tS8: time for a new UI?

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tS8: time for a new UI? // Feature suggestions

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Post by splinters // Sep 19, 2008, 9:31am

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Well, aside from the promised patch, I guess the next biggie will be tS8.


Much has changed in the program and now it is part of Microsoft, maybe time to change again.


I don't want to 'hijack' Froo's thread so I thought I would start one about the UI as a sort of companion thread to workflow issues. Of course workflow is easier to tweak than creating a whole new UI but the two are intrinsically linked.


I dug out this concept UI from years ago (sometime between tS7 and tS7.5) and have to say now that it is nothing to do with Caligari or tS, no early concept. In fact nothing more than a 3D sketch for my own fun.


Now this is ironic, despite creating hundreds of icons for the UI I would love to see a cleaner UI with less icons. I like context sensitive menus, much like the PE. But like idea that you click in the UI to get the menu rather than clicking off screen to place something in there.


Early concept just messing with imagery but perhaps a starting point for a discussion and maybe some good input would help shape a great UI for tS8.


Can I also add that I was in the unique position of working on tS7.0/5/6 without actually being on the Beta team for the last 18 months so I have no insider knowledge and this thread is purely to encourage discussion. I don't work for Caligari any more nor do I know any of their plans. This is nothing more than a personal concept, anyone here could do the same.

Post by robert // Sep 19, 2008, 9:38am

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This looks like a good layout, I like the aesthetics and colors, layout etc. very intuitive. I know I would like to see something like this implemented.

Post by splinters // Sep 19, 2008, 9:43am

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It is a very basic start Robert, with no real workflow thought out beyond the 'click in the screen then choose an option' bit.


Many dislike the 'rooms' idea too but I sorta like it. That bit of OCD in me likes things organised and tidy. Specific areas require less icons. Model room simply needs model tools, animation needs its own set of functions etc. so the UI can be kept clean and tidy.


A customisable interface might also let you have more than one 'room' open at a time too.


I do think that the best way to purge the memory of tS is to have a new UI that has no more than a nod to the model side. Remember than many workspace icons are 'reinvented' versions of those on model side to give some familiarity to new users...:o

Post by rrf // Sep 19, 2008, 9:49am

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I was just thinking along these lines also, except I was thinking what it would have been like if they stuck with the original concept more. I think Roman was on the right track with the 'pop-up' context sensitive menus. It took me years to become comfortable with it, and now I don't want it to go


My other thought was - how much I would like to see a 'lean and mean' TS modeler - A 'pared down' version for just modeling, sculpting and UV/material editing - how fast would that be? I wonder if there would be more interest in TS from that stand point


rf

Post by frank // Sep 19, 2008, 10:44am

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Looks slick, splinters!


Just add a frame scrubber across the entire bottom of the screen and I'll like it even more. ;-)


EDIT: I suppose that would be visible when the Animate tab is enabled. :-)

Post by robert // Sep 19, 2008, 11:57am

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It is a very basic start Robert, with no real workflow thought out beyond the 'click in the screen then choose an option' bit...


Yeah I know, but it's a good start and should definitely be considered if a UI change is in order.

Post by Breech Block // Sep 19, 2008, 12:41pm

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Now that I have finally managed to stop myself from drooling over your Buzz Lightyear model, err yeah, looks very nice splinters. I occasionally dabble with Poser and that operates in a very similar fashion.


By the way, excellent job on the 7.6 Icons, I just love-em.

Post by splinters // Sep 19, 2008, 12:46pm

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Now that I have finally managed to stop myself from drooling over your Buzz Lightyear model, err yeah, looks very nice splinters. I occasionally dabble with Poser and that operates in a very similar fashion.


By the way, excellent job on the 7.6 Icons, I just love-em.


