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RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

These are the impressions and the frustrations of 'an old hand' on using RISA 3D V 18 (new risa) for a month now. If it is true that old risa was the most popular frame-analysis program in the USA, then I would say that new risa has done great harm to our profession. The old risa was straightforward, sensible, intuitive, and user-friendly. New risa is none of these things and seems to have been programmed not to make a successful program better or maximize ease-of-use, but ‘change for the sake of change’ (and maximize the number of clicks to boot). The new version has absolutely no regard for engineers who know old risa well – they threw our knowledge into the trash and gave us a shiny new POS that takes us hours and days of wasted time to figure out. In the past month new risa has taken more then twice the time that old risa used to take.
I can’t believe the stupidity of software hiding things and forcing engineers to ‘hunt and peck’ click and click just to accomplish what used to take one click. The hiding of menus and lack of expansion of same, the lack of obvious important buttons is really dumb given the larger screen areas that we have now compared to older computers. Old risa fit many more useful buttons on smaller screens and didn’t ‘bury’ items in menus. It may be elegant in a phone to not know how or where to turn the thing on, but in frame-analysis it is maddening, and if it’s also expensive (as new risa is), you are paying for a mediocre, frustrating to use POS (piece of software). Enough for now, more specific comments later.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Not too upset with the GUI, but the program seems to have a huge issue with trying to save and update databases every-time a change is made, which leads to a ton of wasted time waiting on the spinning bar.

“Any idiot can build a bridge that stands, but it takes an engineer to build a bridge that barely stands.”

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints


Quote (JMarker8489)

they threw our knowledge into the trash and gave us a shiny new POS that takes us hours and days of wasted time to figure out.

Tell us how you really feel. LOL

I worked for RISA for 16 years (ending in 2017 when Nemtchuk took over). I was there during some of the development for version 18. Some quick thoughts:
1) It was felt that the RISA interface was "dated" and needed to be updated.
2) The interface was developed not by engineers who were familiar with RISA, but by a group of Ukrainian developers who (for the most part) were not structural engineers.
3) It was supervised by Debbie (now the #2 person at RISA). But, for some reason none of the other experienced engineers at RISA were given a say in what what happening. I found that to be very odd at the time. Maybe the first indication that some of us were getting "pushed out" by the soon to be new management.
4) IMHO the new management is a bit arrogant. I just don't think they respect their customers (and the engineering professing, in general) the way the old RISA did before it was handed over to Nemetschk.
5) I lobbied hard to change things incrementally.... Like replace the spreadsheets with the newer version of the spreadsheets in one version. Then do the 3D graphics in another version after all the kinks had gotten worked out with the spreadsheets. Et cetera. Incremental change is a lot easier for users to take that what was done with the v18 release. However, management didn't want to hear any of it at that point. They were too convinced of their own brilliance.
6) So many people that were important to the effective operation of the company have let RISA. From approximately a year before they took over to now. Javal, Roger, Myself, Mike, Matt, Caitlin, Batman (that's genuinely his last name), and Chris. People who had all been there for years and loved the company back when management cared about the product and their employees.

That being said, I have to also point out that many people felt a similar way about the DOS vs Windows versions of RISA. They were so used to using the DOS version and so efficient with it, that the many users kept their old DOS versions and refused to purchase the Windows version for years. When Windows XP came out (which wasn't nearly as compatible with the DOS version) RISA got a lot of those folks finally upgrading. Something like 5 years after the Windows version of RISA first came out.

There were hard feelings between me and the new RISA management (particular with the new CEO Amber) when I left. So, I am somewhat biased. Furthermore, after spending a year doing mostly healthcare / OSHPD projects for an excellent firm (Spire Structural Engineering), I started working for one of RISA's main competitors Computers and Structures Inc (which makes SAP2000, ETABS, and SAFE). Therefore, you could say that my bias has increased even further. Please understand that the way I interpret the events of my last couple of years at RISA and the motivations of the new Nemetchuk management is potentially distorted by this bias.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

"Tell us how you really feel. LOL" Hahaha, I do appreciate your humor!
I'll be posting many specific comments on v18, but as you suggest, not all at once.
I mentioned screen size: this morning I measured new vs. old screen and the increase in area was 190%. You would expect new risa to maybe show more information.

The first box which comes up in new risa is Project Information. In old risa this box was part of Global Parameters and tabs on the box showed Description, Solution, Codes, Concrete, Footings, ALL IN THE SAME BOX. I highlight this because new risa's box just shows what used to be called Description: all the other nice stuff that you want to have access to is hidden elsewhere. Old risa hands will look in vain for the Global button which showed us so much information with one click: it was deleted.

