscriptions, but not doing a once a year release. The subscription gives you access to the beta, and any updates. AM doesn't go out of beta untill it's more or less nailed down (6 or 18 months between...doesn't matter). When the nice folks at Hash Inc. feel it's ready for release, they release it and start working on the next version.

Ragnar

p.s. Oh....and the creases :bounce:

bugzilla
01-26-2003, 06:03 AM
I don't know if anyone has this problem, but in a CHOR with multiple objects being moved along paths, when I try and rename a path AM immediately crashes to desktop.

jdates
01-26-2003, 04:43 PM
Why do people keep wanting subd's? Do you people not understand what a spline modeler is?!

Use Wings3D for subd's.. Bring the model into A:M bam! you're set.

I personally think they need to work on the Renderer.
Just bite the bullet and re-write the thing guys.

The renderer they have is near impossible to change at the code level. Why not spend a few months and re-write a renderer that is easy to impliment new things that people want. Light scattering, GI, HDR, etc etc.

My other suggestion would be more open source. Expect people will use your software and want to export data to other packages. The high-end packages do. The ability to export my scene, camera, models, to other packages would be most appealing.

That's my only gripe. I never use the FX in A:M so I couldn't care about them.

Jdates

Hookflash
01-26-2003, 05:59 PM
Originally posted by jdates
Why do people keep wanting subd's? Do you people not understand what a spline modeler is?!

Use Wings3D for subd's.. Bring the model into A:M bam! you're set.


Hardly. You still end up stuck with a crappy, crease-laden spline model (unless your willing to tweak like mad). Splines are so 1998:p

Nonproductive
01-26-2003, 06:06 PM
I think it's very safe to say that Hash Splines are not going to go away and they are not going to add Sub-D's anytime soon.

Splines are the heart and soul of A:M..."Just say no to poly's" has been their mantra for years.

As much as I have grown fond of Sub-D modeling; splines are still nice and fast *but* the creasing is a nightmare. I would much rather see Hash polish up the spline modeling then add Sub-D's.

JTalbotski
01-26-2003, 06:16 PM
Since this thread is about Hash wanting to hear more, I was wondering, are we going to hear from them? That has always been a source of speculation and guessing that leads to false expectations and bad feelings. I would really like to know if any of this makes a difference.

My Fault
01-26-2003, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by JTalbotski
Since this thread is about Hash wanting to hear more, I was wondering, are we going to hear from them? That has always been a source of speculation and guessing that leads to false expectations and bad feelings. I would really like to know if any of this makes a difference.

Well Steve made the offer to have me go through everyones suggestions here and he would call me to discuss them. Does it mean everything we ask for will be done, probably not. However the fact that they are interested in hearing what we have to say is certainly a step in the right direction.

I will make sure to post how it all went after I speak to him.

davef
01-26-2003, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by Nonproductive
I think it's very safe to say that Hash Splines are not going to go away and they are not going to add Sub-D's anytime soon.

Splines are the heart and soul of A:M..."Just say no to poly's" has been their mantra for years.

As much as I have grown fond of Sub-D modeling; splines are still nice and fast *but* the creasing is a nightmare. I would much rather see Hash polish up the spline modeling then add Sub-D's.

Non I dont know what you mean by splines are nice and fast? What SubD program are you using? all the subd stuff I have used is pretty damn fast and easier to work with then clicking CP's. But I do know what you mean about the flow of splines.

I have an idea I read some place else just cant remember where, how about subd's driven by a spline cage? It might have been billy that said that but I'm not sure.

My Fault
01-26-2003, 08:00 PM
I think the two biggest issues with splines in AM is the creasing (which can be fixed if Martin would listen) and the tools used to create the models.

A few tools, shamelessly stolen from Lightwave, that I think would help are the Knife and Bandsaw.

Hamapatch has a knife feature, so I know it can be done. Take that knife implementation and combine it with AM's new feature that lets you add cp's without disturbing the spline shape and we would have a nice way to add in detail easily.

Something similar to bandsaw that would allow us to uprez certain parts of the mesh. Marcel's zevel program is pretty close to that, so once again I know this can be done.

Any other ideas?

Nurb'd
01-26-2003, 08:32 PM
subd technique can be a nightmare as well if not done right

case and point = Cinema4d ... you can not even subdivide without getting triangles. Triangles can produce stretching and distortions in a mesh. Imagine everytime you add detail with subdivide or cut.. you get triangles on every side that you have a n-gon. N-gon is a 5 sided poly (5 vertices). It becomes a nightmare quick when making a life like human with a lot of detail.

If Hash was to add poly/subd support then make 100% sure you get n-gon support. Without it can be a nightmare. I might even get a home copy (again) if it had that.

Nonproductive
01-26-2003, 08:36 PM
Non I dont know what you mean by splines are nice and fast? What SubD program are you using? all the subd stuff I have used is pretty damn fast and easier to work with then clicking CP's. But I do know what you mean about the flow of splines.

I have an idea I read some place else just cant remember where, how about subd's driven by a spline cage? It might have been billy that said that but I'm not sure.

Let me clarify - I agree Sub-D's are faster. I use Wings and Lightwave and modeling in them is a joy compared to A:M.
Splines can be just as (or almost as) fast for many models though - assuming you are able to extrude and modify and not stitching. Stitching models is agonizing. Then again, modeling point by point or edge by edge in a poly program is also agonizing.

Given that Hash splines are not going to go away and asking for Sub-D modeling when the program is already unstable with the features it has - my point was that Splines are not *that* bad except for the creasing issues.

Trust me, I am no fan of Hash right now. The program has been uninstalled for months and I took myself off the list just before the bannings began. However, A:M has the potential to be a fantastic app and, assuming Hash acts on the threads here, would gladly find it's place again on my hard drive.

dfaris
01-26-2003, 08:38 PM
agreed!

Nurb'd
01-26-2003, 08:40 PM
also since this a "want" thread let me add

if you were to ever add subd then please follow meshtools for Max

really easy... select 5 edges and connect, boom instant detail.. click a edge and hit loop.. then you can move the entire edges

very quick

walasek
01-26-2003, 09:59 PM
What I want more than any other *new* feature is stability.

For this to happen, I feel a few things will have to change in the way Hash currently does it's subscription renewal basis.

Lets take some things into account to make this work for Hash:
1) Hash is in business. Businesses exist to make money. Whatever change we make to the subscription model must not adversely affect the amount of income Hash can generate during any given year.
2) We, the users, are always asking for *new* features (just look at this list). To create a stable release, *new* features would not be added till the current version was rock solid. That means waiting a year or more to get the feature you want. You can't stabalize and add new features.
3) Creating a stable product either means hiring internal testers, or we, the users, continue to help them debug the application. If they hire internal testers, be prepared to pay more. If we are testing the software, then no more rantings about bugs till they think it is "rock solid".
4) Any processes we add are going to incur higher overhead for Hash. For example, using the date at which you bought hash as the key for a year subscription may have a higher overhead involved. That cost will translate to us.

If you still think you want this, stability, as the #1 goal. Then lets discuss what we think Hash can do, and be reasonable, to make this happen and stay in business.

I'm still trying to "hash" this all in my head (pun intended), and it is hard to come up with a solution that works across all sides. The only solution I have come up with (and it is *very* close to the model they have now) is the following:

1) Still have the "subscription model" but call it that. You get a calendar year subscription to the software. Hash will send you a key (ala CD disk) that will enable use of the software for that year and any prior year (key enables older versions). Any changes to software outside that year (ie next year) you will have to renew your subscription (and get a new key - cd). Basically identical what they have now, except that they call it a subscription. And it works for previous versions of the software.
2) Continue working on the same version until everything is "rock solid". Even if it means another year on the same version. Again, similar to what they have now, but don't start adding features just because it is a new year. Finish the current version first.
3) Support an open forum type environment. To be truthful, I hate the current email list. This is out of date, email lists were done before we had forums. Actually, I think this is the way Hash is currently going with the community window. I think this is a good thing. Get rid of the email list, and move to the forum idea. They might want to do this *before* the community features in AM are done so that user's are comfortable (which I think we are) with this idea.

That's really it. Some of you may say, well thats what they do now. Let me point out a few differences.
1) A version (i.e. 9.5) will be finished before working on the next set of new features. That ensures a solid base before working on the next set of features, and a version that user's could say - "I know this version is stable".
2) CD keys that unlock previous versions. It sounds like this is possible currently, just if we use dongles. Well, either everyone uses dongles (which isn't a bad idea either), or make the CD keys work the same way.
3) Support of the forum. After speaking with Steve, he liked the idea of the forum, but basically said it either gets all flame and no substance, or it dies down. If the email list went to the forum, I don't think it would die down. Yes, you would probably get dissenters and angry people, but it takes care of itself in the long run. Look at this forum - started completely negatively, and now I see a lot of positive stuff coming out of here.

Again - please feel free to comment on what you would like to see, but also try to keep Hash's interests in mind when you do...

johnathan
01-26-2003, 11:29 PM
the subscription model is why 9.5 is orphaned and everyone is so upset! 2003 rolled around and 9.5 was magically dubbed 'final' in spite of it's numerous horrible flaws.

more money please!

i susbscribe to my other programs by upgrading when they offer significant new features. any other way is artifical, and folly.

feature request:

0) stability
1) fix the creasing
2) stable undo
3) toon line thickness
4) 3d paint output path or feature
5) no more laughable spin i.e. take the hits you deserve

-jon

dbissell
01-27-2003, 01:03 AM
I'm going to be sarcastic for a bit, but it's meant to make the point everyone has been talking about: The only request I truely have for A:M 2003 are the current in 2003 featers fully stabil and free of GUI glitches.

