I figured I would start a totally new thread on a lot of the issues that are being discussed about Rhino/VSR etc in the “Why are Class-A surfaces…etc” thread, because I also think it’s important to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture - to my eye - is that what we (folks who use Rhino primarily as a surfacing tool) are seeing right now is a lot of the downside to the 3rd party plugin approach that McNeel has traditionally taken. I’m not faulting McNeel in this approach - it’s fostered so much innovation and cool stuff, but it’s also not without a downside. It’s crystal clear to me in hindsight that both T-Splines and VSR - tools that I use and have used extensively in my workflow - were using McNeel solely as a springboard to be acquired by one of the major CAD companies (Autodesk for both of those products). I see that McNeel is looking to step in and fill the void that T-Splines left with the sub-d tools in V7, but I’m not really seeing any sort of similar effort to improve the bedrock surfacing tools that Rhino provides. A lot of the tools are OLD and they show it. Take MatchSrf. It’s awesome, truly. It does a great job. Heck I made a whole video on it the other week. But it’s also been the same since…Rhino 3? Or maybe 2? The UI is Kafkaesque, and the lack of ability to select different matching for different edges in the year 2020 makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills. The same could be said for basic commands like BlendSrf - as was discussed on other threads. It’s showing it’s age, the UI is clunky, and it struggles to make what you want it to make, even when given clean inputs. Those of us who use VSR have seen the much much better versions of these tools, but we can only do so by remaining stranded on 5. This goes to the heart of the problem with the 3rd party plugin model - when companies use Rhino as a springboard for getting acquired, they inevitably get bought and then that product and functionality is no longer available. It seems like folks enjoy xnurbs, and I have absolutely no information on this, I’m simply using it as an example - but realize that if Autodesk or Dassault decides they like whatever secret sauce xnurbs has and wants to put it into their products, folks are back to using the Rhino Patch command on the next version of Rhino. On stock Rhino, from a classic NURBS modeling perspective, things feel a bit like climbing into a time machine set to circa 2008. I’m not expecting that Rhino needs to be Alias - but I think there is a middle way between what Rhino is today and what those tools are. I also got a bit heated in a discussion with Kyle a while back about my refusal to upgrade to 6 - his point was that Rhino has allowed me to bill out many many multiples of what it cost me. I said that is true, but 6 not only offers me nothing that helps my workflow, it means taking functionality away from me, since I can’t use VSR. Literally, the only thing I’d use 6 for is to open up files that were saved in 6 and save them as 5. From what I’m seeing so far of what’s going into 7, I’m not seeing anything that makes that worth it either. FWIW - as a professional user, I honestly think Rhino is too cheap. I would have no problem whatsoever paying more for it - certainly 50% more but easily double the current cost - if it meant that there was some focus on the core surfacing tools. I would have had no problem paying $1.5-2k for Rhino5, because 5 gave me things that were useful to me. I’m sure others will disagree but that’s my two cents, or two grand. There’s a huge professional userbase now who use Rhino to make their living, but it’s priced for the hobbyist. There’s a disconnect there. I’m all for saving money…but I’d honestly rather spend more and have more tool development that comes directly from McNeel instead of 3rd parties.
As I said at top of this, I fully understand why we are in the situation we are in and I get why McNeel has structured Rhino to be a wonderful sandbox for 3rd party development. But for users, this can leave a pretty bad taste in your mouth when the plugins you depend on get acquired and then you are stranded on old versions. The whole dynamic is…utterly dysfunctional and frustrating for the user. My hope is that at some point in the near future, a concerted effort will be made on the part of McNeel to dramatically improve both the UI and functionality for surfacing and analysis. Like, a total and complete refresh of the toolset from the ground up. Fingers crossed for Rhino 8?