On Land

Environment Information
At Rill Architects we run ArchiCAD on Mac OS X. If you work at Rill, this is your stuff. If you don't, but you work in ArchiCAD, you may find something interesting. Anybody else, I don't know.
August 2005 Archive

Perhaps you noticed that Apple has finally released a multi-button pointing device, the Mighty Mouse. (I assume the trademark issues are all worked out.) Apparently, the next new Mac you get, maybe you won't just throw the mouse away. What a concept.

Being a booster/shareholder/zealot, I got one. It's really quite nice. Soon I'll need another one. Then I can dismiss two Microsoft mice; progress.

ArchiCAD users beware, though. That's you, right? The mouse works fine in AC out of the box. Scroll-zooming is a pleasure, and the horizontal scrolling works in all other apps. The software that comes with the mouse should be avoided. The driver breaks scroll-button-panning in AC. If you haven't recently had the alternate lifestyle experience of broken scroll-button-panning, take it from me, it's hell.

Worse, uninstalling the driver is, as of this writing, not realistic. I had quite a battle to get the mouse behavior back the way it was pre-MM.

So you are warned: Get the mouse, but leave the CD in the box.

I've added an 'Alternates' folder to zTemplate folder, in 1 Design. It should have been there before, sorry.

It gives me an opportunity to discuss alternate handling, or at least to give you one case study. Vassos, although it's under construction, has occasional lapses into design development. The clients were interested in seeing alternatives for one part of an elevation. We offered two, which forked into three.

I saved a copy of the project for each alternate, with a descriptive name, in that Alternates folder. I developed the model for each alternate. We wanted to present a perspective and an elevation for each choice. Since the alternates are in separate files, and all the alternates are separate from the main PLN, it's easy to simply use the views you already have. You can't mess anything up.

To present the choices, I created a new subset in the main layout book. There's no reason to create separate 'books for each. Within the new folder, there are two layouts for each alternate. I hooked the new layouts to the 11x17 Master. Then I imported the perspective and elevation views from each PLN.

Once the decision had been made about which version to use, it was time to begin treating that scheme as the real project. I renamed the main PLN, which had been untouched, with a date, and moved it to the '6 Old Files' folder. I saved-as the anointed alternate with the original name of the main PLN, at the top of the project folder. This means the layout book never knows anything happened. If you change the name of the project, you will need to re-link your views.

In the end, we have three alternate PLNs set aside, the pre-alternate version of the project intact, and the layout book not disrupted. And a compact record of the alternates' presentation. Pretty good.

In this case I was fortunate that, since the project was 'done', there was no other work going on anywhere. Presenting alternates in the DD phase is trickier, especially if the design decision is slow in coming. If you need to keep the main project moving while the alternates are being developed, it is better to merge the chosen alternate elements back into the main project.


Location: 01 General / 1 Graphic Symbols

Shape Tag
A shape with a text block in it. The old version was called 'Character+Shape'; it only had a few shapes.

This one has square, rectangle, triangle, circle, ellipse, oval, diamond, and hexagon.

The rectangle, oval, and hexagon will elongate to accommodate the text, if the Stretch for Text parameter is on. The square will turn into a rectangle.

The Height parameter refers to the vertical dimension. The Length Factor parameter is multiplied by the height to get the length of the rectangle, ellipse, and oval shapes. If Stretch for Text is on, the length is overridden by the text length.

The text, by default, is the global ID of the object. You can also choose to enter a custom text.

The size of the text can be set by points, millimeters, or as a fraction of the shape height. All these parameters are hooked together, so when you switch among them the actual height stays the same.

There is a value list for the font, and you can enter any font name. The text can be shown bold, italic, underlined, or any combination.

Update 2007-12-13: The Mask parameter will make the shape opaque white, using the 'Solid' Fill and White Pen parameters.

I'm making this object available for download on ArchiCAD-Talk. (Hence the mm size option.)

Or download here.

Location: 06 Wood & Plastic/Trim & Moulding

More overdue documentation.


Location: 06 Wood & Plastic/Trim & Moulding

This has been deployed for some time, but here's the 'documentation'. It may or may not tell you something you don't know. I have also fixed a couple of minor glitches and finished the custom interface page, finally.