The features I want to work in A:M 2003 without crashes or work arounds (but, the feature can work anyway it needs to...just tell me how to use it) is every feature promised on the back of my A:M 2003 box:

Modeling:
100% Spline Based
Creaseless Modeling with "hooks"
Easy Object manipulation
Decalling for exact image placement
Materials Editor

Animation:
Spline-based keyframe animation
Path Animation
Inverse Kinematics
Stride Length prevents slipping feet
Muscle Motion with Lip-Sync capabilities
Powerful real-time Constraints
Bones
Timeline Editor
Poses
Motion Capture
Motion Ease

Rendering:
Hybrid renderer
Motion Blur
Radiosity
Fast Perview Render
Toon Shader
Alpha-Buffer support
Soft Shadows
Film Features
Depth of Field

FX:
Volumetric Lights
Dust, Fog, and Smoke
Glow
Lens Flares
Hair
Particle Systems
Weathering
Forces

Now hash never said the quality of each feature... just that it's included.

However the box does continue to say:

"This complete product includes everything you need to create fabulous computer graphics; including comprehensive modeling features, powerful animation tools, superb rendering, and cross-platform compatibility."

Also from inside box flap:

Interacts with Your Favorite Paint Program and Tools.

STUNNING RENDERING
From photorealism to anime, the integrated renderer is capable of delivering high quality images at blazing speeds. All effects, materials and textures are included - no need for plugins.

====

Ok, done with any amount of sarcasim. Even if the quailty of each item stays the same just make sure each feature works without bringing down the "required" computer system that the target market Hash Inc is geared towards... if A:M can't work on the base system then a new system requirement should be given...as this one is very very open...

System requirements:

Any PC or Powermac with:
200MHZ or faster processor
64 MB ram
Local CD-Rom Drive
10 MB Free HD Space for Program Files

A:M has an impressive feature list on paper... as everyone has said... my hope for Hash Inc is just to make sure that the program lives up to what is promised. I mean that in a professional and serious way. What I have written is not meant to bash just to point out something that I was promised and I can't say it was completely delivered.

sixtoe209
01-27-2003, 01:13 AM
I use to use A:M back at version8, then 8.5 . I used damn near every tool it had to offer. I will say this. I loved the base animation toolset. It simply rocks. However, there were bugs spread throughout and it crashed far too often. The renderer is in a word, pathetic. I moved on to LW. LW doesnt have near the ease of animation (yet) as A:M, but it works as expected, is predictable, and stable, and the renderer is very nice.

Now, i would have to agree with the line of thought......freeze the product, make it all work, and quit blaming our system config.....newtek doesnt blame our systems....and its stable, C4D is stable, Maxon doesnt blame our configs. So too say its just us is folly. If they can do it, so are can HASH. Maybe they need to talk to those compnies and see how they handle thier issues and test for stability.

I frankly dont know how they do it, and i really dont care. Its not my responsibility and i shouldnt as a paying customer, have to worry about it. Its really that simple. It was said to me a time ago....if A:M didnt work for me like i needed it too, move on. So i did. However....if there is now real sentiment to the user base AND the product....id consider using it again.

buisness is indeed buisness, and u must care about ur customers first if you truly want to be successful. If that had been the case in thefirst place, this boil over on CGTALK would have never happened. When i call up and talk to steve, i demand courtesy as long as i havent first....shot off at the mouth. He has not been the best people person in the past.

My suggestions are:

1: fix the company attitude towards the user base and product....yes its your baby....but if you TRULY are in it to be a competive buisness and you truly WANT your users to be successful....attitude changing is the most primary and basic step HASH could make.

2: Freeze the features, make them all work WELL, and increase stability. If you have to change compilers....do so. If you need more programmers, hire them if even temporarily. And for gods sake...we dont all make cartoons.......rewrite that hideous renderer. It may have cut the mustard 6 years ago.....but not today.

Peace and good will.

Sixto Garcia

Commiekeebler
01-27-2003, 01:21 AM
Not gonna say anything new here, just my own list of good will wishes for Hash Inc.

1) Grow up and get your PR straightened out. The keyword here is "respect", as in "a two way street". Hey, maybe you could even try free speech on your suck up list while you're at it (who am I kidding though?)...

2) Hire a QA department. Internal testers, extra programmers. Sell your ferrari if you must - we, the end users, will love you for it.

3) Make your program crash less often, whatever it takes (see point 2) will also help a great deal with point 1).

4) If, and only if, Hash Animation Master is getting rave reviews for being the most stable application of the year (shouldn't be too hard since I've heard of even video games crashing recently), focus on new 'features', in this order: getting rid of creases, fixing antialiasing, fixing transparency, speeding up renderer, nice hair, sub-d surfaces, stealing Messiah's smart bones, and so on, and so forth.

In the mean time, where's that Newtek offer?

Natess44
01-27-2003, 06:07 AM
I think this topic has about covered everything we want HASH to add to the program(we're starting to go in circles) and I think that the Bug hunt isn't fairing so well. So I think instead of the bug hunt we should suggest that HASH makes a bug tracker program(or plugin) first then cover the other topics as suggested on the first few pages of this topic. This will cover the most major concern about A:M, CRASHES! What do you think?

Hookflash
01-27-2003, 06:31 AM
Oh, and also, RELEASE A DEMO!! I am not upgrading until I can try the new feature & see how stable the release is. How much effort would it take to release a demo?

My Fault
01-27-2003, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by Hookflash
Oh, and also, RELEASE A DEMO!! I am not upgrading until I can try the new feature & see how stable the release is. How much effort would it take to release a demo?

Have you got your XSI Experience 3.0 CD yet?

exactly

Huge congrats to the Bucs. They whomped em :beer:

Hookflash
01-27-2003, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by My Fault
Have you got your XSI Experience 3.0 CD yet?

exactly


A:M is a ~10mb download. How difficult would it be to release a downloadable demo? Most other software companies have downloadable demos, and their software often weighs in at much more than 10mb.

Nurb'd
01-27-2003, 07:48 AM
Originally posted by My Fault
Have you got your XSI Experience 3.0 CD yet?

exactly

Huge congrats to the Bucs. They whomped em :beer:

I got the experience cd (not v3) (amazing software and at the price it should be)

how about that MVP Ganon? most pics in the superbowl.. ever ;)

My Fault
01-27-2003, 07:53 AM
Originally posted by Nurb'd
I got the experience cd (not v3) (amazing software and at the price it should be)

how about that MVP Ganon? most pics in the superbowl.. ever ;)

My point was that the current Experience CD is still v2.0 though. v3.0 will be out soon I'm sure, but it takes time to put a demo together, especially one done as well as Soft did with the 2.0. Kudos to them for that.

The Bucs were just too dominating. Gannon's good, but I don't think he really understood how good the Bucs can be when they get going...and boy did they go today! Woohoo!!!

My Fault
01-27-2003, 07:56 AM
Originally posted by jayrtfm
http://www.cluetrain.com/

many of the messages about Hash as a company reminded me of th cluetrain manifesto. Here are the main points that kicked off the site in 1999


Yo Jay, you posted the link to the site, copying and pasting all 95 points was a bit much. :thumbsdow

jayrtfm
01-27-2003, 08:04 AM
point taken, I deleted the message.

Nurb'd
01-27-2003, 08:36 AM
Originally posted by My Fault
My point was that the current Experience CD is still v2.0 though. v3.0 will be out soon I'm sure, but it takes time to put a demo together, especially one done as well as Soft did with the 2.0. Kudos to them for that.

The Bucs were just too dominating. Gannon's good, but I don't think he really understood how good the Bucs can be when they get going...and boy did they go today! Woohoo!!!

Well the company has a problem with getting the product out. Before XSI they were the industry leader. SoftImage|3d as you may know was the app to use. It took them forever to get out XSI(v1) and allowed Maya to really come in take over. I would much rather use XSI but at that price...... I can not see it. They lost a lot of ground by d elaying and need to at least offer a cheaper variety like alias|software does. All companies have problems eh?

Yeah... it was a great game. Shame we had that blocked kick and botched field goal or it could have been much worse :p

Ran13
01-27-2003, 05:45 PM
Make a one year's subscription one year long regardless of purchase date! Since when is a dollar in January worth 1/12th of a dollar in December?!?! If I buy a one year subscription to a magazine in November, I fully expect to receive the October issue the following year, not be told in January that I need to re-subscribe. Also, I personally refuse to pay anyone to beta test their software. They should be paying me for the havoc it reeks on my system!
A real manual, as opposed to a glorified sales brochure. Every button, menu item, feature, etc. documented with proper data/variable values and examples. If it's in the app, it should be in the manual. Simply documenting acceptable ranges of user entered data would likely go a long way in minimizing the number of "unexplained" crashes caused by users stumbling around in the dark entering data values in input fields without any guidelines as what range of values that feature is expecting. Hash's attitude on their manuals is like handing a toddler a pair of scissors and then being surprised by the number of one-eyed babies runnin' around screamin' that "scissors are BAD"!
FEATURE FREEZE!!! Get the ones you've got working correctly. 'Nuff said.


