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General => Terragen Discussion => Topic started by: MutantPixel on April 02, 2017, 02:32:11 AM

Title: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: MutantPixel 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?

Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Dune 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.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju 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...
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Ben3D 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.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: masonspappy 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...
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju 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!
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: archonforest 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.  :-\

 
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Ben3D 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.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: archonforest 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.   
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: nesthead 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.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: masonspappy 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. 




 





Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: archonforest 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...
 
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: bobbystahr 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.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju 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.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: plugsnpixels on April 04, 2017, 01:06:30 AM
What we need is the power and quality of Terragen based on the simplicity of Terraray (http://www.syniumsoftware.com/terraray). Nobody could complain about that!
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Ethrieltd on April 04, 2017, 12:06:34 PM
A lot of the stuff can be determined through logic, reading the forums and experimenting....

...and then there's the whole blue colored mathematical section, filled with Fantasialike dancing integer nightmares and completely impenetrable to the average man. Without proper documentation the average user will NEVER understand those.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: masonspappy on April 04, 2017, 12:40:38 PM
...and then there's the whole blue colored mathematical section, filled with Fantasialike dancing integer nightmares and completely impenetrable to the average man. Without proper documentation the average user will NEVER understand those.

Actually, this might help if you haven't already seen it:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/hhyzjdkkaxard97/100%20Functions.zip?dl=0

User AP put together a file of 100  BN  functions and added them to File Sharing section of the forums.  Won't make you a BN guru but lets you start out at a higher level than if you were trying to do this on your own.   To my way of thinking this is a resource that the wiki might have pointed to, instead of relying on an old guy's imperfect memory to bring it up here.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Ethrieltd on April 04, 2017, 01:18:02 PM
Actually, this might help if you haven't already seen it:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/hhyzjdkkaxard97/100%20Functions.zip?dl=0

Yep, I have actually got it and am trying out some things to with them, but a major part of understanding is understanding WHY it works and what all the math means. Granted, most users will seldom use these functions but some instruction on how/when to apply them with a view to what the user wishes to achieve would certainly be helpful. I've got a fairly good grounding in math/physics and they confuse me, I can't imagine what they'd be like to a non science savvy user.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Dune on April 04, 2017, 01:46:30 PM
An average user won't need any blue nodes, even to make really beautiful terrains reds will do nicely.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: luvsmuzik on April 04, 2017, 02:08:01 PM
Chuckle chuckle.....
I have one paint program with over 200 free filters for making textures, so many I have to store them out of program directory. These were given freely years ago. When you experiment with these, you can get endless patterns. The possibilities for patterns are endless even with one filter. The developers of these filters do not document the "why" to my knowledge, but I am sure there is one.

I compare creating something in Terragen similar to using those filters. Look at someone's example; examine a shared file. Try it yourself. There are many good tutorials online. Ask questions, nag, nag, nag! Do use the search engine; explore the libraries.

If all else fails, get out of the chair and walk around your dwelling twice and try again! :)





Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: masonspappy on April 04, 2017, 02:26:33 PM
... and don't forget the near-magical, brain enhancement effects of liquor...
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Oshyan on April 05, 2017, 05:16:10 AM
Thank you all for your civil discussion of this challenging issue. There is no way around it, documentation for Terragen is indeed lacking, and not properly updated. This is something that weighs on us every day, and I sincerely apologize for the scant or difficult to understand information you are often confronted with in referencing the docs.

I can't offer any easy comfort or quick solution, nor anything new that hasn't been said before, I'm sorry to say. As a number of you have identified, Terragen is in itself a difficult program to document due to its open, flexible nature, and the unique workings of some of its proprietary functions such as cloud shading, terrain displacements, surface shading effects, etc. In addition to that, we are an even smaller team than ever (someone said 3, technically we're 2, with very part-time input from a 3rd person), and only one of those people (Matt, the founder and software architect) truly understands certain things well enough to properly document them. Unfortunately that means either he splits his time between dev and docs, or he focuses on dev and the docs don't get updated in some of the more complex areas (e.g. what exactly do all the v3 cloud settings do).

One part of the  solution is to ultimately hire one or more additional developers, which we intend to do, as well as potentially other staff to handle documentation in a more dedicated way. Terragen 4 has provided some of the foundation to make this possible in a business sense, and I am hopeful we can move in these directions soon.

We have also tried working with a number of educational content developers over the years, but only GeekAtPlay actually came through with delivered content. That has frankly been quite frustrating, but we remain hopeful that the increased ease of use of TG4 and the new Educational License Program will result in greater availability of educational content in the long-run. We're in talks with a couple of content developers to that end.

