K.I.S.S. Interface

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K.I.S.S. Interface // Archive: Tech Forum

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Post by whirabomber // Jun 26, 2008, 3:58am

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Has anyone modded a K.I.S.S. interface for 7.51 yet? I just fired it up for the first time in several months and remembered why I haven't fired up 7.51 in several months - the ape butt crazy interface consisting of ~1000 items I don't care to use cluttering up the screen and obscuring the ~100 items I would actually like to use.


A decent K.I.S.S. interface would be model -> texture/material -> animate -> render. 7.51 has the modeltexturematerialanimaterenderthatlookscoolsoit istherefornootherreasonthantolookcool interface. Even the two tab system doesn't help. Add the "heavens forbid you closed that panel as now you will spend the next 20 minutes sorting out where to re-open it" mentality behind the "modular" UI.


Just stick everything in a nice, simple text menu that adjusts for the context of how/what the command is being used. I don't need an "extrude" command for a vertex so hide extrude under the manipulation menu.


Unfortunately as things have digressed from 4.x to 5.x to 6.x to 7.x, 7.x will be the last upgrade I buy until Caligari K.I.S.S. the UI or one (group) of kind hearted user(s) releases a streamlined UI for 7.51. Yes, asking for the world I am.


I know I could probably do it myself - taking until the release of 9.x to do it - but I should have to take time I could be using to actually use the applicatoin to "move into it." Case and point it takes me 1 week to "move into" a fresh load of windows xp/vista. This time is spent killing features that simply waste CPU ticks, time, or a combo there of (yes, no themes on my desktop). With TS 7.x Caligari has thrust 1000's of items you "might" need onto the screen with little thought to the items people *really* need.


TS is the only 3D application that I am aware of that you need to spend $$$ or tons of times learning between the versions just to do simple stuff that you could do in version -1. Further TS is the onl 3D app that I am aware of that has so many non-context sensitive features that TS has a "find" feature to search through the literally 1000's of commands. That should be the first sign to a developer to enter the "context sensitive" command world, which my best guess would have been cheaper than paying some dude to index every command.


So if anyone has a UI mod for TS 7.51, please please share it so I can justify this purple icon on my desktop that cost me $200 to put there.

Post by Jack Edwards // Jun 26, 2008, 4:56am

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I take it you are using model side. Model side is basically a big plugin at this point, and should only be used when a you need a feature that hasn't yet been moved over to workspace side. As has been said in many other threads, model side is dead. There will be no further work on model side.

Workspace is where the action is and *is* 7.51. Also workspace side has a relatively simple interface. Mesh editing consists of right click, selecting the elements you want to transform, and then transform them with the widget. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Downloading the free modeling course I made for Caligari will help get you up and running using Workspace side tools.

The important thing to keep in mind here is that TrueSpace is in a transition state as it it moving from the old architecture to the new architecture. So some Workspace UI elements may well be replaced and improved as work continues. If you have specific suggestions for changes you'd like to see, I'm sure the Caligari guys would be happy to have the feed back.

Post by jamesmc // Jun 26, 2008, 12:20pm

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Hmmm, an interface tutorial.

Think I'll wait on tS7.6 though.

The older interfaces had that ? thing for explaining all the buttons and a helpf file that was interactive.

Post by transient // Jun 26, 2008, 3:11pm

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Workspace is where the action is and *is* 7.51.


He was complaining about the stack "werewolf" issues (among other things). This is my biggest beef with 7.5's interface as well.


6.6 and modeler (not as much, you can't quite get rid of 7.5's space-waste) have much nicer usability, especially if you use a couple of free plug-ins:



Pi Panel: gets rid of the icons by hitting tab or control tab


Rslayers: for easy layer management and moving objects between them


Pi scene tool: is good for easy object selections, another clumsy aspect of 7.5.


Light Manager: self explanatory - I would kill for this in other apps I use



There are heaps of other plug-ins. I think this is about as close to a K.I.S.S interface you're going to get in 3d, at least that I've come across, unless you're using a far more basic program.


