am I really the only one confused by this?

am I really the only one confused by this?
Hi! I'm a new user with next to no prior CAD experience, but with some ESRI GIS map-making background. I can see that LDraw uses a powerful and versatile suite of tools - very impressive!

However... ummm... it's my technical manual writing experience behind this question...

From where I stand now, at the bottom of a huge learning curve, I have to point out the huge pot-hole awaiting first-time users right out of the gate. By walking you through it instead of just blurting it out, I hope someone who's in a position to make an improvement will see why it might be helpful to do that.

I opened the Help page to get familiar with the environment. I intended to open the program to follow along. Here's what the Introduction section says about that:

"When you run LDView, it will open its main window and immediately present you with an open file dialog (assuming you didn't specify a file as part of the launch process). Select the LDraw .ldr, .dat, or .mpd file you want to view."

These forums and the first build tutorials are equally silent on the same critical (dare I say obvious?) detail. Being a first-time user, I have no .ldr, .dat, or .mpd files to select. There are of course the three .ldr files in the LDraw directory:


But since I don't know and can't guess what those files are for, I doubt they're meant to be monkeyed with by inexperienced users. So the $64,000 question is:

How does one create a new project file?

And, FYI, the place to explain this to new users is the same place to explain the difference between the file extensions - the Introduction section of the Help page (or, somewhere up front in whatever place new users are meant to start learning). I've since gotten the answer on this forum, but it would be courteous not to make new users hunt for it...

Anyway, thanks! I'm excited to see my design coming to life : )
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am I really the only one confused by this? - by John Antkowiak - 2014-05-25, 16:28

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