First off, let me first state that Genetica is a pretty amazing program. I don't mean for my post to sound negative, since there's a lot about the program that I really like. However, I think feedback from new users when they're first learning how to use a complex program is helpful as well.
I saw a post by some poor user complaining that he couldn't figure out how to edit nodes without creating a nightmare of groups and references, and no one caught on that this was because of some bizzare interface choices. No amount of browsing examples will fix this, because it's an interface problem, and I was doing the exact same thing he was doing.
Here's what I was doing, trying to simply link two node together:
* Right-click somewhere in the node editor, and then insert a node.
* Drag the output of some other node to the node I just inserted.
* Become helplessly confused as I get dropped into a group with references, etc... Argh... what?
That's the kicker - that dragging the output from one node to another doesn't simply link them together, but instead forms a group with references (I'm still learning how that works).
I'm completely mystified why what I did initially creates a new group. It's unbelievably counter-intuitive to me. If you insert a new node, and then drag the output of a node to that node, the default behavior should be to wire those two nodes up, not to create a new node group. Literally every other node-based editor I've ever used has worked this way, so it's not surprising that new users would become hopelessly confused by it at first.
So, I've been trying to figure out how to make this more intuitive for new users. Here's are some potential solutions:
1) Perhaps dragging and dropping should simply link the files by default. In order to create a group, you need to hold down the a modifier key (like CTRL or ALT). While dragging, you could display a pop-up hint somewhere that reminds the user of this.
2) When you drag the output and connect, pop up a dialog or menu asking the user to create either a simple link or a new group.
In either case, it might be best to add some preferences to allow power-users to revert to the current default behavior.
You might argue that having to hold down CTRL or ALT to create a group is also somewhat unintuitive, and I'd tend to agree. However, this is tempered by the fact that it's a more advanced feature, and the on-screen hint should help with this to a degree.
At the absolute least, there should be a specific tutorial or topic on node editing in the help file, as this was one of the most important and initially confusing aspects of Genetica to me, as I kept trying to connect nodes the "wrong" way. This key piece of information on how to connect nodes is only found in the "Weathering a Texture" tutorial.
Edited by JamesB, 05 April 2014 - 08:26 AM.