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V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Fri 9. Jan 2015, 13:03
by Eddy
Just my initial reacting loading up a layout in Railmodeller Pro and trying to continue where I left off:

(1) Performance: It takes about 1 second before an object gets selected on my Macbook Pro Retina.. or 5 seconds even.. it's too slow to use.
(2) Editing: The accurately moving of tracks & shapes with cursor keys (+shift) is no longer working... I use this a lot
(3) Please bring more shortcuts back, such as rotate, hide/show layer, .. all the stuff that goes much quicker staying on the keyboard.
(4) Please bring back the 3D view.
(5) Please allow me setting the height of polygons - in your last version this was possible by using the grade function... and it ended up showing great in the 3D view. It obviously support in the backend, so why not open it up?

Anyway with all the super slow movement, I don't find myself wanting to explore it further - it's no fun to use. This is most disappointing after paying AU $33. On the positive: - It looks very crisp (retina!!) and very happy the layers determining foreground / background layering.

Thank you for putting the effort in though - I loved the old version. I hope this one will match that soon.

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Fri 9. Jan 2015, 15:19
by Bergen
Very first impressions: I also miss the shortcuts, like spacebar for flipping, alt+s for selection, cmd+d for duplication, etc. These were great shortcut and I'm missing them already.

Also I have not yet been able to find where I can set the measurements of the workspace. In the right side bar there are the document dimensions, but they are not editable. And there is the menu option "size layout to fit contents" which shrinks the workspace. But how can I enlarge it again? Can't find that anywhere. I understand that the workspace automatically grows along when you add pieces, but it would be nice to be able to specify the table size as fixed boundaries just as in version 4.

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Fri 9. Jan 2015, 17:09
by RailModeller Support
Eddy wrote: (1) Performance: It takes about 1 second before an object gets selected on my Macbook Pro Retina.. or 5 seconds even.. it's too slow to use.
Sorry about that!
I realize performance needs to be improved but it wasn't nearly as bad in our test phase. Can you send the layout to support@railmodeller.com?

Shortcuts:
Coming back, definitely..

3D:
Absolutely coming and much improved than in the old program.

Bergen wrote: Also I have not yet been able to find where I can set the measurements of the workspace. In the right side bar there are the document dimensions, but they are not editable. And there is the menu option "size layout to fit contents" which shrinks the workspace. But how can I enlarge it again? Can't find that anywhere. I understand that the workspace automatically grows along when you add pieces, but it would be nice to be able to specify the table size as fixed boundaries just as in version 4.
The document resizes automatically to adapt to the contents of the layout.
A dedicated 'table top' mode for defining the precise dimentions of the basic shape of the layout will follow very soon!

Hope that helps,
Jan

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Fri 9. Jan 2015, 19:19
by Bergen
RailModeller wrote:A dedicated 'table top' mode for defining the precise dimentions of the basic shape of the layout will follow very soon!
Cool, thanks!

I don't understand the duplication function. This is what I do: hold the alt button, then click and hold a track piece. A green plus symbol appears along with the track. I drag the new piece to somewhere and release it. Then I release the alt button. But the new track piece disappears again. Am I doing something wrong, or is this function not fully implemented yet?

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Fri 9. Jan 2015, 19:27
by RailModeller Support
Bergen wrote: I don't understand the duplication function. This is what I do: hold the alt button, then click and hold a track piece. A green plus symbol appears along with the track. I drag the new piece to somewhere and release it. Then I release the alt button. But the new track piece disappears again. Am I doing something wrong, or is this function not fully implemented yet?
I will check -
does this happen with a particular layout or is the current layer locked by any chance..?

Thanks,
Jan

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Fri 9. Jan 2015, 19:31
by Bergen
Layer is not locked and the problem seems to be there with everything. Just create a new sheet (file > new), put a random piece on the sheet and try to duplicate it using the alt key.

[edit]
I don't understand how simple bugs like this as well as all the other bugs were not found by the developer(s?). I agree with the comments below me, this software is by far not production quality. It seems like the smoke testing (bug hunting) and acceptance testing phases were completely skipped. It's like we are doing the beta testing now. But we didn't pay for beta testing, we expected a production quality product, especially now that it has been accepted by the App Store. Lots of handy features from version 4 are gone! All the keyboard shortcuts are missing! Come on, we don't really have to write formal feature requests for these things, do we? Sure it looks nice, it's retina ready, it has some great new features and I really want to be excited about this big release and want to work with it, but it kinda feels like we went 1 step forward, 2 steps back... This should have been an alpha or beta release alongside stable release 4.

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Fri 9. Jan 2015, 22:56
by zacelliott
I just purchased Pro after wanting to register V4 but finding it was App Store at this point, and so far, i'm kinda disappointed. I can't edit elements after drawing them, also, if I type something in the "rotation" box and then want to delete the element, I can't get my cursor out of that box to delete using the backspace key, even after hitting the Escape key. I have to hit the Delete tool then click the element, very frustrating. If i hit "Escape" a bunch of words pop up in the box?

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Sat 10. Jan 2015, 01:59
by stevegoldsmith
Was really excited to see that this hit the app store, have been waiting eagerly for some time for it. The new features are nice, but gotta say, the release of this was quite premature. It is unstable, crashes regularly and a lot of base functionality is missing as compared to previous release. Would have made a good base for beta (or alpha) test release, but definitely not production quality.

