SoftPlan 2016

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Bill Wimberley
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SoftPlan 2016

If anyone has any specific questions about SoftPlan 2016 I'd be happy to discuss it. Lots of great new stuff smiley. Some of my favorites are support for the 3DConnexion 3D Mouse, grouping added to Building Options with drawing specific grouping available for each drawing inserted on a Plan Set page, improved cabinets, crossover loops for electrical connections, automatic shadows and textures for elevations, total number of pages information stamp, and walk-through animations.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com

jimcrook@live.com
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2016

Bill, I noticed support for the 3d Connexion Mouse.  Is this mouse used in addition to a normal

mouse just for panning and rotating in 3D or does it have further uses ?  Have you used one ?

JimC

Bill Wimberley
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3D Mouse

I've used the 3D Mouse for years with Sketchup. It allows you to spin models around, zoom in and out, and move the camera to any location. My only complaint with SoftPlan's implementation is that the movements are way too slow for my taste. You can speed it up to an acceptable speed by holding down the Alt key but that is a real pain to have to do just to speed up the movement. The more pressure you put on the 3D mouse puck the faster the movements are. So there is no reason, in my opinion, to limit the speed. You want to move slowly you use just a little pressure. You want to move faster you use more pressure.

My repeated attempts to get SoftPlan to speed up the movements without holding the Alt key were unsuccessful.

The way the 3D mouse is intended to be used is that you have the 3D Mouse in your left hand and your normal mouse in your right hand. Forcing us to use the Alt key to speed up the movements means I have to constantly keep taking my right hand off the mouse, find the Alt key, hold the Alt key while I rotate the model, then go back to my mouse. Other than that one annoyance it works really well in SoftPlan.

jimcrook@live.com
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2016 Building Options

Bill, could you give a short description of how one make use of the grouping with Bldg Options ?

JimC

Bill Wimberley
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Grouping

The Building Options grouping is great. In the example below I have several options set up. On the left you see the Group names. The next column contains the various options that are grouped together. Turning off the check for the Group turns off everything in that group. So for instance if I were to turn off the Appliances group all appliances are turned off.

You can turn items on or off individually within a group. Take the various Nook options for example. You can first choose what type of Nook is to be used. Then within that group you can choose whether the roof over the Nook is Hipped or Gabled.

In the Game Rooms you can choose which Game Room option to use. Then within that option you can select what type of Garage is going to be under the Game Room. The game room varies slightly depending on if it is a 2car, 2+car, or 3car.

 

jimcrook@live.com
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Grouping Bldg Options

Wow, I can see where the speed and flexibility of having various Bldg Options Groups would be beneficial

and very fast once you had it all setup.   But I can imagine setting it up would be time consuming but more

than anything a real exercise in forethought, planning and care when first setting it up ?

 

What are your thoughts on using Bldg Options for optional interior wall layouts or particularly when some

walls will be demo'd and new walls put in the same general area but in a different configuration.  Reason

I ask is I have been using layers to some extent for this but sometimes when new and demo walls cross

over each other or are in close proximity to each other even when I have some of their layers turned off it

seems as if dimensioning can become an issue as I think Softplan still recognizes the wall layers that are

turned off.  Since Bldg Options are an entirely different beast I wondered if they may be a better option to

avoid dimensioning issues ?

 

JimC

Bill Wimberley
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Building Options

Building Options would be a good solution. And they don't take as much planning as they did in earlier versions. Previously you could not rearrange the Building Options. So if you wanted to move the names around or insert or delete names you were pretty much screwed. Now you can just drag them around to whatever order you want them. The same thing with grouping. You can drag options into, out of, and between groups. Since an object that belongs to a Building Option that is turned off is completely ignored as if it does not exist then you should not have any dimensioning problems as you described. The only real forethought is what items would stay in the Default BO and what ones would go on specific BO's. Take dimensions for example. If you have walls that belong to a certain BO you would want any dimensions that go to that wall to also be on that BO. Also, since objects can belong to multiple BO's you need to make sure you think about how the same object can be reused without having to redraw it for each configuration. It takes some playing around with to get it all straight in your head but once you understand it then it is pretty simple and very powerful.

yvongonthier
yvongonthier's picture
Building options

I have been a long time fan of building options. Being a track builder, we have different options and reuse plans constantly. Dealing with plans that you repeat is where the building options are really worth using. When you have to make changes to a plan for code updates, correcting an error, changes in standards or designs, you do your changes on one drawing per level instead of multiple plans for each level.