Personally, I would pay their asking price if they dropped everything from the app except the animation/rigging tools. Lose the spline modelling, renderer, fur, shag, UV/texturing, literally everything but the rigging/animation tools, and allow for the import/export of other poly-based formats. A:M's animation tools are the best I've ever used. Simple, straight forward, and usually work (with the notable exception of distortion boxes which, in v8.5, were as crash-laden as any other aspect of the app....and yea...I'm one of those who never bought into that nightmare that was v9).

I had used A:M primarily for game content development, but with many of the newer game engine features being tied directly to modeling/texturing techniques of other apps (think sub-D modeling and normal maps generated from a hi-res mesh-smoothed sub-D model applied directly to the lo-res UV-mapped control mesh for in-game use like what id is doing in Doom3), A:M's modeling/texturing tools have lost their usefulness for me. It would be nice to do all that in an app built for it, and then still be able to use A:M's animation tools to animate with.

But given Hash's past attitude on the subject (i.e. "Someone should just make a game engine that supports Hash splines in real-time"), I ain't holdin' my breathe. Hash should wake up and re-introduce themselves to reality. It isn't gonna happen as long as video card mfr's make their hardware accelerated features uniquely tuned to polygons. Of course, in Hash's point of view, that's the fault of the IHV's for not seeing and supporting the "obviously superior Hash spline". Bah!

Eago
01-27-2003, 07:54 PM
Hi
I did stop using a:m after v8.5, but I'd go back to it if:

1- Subdivision surfaces were added
2- Cloth simulation were improved
3- Could render somewhere else

Eago

John Keates
01-27-2003, 08:16 PM
There are only two major improvements (apart from general completeness and stability) that I would like to see in AM and they would be popular choices I think.

1. Easier to eliminate creases.

Evereyone complains about this. I just made a head model to see how fast I could do it. It took about 3 hours of basic modelling and one hour of tweeking bias handles, and the five point patches still look crinckley. The bias handle tweeking was not done to alter the basic shape of the thing, just to get rid of the creses running allong splines. I have complained about this on the list and was sent a mail about how to avoid creases without using bias handles. But I am sorry, there is not smooth forehead yet modelled in AM that does not have a bit of tweeking or a rediculouse amount of perfectly placed patches.

I expect that it should be possible to rectify this with some more clever implementation of porcilain or automatic adjustment of bias (or alpha/gamma). Or maybe a whole new type of spline (there are loads in some programs). Or a different rendering method. Smoothing out a model using gamma is such a mechanical process, it must be automatable.

2. Faster, bug free rederer.

I am just starting to produce animations long enough and complicated enough that the renderer is giving me headaches. The main reason for spending money on a fast processor is that renders happen fast. A middle/top of the range processor can cost half the price of the very latest model. Some renderers are a good 5 times faster than others at least. AM's renderer is certainly not the fastest so if it was given a good boost then this is like me buying a render farm. NOW THAT IS VALUE! a render farm that comes free with the latest download of AM (plus more for the bugs to be fixed).

Also, I have been getting the black specs that I have heard about. I refuse to clean these by hand and they must be elliminated if hash wants to make there product usable for proffesionals. Even just a simple filter that removes isolated pixels would be of some use.
A decent export utility to POV or something would be nice but I realy think that it shoudn't be necessary and it would certainly not be tidy.

That's all for now.

Eago
01-27-2003, 08:28 PM
Originally posted by Nurb'd
subd technique can be a nightmare as well if not done right

case and point = Cinema4d ... you can not even subdivide without getting triangles. Triangles can produce stretching and distortions in a mesh. Imagine everytime you add detail with subdivide or cut.. you get triangles on every side that you have a n-gon. N-gon is a 5 sided poly (5 vertices). It becomes a nightmare quick when making a life like human with a lot of detail.

If Hash was to add poly/subd support then make 100% sure you get n-gon support. Without it can be a nightmare. I might even get a home copy (again) if it had that.

It is not that bad, anyway, I wouldn't care much about how the modeler works, if you don't like it you can use some other poly modeler.
The important part is to be able to animate poly character models

eago

HellBorn
01-27-2003, 09:39 PM
Originally posted by Nonproductive
I think it's very safe to say that Hash Splines are not going to go away and they are not going to add Sub-D's anytime soon.

Splines are the heart and soul of A:M..."Just say no to poly's" has been their mantra for years.

As much as I have grown fond of Sub-D modeling; splines are still nice and fast *but* the creasing is a nightmare. I would much rather see Hash polish up the spline modeling then add Sub-D's.

Well.... either the splines goes away or I stay away. As simple as that. When I bought v6.0 it sounded like a god idea. Some years have passed since v6.0. Years with constant complaining ower the creases on the AM list. Are the creases gone?

Nope.

I simply have no fait in that the people at Hash actually has the competence to solve the problem and in case they actually have the competence it's just as bad as the have not fixed it. They have given me the finger for years.

People don't need Hash for modeling as there are better modelers for free and we don't need them for rendering...well you guessed.. there are better renders for free.

But there is a vaccum to fill as an UV mapper, animator, 'visual shader editor' tool that can produce frames as ribfiles, shaders etc.

Add to that a simple little application on each computer and you have a render farm.

But ...whatever they do I think it's to late for me.. I was planning to buy a new computer this summer. Instead I will use that money to move to another software. For some reason $1500 for a god computer does not sound to bad but $1500 for software does. But, by jumping this computer upgrade I will get proffessional stable software and still get a speed increase. I think it's worth it even thoug I am only a hobbyist and artist for the fun of it.

So lets se what Newtek has to offer, we allready have a deal for Electric Image Universe and I think more will come.

John Keates
01-27-2003, 10:15 PM
Wacky but possibly useful feature suggestion....

How about a flocking/particle system where (as Zandoria suggested) you can use models as particles. How about you can controll poses in those objects with texture maps on the model that the objects are on. This would be similar to the fur renderer that Hash are working on now. If the controlling map could be animated then you could do all sorts of things....

A field of flowers which can sprout - open - die all independantly,

A field of soldiers saluting or shooting or whatever,

Scaby lumps on skin,

More abstract types of things (something that I have been trying to do for ages in AM),

Worms or maggots wriggling,

Scales on the skin of a beast that vary and can ripple,

etc etc.

It would be magic if you could animate a models constraints so that a load of tendrils or eyes could point at one null then another without the user making a constraint for each one. Maybe this is asking a lot, but I think that this kind of thing could be usefull and flexable.

Wegg
01-27-2003, 10:43 PM
Not to shoot down your idea. . . (of which has been implemented in other software and works quite well) but this is the type of suggestion that just leads us all in the wrong direction.

The last thing AM needs is anotehr half assed "feature" to put on their box.

The renderer is flawed. Its Poo. Fur and cloth and sprites and object instancing on particles and all this. . . is just dressing up the poo.

What A:M "feature" that has been added in the last 5 years hasn't been crap? Your trying to fix da poo. . . with more poo.

FEATURE FREEZE!!!!!!!

John Keates
01-27-2003, 11:50 PM
Well yes.... less poo indeed. If you look a few post up then you will see me saying that creases, stability and the renderer are the only main thigs that I wanted fixed. My last post was a bit of a flight of fancy but we can only repeat ourselves so many times. I just wanted to know what others thought of my idea. It is pleasing that it is in other software too. Whilst I was writing it down though I was thinking "But AM's renderer will never be able to handle all of that and they would probably never implement it properly anyway". Thing is though, they are already doing a similar thing with hair, maybe it wouldn't be such a leap?....

No, but realy I do aggree...

Feature freaze!!!!!!!!!!

Hookflash
01-28-2003, 03:33 AM
Yes... I, too, dislike the poo.

Raist3d
01-28-2003, 05:22 AM
Originally posted by John Keates
Well yes.... less poo indeed. If you look a few post up then you will see me saying that creases, stability and the renderer are the only main thigs that I wanted fixed. My last post was a bit of a flight of fancy but we can only repeat ourselves so many times. I just wanted to know what others thought of my idea.

[stuff del]

No, but realy I do aggree...

Feature freaze!!!!!!!!!!

FEATURE FREEZE! That's what I think of your idea :-) 'nuff said.

- Raist

Gazzamataz
01-28-2003, 09:47 AM
Well, I been using AM since for a couple of years now and whilst 8.5 was fine for my modest needs, 9/9.5 just had a mind of its own. Even attaching a model to a spline seems to crash it.

It stikes me that Hash seem to pride themselves on the false premise that thay produce a program for $300 that compares with the likes of SoftImage and Maya.

Well whilst this is a nice idea it doesn't seem to work, they have six programmers churning out a new version each year whereas Alias and SoftImage have dozens, beta testers and new versions not so often.

Why don't they just stop adding things that don't work and concerntrate on there best features and improve the creasing, the renderer and the stability. Then market the program as more of a hobbyiest and not-so-professional 3D program for character animation and stop pretending it can do things it cannot.

Don't get me wrong I love the program, but it does drive me 'nucking futs!!!' I mean they have brought out version 10 but now I hear they are working on version 10.5 already. 'FEATURE FREEZE PLEEZE'.

C Cargo
01-28-2003, 10:51 AM
The OS X release of AM is likley near the top of the list of all Mac / AM users.

Clutch

londarhawk
01-28-2003, 12:51 PM
I would like to see some way to either convert imported models to AM models. As it stands now (In v.10) the models imported are just props. You can't even re-texture them.

L.Hawk

pabitel
01-28-2003, 04:54 PM
I don't see why they couldn't easily create a Linux NetRender client. There's no GUI, so it should be a clean port.

