AutoCAD Civil 3D Wishes

AutoCAD Civil 3D Wishes

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Distinguished Contributor
jmatthei
Posts: 151
Registered: ‎05-16-2008
Message 11 of 31 (487 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

01-25-2012 07:04 AM in reply to: mathewk

Matt - do you really believe this product is mature?  From an Operating System analogy I'd say:  Land Desktop was DOS, the initial C3D releases were Windows 1.0, and by now we're at Windows 2.0.  In my mind there's a lot of functionality left to be added before we even hit the basic usability of Windows 3.1:  Pressure pipe, true solids, and landscape and irrigation 3D modeling.  Even then the program will need lots of work to make it less clunky and more user-friendly to reach the equivalent of Windows 95.  Revit seems to be at the level of a Windows XP.  I think we've got a long way to go before Civil 3D even approaches maturity.

 

Do you work with architects and building engineers on Revit?  I'm part of a comprehensive A/E company and do a great deal of work with them, and the capabilities they have with Revit are about a decade ahead of what we can do with Civil 3D.  They have true material layers and solids with every material.  They don't need to mess around with frequencies and corridors, but can cut sections at any angle anywhere, and get every material.  They get automated quantities, automated tables, and even automated keynote leaders for everything, which link to spreadsheets and spec documents.  They can do 3D views of anything anywhere, and can easily export their models to 2D CAD that the clients can open.  They can do pipe fittings, laterals, bends, wyes and everything else that we need to Frankenstein together on C3D.  Plus they all share a single BIM model that everyone can access, except for us in the site world.

 

I'm constantly getting asked by the architects and building engineers to give them Revit models of the site, or at least export "IFC" files of the pavement, earthwork, piping, landscape, and site fixtures in 3D solids.  I can't.  I need to export everything to 2D linework, and have them do the same back to me.  Even for surfaces:  I need to make 0.1' contours, explode those, and give them to the architect to build a Revit surface.  The information transfer workflow is absurd.  Civil 3D is great for road profiles and sections, and great for sewer layout, but beyond that it pales.  The effort needed to amend corridors to install even curb drops at driveways is far too much.

 

Now the MEP engineers are even saying:  "Why don't you just use Revit MEP for your sites?  It can produce any drawings you can, and then you get a BIM model."  The structural engineers are saying "We've got this SiteWorks addon to Revit - why don't you use that to get your pavement and earthwork?  Then we can share the Revit model."  The architects are saying "Why don't you use Revit to get us the trees, landscaping and fixtures?  Then we can do our renderings easier."

 

I'm running out of reasons to say no.  True, Revit can't do road corridors with vertical curves, but that could be exported with TINs out of a few shared C3D licenses, much like how we use AutoTurn for truck turns.  Civil3D has a long way to go to be true BIM, but I'm starting to believe it'll be supplanted before it gets the chance, if it comes from the other direction as Revit expands to sites.  Obviously we'd need to see if everything works as well as our building A/Es say it will, but I'm starting to think a pilot project is inevitable.  If we could add the best of C3D to the best of Revit, we'd have an excellent solution for our needs.

 

I appreciate your defense of Autodesk, and I appreciate what Autodesk has done so far, but I feel we could get so much more, and I'd like to challenge them to provide it.  If they don't, somebody else eventually will, and when a true, functional "Revit Civil" does come out, we'll switch to it, regardless of who writes the code.

 

--Jeremy

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mathewk
Posts: 2,750
Registered: ‎07-09-2003
Message 12 of 31 (481 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

01-25-2012 07:43 AM in reply to: Sinc
Yes, it is a mature product. Fact is, I can get projects done faster than Land Desktop and with fewer errors. If yoi have a different pespective then that's. fine.

Obviously Civil 3D can use new features; every software can That doesn't mean that what someone hope to see will get there in the next release. I could care less about Revit interiperability. So there are two sides to the coin and Autodesk has to balance the needs of everyone.

I'm not defending Autodesk; why would I do that? I'm not a share holder. I just call it as I see it.
Matt Kolberg
Cansel - Autodesk Division
http://www.cansel.ca/
Distinguished Contributor
O.Maille
Posts: 202
Registered: ‎10-23-2007
Message 13 of 31 (460 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

01-30-2012 01:02 PM in reply to: jmatthei

Yearly releases are a bit of a joke both within and outside Autodesk. I fee they are to blame for a lot of rushed coding and lack of long term planning; Structures not appearing in prospector and/or crashing & yet to integrate any design (aside from roads) into product eg. S&S . C3D is not BIM as the model is not informative at all really. Revit Civil get a +1 from me anyway.