For example, when we prepare a new plan, we get it registered at the city as a master plan which they pre-approve and it's faster (or suppose to be) when you apply for a building permit for the same model. Having all options supplied at the same time is crucial. We usually have a std & opt basement and floor levels. I also prepare the plans for corner lots which have brick on the side at the ground floor level and sometime more windows and/or the addition of grills to match the front elevation. So this would represent 4 plans per levels instead of 1 with building options. Building options allows that by selecting the active options, I will automatically have all plans, elevations and sections with the proper options.

Using building options allows you that have the different windows for example positioned correctly when they differ between different options. In the past, we had a different floor plan for the different options but not necessarily the elevations if a window positioning was just slightly different or just covered by a note. The problem was that if you made changes for a client, you might not notice a problem with the location of a window because it wasn't drawn exactly where it was.

The problem in the past with building options is that you couldn't have an item related to different building options. In the above example, I had a second floor std and opt layout with affected the dimensioning and windows in the side wall which I could deal with with 2 different building options but my side wall location was also affected if the wall below was siding or brick which means that I would have had to create 4 building options for every drawing even if the other elevations and side/rear walls only needed 2 (std & opt).

What I do specially for floor plans is create my std plan, copy it and make the changes for the opt plan. I then print both, highlight what is applicable for both. I then modify what is only applicable for the std option as my std building option. On the opt plan, I erase everything that is the same for both plans (default), change what is left to opt building option and then merge it with my 1rst plan. Then, I just need to finish some dimensioning.

Mike Landry
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Hi Bill,

Hi Bill,

Do you know why they no longer ship cds to upgrade with?

 

Thanks,

Mike

Bill Wimberley
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Downloads

It's the wave of the future. I haven't seen a CD or DVD since 2014 came out. All of the software I have bought or updated in recent years has been download only. If you are in an area where you don't have high speed internet you might check with SoftPlan sales and see if they can send you a DVD.

Bill Wimberley
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DVD

Actually I just this minute received a package that included the DVD. So I guess you have a choice. You can download and get started immediately or wait for the DVD to arrive. I'm glad to see the DVD. If I accidentally overwrite or delete a symbol I can pull it off the DVD.

Mike Landry
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I have not received any link

I have not received any link to download the new version, do you know of one?

I would prefer the cd also.

Bill Wimberley
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Link

I would give SoftPlan sales a call. I honestly don't know exactly how they are handling upgrades and in what order they are sending them out. I would imagine they are spreading them out to A) prevent the download server from being overwhelmed and B) to keep support from being overwhelmed if there are any problems. But I honestly don't know anything. Just guessing.

jmahan
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earlier versions

how well does the earlier version of softplan work with 2016. If I create a project with 16 will 12 be able to open and modify that project?

Bill Wimberley
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Backwards incompatibility

As with all versions of SoftPlan, files are not backward compatible. Once a file has been saved in a later version it cannot be opened in an earlier version. I believe this even applies to patches. So for instance if you are using 2016.4 someone using 2016.3 could not open your files until they applied the 2016.4 patch.

jmahan
jmahan's picture
2016 help menu

I have installed the new version and when I open it up the help menu is grayed out. Any ideas? 

Bill Wimberley
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Reboot?

Reboot your system?

jmahan
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help menu

rebooting didnt help. I just updated another computer here and did the same set up and it works just fine. I wonder if i need to uninstall and reinstall.

Bill Wimberley
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Help

Don't have a clue. I'd try copying the Help file from the working system to the messed up one before I'd completely reinstall the program.