They should've showed even more tabs on the box than old risa gave us, because they had acres of screen available, and they should've highlighted a Global button on the top ribbon.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

In version 15-ish RISA started changing the term from Global Parameters to Project Settings. Making the program a little more similar to what other programs (Microsoft?) do. I remember insisting that we not change the icon. And, that we refer to it as "Global Settings" or "Global Project Settings" as a transition to the new term. And, that's how it was done. No complaints about it in those versions.

Not sure why they felt the need to pull Project Information out of the Project Settings. But, Global Parameters is mostly replaced by the Project Settings now. You probably already know this:

Footings got removed, of course, because they got rid of that program. My thinking is that they want you to push users to the more expensive RISAFoundation now.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

JMarker8489 (Structural)

I am exactly the Ukrainian programmer who made the version RISA 3D V 18. Your posts are not very specific and offensive and look more like a blunt hitting than constructive criticism. This version was made in accordance with the latest trends in programming and user interface. Your account is more like trolling. I fully support the opinion JoshPlumSE (Structural)

Best regards,
German Shabanin.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Hi, dear JoshPlumSE (Structural)

Do not make excuses to JMarker8489 (Structural). I support all your comments and agree with them. I strongly disagree with JMarker8489 (Structural) stupid remarks.

Best regards,
German Shabanin.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

German -

Glad to have you on Eng-Tips. I wish I got a chance to work with you when I was with RISA. But, I worked more with the RISAConnection team, not the team working on RISA-3D.

Based on my years worth of Tech Support experience let me make a couple of comments to you:

1) Users are our end customers. They make our business successful. And, I try to always communicate with them. Even when they are upset and a bit aggressive.
2) Having used software as a design engineer in the past, I know how frustrating it can be when you are struggling with it. This is true with ANY software, of course. So, you can probably relate.
3) Having worked as a structural engineer in regular design engineering here in the US, I think I understand some of the day to day frustrations of engineers.
They are usually under tight schedules from unforgiving clients who don't pay them well enough and who may not even respect the work they do. As such, in my opinion, they are allowed to blow off some steam occasionally. So, I try not to take their remarks personally. I think you would be wise to do the same.
3) One of the things I thought was special about RISA during many of the years I worked there was that we tried to be the Engineer's advocate or voice in what we did. Provide them the type of tools they want and need. Make them function in a way that is easy to use, so that it doesn't take a lot of work to learn the interface.
4) I'd listen to them when they complained and really try to understand why they were complaining and what we could do to make life easier for them. Sometimes the core frustration would be something we didn't have direct control over.... Frustration over increasingly complex material design codes for example. But, even then, there were things for me (and the company) to learn from their frustration.

A good example is this first complaint of his. Global Parameters gets a name change and the Project Info gets split apart from it. What can we learn from this?:
a) Understand the frustration that users feel when the interface changes greatly from one version to another. They don't generally have the time or budgets in their projects to accommodate learning a new interface. So, while changes may be needed, we need to be cautious about how much changes at one time. And, we need to have "anchors" between versions. By that I mean we need to maintain certain core parts of the interface that they can rely on. Parts that make them FEEL as if the changes are not that much. Changes that make the transition between versions easier for the end user.

Honestly, I think this is one if the main problems RISA has right now. Not enough people with the company that have been there for a long that. That would understand what sort of "anchor" points would make the transition easier for the users.

b) The Project Info isn't really very useful. It does have to be filled out. But, maybe that's not the page that should pop up at start up. Maybe it would be better if the Model Settings is what popped up at the beginning.

c) Maybe it would be better if Model Settings were named "Model Settings / Global Parameters".... at least for a couple of releases. I don't personally have problem with the gear icon, but one solution would be to replace the gear with a globe. It would make it easier for the long time users to find.

d) Lastly, I would personally prefer if the Model Settings / Global Parameters had a tab called Project Info. I don't see a compelling reason to have separated this out. Just one of the little things that makes the interface differences SEEM a lot greater than they really are.

Granted, I have no pull at RISA anymore. Quite the opposite. I think Amber / Debbie would be actively resistant to any ideas that I suggested, even if they would endorse them if they were to come from someone else. So, I'm not listing these things with thought that they'll actually happen. I'm just listing them so that you (and the anyone who reads Eng-Tips) understand the thought process that I think should be taken when addressing issues like this.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Quote (JMarker)

I mentioned screen size: this morning I measured new vs. old screen and the increase in area was 190%. You would expect new risa to maybe show more information, but pigs don't fly,

I suspect there is a way to make this work more more like you're expecting. If RISA's tech support is still good then they should be able to give you some guidance on this. My guess if you right click on the RISA executable file itself and select Properties, then you can change some settings to help RISA appear better on your new screen. Probably under "Compatibility". But, I don't know anything for sure anymore. It's been about 3 years since I left RISA, so I'm not up on their tech support. And, I've barely ever used this new version.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

In the post above we covered how v18 eviscerated the Project Information box (call this Item 1 of specific complaints). The next post will be Item 2, about the Members (or Draw Members) button. Fortunately, this button still looks like the old button and it’s located on the left side in much the same position as it was in old risa, so it can be found! (yay).