In the meantime the ideas around user contribution to the Wiki that have been discussed here are indeed how we had hoped it would be used. Unfortunately we had a spammer attack recently and we are still cleaning it up and have had to close open contributions for now. We intend to bring the wiki back to more open access in the near future, after we clean up the spam, and at that point we'll be working hard to bring things up to date for TG4. We're hopeful that some of you will be able to contribute as well with the more specific problem solutions that often come up here in the forums. Structuring that information will no doubt be challenging, but just having the solutions - rather than the entire discussion chain to find it - documented in one place, with reasonable titles, would be a big step forward. We don't assume people will contribute, but we do hope that some will, as the work of documenting all solutions to problems and techniques discussed thus far is too great for us alone, for now.

We want Terragen to be as accessible and easy to use as possible and we recognize it's not there yet in several important ways, including major aspects of the UI and interaction, as well as the documentation. We continue to work on improvements in those areas. Thank you all for your patience, understanding, and support over the years.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Dune on April 05, 2017, 06:25:06 AM
Quote
Structuring that information will no doubt be challenging
Indeed; many solutions have a lot of ins and outs, need discussion, and will undoubtedly be never perfect. Keeping it short may be harder than finding a 'solution'  ;)
Regarding spamming (the wiki); why not feed all input through a trusted channel, like applying to post first (through you, e.g.)? That, on the other hand, may put posters off.....

Anyway, I appreciate your work on TG greatly and would choose for development first. What I need to know, I'll find out somehow.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju on April 05, 2017, 06:30:33 AM
Thank you for that message Oshyan. Yes, the time constraints are indeed a pain in the back... for all mankind.

However, what I think you could do as a first order of business would be to just fill up the Global Illumination page. This is one of the most important features, in my opinion at least, but it is filled with TBCs.

Once upon a time, there was a magnificent GI reference made by user dandelO which explained the feature very comprehensively in a user friendly manner. Later, he also made a video showing the same stuff. However, it's gone now! I tried to find it but none of his GI-related work is around on the web anymore... I went to check with his YouTube channel but the GI stuff was deleted from there as well. His webpage is also no more.

Anyway, a completed GI section at least would be very, very helpful. I don't know your workload obviously... But you could for instance prioritize some sections on the wiki and fill them up according to the "order of importance" - one step at a time.

Otherwise than that, I could perhaps re-create dandelO's GI instructions because I've been doing it for myself anyway. You could put that on wiki if you like.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: René on April 05, 2017, 10:43:26 AM
If you do not know math (like me) you'll probably never be able to fully utilize blue nodes, but you can go a long way by experimenting. I have more than once dissected clip files(blue nodes) from the forum and used them without fully understanding what they were doing. Granted; you may end up with a crazy node tree, but all that matters is that it works.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: EoinArmstrong on April 05, 2017, 11:05:34 AM
In work we've started to use an space in an instance of Atlassian's 'Confluence' as a Knowledge Management System.  It easily builds a tree-view for navigation, labelling pages builds an index (and enhances searches), and its search engine is full-text and fast.

Is it technically feasible to spin up a public instance of it for people to consume, and for a core set of people to add content when they have time?  You can add all-sorts of media.  I'd be happy to help out with adding content.  Creating one massive document is a really daunting task, so if it's broken down into mini-tasks and shared, maybe it's not so bad.

I'm not too sure about the licensing of it, mind you - perhaps a public instance might be prohibitive... unless sign-on credentials were given to license-holders only...

Anyhoo... just a suggestion!
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: bobbystahr on April 05, 2017, 03:22:46 PM
Anyway, I appreciate your work on TG greatly and would choose for development first. What I need to know, I'll find out somehow.

Hear hear, I'm a grade 7 maths expert and I seem to eventually find my way around most problems....granted the forums are a great help but serendipitous discovery has also played a large role so I would also choose for development first...Keep the Faith and Pray for jo's safety down there in new earthquakeland.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: otakar on April 05, 2017, 05:52:00 PM
I'm in software development and from experience it is not realistic to complete comprehensive documentation as one big task (unless done by a dedicated technical writer), especially if the software is being actively worked on. I like the wiki format, and I suggest divvying up this gargantuan task into small bits - as suggested above - and doing a little chunk every day. Say one node a day, or even one tab in a node. Just keep chipping away at it, do not put it off, as then it never can get done. If the functionality changes you need to flag that and revisit the affected documentation pages. It is a constant effort. IMHO, you cannot rely on these forums alone for technical help if you want to grow the user base.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Oshyan on April 05, 2017, 06:53:39 PM
Indeed, it is necessary to be a constant effort, as otakar said. And we do not, as a matter of policy, rely on the forums for documentation, although for support they are a large part of the solution, not least because we as staff engage here on a constant basis.

