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hrgiger
09-20-2008, 04:41 PM
If software developers actually let you know if they planned on continuing with software development or not.

Take Worley for example. We hear nothing from them from months and then they just show up expecting you to kiss their feet and buy what they've come up with in their time away (which admittedly we are all too glad to do most of the time). Like what's going on with Fprime? Is it going to get an update, is it going to work correctly with Lightwave again at some point and are Newtek and Worely still working to such an end. And what about Sasquatch? Nothing for the last few years. Is it ever going to be updated again? Should they keep selling something that may never be updated again? I don't have to know a single thing about what they plan to do with Fprime or Sas, I don't need details, I just want to know if they're still on the table and should or should we not invest in these programs at this point. I sold my copy of Fprime a few months ago with my other LW license and now that I upgraded my older LW license, I'm wondering whether I should buy Fprime or not. Shouldn't Worley want me to know that they plan upgrading it so that people will want to buy it? Of course, if they aren't going to develop it anymore, why would they tell us that if people will stop buying it for that reason. That's what I'm wondering about Sasquatch at this point.
I know some of you are pretty mad about dynamite.
Newtek drops hints sometimes about future developments and I think that's good practice. At least I know they're working on something. Is it too much to ask that we know which of our software or plug-ins are worthwhile investments?

JMCarrigan
09-20-2008, 06:38 PM
Yes, that would be nice. And no, it's not too much to ask.

On the other hand, some hostess Twinkies would be nice too.

GregMalick
09-20-2008, 07:32 PM
What you are asking for is very legit.
In fact I think I remember them having a NEWS menu on their website but now it's gone.

None of that bodes very well - but in order to decide on the investment I'd call their tech support and talk to a human. You'll probably get a pretty good sense from their tone of voice whether nothing much is happening. Then you can let us know. I'd say that if you tell them your considering a purchase as long as development and updates are forthcoming - they should respond with an excited affirmative. Anything less probably means they are just leading us on.

From their website:
Our office is open from 8 am to 5pm, Pacific Time.
Ordering and technical support: 650-322-7532

hrgiger
09-20-2008, 07:42 PM
Yeah, they used to have news on the old website. It didn't get updated unless something new was coming out so that could mean nothing on that page for months at a time. They also used to say on the site that they're keeping busy, but they don't have that anymore either.

cresshead
09-21-2008, 05:25 AM
it's difficult to predict the future for a customer or as a product...

the thing i run my desicion processes with is
1.do i need it 'now'
2.will i use it 'now'
3.does it exist 'now'

if those three Q's get ticked then it's worth buying it.

anyting less is just speculation on the developer's and customers part.

Lightwolf
09-21-2008, 06:05 AM
anyting less is just speculation on the developer's and customers part.
Absolutely. Especially as most LW developers do so part time, which makes it even harder to predict schedules.
Heck, I know I'm severely behind on some of the stuff I want to do, and there is plenty ahead.

I think the most you can expect is a "yes, we're committed" - anything beyond that doesn't help users (because it would be a wobbly prediction) nor developers (because it adds pressure where none is needed, in the worst case leading to an inferior product).

Cheers,
Mike

Oedo 808
09-21-2008, 08:43 AM
I think the most you can expect is a "yes, we're committed"

You're kidding right? When hrgiger took the jump to XSI it was I that bought his LW software, this included FPrime and Sasquatch. I think his point was that he'd like to know that these, in particular FPrime (I'm assuming) are still being supported and will have the current bugs ironed out before he buys it now that he is back in the LightWave fold.

I for one would love to hear "yes, we're committed".

I have heard the NewTek's policy on helping the intergration of 3rd party plug-ins is quite poor in comparison to other 3D software developers, if that is the case I think it's a bit rich for William Vaughan to make use of FPrime in the tutorial videos, I love them and have nearly watched all of them, and I'm very grateful to him for making them. But if the whispers are true, then it's a bit of a joke that I don't find very funny.

Titus
09-21-2008, 08:53 AM
Programmers form a very strange specie, it's hard to ask them to behave in a predicted way. Take Worley's example, talking with Allen Hastings I got the impression Worley likes to work on the projects he feels inspiration that day. This is because programming is his job and passion at the same time.

Asking programmers their plans is like asking companies to call you back after a job interview and tell if you were accepted or not.