But first, let me address the difference between programming the software and designing the software: programmers have nothing to do with how the finished system looks, or where each menu button is, or what it looks like, and what the menu lines contain. The managers who designed the software are responsible for all of this, not the programmers who are using state-of-art coding techniques to accomplish what the managers told them to accomplish.

It is the managers who should’ve realized how ingenious old risa was at showing twice the amount of information in half the screen area, and how this old system could’ve gotten even better with today’s bigger screen areas. It is the managers who could’ve put some AI (artificial intelligence) into the system to help save the user some time and aggravation: say, when you are drawing members using the Member button. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself . . .

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

I may be the minority here, but I actually love the V18 interface much more than previous versions. Granted I am a younger engineer than most in the office. It seems more in line with how Revit works and maneuvers. This is really useful to me because I am essentially working between the two programs all day. I am really looking forward to Floor and Foundation integration into the V18 package. My hope is that they are keeping it until they make it as seamless as possible. The speed increase when I upgraded from 18.0.4 to 0.5 kind of proved to me that RISA is truly working through most of the bugs.

One thing I'd like to see with V18 is the custom shapes database errors fixed (it warns me each time at startup especially with shapes from RISA Section). It also seems it takes a bit longer to initialize and pull the license from the cloud than prior versions, but granted, it is still significantly faster than Revit.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Dear JMarker8489 (Structural)
I partially agree with your message - JMarker8489 (Structural)(OP) 6 Oct 20 06:03
"Responsibility of project managers..." UI disigners.
So what does it have to do with simple programmers - code developers?
I and the whole team of Kiev developers honestly wrote the code,
used the most modern technologies and software - architectural solutions.
The managers (including JoshPlumSE (Structural)) made a decision and told us how to do it.
Why blame programmers stupidly?
Perhaps Bruce and Debbie are to blame for the end result?

Best regards, German.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Dear, TOLstryk (Structural)
Thank you very much for the appreciation of the work of the Kiev development team.
Best regards,

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Quote (TOLstryk)

I may be the minority here, but I actually love the V18 interface much more than previous versions. Granted I am a younger engineer than most in the office. It seems more in line with how Revit works and maneuvers.

Thanks for sharing....That's a very good point!

My guess is that's the most likely strategic reason why the interface changed so much. I think the RISA/Nemetchek management fell hook, line and sinker for the concept that Revit (and the Revit interface) was the future. So, they probably wanted to mimic its concepts as much as possible. To make it easier to move back and forth between the programs.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 3. Print Report.

Without a doubt, the way new risa has handled this is some of the dumbest software decisions I've seen in 50 years of wrestling with engineering software; it is completely unfriendly to the user that wants to get something done quickly.

Instead of listing every Available Section and giving the user freedom to choose which ones they wanted, the geniuses hid every GD choice, making the user click through a god-awful long list of items. This procedure should be added to the list which the CIA uses to drive people out of their minds.

If you go the other route (listing 18 pages of All Input and Output items) and expect to be able to easily delete Current Sections in Report you don't want (like you could easily do in old risa), boy are you in for a surprise - there is NO WAY to sensibly and quickly delete pages of stuff.
Modern programming would've allowed the user to use a recent invention called mouse RT. CLICK to DELETE, and even LT. CLICK to SELECT several items and then DELETE with one click.
Apparently no thought was given to being able to use Saved Templates from past risa versions, or to offer any sample Reports.

So to sum up the Print Report function: old risa with it's dated look and ancient code was far-and-away superior to new risa.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Josh quote: "I suspect there is a way to make this work more more like you're expecting."

Thanks for the suggestion, but I've no faith in MS Windows ability to do that without destabilizing my whole system. They can't even get upgrading from W7 to W10 right, never mind adjusting risa code . .

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints


I suspect there is a way to make this work more more like you're expecting.

I believe I misinterpreted your complaint. I though you were talking about a scaling issue. Where not as many icons or such were appearing as necessary. Or, the program appeared to big or too small on your screen relative to other programs. If that were it, then there are some settings that Windows allows you to modify for that program ONLY in order to make certain programs more compatible with the newer versions of Windows.