Wegg
01-28-2003, 05:06 PM
Newtek has said they were going to have a linux client for Screamernet. . . but that has yet to happen. :-/ I don't think it is as easy as you think. . .

pabitel
01-28-2003, 06:56 PM
Originally posted by Wegg
Newtek has said they were going to have a linux client for Screamernet. . . but that has yet to happen. :-/ I don't think it is as easy as you think. . .

I guess there could be some network communication issues. But other than that, without any GUI, it should be standard, portable C++.

But then again, I could be wrong.

Still, it would be a nice feature. Windows adds a lot of unnecessary overhead to a simple rendering box.

Roger Eberhart
01-28-2003, 07:49 PM
Wegg - I saw some Newtek guys at a users group meeting recently. They said the hold up was due to porting the plug-ins to Linux. They also said that they will only be able to port the plug-ins that come with Lightwave, not third party plug-ins. So things like G2 and the full version of Sasquatch won't work unless Worley decides to port them.

Wegg
01-28-2003, 08:13 PM
Which is a huge draw back. We use Darktree, Sas and Messiah in almost every shot. Without those. . . we are pretty much stuck in Bill Gate's back yard. :thumbsdow

Kevin Sanderson
01-28-2003, 09:24 PM
Originally posted by Wegg

The renderer is flawed. Its Poo.

Martin ought to hire you and Brian, and anybody else you guys respect artistically, to be the eyes for the render engine tweaks and fixes (retainer, over the internet if need be). I don't think the programmers (or just Martin) can do it all themselves. They need someone with the sensibilities you folks have to push the output forward. Sure, they may be able to write code and increase the speed, but it seems like every time they do that in the past few versions, the output suffers in some way. Sometimes minor, sometimes major depending on what the artist is trying to accomplish.

For instance, you guys could put together some project files and do test renders and Photoshop tweaked renders to show him what they should look like (before and after, you know, kind of like what you've been doing here). Blow them up if you have to so he can see the problems and get an idea of what to fix. I think it's crazy that we're counting on a handful of people at Hash to work so much and notice everything AND be equally artistically skilled. A staff that small can't do it all well, even though they try and do well sometimes. (I'm getting old and tired so I can relate to being worked too hard...spread the work around for gosh sakes!)

And maybe hire some professional testers to really work the program to get the fixes everyone is looking for. Sending it out for the users to try is a good idea, but the problem always seems to be there are so many ways to use the software that stuff easily gets missed because it's never thoroughly tested. (I know I've never been able to completely test a beta...I just don't have the time right now. The last time I did was when I was out of work in 1996 and when I was working part-time in 1997.) It needs to be put through a kind of program like what the auto companies now do to test cars and trucks. Put the prototype through hell and back. It might be the best way to raise the quality. Heck, hire Howard, Arthur, Marcel, Jay, Raist and all the other programmers who've been putting in their two cents. He wouldn't have to move them to Hash HQ...just do it over the internet.

If he has to raise the entry price by a couple hundred and upgrade price by $50 when it's fixed, maybe we'd be better off.

Wegg
01-28-2003, 09:45 PM
I think you guys need to come up with a test scene.

Something that looks sexy. . . but uses a bit of everything. Intersecting transparent objects, procedurals, Z-buffered shadows, Raytraced shadows etc.

Right now Hash Inc. use that old "Toys" project to test their renderer. That thing doesn't "Test" squat.

I have found the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow in the LW renderer and am honestly too busy to devote any time to de-bugging AM. . . but if there are ANY artists out there willing to put the time into creating a test that actually TESTS something. . . I'll bet we could get Hash to start using it.

pabitel
01-28-2003, 10:46 PM
I think the best way Hash could improve the renderer is to allow an external third-party renderer such as POV the ability to render the scene.

artfan1
01-28-2003, 11:08 PM
OK, so Hash is listening? Well I am listening too. Any feedback yet?

I came back here to look for answers. Not a resolution, just some feedback.

(I hear the theme from Jeopardy playing in my head).

artfan1

My Fault
01-28-2003, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by artfan1
OK, so Hash is listening? Well I am listening too. Any feedback yet?

I have written letters to Hash that go unanswered. So, I came back here to look for answers. Not a resolution, just some feedback. We're waiting...

(I hear the theme from Jeopardy playing in my head).

artfan1

I should be talking to Steve directly next week. Just trying to give everyone some time to get their ideas together plus I've got some other folks helping me behind the scenes with some render samples and issues. I'll keep everyone posted.

Kentaurus
01-29-2003, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by Wegg
Not to shoot down your idea. . . (of which has been implemented in other software and works quite well) but this is the type of suggestion that just leads us all in the wrong direction.

The last thing AM needs is anotehr half assed "feature" to put on their box.

The renderer is flawed. Its Poo. Fur and cloth and sprites and object instancing on particles and all this. . . is just dressing up the poo.

What A:M "feature" that has been added in the last 5 years hasn't been crap? Your trying to fix da poo. . . with more poo.

FEATURE FREEZE!!!!!!!

Yes, I do agree on that Hash should stop releasing new features and instead concentrate on finishing the core functionality (i.e. modelling, animation and rendering.)
However, I do not agree on that we should have a feature freeze for Animation Master. Features are sexy!:drool:;) Thatís a simple fact.
The settlement for these conflicting interests would be to brush up the SDK. In that way Hash could focus on the stability while third party developers shower us with cool features...

K.T.

pabitel
01-29-2003, 12:52 AM
Another alternative to the rendering problem could be providing the multipass option to the standard product. Why should this be a feature solely of NetRender?

JackMcRip
01-29-2003, 01:00 AM
Hi,

i'm from german and try to discribe my Problems about modeling !
If I model an Objekt i want to make it without many details.
This modeln is fine in A:M. IT's an easy way to get a simple Objekt.

Now I want to add some new CP's and Spline to make Details.
If many Cp's near together I can't bring It in Form as bevore.
The model makes creases.

My suggestion is:
If I select many CP's there can be calculate a spline, that cut through of the "fall out cp's". Now it was fine to have a feature to bring the Cp's to the cut through-Spline. Percentable how much bring every Cp in direction to the cut through-Spline.
I'm not sure, you can understand what i mean.

http://www.mcrip.de/am/probs/smooth.gif
The white Line ist the Spline I modeled. The waves i don't want to have. Now i select all points of the spline and the feature maybe calculate every second ControllPoint of the Spline and get a temp Spline (gray top)! Then A:M maybe calculate the other every second CP's (yellow down). And makes a new TempSpline! Then generate a Spline exactly inbetween the two tempsplines (blue middle). Now the CP's of my Spline can go percentually in direction of the New generate Temp-Spline that was calculate!
The creases should go away.

I'm sure there is an better methode to calculate the last temp-Spline, where to go the CP's direction, but i means approximately so can modeling be easier.

If I can now select more Splines horizontal and vertical. And if I can selekt a tile of a Spline. Maybe simple a range of a model and then press a button to smooth it.
I'm sure all User use it, or what you mean ???


if i had a second wish :
I wish modeling like metaballs. Maybe with other gemetrical objekts as a sphere. Like Organica can do.
The Distortion-Mode show me Hash now how to programming this.

This are my two suggestions.
Thanks that you read my bad english to here.

Greeting Bernd
spass@McRip.de

JTalbotski
01-29-2003, 12:29 PM
In keeping with the what I'd like to see idea of this thread, I'd like to see multithreading on the Mac now that A:M is being ported to OSX. Apple is putting out a lot of multi proceesor units nowadays. (Yes, I know the reason why.):hmm:

Raist3d
01-29-2003, 05:43 PM
Originally posted by Kentaurus
Yes, I do agree on that Hash should stop releasing new features and instead concentrate on finishing the core functionality (i.e. modelling, animation and rendering.)
However, I do not agree on that we should have a feature freeze for Animation Master. Features are sexy!:drool:;) Thatís a simple fact.
The settlement for these conflicting interests would be to brush up the SDK. In that way Hash could focus on the stability while third party developers shower us with cool features...

K.T.

Features can be sexy and all that but it doesn't help make A:M work in a more professional, demanding environment (hell, even in a hobbiest environment considering the bugs it has).

New features in A:M over stability won't motivate me one little bit to fork the cash to upgrade...

Kentaurus
01-29-2003, 10:33 PM
Originally posted by Raist3d
Originally posted by Kentaurus
Yes, I do agree on that Hash should stop releasing new features and instead concentrate on finishing the core functionality (i.e. modelling, animation and rendering.)
However, I do not agree on that we should have a feature freeze for Animation Master. Features are sexy! Thatís a simple fact.
The settlement for these conflicting interests would be to brush up the SDK. In that way Hash could focus on the stability while third party developers shower us with cool features...

K.T.

Features can be sexy and all that but it doesn't help make A:M work in a more professional, demanding environment (hell, even in a hobbiest environment considering the bugs it has).

New features in A:M over stability won't motivate me one little bit to fork the cash to upgrade...

I think I was rather clear on this, however.

Hash should focus on stability.
Third party developers should feed us with the goodies. (Thanks to the, hopefully, much improved SDK.)

Wouldn't this make everyone happy?

K.T.

Wegg
01-29-2003, 10:43 PM
I really doubt too many developers would be interested in supporthing the cheapest app on the market. . . when the people who purchase Maya and Max are obviously more willing to pay more money for their "hobby".