Confluence is, to my understanding, not a whole lot different from a wiki for our purposes here. We don't need project/task management and other features, just content authoring and structuring. The organization is similar to how it works in a wiki, and indeed in the wiki we already have, with categories, nested topics/trees (see e.g. the node reference in the current wiki: http://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Terragen_3_Node_Reference ).

We are inclined to continue with the wiki approach because it is inexpensive and we own all the data, and it's easily portable to other wiki systems, HTML, and other formats. I don't know what export options Confluence offers and we'd hate to be locked-in to a proprietary system in the long run (from a brief look I see it exports PDF, HTML, and XML, which is not bad, but wiki still has advantages). For the moment we are on MediaWiki but are considering moving to Tiki Wiki in the future for various reasons... But in any case the open (or approval-based) contribution approach you're talking about is fully possible with the wiki system.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Mid-Knight Acchan on April 06, 2017, 04:23:16 AM
Hello
I am also editing the Japanese version of "Terragen wiki" in Japan.
Although the reference book is the official wiki, updating is discontinued, and every day it is struggling. :'(

Terragen must actually take action
There are also many commands that do not know the result, while verifying each one
It is like finding gold dust in the desert that you understand.

Vue 2016 recently released, 1252 pages of extensive pdf manual was attached.
I have been using Terragen for many years, and it is difficult to understand how to operate Vue.
But each command is easy to understand with manuals.

I hope that many kind power users will update Terragen's official wiki.

Thank you to many wonderful colleagues :)

Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: EoinArmstrong on April 06, 2017, 07:05:56 AM
I keep forgetting this Wiki exists! *blush*  I'll browse through it to see if there's anything I can add :)
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju on April 06, 2017, 08:02:46 AM
I'm afraid we are slightly veering off the topic here...

It's not about reconstructing or exporting TG documentation into various "discoveries" like Confluence, Postgresesses and whatnot. We are talking only about filling the wiki with the information that is missing from these pages. Wiki as a manual is a clean, readable source of knowledge, provided it is complete!
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Matt on April 06, 2017, 07:55:09 PM
However, what I think you could do as a first order of business would be to just fill up the Global Illumination page. This is one of the most important features, in my opinion at least, but it is filled with TBCs.

Just a quick note to say I've updated that page yesterday and today. No more TBCs on that page:

http://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Terragen_3_Global_Illumination

Quote
Once upon a time, there was a magnificent GI reference made by user dandelO which explained the feature very comprehensively in a user friendly manner. Later, he also made a video showing the same stuff. However, it's gone now! I tried to find it but none of his GI-related work is around on the web anymore... I went to check with his YouTube channel but the GI stuff was deleted from there as well. His webpage is also no more.
...
I could perhaps re-create dandelO's GI instructions because I've been doing it for myself anyway. You could put that on wiki if you like.[/font][/size]

Something like that would be very useful and we'd love to include it in the Wiki. The GI page is quite dry and technical, and some rendered examples would really help.

Matt
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: archonforest on April 06, 2017, 08:04:16 PM
However, what I think you could do as a first order of business would be to just fill up the Global Illumination page. This is one of the most important features, in my opinion at least, but it is filled with TBCs.

Just a quick note to say I've updated that page yesterday and today. No more TBCs on that page:

http://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Terragen_3_Global_Illumination

Quote
Once upon a time, there was a magnificent GI reference made by user dandelO which explained the feature very comprehensively in a user friendly manner. Later, he also made a video showing the same stuff. However, it's gone now! I tried to find it but none of his GI-related work is around on the web anymore... I went to check with his YouTube channel but the GI stuff was deleted from there as well. His webpage is also no more.
...
I could perhaps re-create dandelO's GI instructions because I've been doing it for myself anyway. You could put that on wiki if you like.[/font][/size]

Something like that would be very useful and we'd love to include it in the Wiki. The GI page is quite dry and technical, and some rendered examples would really help.

Matt

Pretty cool and usefull update! Thx Matt! :)
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju on April 07, 2017, 05:44:34 AM
Agreed. Thank you for doing this, it should help clarify many questions. Why, I'm educating myself too!

I'll get back to you with GI examples as soon as I finish my current project and complete them all.