Carrara has a fairly simple interface, too, but imo it's clumsy and annoying to use in practice (the "rooms" philosophy has never grabbed me, I like my features to be at hand). Otherwise, it's "assembly" area is an example of nice interface design.


I know this post will be waving a red flag to some users here, but keep in mind I learned the 7.5 way of doing things first. It was only after the cracks appeared that I learned 6.6, and unexpectedly fell for it, warts and all.

Post by kena // Jun 26, 2008, 3:49pm

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heh. No red flags here. I'm one of those really simple people who just use what I've been given.

One thing I would really love to see though is that the icons not even show until they are context activated.


The extrude tool(and all the point/face editing tools) is/are there for the world to see when you click on it, but grayed out until it is context activated by right-clicking the object to be modified.

I would like to not even SEE those choices until I right-click the object to enter edit mode for it.

Post by W!ZARD // Jun 26, 2008, 5:13pm

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People have been saying similar things about tS UI since before I started using it.

I look at it like this: Reality is extremely complex, simulating reality digitally, by definition, must also be complex therefore 3d apps must also be complex. Thus a 'simple' interface is not really possible if you want adequate control over you 3d simulation.

I also look at it like this - playing a complex piece of music on a piano or guitar or whatever, is also complex. However, once the musician puts in the work of learning the interface (chord shapes finger positions, tempo, melody etc) then the actually playing of the music becomes easy - which is probably why it's called "playing" rather than "working".

Putting it another way, things are only hard when you haven't yet learned to do it easily. An artist who hasn't yet learned the necessary skills to paint a portrait will struggle to do so in comparison to someone who has learned the skills.

I'm not saying tS is perfect or that it doesn't need to be further streamlined however once you learn the location and function of any particular tool you are still only using one tool at a time. This principle is true no matter whether you are learning a new 3d application, doing a mechanics apprenticeship or doing a surgeons doctorate.

Keeping a complex task simple is as much about the way the tools are used as it is about the tools themselves.

@Transient - Not sure what you mean about the stack 'werewolf' issues. If you mean that it takes up too much screen space (I have dual monitors so this is never an issue) it may help to remember that double-clicking the title bar of any window in tS will maximise that window giving you heaps of screen real estate.

Hope this helps

Post by transient // Jun 26, 2008, 5:37pm

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Not sure what you mean about the stack 'werewolf' issues.

The stack changes every time you select a tool, open up vray, the material editor etc. etc., and other functions get shunted off-screen, from what I can tell at random.

6.6 has everything on-screen. You open up the material editor, dribble, whatever and it's there until you want it gone. In the past this has caused criticism for "clutter", but minimal housekeeping is needed to keep everything kosher.

And if you don't like the icons and panels, you can disappear them with Pi Panel using the tab key - probably the single best real-estate plug-in I've ever used. Like I said, I used both for about the same length of time, and I think 6.6 is quirky, but really cool once you get your head around it. No need for dual monitors with 6.6, just a minor amount of discipline.

Everything is "at hand" - a left-click, right-click, tab or shortcut (of which few are really necessary imo) away. It reminds me of artrage in a way, which is my favorite digital application at the moment.

7.5 has a similar paradigm to 3dstudio, however 3dstudio's works far better. I don't really think it sets any standards, but it is a lot more rational than 7.5 imo. Maybe Caligari should have a harder look at max, and perhaps just go the whole hog and base it's interface on theirs.

This would also have the side effect of making truespace far more palatable to 3ds users, the biggest 3d market, especially ones who are currently using hackademic versions.

Post by jamesmc // Jun 26, 2008, 6:03pm

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The stack changes every time you select a tool, open up vray, the material editor etc. etc., and other functions get shunted off-screen, from what I can tell at random.

6.6 has everything on-screen. You open up the material editor, dribble, whatever and it's there until you want it gone. In the past this has caused criticism for "clutter", but minimal housekeeping is needed to keep everything kosher.

And if you don't like the icons and panels, you can disappear them with Pi Panel using the tab key - probably the single best real-estate plug-in I've ever used. Like I said, I used both for about the same length of time, and I think 6.6 is quirky, but really cool once you get your head around it. No need for dual monitors with 6.6, just a minor amount of discipline.