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 09:00 AM
Yeah I get that, but take Sasquatch for example. Is there ever going to be anything done with it? It's been a couple years and yet it's still for sale on Worley's site and the price is still the same and hasn't received any updates. No word on if it's ever going to be improved. No mention from either Worley or Newtek that improvements that Newtek may have done on the SDK could benefit Sasqutach (unless you personally know what additions Sas would need to benefit). I like the improvements that Newtek has made on FiberFx but I gotta tell you, Sas still kicks its butt in many areas. I think between the two of them, you have a very nice hair plug-in but each of them seperately has too many limitations. Sas has internal dynamics, FX does not. Sas is limted to using shadow maps, FX is not. Sas does good grass and foliage, FX does not. FX can be used to generate guides, with Sas you have to rely soley on modelers tools. Sas renders a lot faster then FX in a lot of cases. Proton has posted some good examples of FX in the 9.5 gallery, but a lot of other peoples still aren't looking that good so I would argue that it's still easier to get natural looking hair with less tweaking of the settings in Sasquatch. I haven't seen much from it yet that's particularly realistic. But the best thing right now about FiberFX is that we know it's still being improved and it's free (with a license of Lightwave of course).
As I said, not looking for any details but would be nice to know if a software developer was even investigating the possibility of an update.

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 09:12 AM
I have heard the NewTek's policy on helping the intergration of 3rd party plug-ins is quite poor in comparison to other 3D software developers, if that is the case I think it's a bit rich for William Vaughan to make use of FPrime in the tutorial videos, I love them and have nearly watched all of them, and I'm very grateful to him for making them. But if the whispers are true, then it's a bit of a joke that I don't find very funny.

Oedo, I wouldn't go that far. I believe that Newtek does their best to work with 3rd party developers. They've brought Fprime a long way, it didn't used to render volumetrics but now it does (although there's something about the SDK that doesn't allow them to work reliably in the preview mode) and it didn't work with Nodes and it wasn't long after 9 came out that Newtek provided the hooks to allow FPrime to see nodal shaders. But now there are newer nodes that don't work with Fprime and some of the ones that used to work now don't. I would just love to know that Newtek and Worley are working towards the goal of making Fprime take advantage of as much of Lightwave as it can. I'm also hoping that Newtek is going to resolve the issues with the SDK at some point to allow 3rd party programs to access all of Lightwave's features.
And as far as William using Fprime...Fprime is still incredibly useful. Once you get up and running with your new system, you'll see it. It's a preview tool like no other. For setting up lighting, it's gold by itself. Works fine with regular layered textures and animation as well. Near real-time monte carlo radiosity is no joke. Supposedly, Newtek is still working on their parallel changeover of the codebase. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but Newtek has to know just how important Fprime is to a LOT of it's users. More then a handful of people I've heard here on Newtek have said the ONE reason they stick with Lightwave is because of Fprime. I'm sure that Newtek is well aware of it.

Titus
09-21-2008, 09:12 AM
It seems like revealing your plans early gives your competition an advantage, so complanies don't do that.

IMO only open source project do what you are asking. I love how Blender development works, they have a five stage dev. cycle open to the public, at the first stage they outline what they like for the next version and they move until they get at that point, always open to everyone.

Tom Wood
09-21-2008, 09:17 AM
The neverending story of software development was a whole new mindspace for me when I decided to get into this. I'm an architect, the parts we use don't change much over long periods of time. We take it for granite. :D

But if you want to be -really- annoyed at your software, try blogging with an open source program that uses a multitude of plugins. At any given time most of them are out of date, or the developer just lost interest. WTF? But I do appreciate the fact that it's simply a fast moving world, and it's my job to keep up if I want to play.

That rant off my chest, I doubt commercial software developers would want to telegraph their next move to their competitors.

EDIT: LOL Titus, BMTA

Titus
09-21-2008, 09:19 AM
Pixar usually gives their customers an advance of the plans for RenderMan, but sometimes even they correct the path of development. I remember when they announced something called co-shaders, some sort of GPU driven realtime shaders. Then last year the new RenderMan version had co-shaders and it was a very different stuff, nothing related to GPU.

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 09:22 AM
That rant off my chest, I doubt commercial software developers would want to telegraph their next move to their competitors.

EDIT: LOL Titus, BMTA

People always assume that revealing their plans are going to hurt them. What about keeping the customers that see developments happening with other packages and wish something was happening with theirs. Did you see Luxology using the preview renderer at Siggraph this year rendering a billion and a half polygons just as fast as Fprime renders a room lit with radiosity? I rest my case.

