High ongoing cost, relatively low "improvements".

Started by jwiede, July 24, 2018, 06:22:28 pm

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archonforest

Quote from: jwiede on July 26, 2018, 01:08:59 pm
Having problems replying to the thread, every time I press "Quote" to reply to a post, enter my reply, and either press "Post" or "Preview", either the forum kicks me to an (empty) "New Topic" form, or stops responding altogether. 

Anyone else encountering such issues?


I saw today about 50 new threads started up from a chinese address within minutes. Hopefully they are not hacking the forum. I reported this to PS so they can check this out.
Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd

WASasquatch

Quote from: archonforest on July 26, 2018, 03:23:09 pm
Quote from: jwiede on July 26, 2018, 01:08:59 pm
Having problems replying to the thread, every time I press "Quote" to reply to a post, enter my reply, and either press "Post" or "Preview", either the forum kicks me to an (empty) "New Topic" form, or stops responding altogether. 

Anyone else encountering such issues?


I saw today about 50 new threads started up from a chinese address within minutes. Hopefully they are not hacking the forum. I reported this to PS so they can check this out.


Wait, really now? This happened to my friends forum and CMS overnight while he slept. Literally hundreds of accounts all from China, using paid security too.
Check out my Terragen Discord: https://discord.gg/Vy5FRTE

archonforest

Quote from: WASasquatch on July 26, 2018, 03:33:36 pm
Quote from: archonforest on July 26, 2018, 03:23:09 pm
Quote from: jwiede on July 26, 2018, 01:08:59 pm
Having problems replying to the thread, every time I press "Quote" to reply to a post, enter my reply, and either press "Post" or "Preview", either the forum kicks me to an (empty) "New Topic" form, or stops responding altogether. 

Anyone else encountering such issues?


I saw today about 50 new threads started up from a chinese address within minutes. Hopefully they are not hacking the forum. I reported this to PS so they can check this out.


Wait, really now? This happened to my friends forum and CMS overnight while he slept. Literally hundreds of accounts all from China, using paid security too.


It happened some hours ago.
Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd

WASasquatch

Quote from: archonforest on July 26, 2018, 03:35:36 pm
Quote from: WASasquatch on July 26, 2018, 03:33:36 pm
Quote from: archonforest on July 26, 2018, 03:23:09 pm
Quote from: jwiede on July 26, 2018, 01:08:59 pm
Having problems replying to the thread, every time I press "Quote" to reply to a post, enter my reply, and either press "Post" or "Preview", either the forum kicks me to an (empty) "New Topic" form, or stops responding altogether. 

Anyone else encountering such issues?


I saw today about 50 new threads started up from a chinese address within minutes. Hopefully they are not hacking the forum. I reported this to PS so they can check this out.


Wait, really now? This happened to my friends forum and CMS overnight while he slept. Literally hundreds of accounts all from China, using paid security too.


It happened some hours ago.


Ehh hopefully not hacked. I have literally MBs of logs to go through. And because he insists on using one MySQL server for CMS, forum and payment system, the log file for MySQL is even larger. So much was accessed. So far doesn't seem anything was phished and no access to physical server.
Check out my Terragen Discord: https://discord.gg/Vy5FRTE

Prometheus

July 26, 2018, 04:02:12 pm #19 Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 04:09:25 pm by Prometheus
Quote from: WASasquatch on July 26, 2018, 02:55:13 pm
My profession is specifically outlined by understanding the actual needs of the user beyond the bias in art, style, fashion, etc. The fundamentals. What you see with software like Vue is proprietary designs. They are in fact MEANT to make you favor them over another software. It just marketing, like Vue's rather large buttons with giant icons that plays Pictionary with you.

You're arguing against the UI of Windows when you argue with TG's UI, still in places in millions of applications, that no one actually complains about. You're just an artist, and as such, you have specific artistic tastes outside the average person. And again, it Terragen everything is very literally labeled and laid out in front of you. In fact you could very accurate compare TG's interface to professional CAD software, FLIR software, LIDAR software, etc, etc.

As for the clouds and such, I think you're misunderstanding Terragen's goal there. It's going for realistic Earth-type clouds, which follow certain laws. Using nodes to do something, which this software is almost entirely based on and the settings of each node, is not bad, or wrong, it's really inherent to TG's workflow when you get down to doing anything. Other software is in fact not "inherent" to Earth physics laws, and expect radical artistic expression from the get-go, and provide those tools in a easy method. Clouds in TG are primarily for filling out your scenes with procedural clouds. Cloud editing could be better, I am not arguing that, but with other software, the focus is on a artistic approach, not simulation.


