I originally intended this as a comment in the 3.5 beta update thread, but it seems to be better suited for its own thread. It relates to a comment from Lukas saying that the size slider only works for sparks now.
I don’t really understand why removing choice is better. Would it not be much simpler to have one microstar with a slider for size than three different sized microstars? Otherwise, people will continuously ask for smaller and larger sizes and it will end up like the normal stars. They would also work better with just having one “normal” star with a slider for size, and then have the different star types be that… stars that behave differently like falling leaves, swimming stars, flying fish, glitter and so on.
I am one of the users who argue for more choice, at least for the creative edition. There are already three different editions. It could be set up in the following way.
Basic Edition : This would be for users who mainly wants to do shows and don’t want to spend a lot of time making their own effects. The editor would be like the current one, or you could easily design a more advanced wizard based on the current one. In addition, they could use the fireworks database.
Creative Edition : This would be for us who wants the advanced controls to create our own effects. There are already several users who recreate real effects. I personally try to get the timing, rise height, burn time, look and so on correct. Not having precise control of star sizes and being able to adjust the physics often makes it impossible to make an exact recreation. I also find that sometimes I can’t really make an effect and must attempt workarounds to approximate it. I think this is a shame. Especially now when we have 3D worlds and water.
Pro Edition : The pro users want a very fast way to create their inventory. A more advanced wizard like mentioned for the basic edition could do this. If the effects have keywords, you should be able to simply type a description of the effect and have it made automatically. If metadata was added for item code and manufacturer in addition to the name, professionals could easily and simply download their inventory from the fireworks database, premade by the creative users.
This way the three editions would be distinct. Obviously, they have their hands full with the current beta, but maybe a thought for a later date. Are there other users out there who would like more options in the effect editor?
I think the professional version should include only the elements required for a professional - in real life show - such as export for firing systems, label creations and explosive kilograms used, and rack plans.
Things such as Undo features and rapid inventory plus naming and price cost could be things quite useful for a Creative purpose as well, such as having challenges forcing you to stay under a certain budget (Quite an interesting thing!). I agree that the quick resize and export feature would be handy for a professional company which has limited time on its hands to prepare many detailed assets. At the same time, a hobbyist is generally more tranquil at creating and tweaking single fireworks. Speaking of tweaking, another element I would love to be included in Creative Edition is the quick Effect Components making. For the moment I use a text editor to make dedicated ones and without them, it would be incredibly tedious to make custom effects.
Pro Version should have elements correlated to real-life fireworks (Firing System, Rack Plans, DMX, Labels, priority support)
Creative Edition could include CTRL+Z, custom inventories (prices), show effect dimensions in show editors - all the “quality-of-life” features, including quick effect component saving
Basic Edition: include CTRL+Z at least
I do not have the assets nor the real need to purchase the subscription for the Pro versions, but there are some features locked behind it that sometimes make me a bit annoyed. Nothing that can’t be solved with some workarounds though.
With this in mind, I get that software needs money to continue. Perhaps adding elements to the Creative Edition and raising the price a bit more could be a solution?
And of course, there is also the trial version to keep in mind, which is useful for evaluating the product.
As for microstars, I think the issue is still being worked on. My sole hope is that they do not get locked behind the Pro version paywall - as they are creative functions and I don’t think that will happen, in all honesty.
The microstars are customizable again in 3.5, with their own slider.
I must admit I never noticed the lack of an undo feature until people started posting about it.
Price could be an interesting feature for the different FWsim competitions taking place. I guess you could add the manufacturer to that, so you could constrain a competition to a specific company. Personally, it would be more for filtering effects. I would like to be able to search for specific manufacturers, durations, calibres and so on.
I have used the text editor trick for effect components, but I usually have them just as normal effects in their own folder. I use the cake editor to copy and paste everything around and then copy the new shell to an empty effect. But I agree that being able to save effects as effect component would be an excellent quality of life feature. I would also like to see customizable colour swatches implemented. So, you could name and save custom colours to different libraries.
I imagined the wizard to look like the current one but have individual tabs for rising tails, stars, pistils, mines and so on. So, you could simply pick the different components you want, choose a calibre and the shell is done. With a couple of clicks you could have a “60mm red peony with timerain pistil and crackling mine”. If each component has a keyword attached to it the professional users could simply type in the description above and have a finished shell.
I have used Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 for fireworks for 15-20 years. I would like some of those features in FWsim. Having control of drag and gravity is useful. Being able to rotate and spin the particle emitter makes it easy to make tourbillions, farfalles, and anything with a spinning tail. Having unlimited colour change over time makes tails much easier to make. Controlling the stretch of the particle (motion blur) makes fountains look better as well as many other effects. Controlling the spin of the particle makes it easy to make flying fish, bees, swimming stars and so on. Having something with the control elements of RCT3, but the ease of use of FWsim would be optimal.
And of course, you are right that the economy needs to be realistic. On top of that some of the suggestions might break the effects made in previous versions. Personally, I don’t mind redoing my own effects. I am planning on redoing them using the new features anyway. But I can see that users might be upset if their effects no longer work.