Hash is Listening and Wants to Hear More

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  01 January 2003
Hash is Listening and Wants to Hear More

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.

  01 January 2003
  01 January 2003
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.
  01 January 2003
Thumbs down

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).
  01 January 2003
Ok, I will mention those!

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

  01 January 2003
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.
  01 January 2003
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?
  01 January 2003
Quote: 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.

  01 January 2003
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?

  01 January 2003
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!

  01 January 2003

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
  01 January 2003
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.

Last edited by Hookflash : 01 January 2003 at 04:31 AM.
  01 January 2003
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.
  01 January 2003
feature request...

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!
William Sutton
Zandoria Studios
  01 January 2003
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.
I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered!
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