You still mentioned rotational functions? but you are now backing away from that with the notion that terragien is going for earth realistic type clouds, that makes no sense..a user may have need to actually change rotation of the cloud to fit a certain look of the clouds..as it also may be perceived in real life..it´s just a shortcoming which you are excusing by saying it´s going for earth realistic clouds.
Where is those rotational controls? aside from entering nodes?

And for going against windows UI, I do not follow you on that one..what can I say.

UI of vue is not mere marketing, In my opinion it is made to be pleasing to work with...in fact it is in it´s color sheme more pleasing that terragen..and I frankly do not understand the need of icons in terragen, it says..terrain, object, camera, atmosphere, lighting...terragen isn´t as jam packed as vue so it really do not need the icons at all...vue´s icons are chromatic..and thus not disturbing the main image renderered or previewed as much..while terragen has disturbing colors for those icons in my opinion...just strip it down..make it dark bluegrey..or almost black, make the text light grey or white..this also removes the amount of white pixel light screen towards you and would be easier on the eyes...and remove the icons, it would make terragen look cleaner.

Vue also has icons..can probably be made smaller and even removed? not sure there..I would rather have that reduced as well...but the thing is that vue is more jam packed with features that icons may suit better for to have accessable, while terragen has not as much.

For your final notes...well I understand that you may think other software is focused on artistic approach and not simulation..but the thing is it shouldn´t be neither..you don´t put out a software for either artistic nor simulated result...you try to do your best to meet the needs of as full control as possible..or maybe some developers do..but then you will loose customers complaining over lack of control..as it currently stands, full control to override Simulated physics? isn´t unnatural..especially since this is just procedurals...not simulated fluid based stuff with real world gaseous cloud behavior.

What do you think of my complaints of lack of the value controls? any thoughts on that, lack of axis indicators etc, commas, sliders for the values?   no need to respond on that..but just curious on what you have to say on that.

Vue interface isn´t bad or flashy just for marketing sake, I think you can scale down icons as well, though I just noticed that the UI has more colored icons than before if I am not mistaken..will have to test the latest vue soon, you could also choose scheme if you want, copy and paste of cloud layers is great where you just may want a similar cloud but a bit high and some minor tweaks..maybe that is possible with nodes in terragen ..but the workflow doesn´t seem as smooth.

Oh well...I need to whip up a UI sample on how I would like terragen to look, highlight the issues within the controls, sliders, values ..and the issues with Terragens color scheme...it becomes talking about a UI without anything of value if I can´t showcase something that may look better, or visually explains it.

AS for real world physics..that doesn´t add up...if this was a true to earth simulator...we would have so many parameters to change as we currently do..and they go way off realistic values..they are there to offer a certain type of control...then it can not be to much to ask for a simple rotational control over the clouds that really doesn´t break real world realism, it just changes perspective on the created cloud to fit your scene of a more beautiful view when needed.

All the other dar..n software has it, plain and simple as that.

jwiede

(...continued)

I'm not suggesting Terragen needs a "flashy UI", I'm stating that as a user I find Terragen's UI inefficient and direly limited when it comes to creating/editing/managing the kinds of basic 2D/3D areal and spatial regional definitions and dimensions needed for controlled application of operators (procedural effects, manual placements, etc.). 

For example, defining a region over which a procedural effect is applied, or region over which a population a distributed, requires effective tools to construct a 2D (areal) or 3D (spatial) region definition, and while constructing such selection or boundary regions are trivial in most 2D or 3D software, they're actually surprisingly difficult and inefficient to do in Terragen (due to reliance on 2D flat or 3D perspective IPR as primary view versus OpenGL-drawn orthogonal views, along with lack of basic tools for defining simple region primitives, as well as ability to aggregate basic primitives -- rects in 2D/3D, circles/spheres, etc. -- into complex 2D/3D shapes.  God forbid users require use of any more precise areal/spatial definitions (KMZ/KML-defined regions/boundaries, precisely-located/rotated-in-real-coordinates weightmaps or similar), they're pretty much out of luck.

(continued further...)

jwiede

(contd)

While the "whole environment" focus for applications of procedural shaders, operators, etc. might have been more than adequate for Terragen given the limited functionality of earlier versions, efficient use of more recently-added functionality like populations, detailed sky/atmospheric functionality, etc. requires users have the ability to quickly and efficiently create/store/recall/reference the kinds of areal and spatial definitions and dimensions I described above.  Terragen's UI has not really been doing an adequate job of keeping up with such needs.  Excellent examples are the inability to manipulate groups of population instances at the same time, lack of precise relative placement/alignment capabilities for objects in general, and limited history support when performing editing of population instances, objects, and so forth. 

