The UI Needs A Total Overhaul

Discussion in 'Feature Suggestions' started by artao, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    First off: User adjustable font size. Seriously.
    The node editor. Which is, frankly, what it is. Where we wire together the building blocks of our ensembles.
    Node editors have come a LONG way in recent years, and it's time Reaktor followed suit with modern node editor standards. Standards such as zooming. Being able to drop a new node on an existing connection line, and it'll insert the new node between the two connected nodes maintaining connection. There's way more. Just take a look at any modern application that uses nodes.
    Another thing: Being able to tag ensembles and favorite them. Even be able to add notes to them. In short, better organizing. I forget what half the ensembles I have installed even are!
    Finally, being able to scale the UI of ensembles. No idea how this could be accomplished with raster graphics, but I for one would accept a fair bit of graphical aliasing to be able to see MANY ensemble UIs larger. Particularly older ensembles. Them things are nigh unreadable at 1920x1080 and above.
    OH WAIT! One more thing. VST3.
    .... and I don't know if it's possible, but a revamp of saving presets would be nice. It's quite ..... complicated right now. Particularly in ensembles that have several instruments and/or effects in them. You have to save presets for each separate instrument or effect, THEN save the ensemble with those preset, as its own new preset. There MUST be a better, cleaner way.
     
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  2. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    Let me add: Being able to search the installed ensembles and instruments. HECK! Even presets and files in the file browser.
    Regarding the node editor: Panning with mouse buttons. Using MMB is the standard for node editors. And, again, zooming.
    Another: Better preset/snapshot management. It's sloppy and confusing right now. Gotta save a preset in and instrument and then also save the ensemble ..... But not always ..... Huh?
    Regarding fonts: Not simply change font size, but also just change the font to the user's preference. I strongly dislike the font used in Reaktor. Hard to read, especially at higher resolutions. CLEARLY designed for the days of 1024x768 monitors, maybe 1280x1024 max.
     
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  3. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Moderator Moderator

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    VST3 is probably the most likely thing to happen. The rest is probably 5 or more years of work.
     
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  4. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    LOL Five or more years of work for those things? That's ridiculous. o_O
    The font size (and the font itself) is, to me, the most egregiously horrible thing about Reaktor. I often set my 2nd monitor to 1280x800 and put Reaktor over the just so I can read the damned thing. If that's hard to change, their programmers really screwed up somewhere.
    Searching ensembles etc should be a no-brainer. I'm not a programmer and I can write basic search code in several languages.
    The node editor will take some work. It's old. Like .... mid-2000s old. I can't believe they haven't updated that yet. But 5 years? No way. Not with the size of their dev. team. Maybe if it was a couple people working on it all on their own.
     
  5. Paule

    Paule NI Product Owner

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    7,326
    If you want to use your own fonts realize it with knobman. It's an easy way.
    Myself have no problem with snapshots in ens and ism. If you don't understand how it's work? It's confusing - HA!
    Reaktor full users don't need to use presets.
    What the heck is MMB? Please be more precise.
    Please create it for your size. Reaktor isn't a player - it's an SDK.
     
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  6. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    uh ... okaaayyyy ... um o_O
    I am a "full user." Reaktor's "presets" are snapshots. As such, yes. We need to use "presets." And we need to save them for both the instrument and the ensemble. I understand how it works. That makes it no less confusing. And inefficient. Have you honestly never forgotten to save settings in an instrument or ensemble, thus losing your work when you reopen Reaktor? (If you say no, I say you're lying) Do you honestly think it couldn't be handled way better?
    MMB is the standard shorthand for Middle Mouse Button.
    Create for my size? Realize them with Knobman?
    Uhh ... I'm talking about THE ENTIRE FREAKIN UI here. The whole application. Everything, everywhere. Tiny crappy hard to read fonts from the '00s. Not just in ensembles. In menus. In the structure view. In the sidebar. In the sample map editor. EVERYWHERE.
     
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  7. Paule

    Paule NI Product Owner

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    7,326
    I'm a builder and save during work on an ens very often.
    That 've forgotten to save a snap it's 15 years ago.
    If I build a new one working with 100% not in a side chain.
     