Kentaurus
01-29-2003, 11:36 PM
Originally posted by Wegg
I really doubt too many developers would be interested in supporthing the cheapest app on the market. . . when the people who purchase Maya and Max are obviously more willing to pay more money for their "hobby".

You might be right, but what do Hash have to loose and what do we, the users, have to loose?

And, when A:M is stable as rock and when the renderer kicks major ass, Iíd guess the users of such gem would be open for an investment to add some extra coolness.

BTW, why are you all so unwilling to give me a better SDK? I promise, Iíve been good so I think Iím worth it. ;) And also, I donít think it would ruin your feature freeze campaign.

K.T.

Wegg
01-29-2003, 11:46 PM
I just doubt the ability for Hash Inc. to pull it off.

A good SDK requires documentation and support. And those two words aren't exactly in Hash's company mission statement if you know what I mean.

howardt
01-30-2003, 12:00 AM
I've used the SDK in the past, for the Text and AI import features.

The documentation is close to non-existant (though some users have chipped in to help there a bit); one can usually figure things out, with some work. About support: my experience is that Hash has responded well, and promptly, to plugin developers who appear serious.

I do wish the SDK exposed more of the UI to the developer. It would open many more possibilities.

On the subject of stability: Hash, have you tried looking at extreme programming (in particular, built-in automated tests for every function)?

penguinpavilion
01-30-2003, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by howardt
On the subject of stability: Hash, have you tried looking at extreme programming (in particular, built-in automated tests for every function)?
Not to mention writing the test before implementing the feature. You then spend extra time thinking about each feature up front, and end up with fewer features needing a rewrite later on in life . . .

Kentaurus
01-30-2003, 12:34 AM
Originally posted by Wegg
I just doubt the ability for Hash Inc. to pull it off.

A good SDK requires documentation and support. And those two words aren't exactly in Hash's company mission statement if you know what I mean.
Unfortunately, you've got a point here. However, if they just open up the SDK, we could help them with the documentation part. Iím pretty used to developing without documentation.:cool:

K.T.

Kentaurus
01-30-2003, 12:39 AM
Originally posted by howardt
I've used the SDK in the past, for the Text and AI import features.

The documentation is close to non-existant (though some users have chipped in to help there a bit); one can usually figure things out, with some work. About support: my experience is that Hash has responded well, and promptly, to plugin developers who appear serious.

I do wish the SDK exposed more of the UI to the developer. It would open many more possibilities.

On the subject of stability: Hash, have you tried looking at extreme programming (in particular, built-in automated tests for every function)?
Howard,
you are one of my plug-in heroes! Hopefully I will eventually be one of yours ;).

I also agree on your tip to Hash. XP rules!! :beer:

Raist3d
01-30-2003, 05:19 AM
Originally posted by Kentaurus
BTW, why are you all so unwilling to give me a better SDK? I promise, Iíve been good so I think Iím worth it. ;) And also, I donít think it would ruin your feature freeze campaign.

K.T.

It's not that I wouldn't like a better SDK... heck, I am a programmer too. It's that I believe *any* effort should be directed right now towards stability and then the renderer.

And I don't think it's going to be easy to meet the first two so everything else becomes a distraction for now.

- Raist

gra4mac
01-30-2003, 05:39 PM
My Fault. I think to keep up the momentum and to actually have an ongoing dialogue with Steve, it would be better to deal with the issues in smalll chunks. It could be overwhelming for Steve to get a huge pile of requests on every aspect of A:M. Lets address the primary problem, STABILITY, and see what happens. Nobody will feel good about this discusion if time goes by without some sort of show of faith from Hash. The 1000 mile juorney starts with the first step. :thumbsup:

Cheers, Graham

gra4mac
01-30-2003, 06:07 PM
I think a really good and imediatly achievable show of faith for Hash would be to extend the subscription for the 2002 CD to include V10. Version 9 was a waste of time and led to a lot of the unrest in the community. Hash could win back some loyalty by extending the subscription. You might also want to menton to Steve, the poll asking if people are staying with A:M or not.

Cheers, Graham

My Fault
01-30-2003, 06:24 PM
Originally posted by Graham Clark
My Fault. I think to keep up the momentum and to actually have an ongoing dialogue with Steve, it would be better to deal with the issues in smalll chunks. It could be overwhelming for Steve to get a huge pile of requests on every aspect of A:M. Lets address the primary problem, STABILITY, and see what happens. Nobody will feel good about this discusion if time goes by without some sort of show of faith from Hash. The 1000 mile juorney starts with the first step. :thumbsup:

Cheers, Graham

Yeah, I totally agree. I don't plan on beating him over the head with every single suggestion, but there are a few that people keep mentioning like stability, creasing, the renderer that will I'm sure take up the majority of the conversation.

dragonfollower
01-30-2003, 06:33 PM
My Fault, so when do you plan on talking with him? I'm interested in knowing how he responds to the requests and what he has to say.

-bRiAn

My Fault
01-30-2003, 06:35 PM
Shooting for Wednesday or Thursday of next week. Just have to work out when our schedules meet. I will definitely keep everyone posted!

walasek
01-30-2003, 06:36 PM
Originally posted by Graham Clark
I think a really good and imediatly achievable show of faith for Hash would be to extend the subscription for the 2002 CD to include V10. Version 9 was a waste of time and led to a lot of the unrest in the community. Hash could win back some loyalty by extending the subscription.
I TOTALLY agree with Graham here. If they extended the V9 subscription for this year, I think that would go a long way to say that they are listening and sorry for the problems in V9.

About stability:
How exactly are you going to say this to him. He is going to respond, like he has on the list or in person, by saying that there are no *known* stability issues with AM. Keyword being *known*. If you are going to suggest hiring testers, or additional software (like boundschecker) than that may help. But just to say its unstable isn't going to be enough. If you are going after feature freeze and no new versions till this version *is* stable, then maybe... but I can just hear Steve saying those words...

My Fault
01-30-2003, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by walasek
About stability:
How exactly are you going to say this to him. He is going to respond, like he has on the list or in person, by saying that there are no *known* stability issues with AM. Keyword being *known*. If you are going to suggest hiring testers, or additional software (like boundschecker) than that may help. But just to say its unstable isn't going to be enough. If you are going after feature freeze and no new versions till this version *is* stable, then maybe... but I can just hear Steve saying those words...

I was gonna say "Me push button... it go boom". You think that will work? :p

artfan1
01-30-2003, 06:58 PM
Originally posted by Graham Clark
I think a really good and imediatly achievable show of faith for Hash would be to extend the subscription for the 2002 CD to include V10. Version 9 was a waste of time and led to a lot of the unrest in the community. Hash could win back some loyalty by extending the subscription. You might also want to menton to Steve, the poll asking if people are staying with A:M or not.

Cheers, Graham

This is exactly what I have been asking for. It won't cost them anything if they do but it will if they don't because I am not going to continue with the software until I get a working version. If they make the download work with the 2002 disc, they reclaim a lot of customers that feel cheated and won't be out the cost of new discs and shipping. Sure, they won't get my $99 but they are not getting it anyway. But if it works, they can rest assured that I will upgrade in 2004. But if they wait too long to make what I would say is a simple decision, I for one will have invested my time and money somewhere else. This would be a show of good faith on their part.

This is a public relations issue and they need to work fast.

artfan1

Wegg
01-30-2003, 08:24 PM
This is going to sound horrible. . . but. . . they don't want people to actually USE their software. They just want to sell it and have people put it aside and forget about it.

So you represent a very small part of their future profits.

Sounds totally weird and backwards but thats the way they do things.

I agree with you 100% though. ANY sign of support to their established user base would be better than what they are doing. Martin's e-mail to the list was pretty much saying "Your all religious loonies. . . go away."

Pretty pathetic really.

artfan1
01-30-2003, 10:34 PM
Wegg, I am sure you are right. I only wish that they would realize, if that is the case, it's still a public relations issue to leave so many people so upset. Their future customers will soon hear our cries. That can't be good for business. If nothing else, they should care what we think.

artfan1

Wegg
01-30-2003, 10:42 PM
Most people walking around on trade show floors. . . or browsing the web won't ever get to see our rants.

They are selling a dream. . . "Bloody hell . . . Victor Navone got a job at Pixar using this software! And its only $199! How can I go wrong!"

They have a perfect making money machine.

Kevin Sanderson
01-31-2003, 12:31 AM
Originally posted by My Fault
I was gonna say "Me push button... it go boom". You think that will work? :p


What genius! I like it! A crash button. ;-)

My Fault
01-31-2003, 12:46 AM
Originally posted by Kevin Sanderson
What genius! I like it! A crash button. ;-)

Seriously though, when bugs come up they need to be pretty specific, otherwise there really isn't much you can do to fix them. That's why the more info the better.

Kentaurus
01-31-2003, 01:18 AM
Originally posted by Raist3d
It's not that I wouldn't like a better SDK... heck, I am a programmer too. It's that I believe *any* effort should be directed right now towards stability and then the renderer.

And I don't think it's going to be easy to meet the first two so everything else becomes a distraction for now.

- Raist
Since you are a programmer, you probably also know that bug hunting tend to being booooring in the long run.:D Cleaning up the SDK, on the other hand, is a refreshing and stimulating work, I'm sure ;)

K.T.

Kevin Sanderson
01-31-2003, 01:37 AM
Originally posted by My Fault
Seriously though, when bugs come up they need to be pretty specific, otherwise there really isn't much you can do to fix them. That's why the more info the better.