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Sat 10. Jan 2015, 07:03
by RailModeller Support
Hi guys -

sorry for the issues, and I agree in hindsight we should have used a larger group of beta testers to find more issues ahead of the initial release. Update 5.0.2 fixing some critical issues is already in the review phase and we're aiming to tackle the problems as quickly as possible.
zacelliott wrote:..if I type something in the "rotation" box and then want to delete the element, I can't get my cursor out of that box to delete using the backspace key, even after hitting the Escape key. I have to hit the Delete tool then click the element, very frustrating. If i hit "Escape" a bunch of words pop up in the box?
If you're currently editing the value in any of the properties boxes - position, rotate, .. - and the box has the keyboard focus, i.e. the blue frame around it, everything you enter on the keyboard goes to that particular field.
You can just leave the field with Tab or by clicking somethere into the layout to have the input box ignore keyboard input again.

To delete an element just select it in the layout and hit <Delete>.

Hope that helps,
Jan

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Sat 10. Jan 2015, 13:55
by stevegoldsmith
Hi,

Couple of followups. First, I know a lot of time and effort went into the new version, and it is much appreciated. The new features really are fantastic (add parallel track is great!). V5 does appear to be stable if you are building a new layout, but it crashes regularly if working on a layout made in 4.1.10, particularly if you have a layer for benchwork that consists of squares and rectangles. Often times it becomes impossible to re-open the layout that was being worked on as the application just crashes immediately when the layout is opened.

Notable things missing in v5 that would be nice to have back in future release(s):
Dimensions: In V4 there were dimensions every 12 inches (or every 10cm if unit of measurement was set to cm) on the top and left of the worksheet window. Made building for an existing space/benchwork much easier.

Edit object: In V4 get info allowed editing of objects, including resizing them. When designing for an existing benchwork this made it possible
to build the benchwork layer accurately. Without ability to resize it is almost impossible to generate shapes to match actual benchwork, and with instability of V5 using V4 layouts, impossible to import.

Ability to move object with keyboard: For fine adjustment of track connections it was really nice to be able to move a piece of track, building or benchwork with arrow keys on keyboard to get it exactly to where I wanted.

Sound: Was nice to hear track snap when it was connected to another track in V4.

Visible display when a track is not connected: In V4 it was quite obvious when a track was not connected to another track (circle appeared). Without sound or any other indication that track is connected, it is difficult to verify if that 1" piece of track that seems to fit between those two 9" pieces really does connect or if there is a gap, or if part of it is underneath another track.

Find orphaned track: When working with multiple layers and track which may be behind other elements it was nice to be able to find stuff which was just left hanging around on the worksheet.

Bugs:
If you add a rectangle to the worksheet and put it as far to the top left as you can and then change its position (track pane, change position value) other objects on the worksheet move to seemingly random places. The rectangle moves as expected, but the other objects should not be moving around.

Thanks again,

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Sun 11. Jan 2015, 16:09
by bmorg
Good look and feel to this major upgrade, I think it will be well worth the current pain once the functionality and bugs are sorted.

What I failed to find and use frequently in V4 are, in addition to other comments posted:
- Context (right click) menus.
- Send to back/bring to front, in fact the Element menu is very sparse compared to V4.
- Connect with Flex Track does not try to use track from the current library set, but always defaults to Generic Flex Track.

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Tue 13. Jan 2015, 00:10
by Jay
Here's my 2ยข from the short time I've been using it:

- The interface is really clean, which I like. But there also seems to be a limited number of functions at this point. I assume the program will be built up as time goes on. When that happens, it will be useful to have the standard OS X "Customize Toolbar" feature, so that I can have the tools I use the most often at my fingertips.

- I like the huge selection of tracks and accessories.

- As I mentioned in another post, the Flextrack isn't Flextrack unless it allows for Bezier curves. Right now it's nothing but a 36" piece of straight track.

- I appreciate the thought behind having the layout automatically expand. But if I accidentally drag a piece of track too far, it expands and there doesn't seem to be any way to shrink it back to the way it was. Perhaps if it didn't expand until you actually drop the track in place, that would help. And I know it was mentioned that in an update we'll be able to choose a set workspace size. That will be really useful. I'd also like the ability to tailor the shape of the workspace into polygons, not just simple squares.

- In the parts list, even though the menu says "Dollars" the symbol in front of the amount is a euro.

- I need to be able to move around in the elevation (3D) view. Right now the view seems locked to one axis, which isn't very useful.

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Sat 17. Jan 2015, 01:36
by Esses
I've only had a quick look and play with my area of interest - slot car tracks. Seems that the new version still can't grade slot car tracks? Is that correct, or am I doing something wrong?

I'd love to know if or when it will be possible.

Re: V5 Initial impressions

Posted: Sat 17. Jan 2015, 07:32
by RailModeller Support
To quickly summarize:
  • What was available in v4 feature-wise will be back (if not already) in v5, so please bare with me. Thanks.
  • Flex tracks can be freely bent with the upcoming update (already in beta testing).
  • Elements (shapes, flex tracks) can be edited via double-click after creation
Grades for slot cars are not yet possible I'm afraid. We're always aiming to improve support for slot car systems and have some really cool features lined up for the next couple of releases, however the slot car user base is way smaller (< 5%) than our model train user base so we have to prioritize efforts accordingly. Doesn't mean it's not gonna happen, though!

Hope that helps,
Jan