View Full Version : This one is for the LW old timers

05-21-2004, 01:17 AM
There is so much doom and gloom on this site about the future of LightWave that I just have to ask these questions:

Has there always been so much doom and gloom about LW? Is the LW development cycle a roller coaster ride of huge ups and downs. From what I've gathered 6 was a huge step for LW, 7 was a step, and 8 is a small step. Will 9 be the big leap? Does NewTek make huge strides by a .5 release?

The way people talk around here they either seem to believe that LW was always a piece of catch-up work, or the "perfect hammer". I don't buy either of those stories though...

I'm not part of the doom and gloom pack, I like LW and the LW community. I bought LW a few years ago knowing that it was the program I wanted to grow with as an independent freelance artist and just want to know when we should expect "big things". I plan on sticking around...unless the most expensive flavors of XSI come down to LW's price (and no the cheapest versions don't cut it for me at all) and that's never going to happen.

I'm wanting some old timers (LW 5 or earlier please) here that'll give me an even keel view on the development history of LW and realisticly what they think's going to happen between now and 9.5.

Have there always been so many people posting stuff about other programs all the time? Has the community changed in the last year?

Any wisdom (besides the better wisdom that says not to post crap like this) will be received with open arms (and mind),

05-21-2004, 02:04 AM
I started with 3DStudio R1 (DOS), started LW at 3 and switched completely when MAX4 came out. In the old days the only communication was over bulletin boards and mainly by people who liked to hear their voice. But support from the Yost group (the first developers of MAX) was allright. I only posted when I really really had a big problem (which was once I think), and in that case I was very very grateful for the possibilities BBS's had.

I think the real complaining started when internet and forums matured, so more people were talking. For me they offer 99% amusement and from the remaining 1% there is a part that is quite useful. The bad thing is that I'm addicted to this little part and therefore I have to read and search the forums the keep uptodate. When using software professionally i don't really care that much about bugs or missing features, because in the last 15 years I found 100's of workarounds and other solutions; but I think that's only because the old softwares didn't offer as many features as they do now. Now if LW doesn't do what I want I just jump to another package, but I don't think I'll ever switch permanently, because it's just the most intuitive, user-friendly software I've used (and I used them ALL). I also have a passion for XSI, but for the work I do (Large Scale Arch.Viz.) this is just overkill. MAX has a lot of features which I would like to see in LW, but even with VRay, Brazil, RPC, etc. it still doesn't match LW in overall speed (it's not only rendering that counts). I must say that I'm using FormZ for modeling: 10 square miles of property-development is just not LW's thing....:)

05-21-2004, 02:53 AM
Originally posted by wacom
There is so much doom and gloom on this site about the future of LightWave that I just have to ask these questions:

Has there always been so much doom and gloom about LW?

In a nutshell? Yes!
For some reason, which I have yet to decipher, there are people out there who feel it is there purpose in life to slam every release of LW, even prior to said release.
Notice I said every release, because some of those folks are still around, doing exactly the same with LW8. If it was so bad, you would think they would have moved on by now.
I think, fundementally, it is because Newtek are approachable that folsk seem to think by buying the software, they are suddenly able to act like shareholders, wanting to know and control how Newtek do things.

I'd put even money on the same crap happening when the next version comes out.
Rather like film and art critics, one should ignore these sort of things and make you own mind up.
When the DE version comes out, folks can use it and make a choice, for some of us, the deals Newtek provides and the power of LW make that choice a no-brainer.

I pre-ordered, and whilst frustrated at the wait, I'm really happy with LW8 and am sure by the time the final 'point' release is done, there will be plenty of folks out there who will be just the same.

Sure, it ain't perfect, but then, no software is, after 25 years in the software industry, I think I can say that with some conviction. :D

05-21-2004, 08:18 AM
Since starting with 3 on the AMIGA (which STILL RULES by the way:D ) I would agree somewhat with trick.
At a screaming 300 baud, there wasn't much to complain about (as not many had even THAT much connection) so you were juct about talking to yourself.
And back then who else WAS there to compare LW to. Imagine?
3D was all new, anything you got was a WOWer, so not much to complain about there either.

Then the internet cranked up with the advent of 14400.
More people were on, and as always, with more people comes more complaining.

Other 3D programs came into being, so there was something else to compare too.

Also the DOOM AND GLOOM started with the fall of the Amiga for Newtek.
As the Amiga goes, so goes Newtek.

Now the thing is,

If LW ISN'T unified, people will move in droves to the other 1 App programs.

Yes, the old timers have heard it all, same regurgitation, different items.

Also in the 'old' days there was 1 computer that LW ran on, The Amiga (which STILL RULES by the way:D ) so it was easy to write for the equipment that LW had to work with.
Now there are any number of combinations of computer parts that can be assembled into 1 computer, so there are any number of 'different' computers that LW has to work with now.
So complaints about it not working on a specific combination of parts is to be expected.