 

With regard to the maturity of the product it is not; it's a mish-mash of Map,autocad,Landdesktop,intelisolve and all the other compeditors they buy out. That is not to say it can be used productively and help speed up design. I think the frustration with the yearly release is warrented the last few have added a bit more stability and made it fancier looking but most of the design improvement have been minimal. The main issue on maturity is the lack of multi-threading and utilisation of hardware of the last 5years this may be why they want us to use additional programs for analysis.

 

 

 

 

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AllenJessup
Posts: 5,915
Registered: ‎05-21-2003
Message 14 of 31 (440 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

01-31-2012 08:52 AM in reply to: Sinc

Not so fond of yearly released. We only share 6 licenses between 4 full time and 6 very part time users who don't use the Civil functions. Creating a deployment isn't too bad but I never seem to have the time. The customization is light and is only there to aid in the workflow. I happen to like Tool Palettes, so I make ones that contain commands for grading, for Surface manipulation and tools for display and layers. But the users don't have to use them. They're only there to help those that find that an easier way to work.

 

Let's remember why Autodesk introduced yearly releases. People who were paying Subscription (or maybe it was VIP) cost at the time were starting to ask "Why am I paying money every year if I'm only going to see new software every 2 or three years?". So since Autodesk wants everyone on Subscription and contributing to they're profit every year. They started yearly releases.

 

I don't think there needs to be a release every year. Fixes can be handled with Updates and new features can be released through Subscription Advantage Packs. But Subscription Customers have to agree that this will be worth the yearly fee. That's not going to go down!

 

I also think that Autodesk spends too much time in new interfaces. There seem to be new ones every couple of years. Remember the Dashboard?  The Ribbon angers me. Not because it's there but because Autodesk is making new commands available ONLY through the Ribbon. You can figure out the command line equivalent and use that in customization.

 

We're still using 2011 because I haven't gotten 2012 deployed yet. Seeing some of the problems with it I'm in no hurry.

 

So. No. I'm not a fan of yearly releases.

 

Allen

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Sinc
Posts: 6,207
Registered: ‎11-18-2006
Message 15 of 31 (404 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

02-05-2012 12:49 PM in reply to: AllenJessup

AllenJessup wrote:

Let's remember why Autodesk introduced yearly releases. People who were paying Subscription (or maybe it was VIP) cost at the time were starting to ask "Why am I paying money every year if I'm only going to see new software every 2 or three years?". So since Autodesk wants everyone on Subscription and contributing to they're profit every year. They started yearly releases.


 I actually view that as the heart of the non-argument.  It is what I consider a gross mischaracterization of the entire software development process, foisted upon the gullible by the Marketing department.

 

One of the things I think the Sincpac-C3D illustrates so well is that you can add incredible functionality to C3D without pushing out a whole new release, which requires new Profiles, new Deployments, (for many companies) an IT person to handle the upgrade, broken Custom Reports, broken Custom Subassemblies, and all the TONS of other problems involved in moving up to a new release.

 

Not to mention, if we only had a major new release every other-year, that would immediately cut the "C3D Incompatibility Problem" in more than half, since more and more people would actually be on the same release.

 

I see nothing good coming of these annual incompatible releases, and I see tons of problems created for those of us "in the trenches", who are actually trying to USE this software to be profitable.  I also see it as a drawback to Autodesk, who must come up with releases in 14 different languages with every release cycle, do QA testing on all those releases, and provide support for all those releases.  The amount of time wasted by Autodesk on this must be astounding.

 

The ONLY reason I see for these incompatible yearly releases is a misguided forcing of the issue by Autodesk's Marketing and Sales, who are probably falling into the general trap of trying to maximize this-year's profits, even if it means making poor long-term decisions.

Sinc
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Sinc
Posts: 6,207
Registered: ‎11-18-2006
Message 16 of 31 (400 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

02-05-2012 01:04 PM in reply to: mathewk

mathewk wrote:
Yes, it is a mature product. Fact is, I can get projects done faster than Land Desktop and with fewer errors. If yoi have a different pespective then that's. fine.


What does "mature product" really mean?

 

I agree with your assessment vis-a-vis LDD.  I don't put much stock in "shoot-outs" and that sort of thing.  Instead, I look at the long-term staffing requirements we've need at Edward-James Surveying.

 

We use to use a heavily-customized Land Desktop setup.  We also utilized most of Land Desktop's functionality...  We had several new employees comment that they thought they knew how to use LDD until they started working for us, and then discovered they had been using maybe 15% of its capabilities.  And through all that, we needed 1 office tech for each field crew.

 

Fast-forward to now...  I'm no longer working full-time as a C3D tech (the Sincpac-C3D is keeping me busy the rest of the time), but I still work about three days a week as a C3D Survey Tech.  As such, I completely support two field crews, and also handle overflow from our other office.  So if I were to project that out to full-time employment as a C3D tech, I would be able to completely support 5 field crews.  And in the years since we started using C3D, we've improved the equipment of the field crews, so they're working even faster.  Yet I can now support 5x the number of field crews by myself, using Civil 3D vs. Land Desktop.  And at the same time, we're doing better work, with a higher degree of quality control.