That Terragen, with its PoV-focused view, still doesn't even have native support for 3D input devices like SpaceNavigator and similar is particularly disappointing.  Its particular navigation approach and view mechanism would benefit tremendously from supporting them.  Meanwhile, it's actually getting quite difficult to find popular 3D apps which don't offer native support for those devices, in part because adding such support is quite direct.

Even Terragen's IO capabilities are quite limited in terms of supporting import/export of commonly-used formats for such definitions -- the general lack of support for SHP or KMZ/KML files (the top-two most common formats for geo-reference data, by far) is a critical omission, IMO.  Even where certain formats are supported, their support tends to be fairly basic -- limited support for more recent image file formats (generally lacking support for aggregated-image capabilities, as well as features like data window support in exr format files) is a significant omission in as image-centric an application as Terragen.

Look, I'm not just trying to beat up on Terragen.  I really do love the app, and have been using and recommending it for years.  I'm just saying that for many of us, the UI isn't "okay" even today.

Prometheus

Quote from: jwiede on July 26, 2018, 04:07:44 pm
(contd)



Look, I'm not just trying to beat up on Terragen.  I really do love the app, and have been using and recommending it for years.  I'm just saying that for many of us, the UI isn't "okay" even today.


Not beating up here as well...not just :)
as I said before, of all software it yields the most beautiful skies, lighting and the cloud fractals are way better than vue, it´s just that I want to work with it without being annoyed when doing so..there is room for improvements and I hope some of it make it soon, cause I am eager to get my hands on it once some of that happens.

WASasquatch

July 26, 2018, 04:29:48 pm #23 Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 04:35:08 pm by WASasquatch
Quote from: Prometheus on July 26, 2018, 04:02:12 pm

You still mentioned rotational functions? but you are now backing away from that with the notion that terragien is going for earth realistic type clouds, that makes no sense..a user may have need to actually change rotation of the cloud to fit a certain look of the clouds..as it also may be perceived in real life..it´s just a shortcoming which you are excusing by saying it´s going for earth realistic clouds.
Where is those rotational controls? aside from entering nodes?
The rotational functions are just that. Functions.

Again, Terragen is based on these nodes. Everything. Even objects if you want to correctly import and display anything. Clouds do not rotate like you're describing, and would not, in a earth simulation. So if that's something you're after, it's just likely not going to be part of TG. The cloud layers, are layers. They're layers in the atmosphere essentially. They don't rotate on X or Z axis. You can rotate the noise and obtain different looks, especially with heavily customized clouds. Which again, is based on nodes if you want something like a Hero Cloud. You won't get this with cloud layer sliders and a single fractal input and it's sliders, and I don't think it was initially intended that way.

Quote from: Prometheus on July 26, 2018, 04:02:12 pm
And for going against windows UI, I do not follow you on that one..what can I say.


Change the color of your Windows UI, Terragen changes as well. Because it uses assets from Windows, that millions of applications use to build speedy fast comprehensive UI. There are better frameworks that are better for cross-compatibility with like Linux and Mac.

Visual opinions such as color tone, and the color of icons, is a personal thing. I for instance, like color coded icons that offer a peripheral target. Always have, and why when color displays came out, and for the last what, 40 years, they have been used. There could be a mellow-toned icon alternative, or colour-blind alternative icon sets created, and even better icons, as they have aged, but the UI doesn't need to change, doesn't need hard-coded colours, etc.

Quote from: Prometheus on July 26, 2018, 04:02:12 pm
For your final notes...well I understand that you may think other software is focused on artistic approach and not simulation..but the thing is it shouldn´t be neither..you don´t put out a software for either artistic nor simulated result...you try to do your best to meet the needs of as full control as possible..or maybe some developers do..but then you will loose customers complaining over lack of control..as it currently stands, full control to override Simulated physics? isn´t unnatural..especially since this is just procedurals...not simulated fluid based stuff with real world gaseous cloud behavior.


This is actually how industry works, though... we have simulation software, and we have production, and art based software. Just because people develop plugins, or a software you're familiar with includes some cool fluid stuff or whatever doesn't mean it's the only.

Quote from: Prometheus on July 26, 2018, 04:02:12 pm
What do you think of my complaints of lack of the value controls? any thoughts on that, lack of axis indicators etc, commas, sliders for the values?   no need to respond on that..but just curious on what you have to say on that.


You'd need to be entirely more specific. What lack of value controls?

Axis indicators with what exactly? The camera? Yes, we could use a 3D axis indicator, I believe I've mentioned that before. Clouds? As I explained, it isn't really needed.

