VI-Suite v0.6 – Update 2

Dear all.

EnVi has now been transferred over to Blender 2.8, and most of the changes the user will see are within EnVi. The EnVi material system has been converted into a node system to allow up the EnergyPlus maximum of 10 layers in constructions. EnVi now supports the simulation of photovoltaics and phase change materials and you can now save your custom materials and constructions to a JSON database.

An example of EnVi Material node set-up

An example of an EnVi Material node set-up

The other major change in EnVi is that as ‘Layers’ now no longer exist in Blender – ‘Collections’ are used instead – EnergyPlus zones are specified by the Blender objects contained within collections. This allows multiple Blender objects to make up an EnergyPlus zone, and this has some advantages I hope to make use of in the future. I have not yet however finalised the logic of how muliple Blender objects become one EnergyPlus zone.

In other news the VI-Suite is now completely self-contained within the addon zip folder (at least on Windows and Linux). This means that you can install in Blender the git zip directly, and it will hopefully make it easier to get the VI-Suite working on a variety of Linux platforms.

I have general bug fixing still to do and Wind Rose display to finish, but I am hoping to announce a beta release for testing soon.

There is one fly in the ointment. The Blender 2.8 series does not currently allow the keyframing of custom node parameters. As most of the Vi-Suite parameters exposed to the user are custom node parameters, it means that automated parametric analysis is largely not possible.  This has been recognised by the Blender developers and if you want to register your interest in getting this fixed you can do so at https://developer.blender.org/T66392. The more people asking for it to be fixed the more likely it is to be fixed.

Regards

Ryan

VI-Suite v0.4.13a & Ubuntu 18.04

I have pushed version 0.4.13a to the download links which fixes an EnVi bug to account for syntax changes in EnergyPlus 8.9.

In other news, a couple of users have told me that the VI-Suite works on Ubuntu 18.04. I can confirm that their method does work on a fresh install of 18.04, although I have had problems running it on an 18.04 system that was upgraded from 16.04.

The process is pretty simple.

Make sure there is no existing Blender installation

Install Blender from a PPA with the terminal commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thomas-schiex/blender

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install blender

This version of Blender should use the system installed Python distribution which will now require the ancillary libraries. To install these use the terminal commands:

sudo apt-get install python3-psutil

sudo apt-get install python3-pyqt5

sudo apt-get install python3-matplotlib

sudo apt-get install python3-kivy

The last command to install kivy should work in future but the current Python 3 version of kivy (1.9.1) is broken on Ubuntu 18.04. To get round this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kivy-team/kivy-daily

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install python3-kivy

I have changed the tar.gz compressed Linux VI-Suite download to a zip compressed one on the main download page. This can be installed directly from the Addons page within Blender’s User Preferences window with the Install-addon-from-file button. Alternatively, decompress and copy the folder to Blender’s Addon directory as before.