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Thread: Does Anyone From HP Tuners Participate In This Forum?

  1. #1
    Tuner in Training
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    Dec 2015
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    Does Anyone From HP Tuners Participate In This Forum?

    I've noticed that Weston@HPTuners has not posted anything in about two months now. As a registered user of TrackAddict and RaceRender for a few years now, and consequently a long-time reader of this forum, I believe Weston is (or was) the main developer of these products, the man behind the curtain here.

    His absence -- and I can't find anyone else "... @HPTuners," either -- makes me wonder whether this forum has been relegated to a user-to-user, self-help-only, forum. It also makes me wonder about the viability of these software products.

    I'm not a troll, advocating for some other company, or trying to denigrate HP Tuner software. Go ahead, check out my few posts, which I think you'll find are genuinely cordial, and seeking or giving help.

    But I am getting frustrated by the lack of official, i.e., vendor-based, response to this forum, regarding my and everyone else's suggestions and questions posted here. So I ask, in all seriousness, "Is anyone home? Is it time for me to look for alternative software solutions?"

    Regards,

    Bill P.

  2. #2
    HPT Employee Weston@HPTuners's Avatar
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    Hi Bill,

    Although I'm not always very visible here (especially lately), I do keep an eye on the forums for issues and potential improvement in our products. Same goes for bug / crash reports and feature request messages. Even if you think those go nowhere, I really do see them and try to use these as opportunities for further improvements. In addition to being the developer of RaceRender and TrackAddict, I'm also a very frequent user and have a personal interest in these products too, which is why I had the passion to create them in the first place. Although I can't promise that it will be practical or the right business decision to do everything that gets asked for, it does at least get consideration, especially if multiple people are asking for the same type of thing.

    As for providing specific and individual advice on all the ways that people could potentially use RaceRender, that has always been a tricky and very time-consuming thing. It's an inherently complex product, due to it having so many features while also attempting to be compatible with such a wide variety of other company's products. There's just a ton of variables and unknowns, and many times I've found people using it for things or in ways that I had never thought of, so it's not all that uncommon for me to not know the full answer right away and would have to try to reproduce the user's situation and/or look through the code. If it's a bug and I can reproduce the problem here, then there's a great chance of it being fixed, but I've also seen many one-off problems due to such a specific combination of all the variables involved, so then I can only take educated shots in the dark at those... Many times those have turned out to be a computer / OS problem or a camera or data system issue, so I was just spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.

    The complexity also means it's not something that we could simply offload to our normal HPT support staff, as those tickets would still need my involvement anyway, so then we've just created double-work. Obviously, the time spent on this stuff has to be balanced against time spent on our continued development efforts for these products and others (there's a lot of activity there lately), and it quickly becomes impractical to give advice on everything that could come up, so indeed users are left to explore and collaborate on their own to some degree, which is one of the purposes of this forum. RaceRender's past competition appeared to address customer support in much the same way, and I'd certainly argue that we offer many more powerful features than others did, which means more opportunities for questions and unique use cases.

    Additionally, from the very start, I made sure that there's a very functional free edition of RaceRender, so that users can really try it out, make sure it works for their specific use case, and even potentially use it long term. Hopefully everyone can evaluate if this product is really for them or not, before they commit to buying anything. I've also tried to stretch out free updates for a really long time so that most everyone gets more product than what was available when they originally purchased it... we're 5 years into version 3.x free updates at this point. So while we are unable to provide a lot of individualized support for the depths of this product, I hope we've done you all well in providing value.

    I do understand that forum support, and not always getting an official answer, is not the ideal or preferred model for all of our users, but it has proven to be the most practical and scalable approach for this type of product. It's not really a unique situation, and the typical alternative here would be to abide by the famous 80/20 principal and release a much more simplified and feature-limited product, like so many other software companies have come to do these days. Maybe that's something we can explore for RaceRender 4 (hopefully in a more intelligent and powerful way than I've seen some others do it), but doing that within version 3.x would be a bit invasive and feel like a betrayal to our loyal users who appreciate and utilize the power that it has.

    TrackAddict has sort of followed that approach... It's much more purpose-specific instead of being open-ended, so there are fewer variables and less ways for things to go wrong, making it a much easier product for us to support. Despite a larger user base, we seem to end up with fewer and easier TA questions (many of which are repeats), so I can make a pass through those messages/tickets and that part of our forum and give input on far more threads than I could on the RR side, and our HPT support staff can field some questions too. The most common issues are GPS problems and issues with interoperability with other companies products, which we might not be able to do much about, but we can pretty much copy-paste the advice for many of those cases.

    With both products, I try to view each user message or problem report as an opportunity to improve things, so that we hopefully don't keep seeing the same stuff in the future. While I've had great success with that for TrackAddict, it has only had limited success for RaceRender, as its extensive capabilities and potential uses has meant that we get a lot of unique one-off issues and requests.

  3. #3
    Tuner in Training
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    Dec 2015
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    Weston,

    Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful response. And for your time.

    I'd still like to see something along the lines of dedicated, timely, responses to individual questions or suggestions here, but maybe I'm living a pipe dream. I certainly have no experience running a company.

    I'm glad to see that you're keeping active, though.

    Stay well.

    Regards,

    Bill P.