Now, pick another empty spot and fill it in in a week or two. :)
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Dune on April 07, 2017, 06:07:14 AM
Thanks very much, Matt!
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Oshyan on April 07, 2017, 06:20:59 AM
We'll aim to keep the mini-update train rolling, so to speak. And we welcome contributions from others as well, of course, but for now I want to reiterate that registering and editing is disabled for all non-administrators. We'll address that soon and then you can all jump in if you like. :D

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: MutantPixel on April 08, 2017, 09:20:53 PM
I'm so glad I asked my question and even happier to see some small amount of progress being made on the wiki. I completely understand the amount of effort required to document a constantly evolving, dynamic 3D application. I worked for Luxology and then The Foundry for 8 years writing the documentation and making training for MODO. It is a lot of effort, but an application simply can't grow if there isn't a community of engaged and educated users to pass the knowledge around.

   My philosophy is that the documentation should cover the technical 'whats' of all the various aspects of the app. Like a definition or paragraph of explanation on what a feature is or does. For example what is "Fake Dark Power" is and why one would ever need 'Tweaks' in the first place. That's the stuff that to me make the app so opaque. Once the specifics are filled in, training videos are a good way to show workflow- "Do this, or enable that setting to get this effect.". The last piece of the puzzle is having some amazing samples provided that users can then dissect to figure out how things all hook together. Without any basic understanding of what a setting does the dissection of files is largely useless. I downloaded the latest demo and there's was none of any of that, no documentation, links to a seemingly long ago abandoned wiki, no links to basic video introductions and no sample files. I'm not asking for documentation on how to do every possible permutation of node combinations, just an explanation of the basics one can expect from a setting.

I would highly recommend a license to camtasia, and if someone with a decent understanding of Terragen there at Planetside made a weekly 5-10 minute video covering a specific function, withing a year you'd have 6+ hours of useful training users could refer to and 50 more videos than you have now. And I'd feel like my upgrade price wasn't going to waste on another iteration I'd never be able to use or understand.

For reference on what I'm talking about here is the docs I wrote for MODO--
http://modo.docs.thefoundry.co.uk/modo/801/help/index.html

and here is the training channel I set up on YouTube and the videos I made for it--
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3gcz4qAcvMtrVCiRZvEnzg

Please, please Planetside, I hope this is the start of a new push for moving documentation forward, and not a blip in the otherwise same ol' same ol'. Mostly thank you for responding.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju on April 11, 2017, 01:02:16 PM
My philosophy is that the documentation should cover the technical 'whats' of all the various aspects of the app. Like a definition or paragraph of explanation on what a feature is or does. For example what is "Fake Dark Power" is and why one would ever need 'Tweaks' in the first place.

Arrr! Same here matey! This is exactly how it should work and what's it all about!

I would highly recommend a license to camtasia, and if someone with a decent understanding of Terragen there at Planetside made a weekly 5-10 minute video covering a specific function

I don't think this is going to happen, with people having lives, y'know! ;D
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju on April 12, 2017, 01:14:30 PM
Added a little something to fill in another gap! Planetside can refresh the link on the wiki if desirable.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: MutantPixel on April 12, 2017, 03:41:01 PM
I don't think this is going to happen, with people having lives, y'know! ;D

When your livelihood depends on growing a market segment, having happy and educated customers is one of the number one ways to ensure that future. It used to take me between 3-4 hours a week to make my weekly videos for MODO, but paid back far more than that in customer satisfaction and goodwill. I can say from first hand experience that it is worth the effort.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: N-drju on April 12, 2017, 05:04:59 PM
Yes, but you did it as a dedicated professional from what I understand. :) With hobbyists or freelance creators this is more difficult I reckon.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: MutantPixel on April 12, 2017, 05:13:18 PM
Yes, but you did it as a dedicated professional from what I understand. :) With hobbyists or freelance creators this is more difficult I reckon.

I have no expectation of users doing any of this, I'm hoping this is a call to action to the folks of Planetside. Education is as important as engineering and development, marketing and features can only take an app so far.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: bobbystahr on April 12, 2017, 09:20:31 PM
Yes, but you did it as a dedicated professional from what I understand. :) With hobbyists or freelance creators this is more difficult I reckon.

I have no expectation of users doing any of this, I'm hoping this is a call to action to the folks of Planetside. Education is as important as engineering and development, marketing and features can only take an app so far.

there are 2 folks at planetside workin their buns off as it is....just sayin'. I for one am grateful just for the program...make me think a bit every day.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: plugsnpixels on April 13, 2017, 01:15:23 AM
MutantPixel got me thinking:

What if Planetside took a short actual break from development to write documentation (i.e., a month maybe)?

Doing so might even be more effective in the long run than grinding on adding new features and fixes that no one but a few know how to use.

