Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

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bikesquid
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Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by bikesquid » March 20th, 2023, 5:26 pm

I think %userprofile% is the right place for user specific info in a windows environment, not ProgramData. RowPro doesn't seem to be seeing much development so unknown if they are working on things or interested in fixing the problem, haven't reached out. But there's a work around that is simple and allows for EACH windows login ID to have it's own training plan/data defaulted and not mess anyone else's db up. It's really rather simple, reversable and the info is really pretty safe the whole time. Since the startup time on login varies I found it helpful to add a pop-up on the screen to tell me when the process is over. I you don't want that, you can certainly remove the relevant lines of code and associated "vbs" file.

Here's how to get multiple users on the same machine:
Disclaimer - this process worked for me, but you should make backups, wear suspenders, put on a belt, because you're messing with files... worst case you lose local rowpro data, but it should all be uploaded each row session to their website anyway, so shouldn't be a huge problem to just let it make a new setup if this goes "udder-up"... that's still PC, right?
.
1- I started with a fresh install of the version above, added my two license keys via "Tools/activate". Downloaded my training plan, and exited.
2 - Copy the "C:\ProgramData\RowPro" folder from source to each users %userprofile%"\Documents\RowPro" folder. (if you need this explained, maybe walk away now? Idonno, you decide.)
3 - Find a drive letter that's open for all users of the machine, I chose "V" for this example, substitute with whatever you want to use for the remainder of these instructions.
4 - Copy the below code into notepad and save as a batch file in each users "%appdata%\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup" folder (if you want automatic setup each login.) If not, drop the batch file wherever you want to access it from manually. I like the clean and simple. Call it whatever you want, I used "RowPro symlink mapping.bat"

Code: Select all

@echo off
rem drop into %appdata%\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
subst v: %userprofile%
rem this done once on the PC as an administrator in a command prompt "mklink /d c:\ProgramData\RowPro v:\Documents\RowPro"
start "" "v:\Documents\message.vbs"
5 - Copy the below code into a new notepad document and save it to each users Documents folder as "v:\Documents\message.vbs"

Code: Select all

CreateObject("WScript.Shell").PopUp "RowPro Ready, now SWEAT.", 5
6 - rename "C:\ProgramData\RowPro" directory to "C:\ProgramData\RowPro-original"
7 - open a command prompt as administrator (search for cmd if you don't know where it is, right click, run as administrator) and run the below command. This is persistant across all users, so you only need to run this command once. It drops a "shortcut" called RowPro in ProgramData redirecting from ProgramData to the current users Documents directory.

Code: Select all

mklink /d c:\ProgramData\RowPro v:\Documents\RowPro
What it's all doing - We're creating a temporary "wormhole" of sorts that remaps "C:\ProgramData\RowPro" to each users individual "Documents/RowPro" folder (until they log out) (the batch file establishes this link each login). Now when each user logs in they should see a pop-up center screen for a few seconds during login process that tells them RowPro is ready to go... signaling that the "wormhole" is reestablished. I don't do any error checking, if that's important to you, you'll probably want to test for "V:" before that message. The pop-up will go away on it's own or you can dismiss it. You can then start RowPro and it'll use the data in current users Documents directory instead of the "shared" location!

By copying "C:\ProgramData\RowPro" to each user's Documents directory, you're seeding each user with the same setup as a starting point. Meaning you won't have to activate licenses for each userID, just the once before you started this joy ride. Once they change the Windows user and then RowPro user to their own, download their own training plan, it'll "stick" and not be over written as the next person's "V" drive letter is mapped to their own user ID. You can now share the machine, but keep your own local row data locally.... the way it should have been done to begin with. It can also be mapped to "%appdata%\Roaming\RowPro" if you don't want users to see the RowPro folder or script file in their documents directory. Just an option to 'hide' the stuff the users don't need to see cluttering up their space if that's important to you. If you do that, make sure to adjust instructions accordingly or you'll be surpised by the results.

Enjoy.