That's probably not what you're dealing with though. You were, I believe, complaining that all the toolbars in the old RISA (which gave you easy, one-click access to a number of features) are gone.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 2. Draw Members.
Push the Member button in old risa and a tabbed box would come up with a remarkable amount of information and choices. The user could move the box to anywhere on screen they chose.
Push the Member button in new risa and a cheap fixed menu called Properties appears on the far left. I say cheap because you’ll need to pay by clicking many times to get information which old risa’s box gave you in one click. New risa has 11sq in of blank screen under their menu and yet chose to hide all the Material Types in a fold-down menu! which leads to even further fold-down menus. Instead of direct access to 6 materials and their Section Sets which old risa gave you in one click, new risa wastes one’s time by doubling the number of clicks.

If you click on a Member in the model, old risa would show an Information box which here again showed you everything you wanted to know. New risa only shows you General Properties (which don’t even include the I joint and J joint, the length, or the axis rotation). Don’t be lazy, you just need to click further to find out all this stuff that old risa showed you by default!
And as for Member Rotation, couldn’t this essential task have been made any easier than it is in old risa? for instance, mouse rt. click, menu item : rotate 90 degrees (and no, I don't need rotate -90 degrees)

I mentioned the lack of AI in new risa: if someone has put Shapes in the Section Sets, why waste their time showing a W8x10 default? I don't know, maybe even assume the user wants to use the shapes they put in Section Sets, and list the first hot-rolled one instead of the useless W8. Better yet, since you have the screen area, why not have all the section sets for every material type appear and let the user directly choose which one to draw? (no . . can’t have that . . too much like old risa).

Let’s end this particular item on a positive note: as one might expect of new technology, the graphics and color used in the 3D views of new risa models and the print functions are certainly a welcome advance.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Yup, I see exactly what you're saying.... And, I mostly agree. My quick thoughts related to this new draw members utility:

1) As someone else pointed out, it's clear that the project manager was thinking about Revit and how it works. Maybe she likes that interface better than RISA's. So, her goal was to make RISA's as close to Revit's as possible. Keep in mind that this project manager's primary responsibility was Sales and Marketing. Therefore, from that perspective (pushing new sales) this interface may be EXACTLY what they were looking for. That's the danger of letting Sales and Marketing be in charge of the whole company.

2) I would have objected had my opinion been solicited while I was there. Not to the idea that the new interface should be "Revit Friendly", but because the primary concern should (IMO) have been to make the new interface as accessible to previous RISA users as possible. This sort of goes back to my philosophy of incremental changes as a way to transition users when talking about interface changes. Re-invent the wheel if you have to. But, not in a way that forces existing users to learn how to drive all over again.

3) I don't think this new method of dealing with members is eggriously bad. I just think it is just way too different from the previous interface. Bad management decision, bad project management in general.

4) I've heard whispering that the new management is too "dictatorial" that it's the Amber and Debbie show and that others are not allowed to have opinions. Or, their opinions are summarily ignored. This is probably an exaggeration. But, the experience with this new interface certainly suggests that this is partly true. It's definitely true that most all of the senior engineers at the company (other than those two) have left over the last 3 years or so. Could this be viewed as a consolidation of power by a management that's insecure about having knowledgeable, well respected people under them? That's certainly my view of the situation. And, that would (IMO) really reduce the quality of the work the company does.

Caveat: As I've stated before, I'm obviously biased as a result of my hard feelings from when I was pushed out by Amber. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the old RISA Technologies that I worked for and the people there. But, this is a very different company now and I certainly resent the way they (new RISA management / Menetshek) treated me and what they've done to the company and the way it treated its long time employees.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Josh, I do appreciate all the background information that you've provided. However, I can't understand your "I don't think this new method of dealing with members is egregiously bad."
Software should make life easier, not more frustrating. We are talking about a menu with many branches (a tree-menu), so what is the problem with showing the whole tree? (like a site-map of a website). I could sketch out a tree-menu of the Member Properties in about 15 minutes that would give the user one-click access to every item in the present fixed-menu.

The new risa Properties menu is simply stupid, much like the traffic-lights in my town that are still connected to 100yr old gears, and that still turn red at 2am in the morning even if no-one is on the road - ie, truly dumb in this day-and-age of smart devices and 'green technology'.

New risa should've at least given the user the option to 'expand all menus', esp the Draw Members and Print Report functions.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

JMarker -

Stated another way. Let's say that RISA didn't release this program. But, it came out as a package called "XYZ Analysis and Design". I wouldn't be on any message boards talking about how the interface is terrible. My comments would be more along the lines of "similar to the Revit interface." That would invoke both the good and bad aspects of the Revit interface. In my opinion, it's pretty easy to grasp the basics of the Revit interface. However, to become truly efficient at all the little things takes a lot more work and experience.... Similar to this new RISA/Nemetchek interface.