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  8. colB

    colB NI Product Owner

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    3,823
    Uh...okaaayyy... um... in Reaktor Snapshots are Snapshots (what you described), and Presets are Presets, different from Snapshots and better suited to different use cases and workflows. So maybe you don't understand it as well as you thought?

    A quick read through the 'getting started' section of the documentation might be useful here?
     
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  9. Paule

    Paule NI Product Owner

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    7,326
    If you leave Reaktor there is a box with 3 choices „Save - Discard - Cancel“.
    Use the left „Save“ the changes of the last snap is in the ens but not in a snap.
    Start Reaktor and save the snapshot before choice a new snap. Nothing is gone.
     
  10. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Moderator Moderator

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    19,260
    And do you know exactly how many members Reaktor team has? Or if there even is a dedicated Reaktor team? Do you have hard info on that? Have you actually seen the codebase to really know and be able to estimate how long such a huge and deeply involving change would make?

    I bet you haven't. So you can guess all you want, and probably end up being wrong :)
     
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  11. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    Do you have any idea how large of a company NI is? They have plenty of devs. AND plenty of money to throw at development.
    And yes. Reaktor has a dedicated team. Watch video talks with Reaktor devs.
    Five years is a RIDICULOUS amount of time. That's like AAA video game dev time, from scratch.

    I mean, seriously. The node editor (aka structure view) has been pretty much the same since ~2000 when I first experienced NI's software (I forget what it was called at the time)
    Don't be so defensive. I'm not railing against Reaktor here. I love it. It has changed both my sound and how I make music.
    BUT!! It is undeniable that the UI needs, as I say, a total overhaul. It's ancient.
    I can't imagine anyone trying to use Reaktor on a 4k screen for instance. YIKES!
     
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  12. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Moderator Moderator

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    Of course I know how large NI is. I also know that out of all those people, devs are a minority. Considering all the turmoil and layoffs that happened, I wouldn't trust any old video talks with Reaktor devs, they might be long gone and the team reduced.

    Also, also, also. Reaktor is not nearly as successful as Kontakt. This can also give you a hint as to where most of dev money would most likely be directed to.

    I don't think anyone is saying anything to deny that. But I'm saying that you are grossly underestimating how badly organized and inflexible a 2.5 decades old codebase that's stuck into custom homebrew libraries that have no idea what this "HiDPI" thing really is, can be. Which is exactly why my estimate of 5 years feels like something realistic, all things considering. Well ok, maybe 3 if they can get like 8-10 devs fulltime on it (which I doubt will happen).
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
  13. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    Exactly. Two entirely different ways of saving what everyone else simply calls presets. And BOTH are accessed in the same place. That is confusing.
    Now, to people who have used Reaktor a lot, it has become rote knowledge and now seems "simple." Remember back when you first used it tho. Was it so "simple" then? No.
    Just because you're used to it doesn't make it not confusing.

    I did indeed re-re-re-read the sections in the manuals about snapshots and presets last nite in bed. I do understand them.
     
  14. ShelLuser

    ShelLuser NI Product Owner

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    1,307
    You make it sound as if "a developer" is a commonly interchangelable resource. Wake up call: it isn't. Development is a specialized profession which depends on many different aspects and contexts.

    It's like saying that if you build modular software synths you should be able to do that no matter the platform. So what you're basically saying here is that if you understand this:

    upload_2021-7-16_16-38-50.png

    You should also be able to grasp this:

    upload_2021-7-16_16-43-36.png

    This is the same kind of device as shown in Reaktor but this time I set it up in Max.
     
  15. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    EvilDragon
    As you say, Kontakt is indeed more successful.
    However, Reaktor MADE Native Instruments.
    Honestly? I've kinda been feeling like Reaktor is being ... well ... neglected. I strange feeling that it's "on its way out" so to speak. Which would REALLY be a shame.
    It's certainly not getting as much love as NI's other software.
    Fair point about the age of the codebase. Regardless, most of the things I bring up wouldn't be particularly hard. I'm talking about the fonts in specific here.
    The node editor (aka structure view) could take awhile, to be fair. It'd likely have to be rewritten from scratch. But 5 yrs? No way. That's insane.