But why ARE the 'old timers' still here?

If you could get your hands on a video called 'Freedom' from Newtek, you'd understand why.

Tim Jennison brought us a program that makes money, (more than the investment), so we stick with him.
People are STILL making money with the AMIGA (which STILL RULES, by the way:D ) and the Toaster/Flyer, (mine for example) so it isn't manditory to upgrade to make money ,(tho I did with the VT for the PC (which sucks by the way:D ).

And the help from Newtek is head and shoulders above anyone else.

OOPS....I'm rambeling;)

05-21-2004, 09:14 AM
And back then who else WAS there to compare LW to. Imagine? LOL! Now THAT was a program you could complain about. :D I started on and stuck with Imagine longer than I should have; I complained about stuff, and when it was clear that things weren't going to change (I even had a discussion with the owner of the company about it), I switched. Lightwave was like a religious experience after that. :eek: :eek: :eek:

Maybe the chronic complainers don't know how much worse things could be?


05-21-2004, 10:17 AM
One thing you have to remember about forums is they're mostly there to support people. This means they usually have a problem, and this can lead to complaints. If you don't have a problem you can't fix yourself, you don't post... Unless to help someone else with their problem. Thus Forums can be overly negative, if you check out any forum you'll see that.

Plus people mostly like to complain more than they like to do something about it. My mate did an experiment a couple of days ago. It's summer now, and if the air conditioning isn't on, it can get very warm in our offices. He usually switches it on as he comes in, so the offfice is nice and cool the rest of the day. He decided to see what would happen if he didn't do anything. Sure enough, rather than call down to reception to get it turned on, the people in his room complained as the room got hotter and hotter, till he called down to get it switched on.

Human nature I guess.

05-21-2004, 11:31 AM
Originally posted by Dodgy
Sure enough, rather than call down to reception to get it turned on, the people in his room complained as the room got hotter and hotter, till he called down to get it switched on.

Human nature I guess.

That's about as good an example as you could get! ;)
I see the same thing in our offices, sometimes, our very nature is our biggest problem. Still, what would folks complain about if everything was perfect? :p

John Fornasar
05-21-2004, 06:39 PM
Yes, on the early bulletin boards, then the newsgroups.
I also remember the same pattern that is evident here - right before a new release of LW or another 3D, there is a slew of new board members screaming about inadequacies in the program, etc. (Check out the "nasty" threads that were on this board right before last years SIG.) Then they drop away.

A few more thoughts:
In the mid 90's, workarounds were not considered a "patch", but a way to do new procedures.
I think anyone new to LW should try to obtain a copy of "The Lightwave 3D Book" a compilation of articles from the old LightWavePro magazine. It was the LW community that hooked me on LightWave. Right after a new Babylon 5, StarTrek or the submarine show (Deep something, I forget now), the LW artist that came up with a new technique would show how he did it. This (as far as I know) was not available for any other 3D program.

Loads of the early LW pros gave their techniques out constantly. Tons of Alan Chan tips, etc. One of Dan Ablans early techniques for logos rising out of water is still being used today (or at least the look of it - check out the "Park Group" logo on PBS).

There is nothing wrong with feature requests, and even a bit o' bitchin now and again, but you have to wonder why the non-constructive whiners don't move on to a different program.

05-22-2004, 02:34 AM
Exactly, it's OUR JOB to figure out how to do things. Work arounds are part of it. No software does everything you want, you have to make it do it. Okay other software might do it easier in some fashion, but you still have to make it work with the resources you have.

05-22-2004, 06:14 AM
Originally posted by Dodgy
...Okay other software might do it easier...

I'm not to say LW is the best, but the only software I know of that does things EASIER is notepad :D

05-22-2004, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by John Fornasar
There is nothing wrong with feature requests, and even a bit o' bitchin now and again, but you have to wonder why the non-constructive whiners don't move on to a different program.

A hearty AMEN to that brother! ;)
Yup, in the past, workaround were even considered cool, after all, look at the spinning light trick.
Now everyone wants to know how to use it and apply it to their work and yet, that itself is a workaround to faster soft-shadows and a fake semi-radiosity look.

Heck, Erikki Halkka has practically made it a feature, who amongst us doesn't have Plugpak on their system? :D

05-22-2004, 09:35 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like some of the problems come from people who compare Lightwave, a program that is very good for independent artists and designers, to programs which are more centered around studio work. Don't get me wrong, I think it can flow both ways (LW as a studio pipeline program...others for the loan freelancer).

I don't want to work for a big studio personally. I like having control over my work, and that means a lot more than just what the computer does with IK solutions. Prices of my work, the content, the abliity to work closley with clients and my audience, what parts I focus on etc. For some working at Pixar would be a dream- for me it would be a nightmare.