I agree. Raist had a perfectly coherent bug report he sent me to try out. The same one he posted here with the screen shots.
I think it's a great example of what a bug report should be. Not just "I was trying _____ and it crashed."

binder3d
01-31-2003, 04:01 AM
With v10c Hash seems to be stable for once. 9.5 was horrible. But the renders are still checkered with artifacts, texture crawl and aliasing problems. They even took multi pass out of netrender! Why? Can they be that dumb! They took out raytraced shadows to! Making the render even worse. You cant even render large images without decent ram - like a gig could work. How sad when Strata can handle this better. Work on the damned render. It's what people see. Who cares how nice an animation may be if the visuals are riddeled with stupid artifacts that take away from the animation.

Just make it better.

Oh yeah fix the damn hair, particles and add collision detection.

Sorry. Just mad. by the way I emailed the Newtek guys. Im getting the crossgrade.

Tired of AM.

Natess44
01-31-2003, 04:14 AM
Originally posted by My Fault
Seriously though, when bugs come up they need to be pretty specific, otherwise there really isn't much you can do to fix them. That's why the more info the better.

Thats why a bug detection and report program would be so good. All you have to do is do something to crash A:M and it records all the steps you did to do it in a report log, with the version number and the windows version. Then all you have to do is either send the file to Hash or make it so it'll do it automatically.

Gazzamataz
01-31-2003, 09:55 AM
Natess44

A bug report system sounds like an excellent idea! When I send it files that don't work or want to report something that is not working I never know how much info to put in my e-mail.

Wegg

Sounds like you and Martin don't see eye to eye? As for the money making point I can see where you are coming from - I never thought of it like that. So are Hash just in it for the dough and a fast buck or do the want to make a program that is affordable, not so feature rich but can do damn good animations?

If it is the former then surely there life expectancy is gonna be limited, contrary to what Ken Baer was saying. He seemed to think that Hash will still be there whilst the rest of the major players will have dissapeared...

Kentaurus
01-31-2003, 10:16 AM
Originally posted by binder3d
[...]
Oh yeah fix the damn hair, particles and add collision detection.
[...]

"Vote" for a better SDK and I will give you what you ask for and more! ;)

runejw
01-31-2003, 01:02 PM
I bought AM2K once, and it's funny to see how the discussion now regarding 10c and 9.5 versions are quite similar to 8.5 versus 8.0 versions.

Anyway I have not updated mine since the initial purchase in 2000.

Gripes:
* Subscription model should be in the marketing material. I and many others have no problem with a subscription model if it is announced up-front - but are not pleased when we get told about this a year after purchase.

* Rendering engine: should provide physically correct rendering of transparencies, refraction, volumetrics, etc. (Examples: smoke and volumetric lights should be visible in mirrors. Lights volumetrics and shadows should interact correctly.) Cookie cutters should work as expected etc, etc.

* Rendering speed: Needs improvement

* General stability issues, especially with particles and/or complex scenes. Type of video-card and amount of RAM are (I have discovered) quite important. Geforce much better than my old Voodoo 3Dfx card for example.

* Export/import possibilities are very limited.

Goods:
Most inexpensive and friendly skeleton & pose-setup around. Good interface.

Excellent for character animation if you only want "toon"-style renderings or are not concerned about render engine shortcomings.

Conceptually the constraints, poses, skeletons, material mixing/free plugins and interface/intuitiveness of this application are top notch. It is only let down by bugs, render engine limitations (incl speed), stability issues and too many features which are a bit disappointing when you buy it based on the feature checklist.

I would have liked to continue using the app were it not for the rendering/stability/bug issues and the inflexible policy regarding fixes only for current "subscribers".



Cheers,
Rune

Amanda
01-31-2003, 04:18 PM
Originally posted by Wegg
They are selling a dream. . . "Bloody hell . . . Victor Navone got a job at Pixar using this software! And its only $199! How can I go wrong!"

They sell a dream, but so does everyone else in the creative tool business. And let's face it--a good artist can indeed do wonderful things with the product: your stuff at eggprops, Victor and Blit Wizbok, Jim Talbot's incredible human (and superhuman) models, Den Beauvais's stuff... All great stuff done with a $199 package.

But in all these cases, it wasn't the software that really made the difference. Maya or LW are not going to make people better artists. Happier artists, possibly, if they can afford them, but turning an idea into an image is hard no matter what the medium.


Amanda Walker

Wegg
01-31-2003, 04:29 PM
I guess my point was in saying that. . . is that Hash are really ONLY selling the dream. While the other companies are priding themselves on other attributes. Industry standards, customization, support, stability etc.

Other companies ALSO sell to the dreamers. . . but their price prohibits the less committed. You see what I'm getting at?

johnathan
01-31-2003, 04:32 PM
no one is denying that great things can be done in the face of adversity. the people you list are a testament to this. the pyramids were built before trucks and cranes, but that doesn't mean i want to forego modern conveniences when i try to create my characters.

program stability and features that work as they should may be considered mere conveniences, but other programs offer them, and hash should too.

if i wanted to do things the hard way, i'd be creating miniature sculptures with adjustable armatures, then film them one frame at a time. :)

-jon

Amanda
01-31-2003, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by Wegg
Other companies ALSO sell to the dreamers. . . but their price prohibits the less committed. You see what I'm getting at?

Indeed. I just see a place for an inexpensive product as well, even if it's dream-heavy. A dream is not a bad thing. That said, though, A:M's real competition isn't Maya or LW: it's freeware.


Amanda Walker

PJC
01-31-2003, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by Wegg
This is going to sound horrible. . . but. . . they don't want people to actually USE their software. They just want to sell it and have people put it aside and forget about it.


I have a lot of respect for you Billy, but I have to really disagree with you on this one. I know it for a fact to be different.

- patrick j. clarke

Wegg
01-31-2003, 05:27 PM
I guess it depends on who you talk too and how many beers they have had.

Trust me. . . this is right on the mark. I wish I had had a tape
recorder. :-/

My Fault
01-31-2003, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by Wegg
I guess it depends on who you talk too and how many beers they have had.

Trust me. . . this is right on the mark. I wish I had had a tape
recorder. :-/

Ouch! Hopefully it was just the brewskies talking! :beer:

dfaris
01-31-2003, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by PJC
I have a lot of respect for you Billy, but I have to really disagree with you on this one. I know it for a fact to be different.

- patrick j. clarke

I hope your right patrick but only time will tell.

Dave

degauss
01-31-2003, 10:11 PM
Originally posted by Wegg
This is going to sound horrible. . . but. . . they don't want people to actually USE their software. They just want to sell it and have people put it aside and forget about it.

If they put it down and forget about it, there would be no need to keep sending in the yearly fan club dues. So, I get the impression that Hash wants people to use the software, but only as much as it takes to make them want to keep upgrading.



I agree with you 100% though. ANY sign of support to their established user base would be better than what they are doing. Martin's e-mail to the list was pretty much saying "Your all religious loonies. . . go away."



Here's the way I interpreted his message: "screw you." Harsh, but real.

pswoods
02-01-2003, 05:50 AM
[list=1]
poly models: import, rig, animate, sub-d at render time
strip renderer down to simple scanline, make it tight and fast
scene translator - connect to something going *out* - maybe RIB
[/list=1]

Ran13
02-01-2003, 05:46 PM
Document the the ASCII file formats for those who wnat to write support applications. Sure, you can figure out some stuff by looking at them, and some other stuff thru experimentation, but it certainly would be nice if there were upfront docs of all the file formats.

Allow for the export of actions (MOT files) to be written in either/or world space or bones space for ease of exporting bone-based animation data.

EROMLIG
02-02-2003, 06:31 PM
I must agree with Wegg. The sales and marketing "model" or approach they use is tailored precisely to that end. When I wrote the post comparing Greg Rostrami's sales pitch to that of the side show barker was an attempt to illustrate that point. I was in marketing/sales a number of years ago. Their approach is absolutely consistant with that explaination.

penguinpavilion
02-03-2003, 02:16 AM
Originally posted by Wegg
This is going to sound horrible. . . but. . . they don't want people to actually USE their software. They just want to sell it and have people put it aside and forget about it.

So you represent a very small part of their future profits.


Right on target, it even slips out in their marketting materials:

We donít care what software you use as long as you recommend ANIMATON:MASTER 2002 to your nephew.

You can find it here at:

http://www.hash.com/press/AM2002.html

Make of the quote what you will, I take it to be in support of Wegg's position.

pabitel
02-03-2003, 03:31 AM
If this is really Hash's marketing strategy -- which I'm pretty skeptical about (but then again, what do I know) -- I think they're in big trouble. Because you no longer have to pay $300 to dream -- you can get operational versions of all the top software for free, and dream away.

Hookflash
02-03-2003, 04:54 AM
Originally posted by pabitel
Because you no longer have to pay $300 to dream -- you can get operational versions of all the top software for free, and dream away.

Only if your dreams include things like watermarks and poly limits;). The only decent demo version of a 3d app I've seen is Houdini Apprentice Edition, but Houdini definately isn't everbody's cup of tea.

koon69
02-05-2003, 05:34 AM
When are supposed to hear something? Especially after the whole AA thing. Time is running short. Can we get a response or something? Has Steve seen these threads? Is he going to come here and speak? Or is someone going to post his reply?

dantea
02-05-2003, 05:43 AM
Originally posted by Hookflash
Only if your dreams include things like watermarks and poly limits;). The only decent demo version of a 3d app I've seen is Houdini Apprentice Edition, but Houdini definately isn't everbody's cup of tea.

