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Old 10-14-2008, 07:33 PM   #101
troyb
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mr.sachs or Jim which ever one you prefer your fish tank is with out a doubt the best on the planet I like so much I am going to buy a 2ed key code so I can run it on my computer in the kitchen again great work thank you
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:39 PM   #102
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Running great

I excitedly posted my praise in the other topic, and then I saw this topic so I wanted to reiterate my awe at this program.

It runs flawlessly on my Windows XP system, even better than MA2 does (I have a flicker I can't get rid of, after much adjusting). MA3 is sooo smooth and vibrant!

Thanks again! I can't wait to see the development continue!

Rebecca
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:43 PM   #103
Jim Sachs
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troyb - You are welcome to run it on all the computers in your house with a single Key Code.

Rebecca - Thanks.
Jim Sachs
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:09 PM   #104
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well thank you very much
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:00 AM   #105
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Troy,
Jim has always allowed users to install the aquarium on all their computers using a single keycode and I have no reason to suspect it wouldn't be the same with MA3.
Thanks to Morgan, Tiny Snapshots is up and running again with "Tiny Järvafält" as the latest addition – Go have a look and tell me what you think.

"We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent.
I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says,
'Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'
I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.
" /Robert Oppenheimer on witnessing the first thermonuclear detonation in history.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:09 AM   #106
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Morningjoy. If you find the reflections annoying I wonder how people with epilepsy will react to them. I do not like them either.
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:49 AM   #107
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Hey Jim,
Will the Bezel gap Adjuster be in beta 3 or not? and will a feature like "Automatic Lights" from 2.6 be present in 3.0 as that will stop burn in around that part of the screen when on dual setups when the tank cannot scroll?
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:35 AM   #108
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On the bezel front - presumably any vertical gap will come for free from Windows? (My second monitor is below and to the right of my main one - Microsoft OneNote tends to live there for note taking.)
John
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:58 PM   #109
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The lightplay will stay. It's the only thing which gives the impression of being under water.

I'll try to put the bezel gap adjuster in Beta 3.

The new lighting scheme is much more difficult, will take a little longer. MA3 has almost nothing in common with previous versions. Virtually every line of code is different. Lighting effects were easy before, because there were "lights". You would position them in your 3D world, set the color, intensity, direction, etc., and they would light up your objects. Now I'm doing everything with Shaders, which took me years to understand (even a little). They are ultimately much more powerful than a lighting scheme, but incredibly hard to use.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:36 PM   #110
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Well I have just come back from Florida again and a walk around Seaworld was getting the inspiration going. Just watching the lighting and the motion just made me want to re-create that feeling on the PC. There is something so surreal and beautiful to underwater scenes that above water just can't recreate.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find an email in my inbox about MA3 beta being available. So I downloaded and installed and sat for a while watching. Now I have to remember that this is only a Beta release and that the things I mention here are probably not relevant to the final version. That being said though, what never gets said, get presumed unnoticed, so I would rather say something wrongly than let it go unnoticed. So any corrections to my observations are welcomed and understood.

I think the biggest thing that struck me is that the background has gone 3D but it doesn't really look like it. I think the problem is that because your viewpoint remains parallel to the lateral motion, the only real 3D effect is the parallax between layers. The problem I suspect is that without being able to change the direction you are viewing the aquarium from, you will always see things directly from the front, which kind of forces a 2D representation. Could the answer be to move the viewing position and the focal point independantly so that you can create a perspective shift to enhance the 3D effect? It would be like looking left and right rather than moving left and right.

The other thing I noticed and it was something I was thinking about again tonight, was the movement of the fish. I was sat thinking about food and particle motion and how slowly it all moves (not in MA, in my mental representation of underwater), when I thought, "is the density of the water being taken into account as a damper on the fish's movement in MA?". By that I mean, is any acceleration in a particular direction subject to the damping effect of a more dense environment? Fish move forward easily because of the smaller surface area of the front of the fish (I presume it's why they are the shape they are) but they move sideways with difficulty as there is a larger surface area to push against the water. In MA, they seem to move in all directions with equal ease, which is what got me thinking.

On a final note, I will offer Kudos to you Jim for breaking through the shader barrier. I keep looking at them and stressing but I know that ultimately, it is my next step I have to overcome. It's firmly in the "to do tomorrow" box at the moment and you know the saying about "tomorrow"

It's the one thing that bugs me about being an artist who moved to programming, it's the artistic effects, that programmers find easiest, that we find hardest to grasp... there's something very unfair there.

Then again, I suppose it is easier than calculating the caustics caused by sunlight through the surface of water

Anyway, good luck and I look forward to future versions of MA3.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:59 PM   #111
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All these were covered in other threads, but I'll just mention again that the camera angle can never change - it must remain exactly perpendicular to the tank as it pans (dollies) right and left. With even the slightest angle change, literally thousands of holes and gaps become visible in the objects. Allowing the camera to change angles would mean creating objects which look perfect from many different directions. Even if this were possible at all, it would increase the work by at least tenfold, and probably more. So then we are looking at 20 years to do the background instead of two.

If you want more of a 3D effect, use the LEFT-RIGHT ARROW keys to scroll faster. These are what most people reach for as soon as the Aquarium starts.
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:24 PM   #112
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
All these were covered in other threads, but I'll just mention again that the camera angle can never change - it must remain exactly perpendicular to the tank as it pans (dollies) right and left. With even the slightest angle change, literally thousands of holes and gaps become visible in the objects. Allowing the camera to change angles would mean creating objects which look perfect from many different directions. Even if this were possible at all, it would increase the work by at least tenfold, and probably more. So then we are looking at 20 years to do the background instead of two.  
Why do your models have so many holes and gaps in them? Isn't it supposed to look perfect from different directions, hence it being 3D and not 2D?

