Feedback from a new user

I am new to the rigid body world so please forgive me if I sound naïve in my comments/suggestions below. Let me also add that I have only played around with AnyBody for a few weeks so please take the rest of this note with a fistful of salt. Finally, I am sure some of what I have noted down below has already been, or, is currently being addressed. With that disclaimer out of the way, let me begin my feedback:

I like AnyBody for several important reasons (structure, flexibility, options, support options, details in the anatomy, model repository, videos, etc.). However, I think AnyBody could benefit from by committing to certain areas. Please note that I have also tried to provide suggestions where I could think of something. So, here goes:

A. User interface:
a. If you navigate through the model tree at a rapid rate, AnyBody crashes. This should not happen. [I use a Windows 7 64-bit OS.]
b. The User Interface is a bit awkward. The Window sizing/organization, for example, doesn’t seem to be ‘tuned’ well for the convenience of the user. This may already be in place but, if it is not, I also think a user should have the option of saving user interface settings for later use.
c. The global coordinate system should not disappear when you zoom in to a certain segment of your model in the Model View window.
d. Navigating (zoom, translate, rotate) a model in the Model View window seems odd: For instance, if you make a mistake in AnyScript and load the model, and then try navigating in the Model View window, you will realize that the navigating options do not work the way ought to.
e. There should be an option to record movies of varying frames/sec of your simulations.
B. Scripting environment:
a. Highlighting the beginning and ending braces (much like in many modern IDEs or, in Matlab/Mathematica, etc.) when the cursor is next to them will help a person in writing their script.
C. Documentation:
a. Documentation needs a little polishing. If it were a Wiki, then expert level users could edit and improve it over time.
b. Consistency in writing needs some ironing out. I have noticed some subtle inconsistencies in the writing style.
D. Core code defaults:
a. I understand that there are default drivers in place to make a model run when, in reality, it should not. So, it is incumbent upon the user to be careful of the defaults. While I think I understand why you’d want to do it, I have a philosophical issue with the approach of making software so “user-friendly” that it is too easy to make mistakes. It may help if the user is warned that the solution was reached at by using some default drivers.
b. Additional degrees of freedom at certain anatomical locations (knee and spine, for instance) will help tremendously in some applications.
E. Technical marketing:
a. It would be great, particularly for users in the industry to have an idea of where the company and the code are headed. In order to answer tough questions from the powers-that-be, users such as myself must have some idea and confidence in where the relationship might head in the coming years.

Personally, I think the first three categories ought to be a priority for AnyBody. It is important for new users (such as myself) in the industry, or perhaps, students who are being taught a course, to have a short and fun learning curve because they are the ones who are going to be the proselytizers of the AnyBody religion :). Once you become an intermediate or expert level user, you are fine with or even enjoy the idiosyncrasies of a given code, but folks at the beginner level who are still trying to get their heads around the code and the user interface may not feel the same.

Dear Vikaskaul,

Thank you very much for your detailed feedback, it is very valuable for us.

Below please find my comments on your suggestion

A.a: Agreed this should not happen, we will try to have this fixed.
A.b: Are you aware of the save WorkPlace options which allows you to save the window layout etc. ?
A.c: A global reference system always visible would be a nice feature to have agreed, and it is already on our intern wish list.
A.d: Yes if there is an mistake in the model it locks the ModelView, I am not sure there is a good way around that.

B.a: This already partly possible, but it only highlights when you insert a new bracket. So you need to delete the bracket and insert it again to see the pairing one. It would be better if it could do this with when cursor was placed after the bracket. It also possible to do the editing in notepad ++ see this Wiki item

C.a: We do have a Wiki, please see it covers models, trouble shooting, various small examples etc, it does not contain tutorials and reference manuals. As a user you are very welcome to make changes there, that will be very much appreciated . Small notice: One thing that many users do not realize is that in the Reference manual you can for each AnyScript object find small examples displaying their usage. These examples are found in the bottom of the object description

D.a: You can easily switch off the default drivers, by writing in your main file “#define BM_MANNEQUIN_DRIVER_DEFAULT OFF” please see this complete list of the options available There is also a link to a description from the main file. You are right this is always a tradeoff, we of course would like our users to have a good experience, this is why these drivers are on and the model runs with soft constraints. This combination makes the model easier to work with, since it will not fail kinematically if there are too few drivers etc. It will not be possible to make a warning when the model runs, because in many models this is exactly what you want (like in a motion capture model), but we could make a better description of this in the Template models, that it is running with default drivers and over determinate kinematics.

D.b: Agreed, depending on your application you may need more detailed joints than currently present by default in the models. The user can change everything in AnyScript, and there are examples of such joints in the repository for example the Beta/TKA-KneeBendDemo model. This model displays how the default knee joint is being excluded from the model (without editing the Body model ) and then being replaced by a more advanced knee model.

E.a: Obviously we always try to make the best out of our developer resources, and it is very good to have this kind of detailed feedback. I cannot provided here a detailed roadmap of in which direction we are heading, but for sure some of the topics you have listed is something we are aware of and are trying to address.

So again, thank you very much for your feedback.

Best regards

Dear developers,

Here are a few more items on my wish list:

[li]It would be great if I could use keyboard shortcuts a lot more than mouse clicks. For instance, when I open multiple .any files (classes?) within the AnyBody user interface, it would be nice if I could simply use CTRL+W or something to close those files/classes when I am done working with them.[/li][li]Sometimes right-clicking on an object and then left-clicking on the Help does not open the help whereas F1 does. As an example, when I open the Globals tree and right and then left click on Help to see what an object means, nothing pops up but hitting F1 does pop up the help.[/li][LIST]
[li]I tried this for different cost functions (e.g., MR_Quadratic) but there is absolutely nothing in the reference manual except Class Name: AnyEnumState which leaves me bewildered.[/li][li]The images in the Reference manual do not populate. Perhaps there is something during the installation process that needs fixing on my end, I do not know. Regardless of the cause, it is not very helpful to not have those images show up in the reference manual.[/li][li]When I click on the Open Main File link in the reference manual, I always encounter the Script Error pop up warning. And, if I click on the Download Zip File, the file does not download and, instead, opens in the Reference manual itself (in an unstructured visual format).[/li][/ul]
Thank you,


Hi Vikas,

Thanks for your opinions.

We will deliver your idea to our developers.

Best regards,

Here’s an additional GUI item on my wish list:

If you have multiple windows minimized inside AnyBody, it would be nice to be able to see the title of the window/file by hovering a mouse over it instead of having to open it.