True. But Houdini 5.5 is very different even from Houdini 4.0. The interesting thing is to see how the Houdini online course at 3dbuzz.com turns out. At last count, there was supposedly 1100 people signed up.

jdates
02-06-2003, 06:13 AM
Originally posted by Wegg
I guess it depends on who you talk too and how many beers they have had.

Trust me. . . this is right on the mark. I wish I had had a tape
recorder. :-/


hah. Why did you make this statement Wegg? What possible good could come of it?

As a moderator you set the tone. At least pretend to be objective.

jdates.:thumbsdow

Hookflash
02-06-2003, 06:59 AM
jdates: We are not sheep. We don't base our opinions on the moderator's "tone". Most of us feel like we've been lied to and manipulated (and ripped off!!), so we've come here to discuss it. If you are content with the treatment Hash has given you, fine... Just trust that we have not been given the same treatment.

Raist3d
02-06-2003, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by Kentaurus
Since you are a programmer, you probably also know that bug hunting tend to being booooring in the long run.:D Cleaning up the SDK, on the other hand, is a refreshing and stimulating work, I'm sure ;)

K.T.

Yes... it's a diry job but someone's gotta do it.. and I don't work for Hash.... so who's to do it? :p

Seriously though I wonder if that atttitude is part of what the company has.. "let's work on kewl features that are interesting instead of a boring bug hunt..." I have seen this before.. and frankly it's just bad.

At the very end those bugs you ignored add up. And if you don't fix bugs ASAP, now you have wonderful scenarios that will seem to crop up at random due to the wonderful interaction of the bug-infestation you have let happen.

For many comments in general software dev. check:

www.joelonsoftware.com

They talk about stuff like this, you may find it interesting (you may already know this web site anyway).

- Raist


- Raist

Raist3d
02-06-2003, 11:00 AM
Originally posted by Amanda
They sell a dream, but so does everyone else in the creative tool business. And let's face it--a good artist can indeed do wonderful things with the product: your stuff at eggprops, Victor and Blit Wizbok, Jim Talbot's incredible human (and superhuman) models, Den Beauvais's stuff... All great stuff done with a $199 package.

But in all these cases, it wasn't the software that really made the difference. Maya or LW are not going to make people better artists. Happier artists, possibly, if they can afford them, but turning an idea into an image is hard no matter what the medium.


Amanda Walker

Amanda, I really hate to say this but I am really, REALLY tired of hearing the apologism: "it's the artist, not the tools."

Sure, a true artist can grab a pencil and do incredible drawings, even if he does not have photoshop. But doesn't Photoshop open the universe of possibilities for different tricks and what not?

True, a very talented photographer, could use a cheapo 640x480 web cam to take and compose incredible pictures, but why then some of those guys don't drop their $300++ cameras branded Nikon, Canon and Olympus when photographing models or architecture and landscape? (granted: architectural shots you'll probably use a view camera)

True, a talented car racer will probably kick my @ss in a race using a "turbo beetle", even if I use a Porsche 959, however, you don't see them racing in those cars when racing against cars like F-1 type models.

My point is that to answer "you can do a lot of good things with Hash" to "Hash does not seem to be as competitive in stability and rock-solid implementation to its competitors" is almost as logical as saying "sure, smoking is bad, but I am sure you can do something usefull with the materials of a cigarrette" - when answering one with the other. They are completely different points, and one does not invalidate the other.

IF A:M is vefry unstable and not very usable for a professional environment then that's the truth. It doens't matter that YOU COULD get professional work out of it- if it takes you 4 times the effort and 6 times the money due to workarounds you have to do and crashing, and slow speed of rendering, then it is not competitive in a professional environment vs competitors that fullfill those qualifications. Hell, you can even make the case for a mere twice or 1.5 times as difficult as others. Eventually the money you will waste will surpass the higher license price of others.

Now, the biggest irony of all I see here is that your post talks to Wegg as if he clearly does not understand this difference in spite of his *heavy* involvement in trying to use A:M in a professional environment. He used to be a *hardcore* supporter of A:M and did all that work, so I think he would know better don't you think?

Raist3d
02-06-2003, 11:02 AM
Originally posted by johnathan
no one is denying that great things can be done in the face of adversity. the people you list are a testament to this. the pyramids were built before trucks and cranes, but that doesn't mean i want to forego modern conveniences when i try to create my characters.

program stability and features that work as they should may be considered mere conveniences, but other programs offer them, and hash should too.

if i wanted to do things the hard way, i'd be creating miniature sculptures with adjustable armatures, then film them one frame at a time. :)

-jon


Bingo!

You explained it far better than I did.

:beer:

Raist3d
02-06-2003, 11:06 AM
Originally posted by Amanda
Indeed. I just see a place for an inexpensive product as well, even if it's dream-heavy. A dream is not a bad thing. That said, though, A:M's real competition isn't Maya or LW: it's freeware.


Amanda Walker

I don't see a problem with trying to sell a dream. I do see a problem with selling a lie. I was promised 9.5xx was a very stable release at the San Diego comic con when I asked how was the stability doing *before* I upgraded, as A:M was notorious for being unstable.

So I bought the upgrade and I regret it.

And what about all the other broken features listed in the box? The website certainly doesn't make any apologies about how great A:M is due to all these features...

At that point, when you are trying something new and A:M crashes, you lose your project (or as to some: it is corrupt) the dream becomes a nightmare.

Wegg
02-06-2003, 05:09 PM
As a moderator you set the tone. At least pretend to be objective.

Me!?! Objective!?! HA HA HA HAha ha ha haa. . .

Woo wee. . . that was a good one.

Jeff, it has taken us years to get back out of our whole. AM boxed us in. Our only clients were ReelFX, Avalance and the AM community. There was nowhere else to go. Pleading, begging, and evein GIVING AWAY work to Hash Inc. in an effort to improve their product got us nowhere. I'm as bitter as the next guy in here. Possibly more so.

ruscler
02-07-2003, 09:06 AM
getting back to the subject at hand after going thru countless topics.

Mr "my fault" whoever you are, you ask for help and discussion of what we want from Martin Hash so that you can speak directly to Steve and yet so far going thru the other topic you pretty much shot down every person who has a legitimate complaints about the software. So what is it you really want , cause so far my impression ( hold on , coming up is a character attack, for which I am so terrible about holding back) is that your a wolf in sheep clothing, trying to kiss some butt cause you think you will have a seat next to the hash's throne or something. I am only guessing because your action so far conflict with your starting agenda with this thread.

My point is that if your going to imply that we are just bunch of whiners that doesn't know how to be civil to hash when reporting the bugs, and write us off for it, well we get that already from Hash corperation, dont really need a minion to do that for us.

I dont know you and its not personal , just my observation of how you treat the well respected former members of the hash community. Same goes for you Jdates, I remember countless times that you bitch about the problems that you been having and then you forget where you came from. Picking on the people that had better things to do then listen to your complaining and whining and yet they did so because they were your freinds, and most of all Wegg for being there for you, providing a chat client for you to vent on.

Why must there be a civil war among those who love Hash and those who are not on the A list from hash. We are on your side, we love the software if it can work. And the only way it can work is for hash to know what doesn't work, and then fix it. Not abandon it and try another version. Mocking on your friends who would of offer you help whenever you needed it "scoff scoff" is the bullys way of intimidations. I dont like it coming from Steve or anyone from the hash community, how does that behavoir help the community,and what good could come out of it?

hoochoochoochoo
02-07-2003, 09:09 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Wegg
[B]Me!?! Objective!?! HA HA HA HAha ha ha haa. . .

Woo wee. . . that was a good one. [QUOTE]

Maybe it's actually a good thing the moderator IS hostile. Sycophantic friends and yes men never tell you when you have s**t on your shoes. (Speaking of s**t on shoes, why didn't the quote button setting work for me?)

I would only add that where Hash is listening, and taking action then credit should be given.

My Fault
02-07-2003, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by ruscler
My point is that if your going to imply that we are just bunch of whiners that doesn't know how to be civil to hash when reporting the bugs, and write us off for it, well we get that already from Hash corperation, dont really need a minion to do that for us.

It's simple really, when you (and I mean people in general) whine like a baby, resort to personal attacks or generally just flame, they are ignoring you. Is that simple enough for you ruscler? I am smart enough to know that absolutely zero will be accomplished with that kind of attitude. Unfortunately that fact has eluded some people here. If all you've gotten out of mine and others posts is that we are zealots and are "minions" that are trying to keep you decent folk down, then I think you are really missing the point.

Well thought ouit idea and/or complaints = Hash Listens

Imbecilic rantings and personal attacks = Hash Ignores

I am truly sorry if you feel that Hash has mistreated you, I really am... but judging by some of your posts here I can't help but think you've brought some of this on yourself. If your demeanor to them was anything like your attitude to me, I don't blame them. Believe me, I'm tempted to rip you a new one for the crap your spewing about me, but I would rather take the time to help you understand why they may not be listening and hopefully with us all working together we can really get some of these changes accomplished. I'd rather see a happy ruscler then a character attacking ruscler.