Is it not worth paying a 3D artist to provide you with a full 3D background? $1000 or so for a couple of weeks work would get you a spot on 3D background I would have thought. I'd pay an extra $10 for it, if it was in there.

In fact, if I wasn't so busy, I'd do it for you for free, as it is something that I think would really add to the programme. I think any artist would be proud to have their name associated with MA, you would probably get a number of offers to do this for you for free, if you asked.

I must say (and you probably think me out of turn for saying so), we've been doing this game development thing for the about same length of time Jim and I really am quite surprised at some of what you have written there.

This is your programme, not mine though, I'm sorry if anything I have said is taken as offense, it wasn't meant that way.
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:03 PM   #113
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Ha, ha - no offense taken. If you could pay a 3D artist $1000 to create a realistic 3D background for an aquarium, every person in the world who had $1000 would have an Aquarium program on the market. Actually, a lot of copycats have come and gone in the 8 years since I came out with MA1, yet it remains one of the most successful computer programs of all time. It's been used in over two dozen TV shows and movies (Copycats - zero.), as well many print ads for various products. CompUSA empoyees told me that it sold more monitors and video cards than any other tool they had. At its peak a couple of years ago, it was on more screens throughout the world than anything except the Windows startup screen.

And that's just the old low-res, 2D version. The new 3D background has taken me two years (plus years of planning before that). There's a reason behind virtually everything you see in the tank. There's a cave to house a Moray eel or octopus, there are clams and delicate corals which will open and close with the touch of a fish. There's a flat "playground" for invertabrates and fish which bury themselves in the sand. There are 10 different places you'll be able to place bubble columns. There's a sea anemone which will be home to a clownfish.

So, if you believe you can create a 3D environment that can match this one, I strongly suggest that you drop whatever you are doing and get to it!
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Old 10-16-2008, 09:44 PM   #114
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Lee, all I can say is there are a lot of generalizations, assumptions, and inaccuracies floating around.

Creating a completely realistic, believable environment, such as a jungle, a forest, the ocean, or a coral fishtank which is fully 3D and not limited in some way with camera and texture tricks is something that is only happening on the latest high end hardware (XBox 360 or nVidia 8800+) in the last couple of years. Marine Aquarium 3 has to run on a broad spectrum of hardware and not take 45 seconds to a minute to load.

Marine Aquarium 3 is a compromise only in that the artwork is built in layers which look great from a certain viewpoint. Imagine trying to photograph a sea anemone in such a way that you can wrap a 3D object and view it from all angles. It would require hundreds of photos and thousands of man hours to cut out, stitch together, and process all the photos to have the same lighting and color grading to all match each other. Then you have to map it onto an object with tens of thousands of polygons.

We are just now starting to see believable screen savers that capture an ecosystem and look decent. The best examples I can think of are Lagoon and the new Dutch Windmills from http://www.3planesoft.com/ . I can actually suspend belief when watching them and really enjoy them. But they are not displaying items with hundreds of different angular objects with tiny details. They are displaying fairly large items which are textured better than the competition.

Please don't throw around a comment like a good background for the Aquarium would be "$1000 work" when entire development teams with tens of thousands of dollars worth of budget have tried and failed.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:09 AM   #115
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Jim:

Awesome! Your attention to detail is amazing. Thanks for all your hard work. I will look forward to seeing the upcoming features as they are unveiled. (I can't believe I used to think flying toasters were cool).
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:15 AM   #116
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ROFL, I remember those.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:49 PM   #117
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Originally posted by PFM:
Jim:

Awesome! Your attention to detail is amazing. Thanks for all your hard work. I will look forward to seeing the upcoming features as they are unveiled. (I can't believe I used to think flying toasters were cool).  
Still my old-time favorite at the office was Johnny Castaway. However nothing is ever going to beat Sachs Marine Aquarium, especially after Jim gets all the animations for the 3D background done
"We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail"-W2
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Old 10-17-2008, 11:00 PM   #118
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Hi Jim
An absolutely superb achievment. As someone who has been with you since the days of the .99's the leap from 2.6 to 3.0(Beta) is breathtaking! Your patience, politeness are a model for others to follow.
Now for a few questions/comments.
I understand that the background coral will come alive in the weeks/months to follow. Would it be possible to have a section similar to Fish Settings for the coral. Personally I think it would be great to have a name and location for each species of coral. This would be sort of like equal billing for coral. Since the coral will be as alive as the fish I think it would be a good idea.
I also notice that the fish swim near the cave but never enter into it. Will they be allowed to in later versions?
They also swim near the coral but never peck at it. Again will this change in later versions?
Thanks again
Jim Harris
Toronto, Canada
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:37 AM   #119
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I'm not quite sure what you mean by settings for the coral. If you mean change the locations for background items, then no - everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Fish will eventually be able to enter the cave.

They will also peck at the coral.
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:01 AM   #120
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LeeC22 -- Thank you for posting your frank comments above prompting Jim and Morgan's responses giving me more understanding of what it takes to create one of these things. To me there are currently varying levels or degrees of 3D effects in MA3. Some parts distinctly look more 3D than others. But as you said, this is a work in progress not yet final and more is coming.

I have to say that one has to slow down and watch how the scrolling contributes to the 3D effect by slowly opening up different views and angles of the corals which is a good and healthy thing I think (to slow down) in this fast track world.

Thank you for taking the time to create and put this out here for us to enjoy, Jim, amidst your many other concurrent projects. Not to mention for such reasonable price too. In my opinion there is a level of quality in your work that closely reflects the real thing which I have still not yet seen met or match by others. This is one of the advantage I guess of working as an individual for yourself on a project, that you can take the time it take to produce such quality. Keep up the good work.


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