    ShelLuser
    Yes. I am saying that. I've never used Max, and I can make sense of what you've posted. Not 100% of course. I'd have to read some manuals. But it wouldn't take long to get up to speed. If you know the basics in one such system, you can sort it out pretty quickly in another similar system.
    It's not like they have to switch from C++ to LISP or Cobol or something.

    Apologies if I'm sounding uber-defensive here.
    I kinda feel like I'm being attacked for daring to suggest Reaktor's UI/UX seriously needs updating.
    Also, I just woke up and haven't even finished one cup of coffee. ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2021
  16. EvilDragon

    EvilDragon Moderator Moderator

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    19,260
    Just for reference - I have learned sound synthesis in Generator! It was my first proper synth, and that was back when I was ending elementary school! So I do know and love Reaktor, warts and all.

    But I'm being realistic here.

    Yeah, you'd think so, but you'd be wrong. Reaktor uses picture fonts, not even TTF/OTF fonts. This makes it a shitton more difficult!

    Such situations can be a dime a dozen in such an old codebase. The seemingly simple things could take forever to untangle. Might as well just rewrite the whole Reaktor from scratch in that case. And THAT would definitely take 5 years.

    I think Absynth and FM8 are getting the least love.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
  17. artao

    artao NI Product Owner

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    63
    YES!! Generator!! That's what it was called. Thanks. I couldn't remember.
    I had NO CLUE what I was doing in that. LOL (of course, my copy was pirated and had no manual(s) nor was there much on the internwebs at the time)
    Picture fonts. ... Um .... Wow ..... Okay then. WTAF. That's insane!! Who came up with that ridiculous idea I wonder. TTF has been around forever!

    Sure. I'll grant the rewriting Reaktor from scratch could well take several years. I would think (hope) that it wouldn't have to come to THAT extreme tho. Yikes! :O
     
  18. colB

    colB NI Product Owner

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    3,823
    It's definitely confusing and complicated, but that's partly the nature of the beast - Reaktor being a flexible development environment rather than just a plug'n'play vst instrument.

    The Snapshot system is designed so that it's interface is partially open for builders to manipulate - that requires some level of complexity. It is also essential for some under the hood coding of elements of a build that require persistence of data between sessions, but not necessarily a GUI presence. This requires that snapshots are saved as part of the instrument or ensemble.
    That's not always desirable. e.g. if you want a patch browser that lets you audition sounds across multiple ensemble, instruments and even plugins, snapshots can never work. So Presets were introduced.
    If you remove either Presets or Snapshots, you lose some significant functionality. If you were to change/remove the Snapshot system, many library instruments would just stop working - not an ideal situation for folk who have them as part of ongoing projects...

    The biggest problem as I see it is the GUI interface to access Presets and particularly Snapshots. It seemed to me when Presets were introduced that there was an attempt to hide access to snapshots to maybe discourage their use. I've been assured that this was not the intention, but it does seem very odd how well hidden access to the snapshot browser is, and how obfuscated the difference between instrument level and ensemble level snaps is.

    So yes, the interface to the Snapshot browser needs a revamp. But that doesn't really change the complexity of the system, or the learning curve. That would require a redesign, and that in turn would break so many things that it might as well be a new application - a good opportunity to remove the Primary layer completely, redesign the front panel patching, completely re-write all the GUI libraries, add all the missing core features that we've been asking for for years... dream on :)
     
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  19. Kymeia

    Kymeia NI Product Owner

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    6,227
    As I recall presets were mainly introduced as a workaround to enable presets to be saved in the player version (since snapshots require saving a modified ensemble which the player didn't allow for)

    It would have made sense for NI to make the relationship between snapshots and presets more seamless by enabling users to convert one format to the other more easily.
     
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  20. Paule

    Paule NI Product Owner

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    7,326
    Myself don't start so early. R4 Session was the first NI product except of a demo CD.
    A year later upgraded to R5 and to R6 ten years later.
    There is a lot of fun by myself building amorph sound monsters. Some you can dl from UL.
    Where are your ensembles, artao?