Thank you for that. As for Buzz, I thought I had posted the model around here somewhere...:o

Post by seavu // Sep 19, 2008, 1:07pm

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One thing I really like is the workspace library system. But the icons are a little small so maybe if a larger image would pop up when hovering the mouse over an icon would be nice. Perhaps you should have to press the ctrl key while hovering otherwise flashing pop up windows would be annoying.

Post by Délé // Sep 19, 2008, 1:53pm

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I definitely like the look Paul. Very clean, sleek, and modern. I would really like it if tS8 had that professional visual style. :)

I keep going back and forth on the functionality of the design though. Having separate rooms keeps things organized but how would that work with online collaboration, or when creating interactive scenes?

For creating interactive scenes, it is essential to be able to customize your views. You never know what you'll need to access to when scripting. Sometimes I have two LE windows and a 3d window open, sometimes one LE window, one AE window, and one 3d window open, etc. It depends what kind of interactivity I'm trying to create. So being able to quickly change windows from LE to AE to 3d is important in this respect.

With the room design you gain some organization, but lose some customization.

Post by transient // Sep 19, 2008, 2:57pm

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Many dislike the 'rooms' idea too but I sorta like it.


I'm afraid I have an allergy to the rooms concept, it's a major reason why I've never taken to carrara (along with the slow renderer). The Carrara devs have done a lot to mitigate the bad aspects of the rooms concept, and otherwise the interface is pretty nice (I like the assembly area), although not nearly as usable as either version of ts.


Even they've seen the light to some extent and are merging the model room with the assembly area. I wonder how long it will be before they get rid of the concept entirely.


I like layers, maybe modular "themed" layers would be cool (i.e meshes in one, bones, textures, lighting and rendering setups in others). I also like deles idea of different scene states. But imo rooms aren't a good idea.

Post by RichLevy // Sep 19, 2008, 8:30pm

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I would hate to see this implemented...We just went thru a change to get here (ts 6.6 and before to TS7 and above). I like the unrestricted nature of working in TS, I can model, uv, place materials and animate all in the same work space. Each of those operations has it's own tools associated and I can either put them off to the side and use them as I work thru my project or I can let them disappear form my screen and not be used again...


The things that do kill my workflow are the things that TS could use a push with...


Modeling: as has been mentioned in other posts... the native tools and there placement is not ideal, Tiles layout improves it much but is still not enough... I have created some keystroke shortcuts that mimic some packages that I am more familiar with though that is still not the perfect solution.

Has anyone noticed the many switches we have available to us? I am all for the ability for the user to change things, but something is too confusing with the way it is right now...


Stack: man this is the hardest thing, I use 2 monitors so I can tear things out of here and use them whenever I want... but let me tell you, I am always looking for the ME, the UVE, the options for this tool or that tool, it becomes a chore sometimes trying to remember where somethign is and I have to stop what I am doing and start clicking or right clicking on things to bring back the option panel I am looking for.


Materials/textures in TS: this was the biggest pain to figure out, and thankfully there are such a great community here or I never would have figured it out... Put a texture on an object in TS WS side? It is nothing like any other program I have ever used before... How did something so basic become this? I have worked a system that works but it does not make any sense and I would not want to describe it to anyone :)

What is wrong with drag your texture to the ME, place it on the ME and than choose to paint face, paint object like we used to on Modeler side?


UVE: This is a work in progress so I won't go into any big rant here, this is probably the weakest UV tool of any 3D application, it works ok with basic to medium shapes, leave the organics to other applications though, this is not your tool.


Rigging: sigh, so close, every release gets us closer to something very wonderful, hopefully something soon.


I think I am going to bed now, been a long day...


Thanks for letting me Rant.


Rich

Post by Igor K Handel // Sep 19, 2008, 9:18pm

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Whilst I like your proposed UI from an asthetic and artistic point of view, I have to agree with all that Rich has said. To me one of the strengths of TS workspace IS the ability to mix n match processes rather than compartmentalise. I guess there are pros and cons to both workflows, but must admit that TS has successfully weened me onto a fairly open way of moving between different processes.