And so it seems that some people are born more of the old VT days- the "F-the big studio I'll do it on my own" mentatlity, and some are of the "...I want to be part of the 'winning' team."
Some like to look down their nose as others and others like to thumb it at the ones looking down.

Am I wrong in my observations?

On a side note: I find the people who think that NewTek doesn't listen rather funny. There are only so many resources to go around at a company, and just because every feature doesn't make it into a release doesn't mean it wont ever be there. NewTek wants to please its customers, and even in the 8 release they included many of the most requested new features from 7.5. Its so funny how many people requested in poll after poll to have better a dynamics systems, and then when 8 came out the weren't even talking about it. Do these people use these things, or do they just look at the "feature list" of a rival program and then demand those features?

BTW the new dynamics are headed in the right direction and work much better than before. No real big holes to be patched, just some smoothing of the rinkles IMHO.

05-22-2004, 01:56 PM
Doom and Gloom isn't just on thie LW board. It on other software boards as well.

Take it from this old timer who's been with LW since the Amiga 2000, get a group of people together and some will complain.

BTW- LW 4 has worked so well for me using work-arounds, I just upgraded to 7.5 in early 03.

jin choung
05-22-2004, 11:13 PM

i can speak for myself at least....

i started in 3dstudio version 4 and then when faced with a choice from going to MAX or lightwave 5, i chose lw because it felt like the DOS app that i came from!

if you look at the older posts, during the 5.6 days, i was very very very positive. really!

at the time, it was as good or better than anything out there and since the only things to compare against were apps that were completely priced out of our ability to even consider, comparisons to those apps were ludicrous anyways.

remember, back then, on the 'affordable front' was max and lw and hash - and lw had marked advantages.

it might not have had the greatest character animation abilities back then but at least it was a good value in that you could do what you want without another thousand dollar plugin like max (and this today is still a vestigial remnant that makes max a very very bad value... everybody uses character studio if they use max so if you don't you're on an island... bad).

fast forward to today:


newtek made a big thing about how version 6 was a radical address of the core architecture. but it just don't feel like it. DOES IT? it is still very much the DOS-LIKE app that i appreciated in the 'old days'!

the big additions seemed to be uv and other vertex maps (which lw was tackling as a REMEDIAL issue!!! i mean really, who the f doesn't have uv maps?!?! [and this is still an issue that plagues lw users today.... many still don't get what the hell they are!]) as well as the new renderer features (which really were cutting edge). and evidently, something was done in the architecture that facilitated every function becoming a plugin basically and being dumped into CONSTRUCTION>ADDITIONAL.

and i'll say it again because i always do and it makes us the retarded children of the 3d world:

instead of the descriptive tabs MODIFY and MULTIPLY, we get additional but completely non-descriptive CONSTRUCTION and DETAIL... wtf? really.... seriously... whoever came up with the names of those tabs should be dragged out and beaten with a switch.... bad interface designer! bad interface designer! no biscuit!!!

but also during that time, power animator morphed into maya and because of apps like max and lw, dropped their price. XSI evolved from SI and just like maya, dropped their price so that they are well within striking distance to lightwave.

MAX has continued to evolve but it's architecture was pretty modern to begin with... but it remains a very bad value.

so we now have a competitive and affordable group and we are the holding up the tail end of the technology train.

and that does indeed invite comparison. hey, who DOESN'T comparison shop? my momma tol' me, you gotta shop around... right?!

if you don't that's just irresponsible consumerism!

and need i say that competition is healthy and good for the consumer? this is all good stuff.

also, the market and community has changed DRASTICALLY.

cinefx used to talk about optical printers and lead weighted models being shot with high speed cameras.

there used to be no such thing as popular 3d magazines read by 'the masses'.

unless you live in a newtek bubble, you can't help but be exposed to the other apps and their conventions...

and this natural EVOLUTION has created a notion of STANDARDS... those things that we expect EVERYBODY should do.

the fact that lw doesn't have edges is just plain anachronistic.

it's like refusing to place the acceleration pedal on the right....

and there are other ways in which lw unhelpfully bucks convention WITHOUT BENEFIT. (os specific windowing and such... the absence of 'scroll bars' and such when necessary is just a primitive-*** nuisance)

if you are a freelancer or do your own thing, then being on an island, without a shred of attention being paid to 'convention' or 'standards' is fine and DANDY!

but most of us work in environments where coming from an island is a huge disadvantage.

in today's world, lw has to conform and play nice with others. if you play on an island, your relevance in the great wide world of 3d becomes greatly diminished.



what really invites the tirades are the CHEERLEADERS.

you talk about the NAYSAYERS and the negative people... but then you also have a group of pie in the sky optimists who couldn't see a flaw if it bit their genitals off!

