Thursday, February 10, 2011

Autodesk Inventor 2010 under VMWare Fusion 3.1.2

I'm going to do some work with Autodesk Inventor 2010 during this spring, and thought of documenting the installation experience here, for others to know of.

The full text will need to wait, but I thought to make a few notes of the important pieces, especially since I'm running it under an officially non-supported VMWare Fusion virtualisation. Here goes.

7 DVDs. Whoa. They must have an army building this stuff.

Those disks contain both 32- and 64-bit versions, which partly explains the size. But actually, installation apart, the software doesn't feel too heavy. It's snappy even under virtual machine (running on Mac Mini 2GHz, 4GB, with Windows 7 32-bit and 2GB memory allocated for the virtual machine).

One but. After install AI2011 has the "software graphics" option set. VMWare 3.1.2 can do DirectX9, which is enough for AI2011, so simply tick that option away. Faster. Looks better. Cool. :)

I've noticed sometimes AI2011 opts that switch back, by itself. Maybe it measures performance and as we know, virtual machines can have quirks in that, especially if the software is being running when suspended. So if things work slow, check that corner and untick the box.

Second but (not big, though).

I ordered a 3DConnexion SpaceExplorer "3D mouse" to help orientate within the drawings. The hardware's good and the demos and tutorials work swiftly under VMWare 3.1.2. However, using it under AI2011 is an absolute no-go. It takes a second or so for movements to be registered on screen. Maybe it's the SpaceExplorer AI "drivers" (rather adapters). Maybe it's something else. Clearly the "drivers" have been designed and only tested on rather fast 3D workstations. Makes sense.

Unfortunately the "driver" architecture of this thingy is such that I cannot run them native on OS X and have the device virtualized somehow (like a mouse) onto Windows. It all needs to run there. Maybe it has to do with USB performance. Go figure.

IF VMWare is looking into supporting Autodesk tools as I think they are, they should probably look at the speed issues with this hardware as well.

( One more thing. Untick "enable Mac OS mouse shortcut" boxes in VMWare Fusion Preferences - and use a two-button mouse. Makes Ctrl-clicking work in Windows. )


If you intend to use Inventor from both BootCamp (booting to Windows) and via VMWare Fusion, you will need a "network license" (and a license server somewhere on your network). The local license scheme gets confused by "hardware change". Discussion of this at Autodesk forum.

1 comment:

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