After all, if more people could actually use TG out of the box with less mental effort, more people might buy it. New and returning customers are the motivation behind development in the first place.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Ethrieltd on April 13, 2017, 02:40:15 AM
There's some middleground between a quick start guide and the idiots guide to, and a massive leap to the encyclopedia galactica.

The update to the GI information is the perfect example. If all the missing sections (fake dark power,etc) are updated to a similar degree by Planetside then more detailed information can be added to the wiki by experienced users.

As a sidebar, I've been playing with the "blooms" and damn, if they don't have massive changes from SMALL numbers. The default 0.1 & 0.25's produced a HUGE bloom. I reduced them significantly. It's things like this that need documenting. Why is it so sensitive and is that sensitivity tied in to another setting of which I'm unaware (and might never find out without some background) of lurking in another tab?

I don't think anybody expects a scientific manual (although I wouldn't turn down an explanation of some of those blues...) but some of the settings don't lend themselves to self explanation. Get those dealt with and we're well on the way.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: masonspappy on April 27, 2017, 07:29:25 AM
One more example. Go to this page:  http://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Render_Layers_and_Render_Elements
At the bottom of the page is this line which includes a link in red highlight: For more information on compositing Terragen render elements, refer to Compositing Terragen Render Elements.

Clicking on that link brings the user To this page:

There is currently no text in this page. You can search for this page title in other pages, or search the related logs, but you do not have permission to create this page.

(sigh...)

Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Edmac57 on April 30, 2017, 09:16:29 PM
Thank you for bringing this up MutantPixel. I worked with Terragen all the way back to before version 0.9.43! Back then the community produced tons of really great how-to's and amazing tutorials. Once you saw how it worked, it was game on. I enjoy it when a community "gets it" a new program is exciting and everybody gets behind it. When Terragen went "PRO" with the newer versions, 2, 3, 4... They lost me. I have versions 2 and 3. And to this day, I count it all a big waste of time and money. Back in the early days, the we backed Terragen. I think I'll never buy another piece of their software until they back us!
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Mid-Knight Acchan on May 02, 2017, 03:16:32 AM
A document, too, is valuable but if there is making an interface a many country language, too, it is very rescued.
If the localization is possible in Mod, I think that I want to be useful for the manufacturing.


The screen is the one to have localized in Japanese a part.
Because it is binary editing, it is fault efficiency :-[
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: eapilot on June 05, 2017, 02:46:32 PM
Quote
We have also tried working with a number of educational content developers over the years, but only GeekAtPlay actually came through with delivered content.

I saw that GeekatPlay had youtube Terragen4 tutorials published online and gumroad versions available for purchase.  are they the same videos?
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: Danny on June 06, 2017, 11:15:22 AM
Quote
We have also tried working with a number of educational content developers over the years, but only GeekAtPlay actually came through with delivered content.

I saw that GeekatPlay had youtube Terragen4 tutorials published online and gumroad versions available for purchase.  are they the same videos?

The Version 4 video sets Vladimir has on his page are the same as the ones available on Gumroad.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: mundus on July 05, 2017, 05:42:20 AM
I don't think this is going to happen, with people having lives, y'know! ;D

When your livelihood depends on growing a market segment, having happy and educated customers is one of the number one ways to ensure that future. It used to take me between 3-4 hours a week to make my weekly videos for MODO, but paid back far more than that in customer satisfaction and goodwill. I can say from first hand experience that it is worth the effort.

+1

This. It's one of the key reasons Allegorithmic Substance toolset is leading in their market after a year or two. Their guru Wes Mcdermott and team created some wonderful basic training videos https://www.youtube.com/user/Allegorithmic/playlists (https://www.youtube.com/user/Allegorithmic/playlists), which have now been expanded over time as and when required.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: geekatplay on August 07, 2017, 04:04:45 PM
Geekatplay, Gumroad, youtube have same videos.
Purchase versions have bonus files, scenes ...etc.
Not all tutorials released on youtube, new unlocked weekly. If you want all at once, you need to purchase them.
Purchasing them support my work.
You can also send me email if you have related questions, you don't need to purchase anything to do that ;)
I also believe that you find greater talents here on forums, who can also answer your questions.
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: rosoule on February 02, 2018, 03:38:13 PM
I am a Windows 10 user. Is there a program that has good docs and equal quality?
Recommendations please
Title: Re: Is there ever going to be documentation for Terragen?
Post by: archonforest on February 02, 2018, 05:25:16 PM
I am a Windows 10 user. Is there a program that has good docs and equal quality?
Recommendations please

Vue is pretty capable and I think the price is similar to TG. Quality...hmmm not sure. TG still better I think. At least I like TG renders better.
Blender can produce also very very good quality renders. It is free and you have TONS of docs, videos, courses...etc.