Oh no, what have I done? Dumbest idea ever!
Not happy? Undo it like this:
Rename the "wormhole" link - "C:\ProgramData\RowPro" to "C:\ProgramData\RowPro-Link"
Copy the first V:\RowPro directory created back to C:\ProgramData\RowPro and you'll preserve that users current data (the other users will lose their local data, sorry) or if you want to go back to before this ride started, just rename "C:\ProgramData\RowPro-original" back to "C:\ProgramData\RowPro".
delete the "%appdata%\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\RowPro symlink mapping.bat" (or whatever you called it)
delete the "v:\Documents\message.vbs" file
reboot, log back in and if it works as expected you won't see a drive "V" anymore in file explorer, row pro should work as before and hopefully someone's data is preserved. If that's true you can delete the "C:\ProgramData\RowPro-Link" folder and the various "%userprofile%\Documents\RowPro" folders you copied the original data to.
delete the "C:\ProgramData\RowPro-original" folder if it still exists.

Or just restore from a backup or image you did before you started... you did do a backup as suggested yes? :o

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Carl Watts
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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by Carl Watts » March 21st, 2023, 12:18 am

RowPro V4 is dead move to V5, the older versions just end up not working anyway after continuous Windows updates.

V6 is not that far away, I have tested it.
Carl Watts.
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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by JaapvanE » March 21st, 2023, 2:35 am

Carl Watts wrote:
March 21st, 2023, 12:18 am
V6 is not that far away, I have tested it.
You mentioned this longer. Any idea (I realize it is just your guess) about what date they are aiming for?

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by Carl Watts » March 21st, 2023, 3:45 pm

Cannot even guess.

I was testing it before Christmas and the last I heard it was "Moving to a new platform" and nothing since.

Decided to pass the testing baton to a fellow rower because I no longer get on the Erg as I have moved to the WattBike and Zwift so I don't know where its at currently.
Carl Watts.
Age:56 Weight: 108kg Height:183cm
Concept 2 Monitor Service Technician & indoor rower.
http://log.concept2.com/profile/863525/log

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by JaapvanE » March 21st, 2023, 7:30 pm

Carl Watts wrote:
March 21st, 2023, 3:45 pm
I was testing it before Christmas and the last I heard it was "Moving to a new platform" and nothing since.
That usually involves a lot of work (it could mean rebuilding the app completely...). I hope I'm mistaken.

It is a shame they take such a long time as EXR is moving lightning fast: they made the racing track and race functionality a priority, so I expect that in the coming monthly sprint or the one after (my guess, NOT their planning: they make it a point to introduce new functionality every month, and they only introduced small features the last two sprints to focus on racing functionality).

It would be a shame when these two wouldn't compete head to head with new products, as it would trigger a lot of innovation from both.
Carl Watts wrote:
March 21st, 2023, 3:45 pm
Decided to pass the testing baton to a fellow rower because I no longer get on the Erg as I have moved to the WattBike and Zwift so I don't know where its at currently.
Sorry that you aren't rowing as much as you did.

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by Carl Watts » March 21st, 2023, 7:57 pm

I think the tragedy was that Zwift did all the work for some rowing software that they then said would be released in 2 weeks then they just dropped the whole thing and nobody really knows why.

Unfortunately if you really like doing your exercise to some really interactive software, its pretty hard to beat Zwift.

Any rowing software is never going to come up to this level, it just doesn't have the user base potential that cycling has, seriously the cycling has about 1000 times the number of users so the "Team" working on the software development will be massive in comparison.
Carl Watts.
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http://log.concept2.com/profile/863525/log

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by JaapvanE » March 22nd, 2023, 2:26 am

Carl Watts wrote:
March 21st, 2023, 7:57 pm
I think the tragedy was that Zwift did all the work for some rowing software that they then said would be released in 2 weeks then they just dropped the whole thing and nobody really knows why.
Yeah, I never inderstood that one either.
Carl Watts wrote:
March 21st, 2023, 7:57 pm
Unfortunately if you really like doing your exercise to some really interactive software, its pretty hard to beat Zwift.