Sliders are only for things that have a relative defined range, where outside of scope things may get weird (from what I've seen), or for ease of use such as altitude in surface layers with the preview colour. But other things are based on dynamic input. How would a slide work from 1e-006 - 1e+006? It's be incredibly hard to pick any exact range and you'd be entering values manually anyway. Even on sliders with a max of 1e+006, it's hard to select anything exact, so you enter values manually.

Quote from: Prometheus on July 26, 2018, 04:02:12 pm
Vue interface isn´t bad or flashy just for marketing sake, I think you can scale down icons as well, though I just noticed that the UI has more colored icons than before if I am not mistaken..will have to test the latest vue soon, you could also choose scheme if you want, copy and paste of cloud layers is great where you just may want a similar cloud but a bit high and some minor tweaks..maybe that is possible with nodes in terragen ..but the workflow doesn´t seem as smooth.


I don't think it is bad, it definitely is flashing it's unique Vue-ness, just like Maya, Blender, and any branded software. This is inherent to marketing, and it will most certainly be done in a way you're not aware of. In general, a layout is entirely not needed and could just rely on the UI of the OS like Terragen, and be whatever colour the user wants. Icons like I said are usually visual aids. And with Vue, they don't really help.. you still have stop and read them. They aren't very distinct for peripheral targeting when doing things at a flow. When you mention smooth and stuff it just seems like esthetic opinion, not based on actual productivity. A mock design may help iterate what you mean. But so far it just seems you'r explaining opinion on what looks good to you.

Edit: It's always why these sort of things are summed up into "templates" or "Layouts" for frameworks or UIs... Because they don't mean anything really to the functionality and practicality of use, they're just for show. And these things change to as far as what's "In". In the early to end of the 2000s it was light colour tones and colours, since the than we have seen a trend toward dark, and yes, these software have reflected that.
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jwiede

Quote from: WASasquatch on July 26, 2018, 01:25:53 pm
And because of the inherent dynamic and procedural nature of the planet, maps, locations, heightmaps, etc, etc, etc, how do you expect that to practically work for everyones scenes, and why we can place cameras anywhere? Not everyones masks will be same dimensions, locations, same for heightmaps and such. Do you want every one of these shaders to be redone to carry their own cameras that dynamics adjust to scales?


I'm definitely not understanding why you believe a UI/viewport-set capability for defining arbitrary regions, etc. is such a impossibility within Terragen's operating context. 

Say a user wishes to constrain a specific erosion filter config to a specific region of their terrain, or similarly, wishes to distribute a population over only a limited region of the terrain.  Right now, Terragen offers minimal ability to define the shape and scale of populations as a whole, and no real means for controlling (precisely or otherwise) relative positioning/alignment w.r.t. other populations.  All due to the simple lack of ability to arbitrarily define planar or volume regions using a 3D orthogonal view. 

Whether there are tons of cameras defined is irrelevant, in terms of the ability to offer users an orthogonal view in which they can draw out their regions relative to their arbitrarily-oriented view of the terrain in question -- if Terragen can draw an IPR preview of a camera projection of terrain with OGL gizmos/notations, it can as easily produce orthogonal views for arbitrarily positioned/oriented/scaled regions of the terrain in question (as all GP 3D pkgs do trivially). 

Terragen would just needs to store three or four additional linked OGL view definitions(and reference to the source terrain geometry dataset) associated with a region definition, representing an view slightly larger than the region's bounding box (or alternately, how the user modified the views that started as same).  That is negligible overhead compared to data required for the average hires heightfield / image map.


jwiede

July 26, 2018, 05:02:11 pm #25 Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 07:26:43 pm by jwiede
Quote from: WASasquatch on July 26, 2018, 04:29:48 pm
The rotational functions are just that. Functions.

Again, Terragen is based on these nodes. Everything. Even objects if you want to correctly import and display anything. Clouds do not rotate like you're describing, and would not, in a earth simulation. So if that's something you're after, it's just likely not going to be part of TG. The cloud layers, are layers. They're layers in the atmosphere essentially. They don't rotate on X or Z axis. You can rotate the noise and obtain different looks, especially with heavily customized clouds. Which again, is based on nodes if you want something like a Hero Cloud. You won't get this with cloud layer sliders and a single fractal input and it's sliders, and I don't think it was initially intended that way.


With all due respect, you're conflating how the simulation works during operation, and how the user configures the data used as input for subsequent simulation.  Whether a cloud rotates like that in reality has nothing to do with whether it is more efficient UX for a user to be able to rotate a cloud definition in the fashion Prometheus described while setting up the initial cloud volume's shape/position/orientation information. 

