Since we rely on customer input to set priorities, refine features, and help us fix problems unique to their systems, processes, or related software, we provide our customers with as much information as possible during every phase of Rhino development.
We start involving customers by releasing a Work-in-Progress (WIP) version 4.0 to the newsgroup. WIP releases (many call this the Alpha release phase) are not production ready, and many ideas and technologies will only be prototyped. Customer feedback at this stage will have the most impact on how features and enhancements are designed.
The WIP process normally takes 3 to 6 months.
Once we have most of the core changes finished and tested, we will start releasing beta versions. The betas should be production ready but may not have a final user interface. This stage takes another 3 to 6 months.
Each WIP and Beta release will expire after about two months. A new WIP or Beta release will always be available before yours expires. This ensures that you always have the latest software, and that we don't receive reports about bugs that have already been fixed.
We will only release version 4.0 when the beta users tell us it is ready.
About 6 months after the first WIP, owners of Rhino 3.0 will be able to use Rhino 4.0 in production and about a year or so after first WIP they can buy it.
Goals for Rhino 4.0
This list will be refined as we get feedback from WIP users.
- Improved modeling tools and enhancement to many existing commands. Examples include better variable radius blend tools, improved Booleans, and maybe shelling.
- Better editing tools. Up until Rhino 3.0, our primary focus was on modeling any shape accurately. Starting with 4.0, the focus will begin to include easier editing. Examples include direct polysurface editing tools and command history.
- Interface enhancements. Examples include our new SmartTrack™ technology and more advanced display options.
- Improved 2-D drawing tools, including line styles, line weight, hidden line, and hatching.
- Better mesh support. We will be working toward making all editing tools work on mesh objects like they do on NURBS objects.
- More robust third-party software developer tools.
- Hundreds of minor enhancements to existing tools. There are more than 2,000 wish list items we are tracking.
- And, of course, we'll fix any new bugs found in 3.0.
Our current plan is that Rhino 4.0 will run on Windows 2000, XP Pro, and XP Home only. Rhino 4.0 will not run on Windows NT 4.0, 95, 98, or ME.
These are new features that currently are in prototype development and are likely to show up in the first 4.0 WIP or are currently available as Rhino 3.0 bonus tools.
- Bonus tools... layer manager, macro editor, universal construction planes, etc.
- Mesh tools
- Solid editing tools
- Advanced display
- Sheet layout
- PDF, AI 8+, DWG 2005, and DGN import