As for UVE and rigging... well I am way beyond the "sigh" stage lol. 9 months and counting and still no proper working IK. I almost cringe at the thought of how long it may be before lots of useful constraints are added. The UVE, well I am sure Noah found it useful when he designed his ark, but then he probably used a commodore 64, or was it a zx spectrum with the rubber keys?


Agree with Dele on the Collaboration issue, though if it could be resolved, the UI certainly looks more sleek and modern.


RRF... lol If you "pared down" the UVE any more it would vanish completely :D


Agree that a nice clean way to purge TS memory would be a benefit, just not sure the rooms concept is too high a hit on flexibility of workflow in exchange?


Regards

IK

Post by splinters // Sep 19, 2008, 10:04pm

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The 'rooms' could simply be icon sets which you can customise and, for completeness, you could customise the 'room' tabs as well...especially if , like me, you rarely use animation.


Of course this is just a sketch rather than a proposal and I am happy to see it generate constructive discussion. It may look like I spent a lot of time on it but I simply took some existing icons and rendered them using Vray for a more modern look/changed workspace to black and grey combo then put it all together in PS. Hopefully others will put forward their proposals too in a visual format.


I should add that I had little influence on the layout and workflow of tS7 and none at all for tS7.6. I just made icons as a 'contractor'.


EDIT: Rooms were something I just added as a thought but I do like the inscreen 'radial' menu. If anyone has used Alias Sketchbook Pro, you will know how intuitive this 'elastic band' style menu is. You click once for the centre spoke then move your mouse over the icons that appear around it. A one click solution and no icons cluttering up the UI when you are working.


I like getting into the UI mindset streamlining a workflow for speed and to make the process more enjoyable. Anyone who has grinned while playing with an iPod touch or similar gadget would know what I mean. It encourages you to work as you are effectivley playing and enjoying it.

Post by eNano // Dec 10, 2008, 6:39pm

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Hi, (first of all sorry for my english)

Every year I try out TS but I don't quite get used to the UI.

I try to migrate to TS but I find the environment to "Hard" and "Heavy"

I think there is a waste of resources applied to the decoration, when you choose a 3d software you seek for quality and details in the final work, not in the interface.

The UI should be 100% re-makeable basing it on a solid scripting system.

Every command should be accesible trough a script and those scripts should be assignable to keyboard shortcuts and also should be capable to react to Event Handlers to make possible sensitive Right-Click Scripted menus.

I never use toolbars because they make me loose time and desktop space, I design my own contextual menus so every command appears exactly where and when I need it.

I guess that would be a cool feature. Thanks!

Post by parva // Dec 10, 2008, 10:31pm

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Every command should be accesible trough a script and those scripts should be assignable to keyboard shortcuts


that's the case in every program as well as in truespace.

tS isn't different to other cg software just that it don't use right-click pop up menues (Roman didn't like that I guess).


Every script is a command and the key shortcut or icon bitmap is a link to activate it.

Post by eNano // Dec 11, 2008, 4:21am

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Cool! thanks for the answer.

Please, PLEASE! add right clicks to it that would be just perfect!

Are every ShortCut modifiable?

Is it possible to avoid any graphic and fx in the interface and have just a system like user interface? (I realy enjoy fast interfaces and to save as much resources as I can)

Thanks!

Post by The Master Elite // Dec 12, 2008, 9:56am

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Wort,


personally, I love the current UI...can't wait to see NURBS, Lathe/ Fillet tools, and everything else that is currently model-side moved to Workspace.

Post by Ospreyluvr // Dec 15, 2008, 9:14pm

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Wow. Is it TS8 time already???;)

Post by The Master Elite // Dec 17, 2008, 10:07am

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Total Posts: 107
Eh no....