especially for 8's release, they were out in force saying 'no!!! it's not just free plugins!!! it's more integrated dude!!! it's like not a .p dude!!! it's all different!!!'

since the initial p.r., newtek made good with including non free plugins like brak's ROUNDER... and essentially, this whole development cycle was a move that reflected the radical changing of the guard at newtek. the development team was brand spanking new and they needed a time to coalesce.

that's fine.

but i really honestly don't think any of this was conveyed very well and i got the impression of a smoke screen with a bunch of cheerleaders adding to the confusion.

that soured me and i was as negative as i've ever been during the 8 release because of this. and i suspect that whatever negativity you're still fielding on the forums could be in large part a backlash from that.

also, i've wrote in quite a bit on things that would have improved lw. i really am gratified in that it seems that some things were indeed adopted too.

but there are so many times when i see a new feature that nobody or their mother would have asked for instead of some sensible development and i just can't but shake my head in disgust.

so i have been soured.


i'm definitely hopeful for the new team. if deuce's responses are any indication of the condition of the rest of the team, i am convinced that they UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES (very important) and i'm more than willing to give them a fair shot.

and i do believe that after the initial 8 announcement flurry, my tone is much more positive.


05-23-2004, 04:12 AM
Originally posted by wacom
some are of the "...I want to be part of the 'winning' team."
Some like to look down their nose as others and others like to thumb it at the ones looking down.

Am I wrong in my observations?

No, I don't think you are, though I think there are several studios who love LW and it is very much part of their workflow, I think there are many, especially the people wanting to "make it big", that think they must deride anything that isn't XSI/MAYA as not being "serious". It's like, oohh, it's a BMW, it MUST be good, why? The daft thing is, everyone goes for it, but someone driving a BMW doesn't make them a better driver than someone driving a Skoda, just more money is all.

The thing that fascinates me is just how much time these people spend doing this sort of thing, surely if they love the other packages so, they should be devoting this time to learning it? That's just a behavioural trait I find very unusual, I guess there must be something about LW that they feel the need to attack it, does it's very presence in the market make them feel uneasy I wonder? ;)

There is the old cliche, "it's the artist, not the tool", but it's the truth, there is some beautiful work out there, done using freeware or 'low-end' packages. Then again, these folks say "ahh, but it would be so much better in Maya!" - You don't know that for sure, the artist may prefer their medium. Let's face it, "traditional" artists don't all use large canvas oil painting, what about pastels, pencils, pen & ink etc..
Sometimes, what suits you is best, not what is the most expensive, complex and powerful.

When people talk about how things have changed and how far behind LW is, that it isn't yet getting what is considered "basic" by most other packages, I wonder why stay with LW? It's not like many of us don't see the failings of LW, sure, they are there, but there is a difference between putting feature requests in and polite enquires VS the continual threads of how LW\NT has missed the boat.
As someone who has spent his life programming software, I can assure you, wanting to add a feature and being able to fit it in, is quite a different ball-game.

If Newtek had the time, money and resources, sure, there would be more in LW, but to sustain a larger corporation would no doubt invlove a price hike. Then folks would be "but is was so cheap, Newtek shouldn't raise the price".

I wonder if people apply this logic to their whole life?
Sound absurd, I just don't get it, either use it or lose it.
I don't see that say car mechanics would complain about certain tools not being good enough, they just pick what they need and get on with the job. I think that is what people seem to miss, just get on with it.

Like I say, LW has its faults, the choice is yours as to work around them, or move on, but there is a gulf between wanting improvements and spending you life complaining, it only leads to more stress, and no-one needs any more of that.

Here endeth the ramblings of an old fart! :p

05-23-2004, 10:27 AM
I use to think you were a LW basher Jin, but then I noticed a big diffrence between your posts and the "basher" posts: you've dealt with paticular issues and wanted to know why and how they could work in LW.

Some people think it's constructive to just say "LW sucks cause XYZ has ABC." Followed by a link to the products feature page. This just looks like *****'n to a developer. These people are so lazy they can't even take the time to write a real feature request.

You, and a few others, on the other hand get at the root of things you want and detail how they work in other packages, and what might need to be changed to get LW to work with it. At least you try and engadge the community and the developers. I think this is a healthy way of doing things.

Tossing people into the fire and holding thier feet to it are two very diffrent things. NewTek is having it's feet held to the fire by too few, and attempts to throw it into the fire by many. I think the few people who called them on it are the ones who got them to say "sorry". DFX+, RealViZ, UVedit Pro...pre-release versions to the hardcore (which didn't go well)- these were some big sorrys. Next time there needs to be no sorrys. I hope they don't tell people when something is going to be out, and instead give a rough roadmap with just a few key features in it and make people wait.

Anyway- as I've said before, I don't always agree with how you say things Jin, but in the end I like what you're saying.