I lovvvve vvvv. It has become my main tool for all the work I do. Spreading them data, seeing my images alter realtime while patching, having these vast landscape of nodes with loads of functions in there, animating graphics in light speed.
But truth is: I am pissed about some of the core principles of vvvv for some time now.
And so i want to write about two of the major problems I see about vvvv and want to outline my own ideas how to deal with them.
My major gripe always has been the use of Windows only technology like DirectX and until recently I just thought: Hell yeah okay, with the option to install Windows on my Mac and since the Windows UI improved in Vista I can live with that. Plus I always unterstood that in the beginning there must have been a big advantage in sticking to a Windows-only world. Time changes and now I am not just unsatisfied but deeply concerned about the relevance of vvvv if the single platform approach won’t be left behind and vvvv will be multi platform.
The PC era just ended, so don’t think multiplatform as Windows / Mac OS X / Ubuntu. Think about the major shift to touch technology that has started two years ago. Under the hood of these shiny new devices there runs a UNIX or Linux based System. And I want to develop on these new devices, because, f.e. creating user interfaces is part of the work i do and we’re all gonna use more and more touch technology tomorrow. I can do that, but I can’t do that with vvvv. I have to change my entire work process from working node based to writing lines of codes. If I would have liked to write code to generate images, I wouldn’t have come this vvvvorld in the first place and would have started Processing or whatever (now OpenFrameworks). The iPad is so cheap it could be easily used in museums and other exhibition areas. I am note saying that it is a must for vvvv to run on the iPad, but it should. And we can be sure that a lot of similar devices from other companies will be released soon, as we have seen that after the iPhone.
This problem leads to the following conclusions:
-1- only the core of vvvv should run on these devices
-2- the user interface must change
On systems like the iPad and its future sisters and on other smaller multitouch devices it doesn’t make sense to do the patch work, or it isn’t technically possible (sandboxed apps etc.). So why not abstract the user interace away from a kernel that can run everywhere? Only the Renderer opens (in a single window i.e.). VVVV would even work as a standalone app on Apple Devices. See pd, the UI just communicates with the server. Years after pd has been started on a Linux machine, it can be used in iPhone apps like RjDj. Another advantage would be to make native user interface controls possible. Using vvvv on a Mac with all the gorgeous Quartz3D UI elements, how great would that be!
Back in the days, when the vvvv user interaction model was drafted, the mouse was the only logical way to patch. Not anymore. You already have a hard time patching on systems where the mouse wheel isn’t working or where you don’t have a second mouse button at all.
So the three-button-mouse interaction model should be abandoned completely (which I would prefer) or a second model should be integrated and optionally made available. This new interaction model should work with just a single touch point and without having to drag pins or other elements to change values. There is a simple reason for that: This way patching would be possible not just with a mouse but also on a touch screen, or by using a Wacom tablet etc. Optionally multi touch gestures could be integrated into this model. I just had a quick look at the new Max 5 interface, they found some nice approaches there. Why doing a double-right-click? Double tab and choose IOBoxes and other nodes from a Popover. You can tell your grandchilds about using something like a right mouse button, now stop using it.
I have always been a user of vvvv, not a developer. I don’t write nodes or shaders. As mentioned above, I use vvvv as a designer because I can work node based and see my results immediately. This is the strongest thing about vvvv and I don’t want to give this up anytime soon just because vvvv only runs on PCs with a three buttons mouse attached.
vvvv’s core technology is too old and too narrowed down. vvvv’s interaction model is outdated. I wrote this thoughts because I really hope there will be fundamental changes, so i can continue using my belovvvved tool.