Any rowing software is never going to come up to this level, it just doesn't have the user base potential that cycling has, seriously the cycling has about 1000 times the number of users so the "Team" working on the software development will be massive in comparison.
Like I said in an earlier thread: Zwift is built in an old fashioned way, so you lose a collosal amount of resources to developing and maintaining the rendering engine for the various platforms without any direct visible benefit for the user. They couldn't do it any other way then, like many others.

Current way of working is much more economical: modern projects use a commercial rendering engine like Unity and let them worry about all rendering stuff and keeping it going on any operating system, and the game development team focusses on the game. This is ridiculously economical, as a product like Unity is designed to do the heavy lifting and increase team performance (and has billions to spend per year improving it). As the team maintains a single codebase regardless of OS, releasing a game for multiple platforms is much easier as well: you don't have to implement features four times. I recently spoke to a game developer, and he indicated that typically productivity went up a 10 to a 100 times for graphic design, as much of the game world design can be done by the graphic artists themselves, without much need for coding. As teams become smaller and overhead is removed, that increases development speed massively.

For example: two months ago EXR launched the cinematic view, where the viewpoint dynamically moves during the rowing session. It was configured in a couple of hours, as the engine already provides that functionality out of the box.

Last month alone, several "old school" games announced switching from their own rendering engine to Unity as it is much more economical to do so, even if the game already exists (this might be the step RowPro is making as well, as it frees up huge amounts of resources). That suggests that even for existing games, switching is commercially attractive, implying huge productivity improvements.

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by Carl Watts » March 22nd, 2023, 7:11 pm

Well despite all the newer technology, the live online rowing appears to be difficult to implement.

You can have the best graphics in the world, but what the point if what you really need never gets released ?

Zwift is awesome, all it needed was a few tweaks that are now done, all that remains is the script I need to run to change the 9 different camera angles automatically is not built in. This works great in pace partner rides but is not useable for racing anyway because you loose the view within the peloton for too long.
Carl Watts.
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http://log.concept2.com/profile/863525/log

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by JaapvanE » March 23rd, 2023, 3:29 am

Carl Watts wrote:
March 22nd, 2023, 7:11 pm
Well despite all the newer technology, the live online rowing appears to be difficult to implement.
It depends on what your ambition is. Rowing along with some friends is quite doable. Unity is designed to be used for Online Multiplayer games (Halo was developped in Unity back in 2012), so it provided the basics already. EXR provides live rowing for almost a year now. Since a couple of months you can drop in on a friends session, so you don't even have to start together. In the Discord group you see people agreeing to row together, and there are two or three sessions a day. I typically join a group row on Saturdays, where we row a 10K with 12 people in a nice moderate 2:15 pace.

The big issue is racing, where lag in the network/internet can have weird effects with timing. In group rows we've already seen that people are positioned differently on different consoles. So you might be "winning" in one persons instance, but "losing"in another. That is something they need to fix behind the scenes somehow before they can release a simple 2K lane course race.

I don't know if EXR wants to race "Head of the river" style. As they include the Boston area with the Head of The River Charles course, that might be an ambition. That would reduce issues with timing a bit (as you don't start at the same time anyway), but it could make current issues with the physics engine more relevant: then you really have to decide what to do when somebody passes someone else and the gap under the bridge is too narrow.
Carl Watts wrote:
March 22nd, 2023, 7:11 pm
You can have the best graphics in the world, but what the point if what you really need never gets released ?
That certainly is a risk with RowPro if they are doing major overhauls in their engine. Large modifications like that are dangerous from a project management perspective.

