During the last few months users might have got the impression that our activities have dropped very low. However this is not exactly true. Indeed we are acting like crazy in the background, but we stopped to publish all of our activities straight away.
Here is a brief overview of what we are currently doing and why it takes so long, and how you could help us to get faster again.
Avastar 1.6 and Fitted Mesh
A few months ago we posted that we are about to finish better support for fitted Mesh with Avastar 1.6 However i should have known better. Fact is that the tools are working OK but not perfect. And the users need to know exactly what they do and how the tools work.
It turns out that complex attachments still can quickly become a nightmare. We are trying to find workflows for the new tools which make rigging and fitting more predictable.
How you can help
A while back we have published Alpha Versions of Avastar 1.6 in the_archive download folder. You could give it a try and figure out workflows on your own and help us to tune the tools for your purposes.
So far we did not receive much of feedback, especially from the more knowledgeable people. This might be so because the experts already have their workflows and are not so much interested in the basic tools that we are trying to create for the not yet experts.
The Avastar Update Tool
Avastar contains an update tool which allows to migrate non Avastar Rigs to Avastar and update older Avastar rigs to the most recent Rig version. However this tool is one of the most complex tools in Avastar. The possible configurations made by users are not predictable and blender allows by far more scenarios as we ever could support with our upgrade tool.
Hence we never can guarantee that an upgrade will always work perfect. However in Avastar-1.6 we put a lot of extra work into this tool so that updates should become less painfull (not fully perfect still)
How you can help
You could report your issues with your updates or migrations. We have a ticket system for this which you should use frequently. However please do not expect us to react right away. Often we are currently doing other things which we can not postpone, or there are simply a list of other tickets which also need to be processed. But having your particular issue reported will certainly help us to better understand how we can improve the tools.
Make efficient Reports
Users often create tickets with far too less information. We have added a guide for how to Create a new Ticket in the ticket entry page. But this guide seems to be largely ignored or users simply overlook it.
So we sometimes see reports containing one line of information: Avastar-1.5 does not work for me. Statements like that always enforce us to ask back and often we end up in a large correspondence before we even understand what the problem is after all. this is not very efficient.
How you can Help
Please read the guide first. Then provide the information that is listed in the guide. We know that creating a report can be a rather time consuming task. And we understand that you tend to do this quickly and keep the work to those who have provided the bad software to you (us).
However you could get answers much faster if you do a thorough research on your own and report us what you found so far.
Supporting foreign Toolkits
We see that developer toolkits for Attachment creation become more and more popular. This is a good thing. However the creators of these development kits should maintain their products them self and they should provide enough information for their customers to get their kits operating nicely with Avastar.
We certainly support the creators here. So if you are a creator then please do not hesitate to ask us if things do not run nicely for you. Maybe you even found a bug then please report this to us…
How you can help
If you are a customer, then please first contact the creators of the development kit. Please do not accept to be forwarded to us. Maintaining a developer kit is certainly not our business. Please encourage the creator to contact us and provide all we need to become helpful (see how to create a ticket above)
We will discuss with the creator how to proceed further and the creator should contact you and give version updates and documentation as soon as all issues have been sorted out.
Fun with updating Videos
We have created about 170 videos on youtube over the past 8 years. Most of these videos are outdated of course. Right now we have only 21 one up to date videos and even those are already behind the state of the tools.
Redoing a video is often almost as time consuming as making a new video. So we can not maintain all older videos. And a while back we decided to favor text based documentation over video based documentation.
How you can help (yourself)
Please read the documentation on the Avastar document pages. We believe that Avastar is well documented and the 39 documents that we provide there should be up to date.
If you find that a document is (partially) outdated, or could be improved then please report this to us. we have a ticket system…
And… did i mention that you should read the documentation?
Patience is needed
Avastar has grown into a huge and complex tool. Maintaining this tool is not easy and it is very time consuming. Besides of this we are also participating in the Blender development which also takes a significant part of our time. We have not yet learned how to perform magic, but we have learned how to keep patient, so we will (try to) fix everything regardless how long it takes.
How you can help
See above. That’s all what we ask you to do. And also be patient with us. We can not be faster than we are. we are already running at maximum speed. Despite the current heat wave in germany that is giving us some hard time with temperatures around 35-40°C (~100°F) we are still trying to keep up.
We hope that this article clarifies a bit why things are as they are and how users can help to change this. However we wish you a nice summer time (or winter time) and hope to get the next Avastar Release out soon.
Your Machinimatrix Team