LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts


LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#1
Hi all,

I'm working on the foundation of what is highly likely to become LDCad 2.0, although currently it has little to nothing to do with LDraw specifics.

While doing this a lot of (boring) fundamental classes and tools need to be (re)written. I've done so for strings, list, etc and the OpenGL gui  engine is next.

Problem is I'm not yet sure on what kind of GUI to give LDCad 2.0. I know many people dislike the 1.x one, but I rather like it myself so I want to improve upon it but keep the basis the same maybe making it very dynamic so it can support different looks.

Anyway in order to write the support classes (window handling etc) I need to know what it should be able to do rendering wise etc.

For this I would like to gather some feedback about the current 1.x gui, in other words what is it people really hate about it or what kind of behavior are they missing.

I'm not talking colors though, as you can already change those in 1.x. One thing I'm thinking about myself is something like the blender gui which should be able to (nearly) mimic the 1.6 look as a default template or something.

Any thoughts/ideas/feedback is welcome.

LDCad 2.0 teaser Big Grin

.png   out.png (Size: 12.98 KB / Downloads: 171)
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#2
I don't have a problem with the interface, but I suspect that the reason "many people dislike the 1.x one" is simply that it's different from what they're used to - in which case you probably can't win with a roll-your-own.

Owen.
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#3
(2017-08-23, 21:06)Owen Dive Wrote: The reason "many people dislike the 1.x one" is simply that it's different

Not different per se but not the expected UI for the OS I'm using.  I'd rather have native controls or, barring that, a native look and feel. Plus the fonts seem blocky to me.
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#10
(2017-08-23, 21:38)Orion Pobursky Wrote: Not different per se but not the expected UI for the OS I'm using.  I'd rather have native controls or, barring that, a native look and feel. Plus the fonts seem blocky to me.

The main reason for non native controls is / was the intensive use of OpenGL graphics for rendering the LDraw bricks in the part bin etc. Also I (still) have the future wish of using fullscreen OpenGL with the program.

Fonts are configurable, the default uses dejavusans or verdana on windows and freesans on Linux, you can change that though by editing gui/default/main.gu
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#4
Hi Roland,

simple question, simple answer:

* The only thing I really hate are the menus, contextual menus and how they behave, that they fly on the GUI with the need to close them (sometimes).

* https://forums.ldraw.org/thread-21693-po...l#pid23067
* I'd like to have proper icons for grid stepping (for sure the 1,2,3 keys are handy but I have no visual feedback which grid I'm using. A pressed icon would help).
* Same for the 2D/3D switch (I know the v key but sometimes I forget about it :-)
* I'd like to have a separate search icon in the parts bin near the tabs
* as much as I like the color wheel I'd like to search for a color name/number
* https://forums.ldraw.org/thread-22200-po...l#pid25807
* https://forums.ldraw.org/thread-22200-po...l#pid25788

w.
LEGO ergo sum
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#8
(2017-08-24, 8:08)Willy Tschager Wrote: The only thing I really hate are the menus, contextual menus and how they behave, that they fly on the GUI with the need to close them (sometimes).

They close when you click outside of them, the only real difference you can keep them open by pinning them down. The menu system in 20 will probably be somewhat different but the pinning feature will remain.
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#5
I agree with Owen, Orion and Willy. The difference in behaviour is the most difficult obstacle when learning to use the program.

Personally I do not like the tooltip only being visible in the status bar. It's forcing me to constantly having to refocus both my eyes and the mousepointer.

I miss the possibility to use ctrl+Y as "redo" an action.

I don't like the pop-up menu on the middle mouse button.

https://forums.ldraw.org/thread-22117-po...l#pid25219
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#9
(2017-08-24, 22:12)Magnus Forsberg Wrote: Personally I do not like the tooltip only being visible in the status bar. It's forcing me to constantly having to refocus both my eyes and the mousepointer.

I miss the possibility to use ctrl+Y as "redo" an action.

I don't like the pop-up menu on the middle mouse button.

Hint will be floating in 2.0, as I'm kinda forced to, because I'm planing to use a simpler host application library (glfw instead of wxWidgets).

You can assign ctrl+y to redo if you want.

You can also use the enter/return key for opening property dialogs.
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#6
I think the biggest reason a lot of people don't like LDCad's gui is because it doesn't look familiar at all and it looks kinda... old. A lot of desktop software often has a gui that uses either native OS elements (winforms, QT, etc.) or just looks more fleshed out (JavaFX, MS Office Ribbon interface, Autodesk ribbon interface, stud.io). Yours is neither. It doesn't use/look like native OS elements, but it doesn't look particularly well-designed either (no offense  Wink ).

Keeping a self-made gui is certainly possible. You absolutely don't need to go native, just take a look at Adobe software, Autodesk software or even Bricklink's stud.io for example; not native at all but pretty popular and people think it almost as easy to use as LDD.

