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Akos Pfemeter said Graphisoft made the decision to not allow automatic syncing because of ease of use and quality of workflow. In the end the user in ArchiCAD 13 chooses manually or semi-manually to sync with the BIM Server. Semi-manually happens when you request to reserve something that someone else controls. When that happens that element may come in (to your machine) updated from what you saw depending on whether or not that user had manually updated it recently.
Virtual Office and Creating Large Virtual Teams
With ArchiCAD 13 and its new TeamCenter 2 and BIM Server it is very easy for solo-practitioners to join teams and offices remotely and contribute as specialists or just team members. Also, solo architects can form and create “virtual offices” or larger teams for competitions or projects with other solo architects. To make this happen you just need to choose who will run the BIM Server (likely based on who has the fastest Internet connection with a static IP address).
Interestingly, Graphisoft could choose to work with Apple in the future and utilize its MobileMe capabilities so that users could gain the Back-to-my Mac functionality to help resolve dynamic IP addresses. Many solo architects do not have static IPs so setting up a BIM server this way may be more challenging.
The ability to view colors to allow you to know who has what and to make requests for control of elements is one of the most delightful aspects to ArchiCAD 13. It is intuitive, simple and obvious. And it provides the architect with a granular way of graphically viewing who has control over what elements. (see images 02 – 03)
Color not only designates if an element is free or not but if not free who has control over it. Plus the colors can be customized making this system very flexible. You could imagine using a certain type of color or range of colors to designate types of staff, teams or specialists.
Going 64-bit: But Where is the Mac Version?
ArchiCAD 13 is still the only BIM application to truly take advantage of the latest multicore processors (like Intel’s) and multiprocessing architectures in general. Now they have introduced 64-bit support for Windows, just behind what Autodesk has recently done for the latest version of Revit 2010. This makes both these BIM leaders more or less on the cutting edge with performance initiatives relative to hardware architectures. Because of the multicore support ArchiCAD 13 is still a bit ahead.
The company is still working on the 64-bit version for the Mac. The issue is Graphisoft’s coding work to move to 64-bit on the Mac is much more substantial than it was for Windows because of legacy “carbon’ code in ArchiCAD. Like most large and older Mac applications (think Adobe Photoshop for instance) those applications were entirely written and evolved under Apple’s pre-OS X API system, which in the OS X world is referred to as Carbon. Cocoa is Apple’s modern and purpose built for OS X API system.
Graphisoft is working on rewriting the last remaining elements of ArchiCAD’s code base from Carbon to Cocoa, which when done will leave the company on a superior footing for future work on the Mac. Cocoa is very modern. Akos Pfemeter, Director of Global Marketing at Graphisoft, said the update for 64-bit Mac support is coming after the release of version 13. There is no exact time table however.
Other Improvements in ArchiCAD 13
While the new BIM Server technology is the big news in this release ArchiCAD 13 has many smaller but significant updates and improvements. At the top of the list here are features such as custom slab-roof edges (see image below). This greatly aids the process of modeling wherein the use of canted walls meet up with slabs. (see image 03)
Another useful new capability is the new “soft” insulation features which allows the dynamic views of insulation in 3D that ArchiCAD users have been asking for. And the new oriented views capabilities work to swing around diagonal wings in building plans to orthogonal orientation making editing and working more natural. This feature is similar to what was introduced in sister CAD product Vectorworks a few releases back. It will be a very welcomed feature in ArchiCAD 13.
Other typical improvements include better and more up-to-date Autodesk AutoCAD DWG file support, import/export options, and performance tuning in the software in general.
Running ArchiCAD 13
ArchiCAD 13 with its new integrated BIM Server with Delta Server Technology can run on any computer that runs ArchiCAD 13. In other words, you do not need any special type of computer to run the BIM Server portion of ArchiCAD 13.
Each license of ArchiCAD 13 includes the BIM Server and the new Project Manager module that helps support teamwork functionality related to the new expanded capabilities due to the BIM Server.
Akos Pfemeter, Director of Global Marketing, told us that if you are operating a BIM Server for a large office or with multiple offices, it is a good idea to buy a powerful computer but there are no special requirements in terms of what is necessary. “For very large practices they may wish to divide up the work loads by running multiple BIM Servers,” he remarked.
From within the LAN or out across the Internet you identify the Graphisoft BIM Server by its IP address. The BIM Server must be visible to the outside world through a company’s firewall so there is a specific port that must be opened. Other than that, Graphisoft BIM Server is straight forward to run.