Now, I doubt that I could EVER be as productive with new RISA as I was with the old RISA interface. No matter how much time I spent with it. That definitely says something.

Also keep in mind that I'm not using the interface within the context of production engineering, where I'm stressed about deadlines and budgets and such. In that respect, my "frustration level" never gets beyond a very basic, "why did they do it that way?". I'm not spending large amounts of time trying to figure out how to do something simple that used to take me seconds.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Hello, JMarker8489 (Structural)(OP).
About your Item 2 (Draw Members) and Item 3 (Print Report) - absolutely agree with your!
When I was working on the project (RISA 3D .Net), I offered many ready-made design solutions (C++ and C# programming components) that allow you to repeat the convenient behavior of RISA versions 14, 15, 16 ... But the project manager decided to develop everything from scratch. Much depends on a competent project manager. I'm sure it can still be fixed - not all is lost.
JMarker8489 (Structural)(OP) - Your comments are very valuable for the development of the software product.
Best regards,

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 4. Fixed vs 'Floating' Menus.

Besides the fixed Member Properties menu on left side of page, there is the Data Entry and Results fixed menus on the right side. It's another example of changing old risa's way to an inferior/cheaper new risa way.

In old risa you had the freedom to put these 'floating' boxes anywhere on screen you wanted. New risa confines oneself to the right side, but also creates the ridiculous overlap of the 2 menus (ie, Results menu overlaps the Data Entry menu). It wouldn't be so bad if they had only listed the most important Data Entry items: Materials, Section Sets, Joint Coordinates, Boundary Conditions, Members, Basic Load Cases, and Load Combinations.

While on this topic of the right-side menus, where was the old risa user who could've reminded them to highlight the most important buttons so they standout from the useless buttons? (what a concept . . . software that makes it easier for eyes to quickly locate the items they want to find . . . )

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

German, Thanks for your comments.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Hello, JMarker8489 (Structural)(OP).
You have done a very important job of practical testing of the software product.
RISA 3D .Net has a very flexible software architecture for developers. The Chief Software Architect has foreseen great opportunities for changing the user interface in future versions.
I am sure that all your wishes will be taken into account by the developers. I know many from the development team in Kiev. They are all very responsible and conscientious. I am sure that they will take into account all your wishes.
Best regards to you,

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 5. Node Coordinates (a misnomer).

I say misnomer because no structural engineer in history has ever gone to a job-site to inspect the nodes; the engineer goes there to look at the connection-joints. You might say "what's the big deal over a word? don't be lazy - just get over it!"

I would've thought twice before changing this old word. Maybe it's just me who is used to looking for Joint Coordinates on the right-side menus, but it's a constant aggravation to skip past the Node Coordinates. Same with Joint Loads. I've never heard of Nodal or Jointal Loads, so I'm not geared to look for thingals of any kind.

The old word "joint coordinate" is time-honored going back to FORTRAN, Descartes, and maybe even Ictinus, the designer of the Parthenon (who created some architectural visual tricks that even new risa would find impossible to replicate). I have not seen in risa a column whose diameter varies from one end to another. for some of this complexity, see https://youtu.be/I6Wl4vyRqvw?t=538

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

JMarker -

RISA (and other programs as well) have gone back and forth over the terms Joints and Nodes. I thought RISA had settled on Joints some years ago because that was a more general term. Some of those joints are used as FEM Nodes to define members, or plates, or solids. Some joints were used to define orientation or as a mechanism to load the structure (member area loads and such). Even so, if you searched the help file on the older versions you would find the term Node in a lot of places.

I have no idea why they back tracked on that. That's certainly not a big deal to me personally. But, I really wonder how much effort they made to make the interface like the old one. That seems like such a basic thing. They really should have named all the spreadsheets the same thing they were before.... weird.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 6. Coordinate Axis.
Of all the wonderful graphic improvements of V18 (and there are many), unfortunately this item was a FAIL: the main 3D axis is shown dimmed (unless you roll over it to brighten it up). I don't know what the rational was for 'dimming' the axis; I can't picture any sane engineer of any age complaining that "gosh I wish they'd dim the axis in the next version of risa, I'm really tired of knowing instantly where I am in the model". Hopefully someone will brighten the axis up so we don't have to squint or roll over the thing.
But the main problem I had (which caused quite a bit of hair-loss) was trying to figure out where they hid the 'rotate-model' function in new risa. Oh I know, it's so easy to do once you look at the cheat-sheet and find out the trick to do it, but I'm not Zelda trying to find the magic powder (although I do love the music in Zelda), I'm tryin' to get some work done here and the new risa video-game is driving me nuts!
But let's end this item on a positive note: the input of coordinates was improved in v18 because someone realized that repeating the coordinates above would make life easier, as opposed to old risa who dished out 0,0,0 whether you liked it or not.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

