Author Topic: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?  (Read 1923 times)

Offline MutantPixel

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Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« on: April 02, 2017, 02:32:11 AM »
I'm a long time fan of Terragen, buying in to the original 2.0 pre-release deal prior to its release as a real product nearly a decade ago (really?). I've used it from time to time over the years,  but only few times for professional work and then only using the barest minimum of its functionality. Every new release I keep getting sucked back in by the marketing images, I grab a demo, open the UI and my eyes glaze over. Everything about this app is so opaque. Then I look at the docs and I'm stunned that with each passing version there's still no real big-boy documentation. How can that be? Then I try to find some video training, and there's practically none out there that I've been able to find. It just makes me sad that I'll never be making anything remotely similar to those amazing images on the website and I turn away once more until the next version comes and the cycle repeats.

I've watched many of the free GeekAtPlay videos on YouTube, but I just don't find them all that useful, he kind of rambles and I find him difficult to understand. To me they don't come across as professional training videos. So I ask honestly how does one learn to use Terragen? I really, really want to get into using v4 before my demo runs out, but I think I'll be stuck in the same cycle as before. Will Terragen ever get any proper documentation and training? I can't believe that by v4 how little is actually covered, anywhere. And the wiki the app links to, if you look at the "recent changes" page, it literally hasn't gotten a single update in the past 6 months. So does that mean no ones bothered to add in a single line of info about version 4 to the "documentation" when it was released?? That is not a real release IMHO.

And before you write me off as a simpleton-hobbiest/newbie, I'm a 20 year CG veteran. I've used just about every high end 3D content creation app out there. I have licenses to maya, marvelous designer, ZBrush, modo, real-flow, syflex, the full Adobe CC suite, the full suite of Substance tool and many, many other 3D support apps, and I know how to use them all; 3D is how I make my living. Then I see terragen, with so many confusing buttons and impossible to understand nomenclature, disorganized UI and I am lost. So where to go to get to the next level? Am I the only one that feels this way?


Offline Dune

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2017, 06:35:37 AM »
I admit TG is kind of hard to grasp once you want more intricate things, though the principles are simple. It also depends on what your level of skill is now. If you have a project and want it to take a step further, why not post a render and ask for any specific guidelines to get more out of it? That's what the forum is about.
It has been covered before (and before); a comprehensive description of what is all possible in TG is just too complicated, there are different ways to do stuff, and it mostly boils down to setting up with the current knowledge and expand that by visiting the forum and experimenting.
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Offline N-drju

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2017, 09:04:47 AM »
No MutantPixel. You're not the only one. I for once, am always pissed right off when I look for something on the wiki only to find out that it is "TBC"... and no more than that when I revisit the page two years later...
"I don't know what 'pokygon' is but I like it."

Offline Ben3D

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 09:06:33 PM »
I agree, the documentation is lacking. I use the basic things but even with tutorials and the Wiki I can't understand how to use or what most of the parameters do. For the price of the software I don't recommend it to anyone I know. There is too much stumbling around trying to do things that it's not worth the time. A forum does not replace a good manual. I will probably won't be upgrading to the next versions until they include one.

Offline masonspappy

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2017, 09:40:50 PM »
Y'know, going on the principle that not everyone knows everything there is to know, but everyone knows a little bit about what needs to be known....

It would be cool if there was some kind of program where forum member who volunteer to fill in missing parts of the wiki, or update parts that need updating,  could do so and then be given a small discount off the cost of the next upgrade.  Assuming , of course, that they actually complete the task they committed to...

Offline N-drju

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2017, 12:26:19 PM »
@ masonspappy - Though I am an idealist in many aspects of life, tell me this - do you actually know anyone who would happily work professionally on something that someone else is supposed to do, plus, for no money? ??? Maybe Planetside expects users to do this... which would not be fair. But I hope nobody is that naive.
__________________________________

See, this is one of the most striking examples, scroll to the bottom. Render pain... errr, sorry, render PANE is forever TBCed. Nothing changed there since... well, never!

http://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Render

And these are the settings that most people usually ask for / don't understand the meaning of!
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 12:30:11 PM by N-drju »
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Offline archonforest

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2017, 12:58:08 PM »
Well the manual is a problem for sure. When I asked PS how come there is no manual for a pro software like TG I was told that they are(PS) outnumbered and the professionals are anyways know how TG works as they have experience with other programs. I do understand their viewpoint for sure. Nevertheless it sounded a bit "we do not give a damn for you individuals as the money comes from the pros." So what I did is this. Download all possible tutorials from the net and bought Geekatplay videos, watched youtube tuts....etc...etc and slowly going through them and learn like that. Plus the forum is also here. Right now this is the only way if u come from zero. Unfortunately.

I would personally pay for a book if someone will write one. Even if it would cost 100 bucks. But seems like there is no one outside who would do that.  :-\

 
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Offline Ben3D

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2017, 01:16:10 PM »
"I would personally pay for a book if someone will write one. Even if it would cost 100 bucks. But seems like there is no one outside who would do that.  :-\"

From the tutorials I've seen (including paid ones) I think that even the people who write tutorials don't really know the ins and outs of the software so it's possible that no one outside of the developers really know enough to write a book.