You see, TrueSpace 8 is actually being built off a whole new and revolutionary architecture that will allow users to hook themselves up to the computer and input data and modeling commands using only their minds...they've been working on this secretly for over 5 years, which is why its taking them so long...:P


..the Shared Spaces will be completely reworked and made into massive seamless 3D worlds where people can collaberate in great numbers. Two planned sets include the Cityscape and Alien world Spaces, both of which feature massive environments up to 50 square miles in virtual size!

______________________________


This was a joke brought to you by "Yours truly"...:p

Post by Steinie // Dec 17, 2008, 10:40am

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Wow. Is it TS8 time already???;)


We are still waiting for the 7.61 patch!


At the current rate 8.0 is Years ahead.

Post by Burnart // Dec 17, 2008, 11:37am

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Just the title of this thread fills me with dread. My aging brain has limited space for yet another learning curve so soon. By all means refine whats in 7.6 and add some needed new features but a completely NEW ui would surely be counter productive as far as expanding the user base goes. At this stage new users already have 2 interfaces to learn - by all means lose one of them for vers. 8 but to toss aside both and foist a 3rd one on people ...... who needs that kind of extra aggravation in their life?

Post by Ospreyluvr // Dec 18, 2008, 11:31am

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I find the current UI easy to use and quick to learn. I have no complaints, other than the fact it could look more "modern". But, I do look forward to being able to import models with my mind.;)

Post by frankendaddy // Dec 19, 2008, 5:38pm

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I really dig TS for it's programmability, but I also find it nearly impossible to make models. I must be too used to using 3DS Max's UI instead of icons.


Didn't like Maya and Blender for the same reason.

Post by Ospreyluvr // Dec 19, 2008, 5:57pm

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Yeah. I did not like blender because it was very difficult to learn. I learned it, but I did not like it. TS is SO easy and I love it! FrankenDaddy, if you need help, just message me!

Post by jamesmc // Dec 19, 2008, 7:41pm

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The best way to use the tS interface is customize what you use the most.

Don't leave the buttons you use most on the bar covered up. Bring them out, expand them and put them where you feel comfortable.

If you are working on skeletons, drag the appropriate bar out into the open, so you don't have to keep having it pop up from the base button.

Of course, this is similar to any program with a lot of options.

I do the same thing in PhotoShop and Illustrator.

Post by trueBlue // Dec 19, 2008, 8:22pm

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You can also change any toolbar from 2D "Icon" to 1D "Text" from the triangle on the right of the toolbar handle.

Post by nowherebrain // Dec 20, 2008, 9:48am

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Now that Caligari is a subsidiary of MS, they will probably care a little less what we think around here as we are the minority. MS will pressure or force the direction of tS to be more mainstream. They will

be looking at what the other companies are doing and what features their users are requesting. This is, in some ways, a smart idea.....what we ask for has not panned out(I blame the implementation), and maybe Caligari can beat the other guys to the punch by implementing their(the competition) own users ideas.

My vote is no new ui. it is a superfluous amount of work that can be applied elsewhere.

Post by nowherebrain // Dec 20, 2008, 10:00am

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Now that Caligari is a subsidiary of MS, they will probably care a little less what we think around here as we are the minority. MS will pressure or force the direction of tS to be more mainstream. They will

be looking at what the other companies are doing and what features their users are requesting. This is, in some ways, a smart idea.....what we ask for has not panned out(I blame the implementation), and maybe Caligari can beat the other guys to the punch by implementing their(the competition) own users ideas.

My vote is no new ui. it is a superfluous amount of work that can be applied elsewhere.


BTW: I hope tS8 is in dev now, but is not released until 2011-2012.

Post by Ospreyluvr // Dec 21, 2008, 1:49am

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You know, just because caligari is owned by big bad Microsoft, does not mean that they will not listen to what we say. Look at Bungie. A small gaming company, owned by Microsoft for years, and still always listened to their fans by adding what we wanted into the next game. Not all big companies are really that bad.;)

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