Other new features include design tools that make adding complex elements easier and faster. For example, complex 3D timber and steel trusses and girders can be designed quickly with the software's TrussMaker. When building additions or making renovations, architects can make more informed decisions by placing the virtual model into the existing environment (ArchiCAD's Align View function accurately aligns the model with a background photo.)
ArchiCAD also now comes with 4D, the derigueur capability for architectural programs this season. With this added time functionality, builders can create construction task lists, import and incorporate time sheets from Microsoft Project, and animate a building model to show various construction or demolition phases.
Another new feature is the package's Load Libraries dialog, which offers easy access to product information. Objects in GDL format can now be dragged directly from a manufacturer's Web page onto the model's floor plan, while the object's Internet address is automatically logged for future reference.
"ArchiCAD 7.0 is the most polished, mature, and feature-complete 'virtual building' CAD product currently available," says analyst Jerry Laiserin. "Graphisoft already made ArchiCAD Windows/Mac cross-platform compatible, and now this version breaks through on the Internet."
ArchiCAD 7.0 is scheduled to ship this month in German, English, and French language editions. The software will run on Windows 98/NT/2000/ME and Mac OS 8/9/X operating systems. The cost is $4295. (Graphisoft; www.graphisoft.com) -JD