EXR is already on the market and has a monthly "new feature" release. Might be small, might be big, but new features will come. And EXR is extremely suited for group rows now. For me, that is more than sufficient: just a friendly row with some friends. For races it isn't there yet, and some people I know were really anticipating that functionality. That is more risky as there is no guarantee this will be released and it will actually contain sufficient competitors.
Carl Watts wrote:
March 22nd, 2023, 7:11 pm
Zwift is awesome, all it needed was a few tweaks that are now done, all that remains is the script I need to run to change the 9 different camera angles automatically is not built in. This works great in pace partner rides but is not useable for racing anyway because you loose the view within the peloton for too long.
In EXR, the cinematic mode was released two months ago. The first iteration wasn't useable as the views included dives and quick panning shots that made most rowers get motion sickness (aparently, having physical movement in one direction and a visual scene change in another makes people sick). The second iteration is better, but not sufficient yet. It is used for group rows a lot, as it provides the nicest selfies with the entire group. But it isn't there yet.

I don't know what the perfect perspective for a rowing race would be. The default eagle eye perspective might get a decent view of the field in general, but in close races, you might want to look across the bows.

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by stevegaspars » March 24th, 2023, 6:49 am

JaapvanE wrote:
March 23rd, 2023, 3:29 am
So you might be "winning" in one persons instance, but "losing"in another.
This can be avoided by a server controlling the position of everyone on the screen, so your position on your screen is what the server thinks it is. This is probably why the ErgData real time loop always lags a couple of seconds behind the PM5.

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by Carl Watts » March 24th, 2023, 1:09 pm

RowPro only has small timing errors.

We did a few 2K rows as a cooldown where everyone had exactly 2:15.0 splits at the 500m markers as the target pace and you noted the times on the screen. Typically it was within 0.2sec for everyone and the most accurate was the finish with pretty much everyone showing the same times on screen.

RowPro nailed the really hard stuff from the start, I was using it for over 10 years but clearly it never went ahead fast enough with the graphics but then again what do you expect with a part time two man development team working on it and hardly any users.
Carl Watts.
Age:56 Weight: 108kg Height:183cm
Concept 2 Monitor Service Technician & indoor rower.
http://log.concept2.com/profile/863525/log

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by JaapvanE » March 24th, 2023, 3:33 pm

Carl Watts wrote:
March 24th, 2023, 1:09 pm
RowPro only has small timing errors.

We did a few 2K rows as a cooldown where everyone had exactly 2:15.0 splits at the 500m markers as the target pace and you noted the times on the screen. Typically it was within 0.2sec for everyone and the most accurate was the finish with pretty much everyone showing the same times on screen.
That is impressive. I hope EXR and Imersu Row will match that in the future.
Carl Watts wrote:
March 24th, 2023, 1:09 pm
RowPro nailed the really hard stuff from the start, I was using it for over 10 years but clearly it never went ahead fast enough with the graphics but then again what do you expect with a part time two man development team working on it and hardly any users.
That is quite a small team, especially around that time rendering engines weren't that powerful and then a two man team is too small. AFAIK, EXR currently is developed by a 7 man team. The current Discord group has around 300 members, but the Facebook group about 25.000. So, I hope they make some decent money (according to their splash screen they also have some grants from the Flemish rowing union).

Imersu Row (an Unreal Engine based game) doesn't show how big their team is, but they are part of a bigger set of apps that share a common platform (Immersive Gym Co). Photo's on their site suggest a four man team that isn't afraid to hire external help as a Game Studio showcease their migration (https://studio316.co.uk/title/imersu-row/). They are awfull quiet about the rowing app, although the app seems to be on sale. As one of their apps is directly competing with Zwift, so that might be a tough sell......

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by Claudius » March 27th, 2023, 11:59 am