Dexter2999
09-21-2008, 09:24 AM
the thing i run my desicion processes with is
1.do i need it 'now'
2.will i use it 'now'
3.does it exist 'now'


On the other hand, as a user, if "I need it 'now'", I usually find it is too late to really learn a plug in with the depth of something like Sasquatch. Some things I prefer to have because I know I will need it in the future. Then give myself some time to learn.

I don't need RealFlow "now". But I don't think I want to wait for the day that someone wants me to use it to decide to buy it and learn it.

And in the case of something like Volumedic, having the plug and being competent with it, is what brings in the work. So in that instance, it is a "cart-horse" set up.

Lightwolf
09-21-2008, 09:25 AM
You're kidding right?
Nope.


I think his point was that he'd like to know that these, in particular FPrime (I'm assuming) are still being supported and will have the current bugs ironed out before he buys it now that he is back in the LightWave fold.

I for one would love to hear "yes, we're committed".

Exactly, and that's as much as you can realistically get - at the same time, that is something that you can and should expect as well :)

I suppose one of the reasons for the (FPrime) delay is that LW is very much a moving target at the moment. LW 9.5 out (Windows only), 9.5.1 coming up (with an OSX version), plenty of SDK changes (and they do affect FPrime to a large degree). It does make sense for him to wait until the dust settles - which also means that predictions as to what will happen when are hard to make (and not entirely in his hands either).

Cheers,
Mike

Lightwolf
09-21-2008, 09:28 AM
Did you see Luxology using the preview renderer at Siggraph this year rendering a billion and a half polygons just as fast as Fprime renders a room lit with radiosity? I rest my case.
I also saw them show a tech demo with particles and a motion captured character ages ago - none of which made it into the product yet.
Can I rest my case as well? :D

Cheers,
Mike

Lightwolf
09-21-2008, 09:29 AM
Some things I prefer to have because I know I will need it in the future.
In that case you qualify for "need it now", you need it now to practise.

Cheers,
Mike

Oedo 808
09-21-2008, 09:32 AM
Yeah, guess I've just got a bit of excess pressure to vent having had my PC fail.

It just seemed like a few were OK with there being not much info available on this kind of thing, it's a circular attitude, there probably isn't much info because people are content to be left in the dark in the first place.

As for William Vaughan, I certainly don't mean to throw any mud at him personally, he's being feeding my LightWave addiction since in the absence of a system that can run it, I'm probably 4/5 of the way through, I'm going to go mad if I finish them and still don't have a system to experiment on.

On the bright side I never would have had the discipline to go through them had it not be for my recent system failure. Anyway, thanks again to William for the tutorials.

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 11:05 AM
I also saw them show a tech demo with particles and a motion captured character ages ago - none of which made it into the product yet.


The keyword being yet. At least we know they're working on it and have at least got it working internally. For all I know, all that Worley is working on is his golf game. Newtek for example has at least told us that they've done tests with doing vertex animation in Lightwave. We don't have it and may not for some time, but I like knowing that they're looking at it. That's all I'm looking for.

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 11:08 AM
You'll at least have the best of both worlds Oedo. You'll have Sasquatch and you'll have FiberFx for hair. Both can do some things that the other can't. If you want grass right now, you'll want Sas, but if you want to work with more then just shadowmaps with hair (which are very limiting), then you'll like FiberFX. Proton has posted a lot of examples in the 9.5 gallery (and I just posted a few there myself), have a look. And if Worley does ever come out with a Sas 2, it'll be a cheap upgrade for you if you want it.

Lightwolf
09-21-2008, 11:44 AM
The keyword being yet. At least we know they're working on it and have at least got it working internally.
True, but what practical implication does it have for your needs now? None.

I do a gree though, a simple "working on it..." would do wonders.

Cheers,
Mike

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 12:28 PM
I do a gree though, a simple "working on it..." would do wonders.

Cheers,
Mike

It's all i ask. But honestly, I don't even need to hear that. I just want to hear "we're thinking about looking at the possibility of tinkering with the idea of working on it". True, it's not much, but it's more then what we have now.

creativecontrol
09-21-2008, 01:26 PM
I think hrgiger is making a very valid point. If I know that a certain software package is being actively developed and it's something I like and use, I'll likely wait a bit for an update. If I don't know, I'll find another solution and probably never return as a customer.

