NNITO - Service Pack- Hotfix- Performance Tips

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Last week Autodesk released AutoCAD Civil 3D 2013 Service Pack 2 and a Hotfix for AutoCAD Civil 3D 2014. NNITO (Not Necessarily In That Order) is pronounced like “Neato” with a slight stutter.

The 2013 Service Pack still doesn’t officially support Windows 8 but you’ll probably be more likely and able to get away with Civil 3D 2013 in Win8 thanks to the SP. That’s cool. As for me I’m awaiting Win8.1 like everyone else, and more than happy in 64-bit Windows 7 for the time being.

Hair Brained Insanity

God forbid you’re still anchored to Windows XP and particularly the 32-bit version. I get the money and system issues, but doing this to AutoCAD Civil 3D users is like asking someone to haul an F150 Ford pickup behind a lawn tractor. You’re mileage will vary. Life will be full of fits and stops.

Window 32 bit Interface and Performance Tips

By the way because of the demand loading you can free up useful memory in XP by keeping the number of Palettes you have lit up to the bare minimum.  There are obviously tasks that require more than one task based palette up in the interface to actually get work done.
However, if you consistently work at shutting them down in 32-bit, you appear to have fewer stops.

Turn Off Before You Turn On

There are a few task based palettes in 32-bit Civil 3D where that ONE palette should be the ONLY palette displayed when you hit OK or other number crunching and memory intensive buttons.  Edit superelevations comes to mind.
The lesson being - you as the informed Tool User are responsible to keep the Civil 3D Diva on queue and on task.

Civil 3D in a Stall?

The SF airport pilot FUBAR of this month reminds me…It’s not fun to come up short, get the short straw, or become Randy Newman’s muse. Cadpilots and airplane pilots have things is common. Sometimes we forget to look out the window.

The 32-bit versions of Civil 3D also do this freeze in place thing more than 64-bit versions. This is a spin cycle gone bonkers.  Civil 3D isn’t dead. It’s chugging away at something(?), but you cannot get back to either the screen or anything in the interface. If you are really patient – maybe take a coffee break, Civil 3D will sooner, but usually later, come back.
I’ll bet you know what I’m talking about here.
I’ve seen this in 2011, 2012, and 2013. This happens way too often in XP.

In WinXP this is an extended memory management issue.

A Trick to Fix

Use <Crtl><Alt><Del> and start the Windows Task Manager.
Don’t kill Civil 3D. Just bring up the Task Manager.
This will typically force WinXP’s memory manager to get with the program and stop twiddling its thumbs. What’s going on is XP memory allocation and XP is trying to sort out the pieces. The Task Manager call forces the issue.
Now, click back over to Civil 3D most of the time your AutoCAD Civil 3D will be alive and well.
There’s no guarantee. You may have over-clicked your way to Civil 3D death anyway.
In that case you’re half way home already. Now you kill it or chose to wait it out.

Autodesk CER

You should do Autodesk CER (automatic error reporting) and turn in the reports. It helps make better code. True some issues like these - User over or speed clicking and some oft related memory management issues and faults don’t ever make CER. One can guess this is one reason the issues tend to hang around so long.

The ID10T (idiot operator) errors are too easily dismissed by programmers and testing geeks. Systematic statistical quantitative analysis is a good thing for the most part. However, we must recognize it also systemically misses the unexpected. One guesses the folks also expect you to know you have to wait for the software to catch up now and then.
Our problem – we don’t always know when.

Part of the Pattern

We learn painfully, but humans do learn –unconsciously all the time. We have an adaptive autopilot built in. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours later we have patterns of usage that systematically avoid doing certain things or doing them in THAT order. The next release forces us to rebuild the patterns. Ouch.

Watch Out for Point Selection

I’ve become a believer in Survey inside AutoCAD Civil 3D. Simply put, the Survey Toolspace and a Survey Db really do help you deal with the data like it is data. This cuts down on the Point display, organizational, and management issues that Civil 3D Point Features always involve to a some degree or another.

Group and Conquer

Whilst the point beasties are in the drawing you have to be careful about the size of the Selection Set you choose to act on. For example maybe you want to rotate these Marker and Labels together to make the points look nice in a Twisted Named View where north points west or something.

It appears to me that any points Selection Set over 1024 points (an important programming number) forces Civil 3D to ONLY employ top end memory to do any action.
If you’re running on RAM at or near the minimum for your version, Civil 3D will take forever to select and then do anything.
However if you select by Point Groups with confined point counts, Civil 3D will behave and act on the Point Feature creatures with a bit more speed and flair.

Reprise the Latest Fixes

One might guess that if you want to bounce back and forth between the 2013 and 2014 releases as the powers advertise, installing both the SP2 for 2013 and the 2014 Hotfix might be a good idea.

However if you really want to get more work done in AutoCAD Civil 3D,

Get the Jump

People ask,

Why do you call it the Jump?

Civil 3D without the Jump is like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.

Take Five and Stay Alive

Cue the famous BeeGees bumper music. Uh…Uh…Uh Staying AliiiiIIIIiiiiIIIIIive
Back in the day no one in the music biz believed the brothers Gibb could or would survive a disco soundtrack. History proved otherwise. Now the bet is the tune’s stuck in your head again even if you weren’t born to hear it the first time.

Advice, nifty how to’s, and hot performance tips don’t separate us from our expectation.