Let’s Do This.
You should all know my feelings on comparing software by now. Especially ArchiCAD vs Revit.
All I really know about the two light versions of ArchiCAD and Revit is what I’ve read and heard. I haven’t used either. But when has that ever stopped me or anyone else from voicing an opinion?
I want to look at what is missing from these programs in relation to their big brothers. And then maybe how the two little ones relate with some of their features. Of course if you love ArchiCAD over Revit or Revit over ArchiCAD you’re going to lean one way or another. But… I’m just so pleased with the additions to ArchiCAD STAR(T) 2013 that I wanted to talk about these things.
Why am I impressed? Well up until this latest release, I thought ArchiCAD STAR(T) was a great idea, but somewhere between half-baked and stripped down to worthless. As the guy you call in Minnesota if you are thinking about buying ArchiCAD, I’d tell you about ArchiCAD STAR(T), but then explain why I think you just need to bite the bullet and buy the full version of ArchiCAD. I’m a user first and I couldn’t imagine living without some of the missing features in 2012 (and earlier versions). In 2012 and earlier, ArchiCAD STAR(T) lacked my favorite modeling tool (Complex Profiles). Deal breaker. Without that, I couldn’t recommend anyone using the software. So what if you were only paying $1,995 for a BIM program. If you couldn’t model all the complexities seen regularly in the residential world, what good was it? I’ve heard similar complaints about the missing functionality in Revit LT.
Deal breakers no more
Well now in 2013, the STAR(T) edition has Complex Profiles, the Shell tool and the Morph tool. Which means you can do this in ArchiCAD STAR(T) 2013:
Mind blown yet?
I have two theories about why Graphisoft so vastly improved ArchiCAD STAR(T) 2013 this year. UK requirements. In a way this version of ArchiCAD STAR(T) already existed in the UK as ArchiCAD SOLO. It was needed because the old STAR(T) version couldn’t handle all the UK BIM requirements (notably IFC import and export). Notice that while the STAR(T) version doesn’t have teamwork, it’s not lonely BIM. It supports IFC and OpenBIM. It actually IS great for sole proprietors now; for firms that don’t need Teamwork 2. That’s not just marketing hype. And beyond that, I think the appearance of Revit LT put pressure on Graphisoft to make their light product even better. And that’s great. I hope Graphisoft keeps upping their game like they have the past few years. I wonder if ArchiCAD STAR(T) 2013 scares the guys over at Autodesk a little bit. It should. If it doesn’t then Autodesk isn’t looking close enough. And seriously now that both these products exist at or below the $2,000 mark, what’s the remaining excuse not to move to BIM?
Oh right, the Comparison
For your convenience, the major limitations of ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition 2013 compared to ArchiCAD 16 include:
- Collaboration limitations: No Teamwork / BIM Server / Hotlinked Modules / XRefs / Reviewer / PMK/EDU file format support / Publisher
- Modeling limitations: No Renovation functionality / Curtain Wall
- Documentation/Productivity limitations: No Renovation / Integrated Energy Evaluation
- Visualization limitations: No LightWorks Rendering / Sketch Rendering
- Performance limitation: No 64-bit version on Windows
- Project Organization limitation: No License Borrowing / NET License
As our crystal ball suggests, the days of 32-bit ArchiCAD are severely numbered (and you can just use the 64-bit Mac version). Obviously missing rendering sucks, but exporting to other programs (or crafty use of the 3D Document) should resolve that. And the rest aren’t such a huge deal either. Or if they are, you should be buying the full version of ArchiCAD.
I’ll refrain from trying to interpret that chart too much; I’ll let my Revit Expert buddies do that (hopefully in the comments or with links to blogs that have digested the differences like Jay did for Revit LT in 2012. Come On Jay! Where’s your revit, I mean review of the latest version of Revit LT? Have you grown fonder of it yet? I somehow doubt it! To my ArchiCAD eyes it still looks like it’s missing advanced modeling, connections to OpenBIM via IFC (no good for the UK) and lacks the ability for third parties to create add-ons (ArchiCAD STAR(T) 2013 can handle third party add-ons like Encina’s gbXML Export add-on). All the things that make light versions of our favorite programs duds in the eyes of the pros.
Your Turn. What’s everyone else’s thoughts on these two light versions of ArchiCAD and Revit?