Everything is "at hand" - a left-click, right-click, tab or shortcut (of which few are really necessary imo) away. It reminds me of artrage in a way, which is my favorite digital application at the moment.

7.5 has a similar paradigm to 3dstudio, however 3dstudio's works far better. I don't really think it sets any standards, but it is a lot more rational than 7.5 imo. Maybe Caligari should have a harder look at max, and perhaps just go the whole hog and base it's interface on theirs.

This would also have the side effect of making truespace far more palatable to 3ds users, the biggest 3d market, especially ones who are currently using hackademic versions.

heh, hackademic

Post by Emmanuel // Jun 26, 2008, 9:26pm

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you can disappear them with Pi Panel using the tab key - probably the single best real-estate plug-in I've ever used.

In tS7.51, just stroke the TAB key to show/hide all panels. No need for piPanel anymore.


Now, regarding the KISS interface, I belive Whirabomber don't use the Configuration Library.
That library stores custom layouts including plugins, toolbars, and opened panels. So it is quite easy to build a Modeling layout, a Material Edition layout, an Animation interface, etc...

I agree the Stack View "intelligent" behavior is not so handy at present. It will require more options to give its best.
But at the end, when user will be able to create multiple custom Stack Views, with more distinctive panels -with icons in it, sliders with bitmap backfround, and some other visual items that help to identify and use a panel, etc.- there is no doubt it will become a workflow accelerator.

Post by stan // Jun 27, 2008, 4:09am

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the tab key has been able to hide all icons and panels without a plugin for many versions..back as far as ts6.0 for sure, maybe earlier..;)

it is possible to make the PE tools appear only when you right click to enter edit, but it must be setup in the LE..there are some issues related to doing this though..

I don't like the stack for panels and settings at all either. it not working well..but it's great for libraries .

Post by transient // Jun 27, 2008, 2:14pm

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I didn't realize that - I've been using Pi Panel from very early on. I'm still very much a truespace newbie.


That said, the Pi Panel ctrl-tab works differently to the ordinary tab tool, in that it keeps the widget and custom panels open and hides everything else. Tab hides the widget and context menus also, which I don't like as it means I can't use the modeling tools etc. without shortcuts.


If truespace does this by default as well I'll happily delete PI Panel.:cool:


Overall, I just don't like the layout in 7.5; and it's slow, and there's no object manager, you can't keep the panels fully open (I wince when I watch the demos and see the snakes and ladders routine the beta testers are going through just to select a tool), and then there's the spaghetti thing etc etc.


I have very little faith that it's going to improve considering the lack of discussion about it, however if other users like it I guess I'll just have to keep using 6.6. Not exactly purgatory.:)


But at the end, when user will be able to create multiple custom Stack Views, with more distinctive panels -with icons in it, sliders with bitmap backfround, and some other visual items that help to identify and use a panel, etc.- there is no doubt it will become a workflow accelerator.


When is this going to happen? [I don't seriously expect that question to be answered, Caligari having that need to know thing tattooed to their brains]


Ironically, you've just made a good description of Blender's interface.;)

Post by JimB // Jun 27, 2008, 8:39pm

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Ironically, you've just made a good description of Blender's interface


I must admit I did notice some similarities in the interfaces myself :D



Jim

Post by W!ZARD // Jun 27, 2008, 8:56pm

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Overall, I just don't like the layout in 7.5; and it's slow, and there's no object manager, .....


A year ago I would have said exactly the same thing!:D I guess a lot depends on what you are used to. It took me a log time and I had to basically force myself to learn the new tS7.x functional logic - helped hugely by Dele and Jacks vids - but now when I go back to model side it feels clunky compared to workspace -although I still think the LW Material Editor in workspace is one of the best Mat Ed interfaces I've ever used.


The LE is the next gen Scene Editor and does involve far more mouse clicks than one would think reasonable or necessary but again once I got my head around the way the tools work I found that they were very well thought out (for the most part). Understanding the way the the tools work by themselves is only part of the equation - once you start getting the feel of the way the tools work with each other there are a lot of very good things in the new workspace.