Interesting conversation. Especially this immersive Row Game sounds not boring. Is it really a game ? This gambling thing out of bits and bytes with an addictive component ? Or is it just a training simulation. Row Pro is or was a great training simulation and years ahead of zwift. Once upon a time. Zwift is a mix out of a Simulation and a Game. And it will be always a challenge for the staff to keep the right balance. I take a shortcut. As usual. I just simple write my answers out of the blue. Intuition. There is still not a big market for indoor rowing. Thats the core-fate of all those stranded rowing apps products. Because a stand-alone rowing app, it will still be hard to find a lot of people who would pay money for it for a long time. I admit to underestimated "playing thru Zwift". Until you got all the Badges and unlocked all the levels. It will take some time. "A friend" is on lvl 56 / running lvl 17. ~30month x15€ =450€ . I didnt spend more money in my life for a software. Could a stand-alone rowing software convince in that way ? The simple equation is: If you want a succesful rowing app - you have to make rowing big. Rowing as the official "OTW" sport is already a niche. Indoor rowing the freakzone inside of the our of-the-ordinary. Like a mantra. Rowing is not cycling. What a pity. Especially when it comes to indoor, it has as a full body workout more benefits. Because we are all just sitting on our machine indoors. No matter if it is a bike or a rower. Why not sticking to the more effective machine if one is not focusing on cycling races ? Now one can row a cycling avatar. Combine the effectifness of indoor rowing and the fun of a cycling game. Among other cycling dynamics, it is the draft, which makes the game that interesting. Another parameter which is missing in a rowing "game". To finish where I started - I bet the equation of "immersive Row" tends to be more a simulation - but obviously I can not judge. I need to try. Now I don't get the green dwarf out of my head -do or do not - there is no try. First finish *the Game*.

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by bikesquid » March 27th, 2023, 9:56 pm

So the topic of this post was originally a reply to a very old/stale thread, I was using Rowpro 5.8 when I wrote the instructions re: how to use the product with multiple users hoping it might help others.... when I started seeing replies and the conversation had morphed into what it is... i was a little disappointed ther wasn't even anyone interested in the OP topic. But, I've tried EXR and have to say its light years ahead of rowpro in how I use such software, as a HIIT training program. So I'm not online competing or any of the other group stuff, so can't speak to that. But for making your own training plan, using precanned plans (there are many), the interface is much more modern and the gui is reasonably intuitive for setting up your own training workout in a segmented, drag and drop kind of way. Nicely done. The only thing I didn't see, tho not fully explored yet, is a multi week training plan built by the software, which rowpro does do. I don't think that's a big problem as many training rows are available and all are tailored to the users split/fitness/etc. So easy to preview and pick what you're looking for or build one yourself. The graphics are fine, but I'm there to get a workout, not tour Boston... yet, have to say its kinda nice to wonder whats around the next bend and it does give a little interest beyond looking at ever changing stats. This tread has in fact been helpful, who woulda guessed!

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Re: Rowpro 4.1, multiple regular PC users, no joy

Post by Carl Watts » March 28th, 2023, 12:26 am

Turns out everyone wants something different from a bit of Rowing software.

No interest in training plans here, we just had a structured set of rows you could join online up to a week in advance, usually a 30min or a 10K and occasionally say a 5K with intervals where you would have to just watch the clock or say just 500m on then 500m off, simple.

I only ever used RowPro for live online rowing and I only now use Zwift for the same, its pointless just rowing by yourself in my opinion.

I struggle on the rower these days, not only because of my foot injury but after 5 minutes I'm bored shitless, Zwift has killed it for me and I can now bike for 60 minutes and remain 100% engaged the whole way. When it comes to cycling there are no end of advantages over rowing however when it comes to screen action, going at 40km/hr is simply more dynamic and elements like drafting and being able to ride or pace ride in a category with up to 100 riders changes everything. Its kind of where I had hoped RowPro would get to eventually with all 16 lanes full, that totally alters the experience.

I guess its a bit brutal to point out but Zwift started with only software in late 2014 now they are selling HARDWARE to go with it.

Concept 2 started in like 1986 making hardware and has pretty much ignored the software to go with it, despite some hard work by 3rd parties to get something off the ground as far back as 2000 with E-Row.

The biggest problem with software by far however is that nobody wants to pay for it. Zwift hit critical mass with its user base and people are prepared to pay monthly for it, its an outstanding package and I'm not even using a bike with gears or getting automatic load changes due to inclines.
Carl Watts.
Age:56 Weight: 108kg Height:183cm
Concept 2 Monitor Service Technician & indoor rower.
http://log.concept2.com/profile/863525/log

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