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Thread: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

  1. #1
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    Default What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    Hi Everyone,

    As part of the administrative change for Vixen 3, I'm hoping to refocus our efforts and make up a brief 'roadmap' of sorts to know where we are going, and what sort of stuff we are planning on implementing soon. As a result of a few comments people have made, PMs sent to me, etc., I'd like to take a moment to step back, refocus, and get the full picture in view. KC and I have been working hard on it for.... well, up to 2 years now (in whatever time we have find spare), and I suspect we've become too focused and narrow-minded in that time.

    The Vixen 3 architecture and framework that we have now is *damn cool* and *very awesome* -- it has the ability to do all sorts of fantastic things, and as a developer knowing the intricate details of it all I can't help but get super excited about what it's going to be able to do when fully featured -- but that doesn't help if we aren't actually implementing things that people want to use, or features they're looking for, etc.

    So, in that regard, I want to touch base with everyone again, and sit down and genuinely ask, "What do you want to see in Vixen 3?". Please, go absolutely nuts in this thread, just spill your guts. You don't have to have already used the software, you might only have used Vixen 2, or you might not have used Vixen software at all. But even in that case you can probably say some things you're looking for generally in sequencing software.

    This is more for an open, honest brainstorming session. Please don't digress into discussions of certain features or the way they should behave or something. (If some certain features need further discussion, feel free to make a new thread in the Feature Request forum -- that's what it's there for! We can discuss specific features there.) Just say what you'd like to see in the software, so we can get an overview of what people are looking for. (Think of this as a giant poll: I just don't know what options to put, so you have to put options as well!)

    Finally, it probably goes without saying, but there's no guarantees that we'll be able to implement any of these. We'll do our best to keep as many people happy as possible, of course. :-)

    Thanks for your feedback! I'm excited about making an awesome piece of software that everyone will be able to use to make cool displays! :-)

    Cheers,
    Michael

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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    Since I'm also a user, and to give an example of what I mean, I'll put down the stuff I'm looking for:

    • Some way to make preprepared sequences for my display (eg. a sequence editor). It should be able to have light data start at arbitrary times, not forced to line up into 50ms or 100ms blocks.
    • Some way to group my channels so they're easy to work with -- eg. megatree group, treeline group, arches group, etc.
    • Some way to easily generate data for precanned effects -- eg. being able to do a "chase", or a "ramp", or a single turn on/turn off. For complex things like the chase or twinkle, they should be able to intelligently use the group, so I don't have to build it up manually.
    • A display preview, so I can sequence and actually see what's happening.
    • attaching an audio file to a sequence, and showing that audio waveform when sequencing, so I can line stuff up to the music.
    • RGB support for all of the above (effects, display preview, etc.), so I don't have to manually put data in for each color.
    • a scheduler that I can use to play my sequences at set times (eg. every night from 7-10pm).
    • Support for my controllers -- BlinkyLinkys -- they're custom boards I built, so this one's kinda moot. ;-)


    That's all I can think of for now, but that's just the basics. I'm sure there's other, more advanced features, but I'll come back and add them.

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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    One thing I noticed in the display preview and other areas that from a usability standpoint might be addressed... When you want to edit an item(really, just any item now that I think about it), you should be able to double-click on that item and bring you right into edit... Not click, hit the edit button.. etc.. Just my $.02..

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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    I haven't messed with 3.0 much, however in my case I want to use dumb RGB with Renard Controllers. I'm not sure if I am doing something wrong, or if I've overlooked something, but it does not seem that I can make RGB mix with a renard based controller using the renard output??? I would have to change the intensity of each channel much like 2.0?

    Like I said if it's their great... but please let me know. That is in fact why I have not played with 3.0 more but like said earlier it may be there and I just don't know how to use it.
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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    As you are stepping back to take a broader view, I think the program needs to nail the basics first. The order of importance IMHO would be as follows:
    1) Get the widely used vixen 2.x supported plugins working in the new platform (personally I need the ENNTEC USB Pro and E1.31 engines running)
    2) Make sure there is a good streamlined, SIMPLE tool to convert Vixen 2.x sequences to 3.x. I realize it is different technology but one of the great benefits of HLS is the sequence and profile conversion features. I think the lack of the ability to re-use their existing sequences is a deal breaker for most users.
    3) Insure the current vixen 2.x features are supported.

    I believe once this baseline is complete, only then should we think about adding new bells, whistles, blinky and flashy.

    The reason for this approach would be three fold:
    1) It would give a solid foundation to the new application
    2) Once proven, the current Vixen user base that is scattered across various versions can move to 3.x comfortable that at worst they will be able to run their existing shows and at best, they get some really cool new tools for creating objects, pixel planes, mega trees and nutcracker effects
    3) You get a much larger test bed of users to help find any remaining defects.

    After what I would call your first V3.x Production release, then we can look towards all the new fancy things. IMHO!
    Michael



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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    You know that you just opened Pandora's box, do you ?