If there is no response or news from a company (Worely is a great example) it is easy to assume he just doesn't care and is half heartedly working on it at best, or perhaps not working on it at all. In any case it would be nice to know!

It think not keeping customers updated is very poor business practice. But then if he just doesn't care, then I guess he just doesn't care, not much we can do. This lack of communication is exactly why I don't purchase from him anymore, which is a shame.

lardbros
09-21-2008, 02:06 PM
I agree, it would be nice to hear what is being worked on, like we did way before 9 came out. Yes, some of these didn't appear, as i'm sure the plans changed for the better in the long run. But, it would be great to know that things are heading in the right direction. I know Chuck and Jay pop their heads in around here to offer reassurance sometimes, which is good, although i still want more info.

Maybe Newtek are slightly reluctant to do this because of previous info releases telling us about new stuff, and then when it doesn't appear, the forums are full of bad remarks on lightwave's marketing and things.

My opinion on this is that, if one comment or press release can stop a person making that jump to a rival software package, then that's a good thing. (but only if the news is actually going to happen, vapourware would just piss people off). I worry sometimes that Newtek don't boast about capability enough. I mean, if you read the Autodesk releases, they boast about things that have just changed very slightly, or things that have been changed, and are worse than they were before.

geothefaust
09-21-2008, 02:19 PM
lardbros, that is something I actually like about NT. I like how they don't boast about their features. Modesty can go a long way. Now, I'm not saying don't tell us about something, because I too like to hear something about development or a particular direction they may be going. But modesty is certainly something autodesk does not have. They boast if they add the smallest feature, such as a dog feces shaped primitive, for example. :p

lardbros
09-21-2008, 02:27 PM
lardbros, that is something I actually like about NT. I like how they don't boast about their features. Modesty can go a long way. Now, I'm not saying don't tell us about something, because I too like to hear something about development or a particular direction they may be going. But modesty is certainly something autodesk does not have. They boast if they add the smallest feature, such as a dog feces shaped primitive, for example. :p

I agree, modesty is a good trait, in a person. But from a marketing point of view, for a company, a bit of boasting is always needed. I just wish Newtek had boasted about f-prime at siggraph when it came out. People would have gone crazy!!

Anyway, I don't like the way Autodesk works because i don't like the way they aren't actually developing the software the way their users want it. (3dsmax anyway, everyone i know hates the way it's going, including me.)
But if Newtek were to boast about a few things, i'd just feel a small "go newtek, go" come out from inside of me. I think things have changed in recent months, with the website change and these latest updates, things are getting better.

cresshead
09-21-2008, 02:29 PM
lardbros, that is something I actually like about NT. I like how they don't boast about their features. Modesty can go a long way. Now, I'm not saying don't tell us about something, because I too like to hear something about development or a particular direction they may be going. But modesty is certainly something autodesk does not have. They boast if they add the smallest feature, such as a dog feces shaped primitive, for example. :p

autodesk also 'boast' when they add Big features as well..:D
like> muscles, 3d viewport/rendering, realtime ipr etc.

lardbros
09-21-2008, 02:31 PM
autodesk also 'boast' when they add Big features as well..:D
like> muscles, 3d viewport/rendering, realtime ipr etc.

Okay, i was mainly talking about max. I can understand boasting about maya, because they are adding some very impressive features and overall it is a great piece of software. But 3ds max still gets boasted about when i personally think that they haven't added anything of substance for the past 3yrs.

bobakabob
09-21-2008, 02:36 PM
Hmmm, case study: XSI Foundation. Remember the hype that it would continue to be developed as a serious app blah?

You do wonder about the communication skills of some software companies. The websites are like mausoleums but curiously the PayPal links always spring to life.

But even if they told you they were alive and well, rewriting the core architecture and adding new features would it make things better? Could you ever put your healthy scepticism on hold and believe 'em?

IMO Newtek strike a good balance between drip feeding news and maintaining quiet dignity.

mccabejc
09-21-2008, 03:01 PM
Folks, this is what I hate about plugins. Keep in mind that (I'm guessing) most plugin developers do this as a part time thing to make a few bucks. They are typically one-man shows, having to deal with revisions of the main app, find time to write code, etc. And if they're like most code jockeys, they mainly do it because they like writing code and seeing it do cool stuff. They're not sales people, nor marketing people, nor good communicators. And we've all seen where suddenly they're gone, graduating from school, or getting a real job, or whatever. And unlike Newtek, they usually have no responsibility for continuing support or development when they move on to other things.