Seems most likely this will only get more refined and improved as time goes on.


Even though I'm a fan of workspace methodology now ( I wasn't at first) I still enjoy going back across the bridge and doing stuff the 'old fashioned' way.


I sometimes think it would be nice if the new tools had the option of working like the old ones but I figure that would lead to some difficult coding for the devs.

Post by stan // Jun 28, 2008, 7:00am

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I sometimes think it would be nice if the new tools had the option of working like the old ones but I figure that would lead to some difficult coding for the devs.

just wondering which tools?

Post by spacekdet // Jun 28, 2008, 11:34am

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just wondering which tools?

Ooo ooo, I know one!
Bring back the dropdown list to select any (other) object in the Object Info panel.
A real headscratcher as to why this feature was dumped.

Post by transient // Jun 28, 2008, 3:07pm

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I guess a lot depends on what you are used to.

It would be fair to say I've used both equally since 7.5 came out, 7.5 simply doesn't cut it for me. It doesn't cut it compared to other apps I'm using, but it really surprised me that the older version of the same software was so much better.

It's okay, all I can do is call it as I see it, it's obvious from the demos that nothing's going to change much for 7.6, so there's no need to worry about my complaints.

I've used many 3d apps, and truespace is the only one I know of that's radically changed so much so quickly. Brave maybe, but other applications, including Blender which is often criticized, have stuck to their roots, and with good reason imo.

There is another thread about the lack of activity here on the forums; I wonder how many former users of trueSpace aren't posting because they don't like the new application, perhaps for no better reason that they don't recognize it anymore, and have moved on?

Fear of change may be one reason for this, but perhaps it's worth considering that many users perhaps simply don't like them - not because they're luddites, but because the changes just aren't very good.:confused:

I don't expect to make friends here offering these opinions, but there's definitely no malice intended.

Post by frootee // Jun 28, 2008, 3:53pm

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nothing's going to change much for 7.6




Wow. That's the first time in a long time I blew beer out my nose... :cool:


Thanks... I needed that. :p

Now I need a towel... :D


Ok in all seriousness... what would you like to see different transient? I'm just curious is all.


Yeah 7, 7.1, 7.51, etc are all quite different from 6.6. That's for sure.

Post by W!ZARD // Jun 28, 2008, 9:34pm

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just wondering which tools?

To be honest I've not really thought this through to any great extent but the remark was provoked by a comparison between the way model and workspace handle the deletion of points and edges.

After years of using 6.6 (which despite it's quirks is still a damn fine bit of software IMO) I've got used to creating more geometry than I strictly need and subsequently deleting surplus edges and points to simplify the mesh. This strategy doesn't seem to work as well in tS 7.x although vI'm slowly getting used to the difference.

Secondly the axis tools in model side respond to numerical input in the Object Info box when axis tools are activated - the same does not apply in tS workspace but this could well be user error - after all I've had about 6 years of using tS model construction methods and only a year or so using tS
workspace.

@Transient - your opinions and preferences are as valid as anyone elses - and there is no doubting in my mind that model side still does many things better than workspace so I'm in agreement with you to a large degree.

But then again, I'm one of the very few that considers the bridge to be a great thing - it allows me to use the best of both worlds, although in true trueSpace fashion it's sometimes a bit quirky.;)

Ultimately, I now find workspace preferable for PE work due to the way the tool bars fly out. Also now I've got used to the bridge polygons tool I find my modeling approach is considerably less reliant on Boolean operations. Workspace is definitely way more stable than model side - for what I use them for anyway.

...they don't recognize it anymore, and have moved on?

Fear of change may be one reason for this, but perhaps it's worth considering that many users perhaps simply don't like them.I think this is very likely. One of the things I love about tS 6.6 is the icon driven interface and to a certain extent the LE particularly seems like a step away from that design philosophy even though it does open up a huge range of other options.

I do hope however that those who decide they 'simply don't like' the new interface at least give it a good try out before writing it off. It can only get better in subsequent releases.