Lkelsey
Lkelsey's picture
2016 Upgrade

Does anyone but myself  think it might be courteous to know from softplan when we may receive our upgrades. Im a 15 year user, have always upgraded, been a plus subscriber, but am clueless as to when Im receiving update. Who is making money off whom? When I design for my clients, I always am reminded that Im making money from them, and try to always communicate timeframes as to plans and changes. Am I crazy or What???????

L Kelsey

 

 

 

Mike Landry
Mike Landry's picture
I agree, at least a general

I agree, at least a general time frame would be helpful.

yvongonthier
yvongonthier's picture
Softplan 2016+

Here is a comment from Softplan;

admin

February 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm Reply

SoftPlan users tend to work together so the 2016 +’s are being rolled out by geography. We want to minimize the chance of one user getting a version ahead of a local user that they work with. The release also has to be somewhat metered so that our support department can still provide assistance. It looks like about 24 states have been processed so far. It could take another 4 weeks to process the remainder.

In Canada, they say that 7 of 10 provinces have been processed.

Bill Wimberley
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Geography

As the world becomes more internet centric geography becomes less and less of a factor. My builders I work with are located in Louisiana, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas. They all have SoftPlan so I am having to do some plans in 2014 until everybody gets their updates.

I would actually like to see SoftPlan go full subscription based like Abobe has done. Rather than having a major update every 2 years have the program continually updated and and improved. The learning curve for new features would be minimized since you would only have to learn a few new features at a time rather than a couple hundred. And customer support wouldn't be overwhelmed since they would be mostly dealing with a few new features rather than a major release. And new features would be available as they are developed rather than waiting 2 years for them.

Lkelsey
Lkelsey's picture
Geography

Bill:

I couldnt agree more. I have adobe creative cloud, which I also pay a monthly fee, but receive updates all the time, I can select to update the new features if I wish. Really works quite well, instead of overwhelming you would 50 changes. Softplan should give this some serious thought.

L Kelsey

 

 

 

yvongonthier
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Full subscription

Sounds great. Would also help to deal with errors and problems with the program that most of the time, you have to wait for a new versions to deal with the issues.

jmahan
jmahan's picture
Zooming

Have you noticed the amount of time it takes to zoom in visible line 3D mode? Is the there a way to fix this? I have it set to 20 and still so very slow.

Bill Wimberley
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Zoom

James, I haven't noticed any difference in zooming speed. How are you moving in and out? Using the mouse wheel or the keyboard arrow keys? With either method you can double the speed by holding down the Alt key.

jmahan
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Touch screen devices

Has anyone trIed using softplan on a touch screen device? If so what is your opinion.

Dan Turner
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that &*(*^$%*) key

Hola Bill etal.....

 

I decided to finally load 16 onto my Lenovo T510 just to have it available for convenience to the jobsite or just for sitting with Susan and fiddling around on items that could use a little work.....and most especially, away from the desk, ball, chain and ankle bracelet tying me to the workstation.

Just because I saw key prices in the products list for various upgrade, I thought I would venture a request for a price for a 2nd key to SP Sales on Monday.  The response was less than adequate...."we show that you have a license to V13.....we could upgrade you to 16+ for $35 a month."

 

Wrong answer.  I'm already paying per month and was hoping a + key would be a small amount...or at least a reasonable amount.

 

I'll be installing anyhow and then carrying the key to be able to operate.  I would hope that one day, the dongle would go away with SP taking inspiration from Sketch Up.....run your license on any gear, but only one sign in at a time; which I think fixes issues of too many users per license.  It's sorta nickel and dime stuff to insist on my buying a redundant program to pay $35 for the sake of convenience in lieu of a one time 2nd key for an existing account for quite a few versions.

Bill Wimberley
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Key

Yep, I share your frustration with SoftPlan's key system. Back when I worked from an office I would have to carry my key back and forth between home and the office each day. Then of course I would inevitably forget my key at the office or at home and have to go back for it. In this modern day of internet connectivity the old key system is way out of date. I too hope that someday SoftPlan will get rid of the keys as so many other software companies have done.