Not much different than the argument that those contractors that work on your house are typically guys who were pretty good at building stuff as kids, but have no clue about running a business or how to do customer service.

I hate plugins, for this and other reasons. I'd much rather have LW build those features in from the get-go. Honestly, we've been complaining about guys like Worley and his lack of presence for many years now, and nothing changes.

So if you want plugins, this is what you get.

Lightwolf
09-21-2008, 04:26 PM
So if you want plugins, this is what you get.
It is a two-sided sword. LW has few pro developers because it doesn't have a large plugin market to start with.
So, cynically, one could say LW users get the plugin market they "deserve" (playing the devil's advocate here).
One the other hand, we do have people like Steve Worley who almost single handedly saved LW from getting trashed by a certain amount of users (and gave us something that was way ahead at the time).

One thing you'll never see is everything you want included out of the box. There'll always be issues that third parties will solve. Maybe only for a niche (VoluMedic), but essential nonetheless.

Cheers,
Mike
P.S. And yes, the plugin market for some of the other platforms is quite different.

JVitale
09-21-2008, 05:30 PM
FX can be used to generate guides, with Sas you have to rely soley on modelers tools.

Not really, you can use Fiber FX strand modeler to generate strands, then use the strands with Sasquatch...this is one way Fiber FX has improved Sasquatch...I've tried it, it works...

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 05:52 PM
Not really, you can use Fiber FX strand modeler to generate strands, then use the strands with Sasquatch...this is one way Fiber FX has improved Sasquatch...I've tried it, it works...

Yes, I hadn't considered that. Although to be fair, it never really bothered me that we made our own guides with Sasquatch. What bothered me the most was shadows with Sasquatch and shadow maps.

Wade
09-21-2008, 07:02 PM
LWCAD 3 is now out and Victor did a fair job of letting folks know what was in the works... :)

Jim M
09-21-2008, 07:30 PM
There is probably a longer list of good developers and developer relations than otherwise...

Q: Is the glass half full or half empty
A: Master, don't be so stupid, it is both.

hrgiger
09-21-2008, 07:48 PM
LWCAD 3 is now out and Victor did a fair job of letting folks know what was in the works... :)

More then that, he actually answers my emails when I write him to ask him stuff about what may or may not be coming.

geothefaust
09-21-2008, 09:53 PM
No doubts there, I suppose. A little bit more from NewTek does get me to give a little "Go NewTek" out of me too. :p

HR, Viktor is quick to email responses. I emailed him to let him know his registration page was down, and literally no more then 15 minutes later I got a response saying it was back up and to try again. That man is on the ball. :)

DiedonD
09-22-2008, 03:57 AM
No doubts there, I suppose. A little bit more from NewTek does get me to give a little "Go NewTek" out of me too. :p

HR, Viktor is quick to email responses. I emailed him to let him know his registration page was down, and literally no more then 15 minutes later I got a response saying it was back up and to try again. That man is on the ball. :)

Hey Javis

I agree, Victor and Andrew too. These guys are way to serious. Dealing with their plugins from dusk to dawn literarily every day, and Ive seen him online working on Saturdays and even once on Sundays!!

I mean its in the blood to get into it and boost the plugin.
I wish I had that simple life and time to concentrate on one thing whole day everyday. Gets selfulfillled and payed for it, as well as incredible cutomser service.

How incredible? "Your works is completely lost to electric failure huh, give the file to me and Ill put it back together for you and for free" - INCREDIBLE.

hrgiger
09-22-2008, 11:51 AM
Well, I did email Worley today because I am kind of wanting another license of Fprime but I wanted to know if they were still working on it. It probably wouldn't be good form to post what he wrote but I'll just say that they are working on an update to Fprime so that's good news, right?

Oedo 808
09-22-2008, 12:12 PM
If someone were to be of a suspicious mind they might conclude that the difference between your previously not getting an answer and your latterly getting one, is that in one scenario it involves them getting a few hundred bucks richer.

Thankfully I'm nowhere near so cynical.

As someone who already holds a license, I'm sure that a response to my email is on it's way also.

Oedo 808
09-22-2008, 02:17 PM
Thankfully I'm nowhere near so cynical.

As someone who already holds a license, I'm sure that a response to my email is on it's way also.

And indeed it has arrived. To those of you who doubted it, shame on you. ;)