JMarker -

The coordinate Axes are now "interactive" meaning you can click on them and pull / rotate the model in various directions. That's why it brightens up as you roll over it. If you click on the Z axis, hold the click and then move the mouse, you will initiate a rotation about the Z axis. If you click on the main cube you will get a free rotation in any direction.... similar to the shift-center click that was in the old RISA.

That being said, I cannot believe that they removed the regular rotate X, Rotate Y, Rotate Z buttons. These should still exist (IMO) on the View tab of the ribbon toolbar. It's fine to add fancy new controls that the project manager / developers think are improvements. But, you really need to keep the old controls that users rely on and know how to use. Like you mentioned before, there is all kinds of space on the Ribbon Toolbars. Why get rid of tools that people found useful?!

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Quote (I am sure that all your wishes will be taken into account by the developers.)

When I see a statement like that, I usually give my head a shake to knock the sawdust from between my ears...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 7. Loads Input.
It happens to everyone, on simple to most complex models, from old risa to new risa: you're sailing along making great progress and then you go to input some loads. DOH! the load is going in the wrong direction, so you need to go back and change the axis.

This is an obvious opportunity for AI to make life better, by automatically assigning the correct axis to whatever load you input (what a concept!). For instance, any load with the capitals DL in it's name is obviously a dead-load; likewise any load with a LL in it's name is a live-load. These loads always act in the Y direction (unless the user chooses to override and use x,y or some other weird axis). So in my perfect risa world, DL and LL would never end up going the wrong way.

So what about all the other loads: every load the user puts in must have an axis letter in the load, such as EQZ, WLX, ELY, OLX, and so on. Risa AI should recognize this axis letter and automatically assign it to the same axis (again, the user can subsequently override it).

Under the present AI-less risa, the user has to override every load going in a different direction, so I think the above suggestion would prevent a lot of DOH!s

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

This load direction correction idea is a good suggestion.... I suggest you send that into RISA directly.

I would suggest one minor correction. Rather than RISA automatically fixing it for you. I would suggest that it pop up a message saying, "This is a DL case, but you entered the Axis as X, would you like us to switch this to Y? Yes, Continue , Cancel".

With a similar type of message / warning when you applied the load in the Y direction, but forgot to give it a negative sign.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Hello JMarker8489!
You actually wrote the terms of reference for the new version of the program RISA 3D AI.
If I am now working in Risa I would take into account all your comments with great gratitude.
I specialize in artificial intelligence AI and its applications.
If you have a desire, I am ready to write such a program as you want.
Get into contact with me.
Thank you very much for all your comments from Item 1 to Item 7.
Best regards,

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Josh: I appreciate your reply to the loads input item, but in general I feel that new risa added too many pop-ups and this interferes with the experienced user. For instance: such a user is expert at adding and deleting Shapes from the Section Sets. The pop-up which appears "Deleting this information will result in the program automatically reassigning this property for the affected elements" is inane and useless except for the student who is doing this for the first time.

Another inane pop-up is the one which appears when risa does not approve of your changing the Shear Modulus, G: "Shear Modulus entered does not match Poisson's Ratio. Not a problem for non-isotropic materials." Maybe it's just me, but I sit there and say "damn it risa, change the value because I'm using a non-isotropic material!"

Why is it inane? because risa already has one of the most powerful buttons on the planet: the "go-back-in-time" button which has saved so many user's cookies.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

One thing that RISA did in the past (when they got feedback that a popup was annoying) was that they added a check box that essentially said, "don't show me this again, just do it".

Tell them to add this sort of thing to some of these annoying popups.

My philosophy is usually that I didn't like it when a program automatically change or correct user input without telling him/her.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 7a. Gravity Loads.
Risa (old and new) has a basic misunderstanding of the gravity load function: the experienced user realizes that earthquake loads (or any load based on a percentage of self-weight) can be simulated with this function. Earthquake in it's simplest idealization is actually gravity in the X and Z directions applied to the self-weight of structure.

Being that the factor has been programmed such that -1 means load in the -Y, -X, or -Z direction, the user can input say -0.35 to simulate an earthquake load. However, entering a positive value of 0.35 will trigger the risa police who will inform you that "you are entering a positive gravity value! Please make sure you are applying uplift load, otherwise please enter a negative gravity value." Hahaha!