What you're saying is akin to saying that because a dynamics simulation requires 3D objects to have volume, there is no need to manipulate arbitrary polygons, edges, and vertices because those aren't primitives that can move in the simulation.  Whether they can be simulated independently has nothing to do with whether moving them has utility for setting up the simulation inputs.

Being able to efficiently and arbitrarily shape, rotate and transform a given cloud volume definition in 3D space is a highly useful and important aspect of 3D UI usability, regardless whether clouds move that way in simulation/reality or not. Construction is about providing the users with the most efficient means of placing and orienting arbitrary 2D and 3D regions in 2D or 3D space, and in context, limiting users just to "how clouds move in reality" is neither useful or necessary.

Obviously, the simulator is just storing the definition of the cloud volume as arbitrary 3D data.  The UI for how the volume's shape, position and orientation are input by the user has no relationship with how the simulation USES that volume definition subsequently, so long as the code behind the UI provides that 3D region definition in a format compatible with the simulation's standard "3D spatial region" format.

Matt

I just want to jump in here quickly to say that I'm reading and carefully considering all of the feedback in this thread. I don't want to interrupt the conversation. Thanks!
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.

Oshyan

Likewise I am reading all of this too, with interest. I think it's fair to say we're aware of much - if not all - of this, but it doesn't make it less valid.

I also just want to mention that if you don't find the Maintenance fee to be a good enough value, then you can just wait to renew it until an update/new feature that makes it worth your money. The cost will be the same and you'll continue to be able to use your current version of Terragen in the meantime. Licenses are still perpetual.

- Oshyan

jwiede

July 26, 2018, 07:53:26 pm #28 Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 07:55:18 pm by jwiede
Quote from: Matt on July 26, 2018, 06:42:55 pm
I just want to jump in here quickly to say that I'm reading and carefully considering all of the feedback in this thread. I don't want to interrupt the conversation. Thanks!


Matt, I appreciate that you're considering the feedback.  Again, to be very clear, I have been a strong proponent of Terragen for years, just ask Prometheus. ;D  I've been more than willing to fund the development, and do think many aspects of Terragen are "cutting edge" implementations, especially atmospheric rendering.

That said, I also encounter lots of UX inefficiencies and problems every single session, and a lot of those are directly due to Terragen not really providing users with an orthogonal view-set nor tools to interactively shape, place and orient entities, constraint boundaries, and so forth.  Object/Population manipulation and atmospheric setup would benefit tremendously from such capabilities, IMO, but even terrain procedural generation would benefit in terms of allowing faster, more efficient and much more finessed application of effects, relative positioning of maps, and so forth.

I've kind of been quiet and tolerant up until this point.  However, after the V3 dev cycle, and V4 upgrade, and relatively minor improvements that have occurred since V4's release, I felt I had to speak my feelings about the pace of improvement in light of the cost structure.  I want to see Terragen succeed, but at the same time, it has to provide adequate value-for-cost, and given the cost structure with maintenance, I don't feel it has of late.

Thanks for hearing us customers out on this!

jwiede

Quote from: WASasquatch on July 26, 2018, 02:55:13 pm
You're arguing against the UI of Windows when you argue with TG's UI, still in places in millions of applications, that no one actually complains about.


As a fairly senior system software engineer who's worked for Microsoft, and worked on Windows (Windows kernel, to be precise), your statement is wildly inaccurate:  People complain about Windows UI frequently, and in large numbers

Microsoft is constantly improving and enriching the native GUI libraries' and tools' contents and capabilities for application developers (incl. Win32 APIs, WPF/XAML engine & libs, and others), in part, as response to that feedback.  Those improvements include providing entirely new GUI components/libraries/engines/APIs (WPF & XAML were such an improvement).  There are even extensive, highly-active markets of third-party GUI components, as well, because many application developers find the "native" Window GUI options (be they Win32 Common Controls, WPF, UWP, you name it) inadequate for their, and/or their customers', needs.

Both Windows and macOS expose facilities/services for internationalization and locale-sensitive generalization of user input for the benefit of and use by application developers (f.e. adjusting how decimal point is interpreted during user input in different countries' locales).  Whether specific applications use those facilities is up to their developers.  There are many, many devs and apps who do, and at least as many who do not.

Also, that Terragen uses "Windows GUI elements" hardly represents any sort of basis for claiming the actual design and implementation of the GUI using those elements is beyond reproach -- for each app with a well-designed, human-factors-sensitive GUI using Windows native controls, there have probably been at least seven to ten other apps with truly abysmal GUIs using those exact same controls.   :o  ;D