    I don't know the latest developments, so here is from last years "contact" with Vixen :

    - Patching of channels should be improved
    - Please bring the grid back
    - Join forces with Joe and make a killer application

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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    Sal After using v3 for the last month or so i can say thing are on the right track. what i would like to see change (as you already know) there needs to be a large element for customization since everyone's usage will be slightly different. I think you have this on track with the modular design

    Things i want to see ( some are already on your list)

    * Fix the display preview. I see the perfect display editor to be able allow me draw elements in and then apply the entire group to that element. For example if i have an rgb strip across my roof i want to be able to say just draw a line and then apply the strip group to the line vs selecting each pixel and dropping it in. Or if i have a mega tree i can draw the tree and drop the mega tree group onto it to attach the ch's to it ( i know some of this is far fetched but it helps find a middle ground)

    * The channel patching needs to change. I loved the ability to change the patching on the fly the current interface needs work. i like the drag and drop ideology but when you run into the thousands of ch's maybe some kind of basic spreadsheet may be better. i see this as one that will involve the most community discussion.

    * This is already built into the effects and is more of just a statement then a request. The effects needs to remain as customizable as possible so that we can both use a twinkle or a chase for different things. The prime example of this in its current state a chase will chase each bulb in a group of pixels but some times you want to chase through the 4 sub groups ( i know already in the bug tracker)

    * Remember some people don't like change and will want this to be Vixen 2 with pixel support so it may be possible to develop a second editor that gives those people there grid and V2 like sequencing (NOT ME I LOVE V3)

    This is all i can think of right now but i am excited to see where this ends up.
    Last edited by Teddy; 01-09-2013 at 12:48 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    Quote Originally Posted by gizmohd View Post
    One thing I noticed in the display preview and other areas that from a usability standpoint might be addressed... When you want to edit an item(really, just any item now that I think about it), you should be able to double-click on that item and bring you right into edit... Not click, hit the edit button.. etc.. Just my $.02..
    Yep, the preview needs a lot of work. That's definitely on the plan; I just want to get as many requirements from people as possible, so we can plan it well.


    Quote Originally Posted by DaveJZ View Post
    I haven't messed with 3.0 much, however in my case I want to use dumb RGB with Renard Controllers. I'm not sure if I am doing something wrong, or if I've overlooked something, but it does not seem that I can make RGB mix with a renard based controller using the renard output??? I would have to change the intensity of each channel much like 2.0?
    That functionality _is_ actually there, if I infer what you mean -- but it's probably not clear how to use it. That's good to know, we'll document that some more.


    Quote Originally Posted by michaelc View Post
    As you are stepping back to take a broader view, I think the program needs to nail the basics first. The order of importance IMHO would be as follows:
    1) Get the widely used vixen 2.x supported plugins working in the new platform (personally I need the ENNTEC USB Pro and E1.31 engines running)
    2) Make sure there is a good streamlined, SIMPLE tool to convert Vixen 2.x sequences to 3.x. I realize it is different technology but one of the great benefits of HLS is the sequence and profile conversion features. I think the lack of the ability to re-use their existing sequences is a deal breaker for most users.
    3) Insure the current vixen 2.x features are supported.
    1) Yep, gotcha. I think they're actually working now; we have some modules there and people have been testing them, but I'll try and get more confirmation and a more definitive status page.
    2) Yep, currently in development (well, discussions).
    3) Can you clarify and be more explicit on what features they are that you're looking for? I know that's a bit annoying, but there's a lot there, and it's good to get our heads wrapped around specific features.



    Quote Originally Posted by Lionking_Tx View Post
    You know that you just opened Pandora's box, do you ?
    That's the idea. Maybe this will all go horribly wrong, but by gosh I'm going to give it my best shot. :-)

    - Patching of channels should be improved
    - Please bring the grid back
    Yep, patching is also on the radar. Not sure if you saw the recent developments -- the form that lets you click-and-drag to patch stuff -- but there's some problems with that too when it gets too big.

    As for the grid, I'm surprised at the number of times that's mentioned -- I didn't realize it was so essential to everyone. Personally, I prefer the arbitrary 'marks', so I can have specific time points (beats) to sync to, but I'm obviously in the minority. :-)



    Thanks for the feedback! I'm off to bed now (almost 3am in Australia, crap), but I'll be back in the morning to read all the feedback.

    I'll also be trying NOT to reply too much in this thread -- let people have free reign and be heard, that sort of thing. I'll sit back and let the brainstorming happen. :-)

    Cheers,
    Michael

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    Default Re: What do YOU (the user) want to see in Vixen 3? What feedback do you have?

    Michael, Thanks. My only concern (in terms of existing vixen features) is when you are doing conversions, if all the effects, twinkle, shimmer, ramps, etc are supported then the conversions will be smoother.

    One aspect that I really like in HLS was the ability to collapse 3 distinct channels to a single RGB channel regardless of whether they are actual RGB nodes. Example. I have 3 trees in front of my house with strings of each color RGBW. Right now that is 12 channels. With HLS I was able to get it to 6 channels. An RGB channel for each tree plus a white channel for each tree. The game changer was the ability to SAVE that conversion and run it against other sequences of the same profile.
    Michael



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    Default

    I've only used Vixen 2 so based on that I'd like to see the following Vixen improvements:

    1. Dual monitor support so I can sequence on one monitor and have my preview on the other and visible all the time. I do this now by stretching the Vixen window across 2 monitors but its awkward and needs a lot of readjusting to see the preview.

    2. An adjustable vertical marker line to make it easier to get timing right. Set the line and then when you scroll down you can see where that time point is across all channels.

    3. Better memory management - doing a lot of starts and stops F6 F7 F8 seemed to get the program lost or out of sync to the preview.

    4. Add an Function key to start a program. Seems like F5 should have done that and I can do that from my IPhone.

    5. Redesign the program manager... Man that thing is frustrating.

    Great program looking forward to version 3 when it's all tweaked in!

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