The C4D-NGen1-ReVision Design Brief : No More MSA's - Product Restructuring

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  08 August 2015
The C4D-NGen1-ReVision Design Brief : No More MSA's - Product Restructuring

As a Cinema 4D user since 2002 my personal thoughts are that...

Maxon needs to abandon their current system all together and completely re-develop Cinema 4D from the ground up on a new fully capable hyper-threaded instruction and GPU accelerated based engine and with capabilities that are on par or better than the competition. Integrating solid motion graphic based features, e,g proper Particle's, as well as streamlined and intelligent modelling and flexible easy to use hybrid texturing system. Integrating an easy and attractive node based system as well as streamlined and effective character based animation system. And complete rethink in how objects created are managed, controlled and displayed beyond of how it is currently, this part is particularly frustrating.

No more Maxon Service Agreements, let users pay when they want to upgrade without being penilsed for doing so.

A complete rethink in how features are provided.

Allow users to build their package to their needs from specific categories.

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Cinema 4D Standard User Version-Additional Optional Packages.


1. Animation incorporating ( Advanced Particles-Fire / Fluid, Motion Dynamics, Advanced Camera/Object Tracking ).

2. Advanced Character Toolset Animation & Hair System).

3. Texturing ( Advanced Node Based Texturing, Body-Vamp, Sketch & Toon ).


4. Modelling ( Advanced modelling rigs and additional multi-purpose modelling tools, sculpting arch-vis tools and specific third party addon's)
.

Advanced Rendering & GPU Accelerated Viewport Features-
Standard on both Standard & Advanced Product Versions.

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Cinema 4D Standard

Individual Feature Package/s To Buy Costings - See Below
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Fair Pricing Re-structuring


Cinema 4D Advanced- £1200 in VAT- Includes all packages as standard)

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Cinema 4D Standard- £650 inc VAT


No yearly subscriptions, or service agreements.

(Upgrade prices remain the same regardless of version you are on)


Standard C4D User with 1 Additional Feature Package: £400
Standard C4D User with 2 Additional Feature Package's: £325
Standard C4D User with 3 Additional Feature Package's: £250
Standard C4D User with 4 Additional Feature Package's: £175

Standard User's Option to rent packages.

On a day, per week or monthly basis.

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This is my own personal vision of how I'd like to see Maxon move to which is imop fair to general consumers both in value and features.
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Last edited by -/\-Scott-M-C4D-/\- : 08 August 2015 at 05:15 AM.
 
  08 August 2015
Business model aside, the things you mention as improvements to the program may very well (and some or most likely in fact are) in development, but to do any one of those things takes considerable time and effort. For all we know, a new node based texture setup has been in development for 2 years, but won't be up to standards and ready for another 2, for example...

The issue is, as has been discussed, (and is the one single point on which we all agree), with Maxon's silence on the issue. I for one, understand them playing things close to the vest, but I do wish they would in broad strokes at least, give some inclining. A statement like the following would do a ton toward putting the user-base at ease:

"At Maxon, we are committed to making tools for artists that are best in class, and are striving to make Cinema 4D the most powerful, intuitive, and functional piece of 3D software on the market. Reaching this goal will take time, but what we have planned to phase in over the next few releases will get close...very close. Reworked materials, texture tools, render technologies, object management, and many, many other enhancements are all on deck for some major attention. The result of this will be solutions in line with what our users have been asking us for, implemented in ways far beyond those expectations. Rest assured, we hear you."

Something this simple gives us something to hold on to, a beacon in the night, as it were. Simultaneously, it doesn't commit Maxon to a specific feature being available by a specific time, and nothing of the nature or implementation of these improvements have been leaked, so they needn't fear tipping anything of significance to the competition. It would be a total win-win, and we all go back to just focus on making art.
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  08 August 2015
No more MSAs?? lol... ain't gonna happen......
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  08 August 2015
The pricing structure is what pays for future development. I think the alternative would be a subscription model, and I'm not doing that. They have to have a way to guarantee a consistent revenue stream coming in and I see the MSA as the lesser of two evils.
 
  08 August 2015
What a vivid imagination you have

However the technology you speculate on is probably fairly close to what they've been secretly working on for years.

Pricing structure however, what you speculate on, aint going to happen.
 
  08 August 2015
Oh look, another "I want it cheaper" thread.

Why not "everything included for 50 bucks"? Or "with every purchase you get a render machine for free"? This is ridiculous. C4D is, in the long term, cheaper than Maya already (not to mention that crazy Houdini comparison). Every $$ less in the war chest means fewer developers, fewer programming hours, fewer features.

Want to have it developed remotely offshore? Not going to work out for a software of this complexity.
 
  08 August 2015
At this point I don't think this thread is necessary.

Everyone knows what the issues are now with the software, and frankly MSA would be fine if each release showed the advancement and scope of innovation people are looking for. It's when the releases become quite thin and don't address long-standing complaints that MSA starts to look not palatable.

Someone had a good post in the R17 thread before it was locked, showing the incremental cost savings of C4D over Maya, over a period of X years. That's a valid point and one most of us (myself included) have not considered until now. It further backs up the idea that while MSA is not ideal, it wouldn't really be a problem if some of these other issues were handled in each release, along with some of the other stuff that MAXON would've introduced as well.