 

At the same time, I waste an incredible amount of my time trying to track down YET ANOTHER bug in C3D, or YET ANOTHER problem...  And if I should give C3D input it doesn't like, it often crashes, rather than give me a useful error message.  The UI also has tons of issues...  It gets really frustrating to use.  By contrast, EVERY other program I use works well.  That includes things like Office, and UltraEdit, Camtasia, and (especially) Sonar...  They all work well, rarely (if ever) crash, have no UI artifacts, have no "bug hunts" that can go on for days....  Only C3D makes me go through all that.

 

So what does "mature product" really mean?

Sinc
*Expert Elite*
AllenJessup
Posts: 5,915
Registered: ‎05-21-2003
Message 17 of 31 (387 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

02-06-2012 05:11 AM in reply to: Sinc

 

Sinc wrote:

 

One of the things I think the Sincpac-C3D illustrates so well is that you can add incredible functionality to C3D without pushing out a whole new release, which requires new Profiles, new Deployments, (for many companies) an IT person to handle the upgrade, broken Custom Reports, broken Custom Subassemblies, and all the TONS of other problems involved in moving up to a new release.


Well. Yes! I thought I'd made it clear that I thought that Autodesk could handle it with incrementally without pushing a new version every year. I'd be perfectly happy with a 3 year cycle with patches and updates in between.

 

Allen

Valued Mentor
engrtech
Posts: 738
Registered: ‎05-05-2008
Message 18 of 31 (357 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

02-20-2012 08:10 AM in reply to: Sinc

I do not like it. The main reason I do not like the yearly release cycle is the quality of the software.  The developers probably only get about 3 or 4 months to work on the Civil 3D portion because they have to wait on the core Autocad developers on top of the Map developers.  It leads to sloppy programing and loads of bugs, as well as core issues like the UI not being very good design.  Not that the developers are sloppy, it's the time constraint that management is putting on them to release a new version every year.  

 

I liked the old 18 month development cycle. That gave them enough time to work out kinks and features and get something out that wasn't full of bugs.  Even a two year cycle would be fine.  I know it was because of the VIP program (now subscription) that caused it, but that's marketing and money talking instead of the software.  From what I remember reading in the past, most companies even on subscription don't upgrade until at least a service pack has been released and sometimes just skip every other version. This means they're always behind anyway.  Besides, the subscription cost is basically 10% of the software, so even if a company paid yearly and got a new version every other year they're still saving money from waiting every five years to buy new licenses. 

 

I'd like to see a good program released every 18 to 24 months with some service packs in between that fix things and add features like the Terrain Modeler or Corridor Solids.  Make it where only the subscription people get the labs projects to help wet their appetite.  

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mfernandes
Posts: 199
Registered: ‎08-21-2007
Message 19 of 31 (284 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

04-28-2012 11:14 PM in reply to: engrtech

Sinc’s earlier post 01-19-2012 01:07 AM “frustrating” sums it up well.

When in the industry, the larger companies that I worked at, although on subscription choose to not implement every release. I believe this is a common occurrence and for good reason.

Could the motivation of yearly realise be a result to justify the value of subscriptions, driven by the marketing group.

In my humble opinion, I think that Autodesk is further ahead fixing gaps in the product rather than adding bells and whistles.

Don’t get me wrong, not all added tools are trivial, example, pressure pipes, long time coming, also  C3D is a great product and you will be hard pressed to find a package that can compete. I just feel that a little more effort should be placed on fixing or filling small gaps in the products as it relates to production workflow rather that added new tool just for the sake of adding new tools for the next release.

But if Autodesk fixed the gaps what would sinc do. He would have to go back to real work and not have all that fun developing all those apps ....lol...I mean well.

Just one man’s humble opinion

Distinguished Contributor
O.Maille
Posts: 202
Registered: ‎10-23-2007
Message 20 of 31 (273 Views)

Re: Does anyone actually like yearly releases?

04-30-2012 04:55 AM in reply to: mfernandes

Let us accept that we're not going to change Autodesks mind with regard to the yearly release so if anyone from autodesk is reading can we at least get a deployment tool of some kind.

I've only a laptop and office PC to use with infrastructure and building design suites and it takes probably a day to uninstall all the programs, features, plugins etc. etc.

 

Surely even a per suite tool is possible to help install during upgrading?

 

Ideally a tool that will pull updates, extensions (similar to the install tool) and manage the new apps etc. should be possible? The same tool could be used to download your yearly release and help automate the update proceedure.

 

Image a world where you could just leave you pc on overnight (uninstalling and installing) and wake up to your new products

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