Why can’t everything be like Ecotect?

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis 2011 System Requirements

Let me make this point clear first: I fully understand that professional-grade software packages are complex and extensive. They use high-powered computation and extensive libraries and therefore need resources. But my goodness – does Autodesk ever fill up my hard disk!

Now that the spring semester is coming to a close, it is time for me to again look at the upcoming software releases that are to be used for teaching and will be installed in our computer labs. Since Autodesk recently released the 2011 lineup of their software (and in the meantime has posted them on the student community as well), I needed to look at the system requirements for all of them. The resources required to run their software are mind-blowing! Apparently every but one Autodesk software package requires more than 1 Gigabyte of space on the harddisk. Several packages even require 5 GB or more.

The one laudable exemption to this resource-guzzling lineup is Ecotect Analysis, the building energy analysis program, originally developed by Square1. Maybe in tune with its goal of lowering environmental footprints of buildings, it is notably small.

Let’s see how long Ecotect will be able to stay small. Yes, its graphics engine could use some tuning and at least in the 2010 version, the famous ribbon wasn’t there yet but please, Autodesk, don’t overdo it on the bloat in future development.

If you take a closer look at the Autodesk Revit installation (the 2010 version in my case), you’ll notice that most of the space is taken by the Rendering support files and the family library. The image below shows the file types and as can be expected the single largest file is a sky environment: “hemispherical_002_half_tiled.exr”.

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