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Room Estimation - Overhaul required

The Roadway Estimator function is understandable as a 'standalone' feature; the Room Estimator function is not. Roadway designs are theoretically-based calcs, generally about finding spacing that can then be applied to real life curved & intersected roads & paths. Room designs are typically specific to a bunch of varied areas of a building, and apply therefore to specific areas of the final output.

A large proportion of my design projects involve layouts for every room in a building or tenancy, and many of these are very simple in nature, but still require care. For instance, a rectangular Staff Lunch Room may be fairly obviously needing 6-8 fixtures to get a uniform result in a 2x3 or 2x4 layout. With the optimised fixture, dividing the room width by 2 for fixture spacing and then halving at the walls is a small calculation, and doing a similar function for the room length is another small calculation.

 As it stands, the way AGi32 functions to do this involves a great deal of manual work from the user that it should be able to handle all by itself. ElumTools takes all the tedious work from the user and provides an optimised layout (even with non-rectangular spaces). AGi32's process is much more clunky. Given that we don't know the dimension of each new room we're designing the process works a bit like this:

  • Create the Room
  • Click Measure Distance
  • Click Room Corner
  • Click adjacent Room Corner
  • Remember or write down result
  • Open Room Estimator
  • Enter measured result
  • Close Room Estimator
  • Repeat first 6 steps for the other wall
  • Complete the Room Estimator procedure
  • Export the Layout
  • Open Project Manager
  • Go to 'Room' Entity Type
  • Delete the Room that Estimator created

I can hear some people thinking "Ah! Why not Measure Distance twice at the start, writing the results down ready to enter into Room Estimator, or just remember the results?", to which I'd respond that this is exactly what computer programs are supposed to do for us. We shouldn't have to be writing stuff like that down when we have a sophisticated piece of math-orientated software open and working on our desktop.

I can also hear some people thinking "Ah! Why create a room when Room Estimator creates one for you?". Unfortunately, Room Estimator's Room Creation process isn't as fully featured as when you do it yourself through the 'Add Room' command (I like to be able to use the Name and Description fields in certain ways, plus a few other little issues make it better to do it yourself, such as allowing texture application, etc.).

Then I can hear people thinking "Ah! Why not just use the Delete Room command?", which would be great, if you could guarantee that you'd be able to select the Estimator Room, not the manually created one.

Furthermore, if your calc works perfectly then you're essentially done there and can move on. Unfortunately, it's quite common for the estimated quantity to be a little excessive for the room, and so you might need to at least another one or two layouts to find the optimised result, or you might want to assess one fixture vs another before you commit to a final design. Each exported layout is going to add a room, whether you like it or not (because there's no option to only bring the luminaire layout in).

A reasonably obvious suggestion is for Room Estimator to allow you to 'Select Existing Room'. Then it knows the dimensions, it knows where fixtures can fit and it could (read should) export the layout directly into the room.

Furthermore, AGi32 should really monitor the subsequent calculation and allow the user to modify the layout if it wasn't optimal, with the program doing all the grunt-work of deleting the current layout and updating the room with the new one.

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