I invested in FormZ and Maxwell a couple of years ago, and on the whole it's been a positive experience... I like both products and the results.
I too must add my two cents that serious consideration MUST be given to the renderer(s) available within FormZ. I have no idea why this amazing modeller still offers the outdated RenderZone with so much fanfare... this is a basic quality rendering engine at this point. Any modeler that is serious about offering a complete offering can match RenderZone and more often than not out perform it for speed.
Maxwell is a fantastic addition to the tool box, but it's like giving you the alternative between a room at the YMCA and a Suite at the Ritz... The images produced are stunning and relatively easy to set up... but the render time is not acceptable in a real world production line. I regularly get asked for tweaks to illustrations which are minor and can be done in minutes... but the illustrations take so long I can't deliver same day (and I have invested in 6 machines for use only as rendering processors).
There needs to be some stronger ties between FormZ's excellent modelling tools and more industry standard renderers and plugins. Octane, V-Ray, Keyshot.... these need to be options that are available to FZ users in order for the package to gain respectability in the industries that will grow the client base.
After a couple of years, I am eagerly anticipating 8.5's official release (this morning according to my e-mail) to see if the layout tool has finally become the tool I need to deliver usable drawings based on my models (the reason I chose FZ in the first place). I've been toying with demos from the competition from ArchiCad, Vectorworks, Modo, Rhino... all looking for the nomination of ease, speed and compatibility I (and I assume others) need.
Why do I keep seeing these topics over and over with little more than platitudes from Autodessys?
-Either make Layout a dependable tool, or provide an industrial strength link to an other more sturdy CAD program
-Rendering engines need updating for quality AND speed (the sketch renderer is put to shame by the likes of Sketchup)
-UI is dated and unable to scale to increasingly larger displays.
Form Z 8.5 is out and I'm thrilled. Now that 9.0 is the next iteration, can we have some frank talk about the points that keep being raised that keep NOT being addressed in new versions?