My suggestion is that DLs on the structure should be considered as self-weight, meaning that if an engineer puts in a gravity factor of -0.35 in the X direction, the total self-weight will include the applied DLs. At present, risa does not include applied DLs in the self-weight of structure.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 3a. More belly-aching about the Print Report function.
This button is the Rodney Dangerfield [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0toL3C0R14] button of risa: "in the old days I used to measure 90sq mm, now I'm only 20sq mm on a screen twice as big! No respect! - I tell ya' no respect at all!"

New risa: for the sake of older eyes please Make this button Great Again and put it back in the ribbon where it belongs. In addition, please change the tolerance on clicking to add loads, delete nodes, and select members, back to what it was in old risa - a quick experience as opposed to a test of mouse dexterity. (I selected a member, why the hell can't I un-select it?)

Report Templates: you Click on Print Report and None comes up. Wat? why the hell can't my first saved report come up first? or why aren't the reports alphabetized so the user could prioritize their own reports, hmmm? Instead, I am forced to click and then drag the gd sidebar down to my precious reports that took me so many hours to create . . . *sighs*

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Did everybody get a chance to sample the new Risa before they had to buy in (subscribe)?

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

just another suggestion on the subject of AI:
Say that you're Solving for a Single Load Combination: wouldn't it be nice to automatically see those LC loads on the model? Furthermore, why not also show the Reactions for the solved LC? At present, new risa's way of showing Reactions is completely lame: the drop-down menu button on rt. side only allows you to make one click at a time! I keep saying "this is the dumbest thing" but what else can you say about a menu that only allows you to click one item at a time?

The other way of showing reactions, clicking on View, Results, Display Reaction Results, Magnitudes, is also a waste of time - this is a torturous system to accomplish something as simple as showing the reactions, and because the user has no freedom of choice, they have to go through the same maze every time. Again, with so much screen area available, lots of Show Reaction buttons could've been put onscreen to make using risa easier.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Does the new RISA give you the ability to customize your own ribbon tab and buttons? Much like you can do with AutoCAD? This is the only thing that makes AutoCAD's ribbons bearable to me (at least in AutoCAD we can still key in commands as well). It's a pain to go through the customization process, but once its done you can have all your typical tools in one spot organized how you want.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

I'm going to chime in here after just lurking for a while, I'm a mid-late 30s engineer with 13 years of using RISA.

Although I tend to agree with many of the comments/complaints made so far, I do feel that some of them are a personal preference thing (most but I agree with many).

One thing I do not want to happen is the last comment. I do not want to see the program automatically show the loads for the combination being solved. I also do not find an issue with having the support reactions shown via clicking through the view tab. But I do agree that the changes were too much too fast and they've pretty much crammed them down ever user's throats.

Luckily for me, I happened to have V17 and V18 running side by side as I was one of the firsts to complain about how unusable V18 was at first release. I have maintained the dual installs.

I do find when I need to do something really quick, say a single beam, or a single frame, I still default to using V17 because I am more comfortable with it.

However, when I'm doing a new larger project that may be touched by other users, I try to use V18 (soon to be V19?).

I sure hope there aren't the errors in design checks in V19 that plagued V18 for the first few releases.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

I have installed v19 and started using it after going back to 17 a few days after trying out 18 - there were way too many bugs at the beginning of 18 in my opinion.

One of the first things I noticed was that the graphics just didn't seem to draw my attention to the "thing of interest". For example, if I opened the node coordinates box it seemed to just get lost on the page and not pop out at me as I would like. However, I switched the modeling space color from white to black and this seemed to help a bunch - it still seems to be missing something visually to me that other programs all have, but I can't put my finger on what it is (it might be that everything is sharp edges and corners and there is no shading and rounding that helps the eye move from one visual to the next).

I haven't looked into it yet, but I am really hoping we will be able to customize the ribbon.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

-to other posters, welcome aboard! It's great to see other opinions about this subject.

Item 8. Settings.
This just in: the Settings menu has been found again after being lost for about 5 weeks. In old risa these settings were in a more obvious place, ie, under the Tools tab on the ribbon. Click on the FILE tab, and then go down to Application Settings (and not to beat a dead horse butt, are there any non-applicable settings?). If you want to change the screen colors, you will find this under the General tab, and then the Advanced button (which has a couple of Graphic Options which hopefully are also shown closer to the Print Report function).