I'm by far not a designer, but I think improving the looks of your gui will be the biggest improvement for most people, not necessarily its functionality. For example, yours is (currently) very flat and square. Flat is kinda a trend in modern web/app design, but in a different way. Modern design guidelines such as Google's Material Design (which I personally really like) and Microsoft's Metro use color, spacing and (slight) drop-shadows to separate ui elements, whereas you use borders (with pointy 90 degree corners) to separate the ui elements because everything is has the same blue color.

But that's just a single example. I think if you take a look at those design guidelines you might get some ideas on how to improve your ui. And I don't mean quite literally copying one of those designs (although you certainly could  Tongue ), I mean the thought behind them and why they did certain things.

But again, I'm not a designer, these are just my very personal 2 cents  Wink
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#7
(2017-08-25, 8:23)Merlijn Wissink Wrote: I think the biggest reason a lot of people don't like LDCad's gui is because it doesn't look familiar at all and it looks kinda... old. A lot of desktop software often has a gui that uses either native OS elements (winforms, QT, etc.) or just looks more fleshed out.....

Thanks for your insight Merlijn.

I'll look into those links, but I never liked metro though. The main reason LDCad's GUI is flat, is because it's easier to render.
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#11
I think Merlijn summarized well the "problem". I was never bothered by LDCad look and feel, probably because I'm an old timer and I've seen so many variants... One can wonder why Mlcad or Leocad got little criticism, that's probably because their interface, though quite outdated, is more aligned with OS standard look...
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#12
Hi Roland. Even I respect the fact you like working on your own GUI, I want to tell you my 'secret, selfish POV': I believe the situation changed during time you worked on the version 1.6. You came with many new ideas about scripting etc. that, I believe, you have completely new view on the representation of the data model and the capabilities the model should have, compared to what you started with, say, in LDCAD 1.0. (And maybe you have an idea how to allow us even something more like basics of mechanics in SR3DBuilder style?) And this is what I, as a user, am looking forward to. This is what I call a reason for 'LDCAD 2.0'.
From this POV, the own GUI (engine) is a priority 0.00001 - pop-up windows are rendered by GTK or what even today, AFAIK. So, from my, user, selfish POV, I'd like if you saved all that time of GUI work and concentrated on what you know the best, the ldraw editing. To be clear: I mean GUI engine, there is still a lot of work on the design of the application itself, of course. Some ideas are already presented in this thread and I support them: add a search box for colors etc.
I'm sorry if this is something different than what you wanted to hear Smile But I really believe the value of LDCAD is in what it 'knows to do'. And if its GUI will be more 'OS standard', we get several advantages at the same time: your time saved for working on LDCAD functionality, people not surprised by the app look&feel, GUI features you can't have time to implement them all (KDE, GTK etc. are developed for years, in big teams of people).
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#13
(2017-08-26, 5:40)Milan Vančura Wrote: I'm sorry if this is something different than what you wanted to hear Smile But I really believe the value of LDCAD is in what it 'knows to do'. And if its GUI will be more 'OS standard', we get several advantages at the same time: your time saved for working on LDCAD functionality, people not surprised by the app look&feel, GUI features you can't have time to implement them all (KDE, GTK etc. are developed for years, in big teams of people).

This is probably true, but a very big part of the LDCad hobby, for me, is doing weird things. Writing 'normal' programs is my day job Wink

This is why I even write my own string handling routines etc (hence the number/enum parsing tests in the above screen shot).

All in all I tend to view LDCad more as a game program then a office one.

The main reason for 2.0 instead of 1.7 are the internals whom were becoming messy in 1.6 because of all the unforeseen features like you suspected.
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#14
(2017-08-26, 17:28)Roland Melkert Wrote: This is probably true, but a very big part of the LDCad hobby, for me, is doing weird things. Writing 'normal' programs is my day job Wink
I know, and I respect this. I just wanted to say my opinion loudly to make it clear, to tell you how good job you do and how valuable your work about ldraw editing is for us. And, of course, I believe I'm not alone with this opinion - but somebody had to be the first one who tells you that Smile

My experience is that LDCAD is ahead of any other LDraw editor. And your work on scripting (of everything) opens doors to a completely new level of features. And, BTW, this is the kind of GUI improvement I'd appreciate: improve the GUI of selecting parts so more than one selection is possible. This allows new/planned features like triangle setting, hinge bending, hoses creation/editing using snap points of other pieces (making the hose going through selected holes or clips) and more and more, including users' scripts like, for example a regular placement of selected pieces along a selected hose etc.
This is GUI I miss, GUI in terms of 'menus' looks so boring compared to this, doesn't it? Smile
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#15
(2017-08-29, 15:42)Milan Vančura Wrote: This is GUI I miss, GUI in terms of 'menus' looks so boring compared to this, doesn't it? Smile

Fair point, but I'm also using the GUI stuff to 'practice' OpenGL shaders which I expect to influence the new brick/model rendering quality/speed.
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RE: LDCad 2.0 GUI Thoughts
#16
Hi Roland,

Another suggestion I'd like to see is that the disk icon changes when a file save is successful.
Now it stays blue and I sometimes am in doubt I saved.
Once saved change it to something grey or light blue?

Thanks.
Jaco van der Molen
lpub.binarybricks.nl
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