Post by Emmanuel // Jun 28, 2008, 10:54pm

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I do hope however that those who decide they 'simply don't like' the new interface at least give it a good try out before writing it off.


I choosed trueSpace years ago because I never got used to menu-driven programs and found a solution that fulfilled my wishes. My brain doesn't like to READ a command but prefer to pick up an ICON instead. That's the way it works for me. TrueSpace was the tool for me.

For the same reason, I just can't get used to the widgets. It tried. God knows I tried. But I always turned them off at the end.
Except the View Widget.

Unfortunately, Workspace philosophy is to use less icons and rely more on text informations (more commands in the Stack View) and widgets.
This is a problem for my brain.


Here is an example to illustrate the workflow issues we find in WS.
If I want to build a pipe that links two tubes, I will operate the Move/Rotate/Scale icons for both the pipe (the object) and its faces (Point Edit).
In Workspace there is just one set of Move/Rotate/Scale icons (and no Lathe tool yet), so I can't reproduce my workflow : I must exit PE to move the pipe, then enter PE mode again, etc...
Okay, it is a very minor problem, but the sum of such issues builds mountains.
Does that sketch make sense ?
Am I the only one in this case ?


If the big community of tS4/5/6 users who neglect the new architecture for the same reasons could tell Caligari what they want and why WS does not work for them, then I am sure the developpers would make the effort.

After all, the living of a software maker is to provide users with the tools they wish or need :)

Post by transient // Jun 29, 2008, 12:23am

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Ok in all seriousness... what would you like to see different transient? I'm just curious is all.

The demos of 7.6 look exactly the same in use as 7.5, which is all I said. Not being a prophet, and not having access to the beta, what else is there to go on except the underwhelming features displayed in the captains blog so far?

[edited due to an apparent misunderstanding]

Post by frootee // Jun 29, 2008, 1:56am

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The demos of 7.6 look exactly the same in use as 7.5, which is all I said. Not being a prophet, and not having access to the beta, what else is there to go on except the underwhelming features displayed in the captains blog so far?


If your going to troll me, I'll take my future critique to cgtalk, where I'm sure there will be some great "hater" action. The fact I have kept the arguments here should indicate I don't want to hurt Caligari, any more than it's currently doing to itself. Really, this crap is just typical of these forums, unfortunately.




I'm not trolling you transient. And I was serious about the beer comment. It was intended as lighthearted humor but I see how it could be interpreted otherwise, given the context of this conversation. So, sorry about that man. :o

Post by transient // Jun 29, 2008, 3:31am

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No worries. Broke my rule of drinking and posting, so don't feel bad.


Apologies.

Post by stan // Jun 29, 2008, 6:17am

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Secondly the axis tools in model side respond to numerical input in the Object Info box when axis tools are activated - the same does not apply in tS workspace but this could well be user error - after all I've had about 6 years of using tS model construction methods and only a year or so using tS
workspace.
the axis[pivot] can be moved with numeric input using object info panel after using the down arrow key when an object is selected..But there is no visible axis just the obj widget, if its on and you can't get the axis widget to show..I made myself a visible axis widget like the one we use to show axis on model side except it only shows on the active object....

Post by W!ZARD // Jun 29, 2008, 4:53pm

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the axis[pivot] can be moved with numeric input using object info panel after using the down arrow key when an object is selected..


Ah! Thanks Stan, that's good to know. I grabbed your axis tool too, thanks.


@Emmanuel - I like the icon driven interface too. In many ways the tS 7.x interface seems to be moving away from the GUI philosophy of earlier versions however the 'direct manipulation' concept is still evident.


I'm currently building a mechanical model using the skills I learned from Jacks invaluable Organic Modeling Course and while I'm missing some of the more specialised tools from the model side I'm getting satisfactory results.


On the rare occasion when I need the Bend Tool or an occasional Boolean operation I simple stroll across the bridge and use the legacy modeling tools.


An ideal solution? Probably not - a useful solution? I'd say yes. There seems to be a general perception that the bridge is a 'bad thing' but that's not my experience at all.
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