I'd like to know at this point if there is some kind of prohibition against showing important information in 2 different places (say in the same place as old risa did, and the new place in risa that takes an egg-hunt to find). On my screen, the existing tabs FILE, HOME, MODIFY, etc take up only 33% of the available space, so all the old risa favorites Global, Units, Tools, etc, could easily be shown for us Neanderthals. What I would really like to see is one big button labeled SETTINGS that would show every possible setting in a stacked view now buried in and under various hard-to-find menus.

To answer a previous query, I still haven't found the 'Customize Toolbar' option which was listed under Tools in old risa.

Let's end this with compliments to whoever pushed through showing those little model views in Recent Projects. It would really be nice to have these shown in Open project mode also . .

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

I can give a little insight into the "Application Settings" concept. My belief is that it was moved this way because they wanted to be consistent with what other programs do.... Word, Excel, etc. Settings that affect the program as a whole tend to go there.

That's essentially the same concept as Tools - Preferences that used to exist in older versions of RISA.

Note that it changed to Tools - Application Settings (Preferences) at some point in the last few versions of the old RISA.... Finally an example of RISA doing the "incremental changes" for which I have been an advocate.

Also note that the term "application" is just another term for "program". So, it could also be called "program settings". Again, this is differentiated by the fact that they apply to the whole program and multiple models. As opposed to model settings (Global) which is applicable only the the one model you have open.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Item 9. Old RISA files.
This may not apply to everyone who doesn't have a couple thousand old risa files laying around the office collecting dust until someone walks in and wants to re-use one of them. [hint to new risa users: it is a lot easier to open old files and molest them rather than set up a completely new file - just be sure to save your changes to a new file name.]
On too many occasions when I have tried to open an old file I receive this cryptic message: "Object reference not set to an instance of object". Wat?? ok then, how do I reset my object references? *crickets*

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

JMarker -

You have to send those models into RISA/Nemetschet. In my opinion, that type of error message is unacceptable. The error message needs to have meaning to the users, not just the developers.

If you send it in, then they should be willing to fix this to give a reasonable message. Unless things have changed a lot since I left. wink

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Heck, you might even post one of those old files that gives this message on this forum. I'd be happy to take a look at it to see if I can understand why it's giving that message. If there is something damaged or corrupted with that file, I might be able tell.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Thank you Josh - now that I think about it, the data-base has been copied so many times it's probably corrupt as you say.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Even so, the error message needs to be better.

I usually considered it a "failure" if we had to run the file with the program in "debugger" mode in order to figure out where the issue was that was causing the error message.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

I have read the previous post and I feel sorry about Josh left RISA. I am an older user of the program under Mr. Bates (I have release 14, I think is the last one of him and his crew), not sure.
I used to be a dealer in my country and I really love the old way of RISA. Easy to use, practical, good help (you know what the program does mostly). I have a big project and was thinking to buy a subscription of the new RISA, but reading these posts...I will rethink it.
I never met you JoshPlumSE, but I respect the work done in RISA and feel sorry and concern about what software I will use in the future, seems is time to change.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

With respect to the "Object reference not set to an instance of object" error, I just got the same error while using Bluebeam. So it may be more of a Microsoft issue...

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Except bluebeam and Risa are now both Nemeschek, so it could potentially be an issue with the way something is done internally on their programs. I haven't yet come across such an error in either program.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Lufengame - Thanks for the kind words. I loved helping the RISA users. You guys were great people to work with / work for.

Regarding the "Object reference not set to an instance of object": My guess is that this is a generic error that is spit out by the programming language / compiler that was used to build the program. The best way to handle these things (from a user friendly point of view) is to "intercept them" before the user sees them and provide a better error message. Though I'm not a programmer and I don't know exactly what's happening or how it can be fixed, I have to believe that if you were to report this to RISA then they would do something about it.

I wouldn't hold my breath about BlueBeam though, in order to fix these types of errors you need a way to consistently reproduce them. Like when you open a particular model and it happens every time.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

Dear JoshPlumSE.
You are the most dedicated member of the RISA team (in the past). I admire you!
You are absolutely right, it is quite easy to catch a program error (C# try {// Do something} catch (Exception e) {// Do something} finally {// Do something} )...
You (developer team) just need to have a desire.
RISA 3D .Net (last version) - excellent program.
Best regards to All.

RE: RISA 3D V 18 Specific Complaints

What frustrates me is how much slower the UI is. Entering nodes was nearly instantaneous in v17. Now in v18/v19 it stutters when you add nodes, records to spreadsheets, etc. This drives me crazy and breaks up my train of thought. Everything else about the UI seems like a huge upgrade in my opinion. Am I the only one who feels this way? RISA really needs to focus on fixing the speed issues of the UI. I don't know the inner workings but I suspect lazy coding using databases. I suggest dealing with objects that react to changes quickly then have them sync the database up in the background.

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