:beer:

walasek
02-07-2003, 05:10 PM
Originally posted by ruscler
Mr "my fault" whoever you are, you ask for help and discussion of what we want from Martin Hash so that you can speak directly to Steve and yet so far going thru the other topic you pretty much shot down every person who has a legitimate complaints about the software. So what is it you really want , cause so far my impression ( hold on , coming up is a character attack, for which I am so terrible about holding back) is that your a wolf in sheep clothing, trying to kiss some butt cause you think you will have a seat next to the hash's throne or something. I am only guessing because your action so far conflict with your starting agenda with this thread.

My Fault,

I sort of feel this way too, unfortunately. Tt seems to me you volunteered for this job, or was picked by Hash, to make a detailed list of the complaints and try to give them to Steve in some semblance of order and with a business like attitude (ala not screaming, name calling, etc). The problem is that I feel you have been filtering what you think they want to hear, and what you think they will fix. In another thread, I believe, when someone asked if you talked about some other feature they wanted added, you replied with something like that you never talked about that (Im trying to remember). Perhaps you are going to have other conversations with Steve regarding these other topics, I don't really know. But it seems that you should present ALL of our ideas to Steve in a civil manner, regardless of whether you think it should be in the software, or what you think Steve will respond.

There have been a lot of good ideas here, some are (in my opinion) things that Hash won't work on for *a long time*. But, then again, it doesn't hurt to actually enumerate what the community thinks and relay that information to Steve. Thats what I thought you were doing/going to do. From your thread "Talked to Steve" and in some other threads it doesn't sound like thats what you did...

Not a personal attack, its just an observation on what I thought you were going to do. Maybe I was mistaken, maybe it will still happen...

Arthur

My Fault
02-07-2003, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by walasek
My Fault,

I sort of feel this way too, unfortunately. Tt seems to me you volunteered for this job, or was picked by Hash, to make a detailed list of the complaints and try to give them to Steve in some semblance of order and with a business like attitude (ala not screaming, name calling, etc). The problem is that I feel you have been filtering what you think they want to hear, and what you think they will fix. In another thread, I believe, when someone asked if you talked about some other feature they wanted added, you replied with something like that you never talked about that (Im trying to remember). Perhaps you are going to have other conversations with Steve regarding these other topics, I don't really know. But it seems that you should present ALL of our ideas to Steve in a civil manner, regardless of whether you think it should be in the software, or what you think Steve will respond.

There have been a lot of good ideas here, some are (in my opinion) things that Hash won't work on for *a long time*. But, then again, it doesn't hurt to actually enumerate what the community thinks and relay that information to Steve. Thats what I thought you were doing/going to do. From your thread "Talked to Steve" and in some other threads it doesn't sound like thats what you did...

Not a personal attack, its just an observation on what I thought you were going to do. Maybe I was mistaken, maybe it will still happen...

Arthur

Totally understand where your coming from Arthur, here's the deal. There just wasn't time to cover every single thing that people had come up with in one conversation. We ended up spending a lot of time on some of the larger points because, well, they were the things that the majority of people spoke about. It came down to either giving a cursory bit on every little thing or spending more substantiative time on some of the more common issues, I chose the latter.

One thing Steve was pretty clear on was that if you have issues to feel free to email or call him. Yeah if you start flaming and acting unreasonable he will tell you where to go (I've always liked that about him! :thumbsup: ), but they genuinely do want to hear from us.

I'll try to post more later in the other thread.

JoeCosman
02-07-2003, 06:31 PM
crazy thing about this is, It's a public forum. not some meeting in the high alps between world powers. Anything posted WILL get read.

Anyone in PR and tech support should be(and is) following this thread
(James hash, this means you. I've seen you browsing here)

so... it seems that Steve isn't interested in fact gathering, and according to Martin, he's already read everything posted.

So compiling a list of wanna's is pretty redundant in this case. The people in the ivory tower have plenty of access to it. They just choose not to use it.

/begin sarcasm
by the way, fetch me that newspaper that's within arm's reach, I just can't know anything about the outside world unless you bring it to me.
/end sarcasm

JTalbotski
02-07-2003, 06:51 PM
Unfortunately, many fill this forum with personal attacks and verbal abuse, which tends to bury the real issues that most here want addressed.

JoeCosman
02-07-2003, 07:08 PM
are you kidding? I've talked to Martin before.

I'll bet this is the best entertainment he's ever had since he put bread down and toast popped up.

I'm almost positive they call each other into their offices to read and laugh at the latest rant.

They'll laugh at the jibes and ribbing, guffaw at the creative metaphors, then take mental note of the people actually addressing problems.

trust me on this one, that's exactly what I would do.

walasek
02-07-2003, 07:34 PM
Originally posted by My Fault
There just wasn't time to cover every single thing that people had come up with in one conversation. We ended up spending a lot of time on some of the larger points because, well, they were the things that the majority of people spoke about. It came down to either giving a cursory bit on every little thing or spending more substantiative time on some of the more common issues, I chose the latter.

My Fault,

I totally understand that, and I probably would have done the same. Maybe if you could email him the full list of stuff at least there would be a record of it (besides here).

Joe,

I just worry that some of the stuff may get missed by the Hash folks. I do hope/believe that they are reading this, but in some threads, when it gets to name calling, they might stop and just skip the thread - or miss posts/replies. I was just hoping that we could give them a "list" or even the poll results so they could know where some of us are coming from... If I were Hash, I would be reading this, if for nothing more than the comedy :)...

ruscler
02-07-2003, 08:23 PM
I am so sure that Hash people are laughing at us and listening to the bashing that goes on between each other. Kind of remind me of an old star trek episode where the klingon and the federation crew declare a war on each other while the entity that feeds off anger floats above all the fighting.

I got nothing against "my fault" but I think if he going to volunteer to be the one to bring down the tablets from the almighty to tell us what Steve is going to do, I think refraining from name calling and premptive character bashing is not going to help his cause, though he may means well.

If I seem to come off harsh, I am sorry and apologize, but I dont like seeing someone getting pick on, and it is my observation that your coming off like a bully. If you truly want to help, then just acknowledge that you are listening and not get defensive, but just saying you understand what is being said can go along way, and far better then stupid name calling, and childish sniveling and whining.

ruscler
02-07-2003, 08:34 PM
"everything is like everything, but not always"

it is so easy to categorize all people ,those people,and some people to the person you are conversing with, but if you go with that attitude that this person is like all the other people that complain, snivel, and into character bashing. I think your really missing out on experiencing the uniqueness of each individual.

Are you really listening or are you hearing what you have heard before from those other people?

My Fault
02-07-2003, 08:46 PM
Originally posted by ruscler
Are you really listening or are you hearing what you have heard before from those other people?


(cues crazy Star Trek music in the background)

Well it's not really important if I'm listening, just that Hash is. My only real concern is that people are getting heard and I know personal attacks can end up causing a perfectly good point to be ignored.

:beer:

ruscler
02-08-2003, 01:27 AM
kewl beans, and looking forward to a new and improve attitude!
way to go !!!!

John Keates
02-10-2003, 11:48 AM
Ok. Back to the feature suggestions...

How about a better implemenatation of displacement maps. I have played with them and find them just too blocky. If you look at "Perks" vest, you can see this blockyness going on. Other renderers these days are implementing displacement mapping that has none of these artifacts. It is a great way to add detail without giving yourself lots to model and animate.

Now that the renderer is being re-written, perhaps this kind of stuff should be considered? I think that it would suit hash splines as it makes for an efficient model and doesn't complicate the crease eradication modeling problems.

KenH
02-10-2003, 06:47 PM
I'm not sure if it's in Animation Master but this is something I saw in C4d. It's the ability to use the mouse to record movements. So, say you want to move an arm to a certain point, pause it there and then move it again you can do this interactively with the mouse. The timing will be recorded as well as the positioning of the movement. Quite puppet-like.

Wegg
02-10-2003, 07:16 PM
You have been able to do that in AM for years. Joe and I used to do it when wee needed "quick and dirty."

We called it "Mouse Capture" :-)

jayrtfm
02-10-2003, 07:20 PM
http://www.hash.com/hashfaqs/info/animation.htm#t085
http://www.hash.com/htmlHelp/v9.5/CustomHtml/MOUSE_MOTION_CAPTURE.htm

Originally posted by KenH
I'm not sure if it's in Animation Master but this is something I saw in C4d. It's the ability to use the mouse to record movements. So, say you want to move an arm to a certain point, pause it there and then move it again you can do this interactively with the mouse. The timing will be recorded as well as the positioning of the movement. Quite puppet-like.

dfaris
02-10-2003, 08:11 PM
Cant Hash just use a renderer like lightworks? They could use this renderer without having to write code from scratch or patching the current renderer.

http://www.lightwork.com/products/lightworks/prlifr.htm

Kevin Sanderson
02-10-2003, 10:32 PM
Lightworks looks very good!

I am enamored lately with Brazil from http://www.splutterfish.com. It's the best looking renderer I've ever seen. Great glass and caustics, and I especially like what it does with its materials and shaders, especially, wax, car paint and velvet!

Whatever Hash does I hope they increase parameters for their materials and include sub surface scattering and possibly High Dynamic Range. That would bring us close to up to date for a time.

Kevin

binder3d
02-11-2003, 03:52 AM
What are the chances of getting AM to render in brazil? Brazil is amazing. I think mental ray is darned good to.

John Keates
02-11-2003, 09:23 PM
Brazil costs four times as much as AM. AM would be like a plugin for Brazil.

My Fault
02-13-2003, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by ruscler
kewl beans, and looking forward to a new and improve attitude!
way to go !!!!

Same to you, things are looking up!! :beer:

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