Offline archonforest

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 01:23:35 PM »
"I would personally pay for a book if someone will write one. Even if it would cost 100 bucks. But seems like there is no one outside who would do that.  :-\"

From the tutorials I've seen (including paid ones) I think that even the people who write tutorials don't really know the ins and outs of the software so it's possible that no one outside of the developers really know enough to write a book.

Well it is not necessary truth....we got some guys around who knows a LOT about TGs inside out. But guess they are busy with their own stuff and life. Then the guy at Geekatplay has for sure a huge amount of understanding but he has the problem to convey it. (Teaching is a whole different subject. ) I bought 2 series from him and it helped me for sure and I am grateful but he could pack more info in a video for sure.   
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Offline nesthead

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 02:35:58 PM »
Ultimately the lack of documentation will be what finishes TG.  I had always thought it was my lack of background that made it difficult to understand but reading now that people who I thought understood are also struggling is really worrying. 
I have tinkered for years and i have raised the question of documentation before (years ago) but it is always something that is coming soon.. 
It is fine to produce software that produces stunning results but if I can't work out why and replicate it reliably it loses much of its appeal.  It is, sadly, selling software but saying don't ask us how it works you'll have to find out for yourself. 
For the amateur there comes a point when you just don't want to pay any more for the frustration. I hope there are enough specialists to keep the business going.

Offline masonspappy

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 02:55:02 PM »
@ masonspappy - Though I am an idealist in many aspects of life, tell me this - do you actually know anyone who would happily work professionally on something that someone else is supposed to do, plus, for no money? ???

Fair question.  And I would answer " not really ".  (And I'm basing that on 22 years experience as a professional IT project manager).  Also heartily  agree with you  that documentation is incomplete or needs updating.   The thing that really bugs me about T3/4 documentation is that even where there's information, it's not necessarily understandable or usable. I read a lot of facts but don't understand how I'm supposed to apply that information.  (I know others have experienced the same thing)/  That's where the real value of these forums come in - being able to get examples of how things work, not just a recitation of facts behind the function.  Think of the old joke about the helicopter pilot hovering about a fog bank next to the Microsoft building in Seattle and you'll get the idea.

The problem with perusing these forums for specific information is that it's kind of a crap shoot.  Data may or may not be there. And sometimes even when we're certain we've seen examples speaking to the specific thing we need to know, it's very difficult to track it down.  I know these  forums contain hundreds of instances where problems were resolved.  Just being able to go back through the forums to find that data and  put it  the wiki would go a long way toward addressing the current short-comings. But it would be damn near impossible for PS to do so (after all there are 3 of them and many of us). 

So the idea would be for a space for examples to be created for each T3/4 item in the wiki, and us Forum users to update the wiki with actual instances where a problem was solved through these forums.  For example, Dune recently helped me with setting up a turntable function in T4. I could then update the wiki with the solution, and the PS staff could review and sanitize as needed.  If folks were doing this on a regular basis it would go a long way toward making the documentation more usable, even though it's not complete.  And I suspect that the items that get updated this way are things that really matter to us users. 




 





« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 02:57:56 PM by masonspappy »

Offline archonforest

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2017, 03:40:25 PM »
I think the key word here is: passion.
PS will never complete this manual task as 1 they have to keep research and update TG in order to be stay in business and 2 they are outnumbered. Now either PS hire a person who works for them and makes this manual for money or we do it. Passion hehe...
 
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Offline bobbystahr

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2017, 04:11:55 PM »
Well, and this is just my take on it, any manual would be out of date by the time it was finished and I think that's why the WIKI was set up...it just needs more participation from users. When a discovery is made wouldn't it be simple to as well as brag/show off in the forums, to add the discovery and how to to the WIKI. I'm no ground breaker myself and rarely if ever come up with an original work around for a problem but would relish the opportunity to share it in the WIKI as mentioned.
Maybe a page in the WIKI called User Discovery where user brilliance could be shared and light up all our lives a bit.
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Offline N-drju

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2017, 06:09:47 PM »
So the idea would be for a space for examples to be created for each T3/4 item in the wiki, and us Forum users to update the wiki with actual instances where a problem was solved through these forums. I could then update the wiki with the solution, and the PS staff could review and sanitize as needed.  If folks were doing this on a regular basis it would go a long way toward making the documentation more usable, even though it's not complete.

This is what I started doing in several latest threads I made asking for solutions. In some cases I managed to solve the problem by myself and right away put a step-by-step instructions on what to do to avoid the problem I had. But as was previously said, this does not work as a reference for all functionalities because these are just solutions for very particular problems and not definitions.
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Offline plugsnpixels

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Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 01:06:30 AM »
What we need is the power and quality of Terragen based on the simplicity of Terraray. Nobody could complain about that!
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