Anyway this thread is just going to be a re-hashing of this summer's discussions about what needs to change. I think we should keep the forum focused on practical usage for now, then when R17 is actually available, if people want to discuss what works and what doesn't in the context of the new release, then that makes good sense. Because we'll have tangible insights to make into the actual product (good or bad).
 
  08 August 2015
As a user, sure, more nice modern tools and cheaper is always nicer, as is the removal of pressure to decide MSA or not, but from a financial point of view, Maxon would have to be smoking something quite strong to go down that route.

Base price: The software sells quite well at its £3500 price point, what business case is there for knocking two thirds of the price off? Sales certainly wont jump three-fold to compensate, that would just be commercial suicide and give the impression they are desperate to sell something at a discount price. I'd love it to be cheaper and more accessible, but I wouldn't do that myself.

MSA: I'm assuming you dislike this because you feel it makes Maxon put out a new version every 12 months, forcing a too short upgrade cycle? If so, that isn't really the case. C4D has been forced onto a 12 month upgrade cycle long before the MSA was a twinkle in an accountant's eye. The truth is that Maxon uses software distribution houses, it is they who demand a 12 month release cycle so that they have a continuous stream of income. If Maxon doesnt keep releases up, they would lose their preferential rates and they would begin promoting another software which offers them more income. Maybe there is a case for dropping software houses, but that would require balls of steel to chop off your own distribution network.

Pick and mix features: Ngggh, nooooooo, does nobody remember the module system? It is a nice idea, but it is frought with problems. A big one being that it starts off ok, but as the upgrades begin to flow, what happens if you decide not to update a feature but what to update the main app, do you lose that tool? do you keep an old feature in a new app? I don't think there is anything in heaven or hell that would get them to do modules again. Look at your pricelist, you have different prices for upgrades depending how many modules they own... but what if only 1 of the 4 modules gets a big update next year? What if I own the 3 that didnt get any serious attention? am I forced to pay for an update that doesnt give me much? If anything, I think c4d needs less fragmentation. We have Lite, Prime, Broadcast, Visualise, Studio, Bodypaint... Im for less combinations of features, not more.
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  08 August 2015
I have wondered recently if it wouldn't benefit everyone if Maxon phased out Prime and Visualize. Maxon would only have to focus on creating new features to make two packages happy instead of four every year, which might solve some of the MSA value complaints. People that previously had one of the phased out versions would be upset at first that they have to pay more for their MSA but hopefully they would see a higher value in the features available for their respective version.

Mash, I think we both arrived at the same conclusion more or less.

Last edited by PhoenixCG : 08 August 2015 at 03:20 PM.
 
  08 August 2015
Captain Obvious post:

MSAs provide a concrete revenue stream for the company which allows for (somewhat) accurate financial projections.
I doubt any company would ever decide to do away with that benefit.
 
  08 August 2015
Abandon and completely re-write? I think you don't know what you are talking about. It might be a truth if you say for 3dsmax but not for C4D.

C4D's internal structure is best one which i seen between many big 3d softwares. Very well structured and most stable infrastructure. When you look to others, you can't see this balance between flexibility, functionality, speed, usability. People should aware of this balance, this is key point. Otherwise you should give up somethings, maybe C4D.

Final words, it may needs some polishing but far better than most others.
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Last edited by khor : 08 August 2015 at 04:22 PM.
 
  08 August 2015
Oh, one other bit on the MSA, for many people they make their lives much easier. Depending on the studio size, many employees need to put forward requests for software upgrades to their boss. They need to write up a report outlining how the update will help them to earn money and pay for itself.... every bloody year. Often this process is so slow, that the next version is just around the corner by the time management agree to go ahead with the upgrade.

Instead, getting onto the MSA means that they are pretty much permanently locked onto quick upgrades and the company just runs it as an ongoing cost.
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  08 August 2015
Originally Posted by imashination: Oh, one other bit on the MSA, for many people they make their lives much easier. Depending on the studio size, many employees need to put forward requests for software upgrades to their boss. They need to write up a report outlining how the update will help them to earn money and pay for itself.... every bloody year. Often this process is so slow, that the next version is just around the corner by the time management agree to go ahead with the upgrade.

Instead, getting onto the MSA means that they are pretty much permanently locked onto quick upgrades and the company just runs it as an ongoing cost.

Actually the original cause for the introduction of the MSA was that quite a few bigger customers demanded something like this. In the past they had to go through a lengthy internal approval process for each and every update, with the MSA they do it once.
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  08 August 2015
Originally Posted by khor: Abandon and completely re-write?


Yeah this reminds me of a few years ago when people were screaming for Adobe to "rewrite Photoshop from the ground up". Sounds nice, makes users feel good but almost always a terrible idea for both parties (users and developers). Certain aspects of an application can and should be rewritten from time to time as technology dictates but it's not a magic cure-all. Not like all the bugs go away when you re-write. Nope, you just introduce new bugs.

 
  08 August 2015
One important aspect of software development is "fix-as-you-go". Re-writing an application like Cinema which surely has 4 to 6 million lines of source code or even more would be an enormous task. What usually happens when you want to re-new the core of an application is you develop the new core separately, and then little-by-little, bring components of the new core to replace the old components so that the current release can benefit from this development.

Looking at the improvements from the past (e.g. multithreaded deformers, application structure change with R16, SDK improvements), my best guess is that something like this is already in the works.

FunFact: The average lines-of-code per day per man/woman lies around 10.
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