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Old 12-02-2005, 01:42 PM   #41
Nakata
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Not true at all. NOT TRUE AT ALL. It does not have a background native at the resolution I posted above and simply expands the background image to fit it.

Furthermore; when I contacted Tech Support about 2 months ago to ask them about this, they mentioned they knew that at resolution it was pixelated and that the image would have been too big to include in the download.

So, what are you talking about with your BOLD and LARGE font response?
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Old 12-02-2005, 03:08 PM   #42
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Now there's a nudge...
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Old 12-02-2005, 04:38 PM   #43
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Originally posted by Nakata:
Hello,
I don't want to rain on the love-fest, but can you please release a version of the screen saver that has a widescreen background?!  
Originally posted by Nakata:
Not true at all. NOT TRUE AT ALL. It does not have a background native at the resolution I posted above and simply expands the background image to fit it.

Furthermore; when I contacted Tech Support about 2 months ago to ask them about this, they mentioned they knew that at resolution it was pixelated and that the image would have been too big to include in the download.

So, what are you talking about with your BOLD and LARGE font response?  
You purport that there is NO widescreen background. This is not accurate. Thousands of Mac users enjoy the widescreen background built into Marine Aquarium for Macintosh.

You demand a 1400 x 1050 resolution background suitable for YOUR computer. The Aquarium was not designed for you. It was designed for everyone.

The background was created at 1280 x 768 over 3 years ago. That is the resolution the artwork and I don't forsee a change until it is re-created at some future date. It is not something that was created in 5 minutes but a piece of artwork that was assembled in a painstaking process.

I can't answer to why this background is not scaled smoothly to other resolutions and I do empathize with you there. In this day and age of 1+GHz computers with 1GB of memory, there shouldn't be jaggies on any 2D or 3D object unless there's a damn good reason. I'd be upset too if I had a high-end monitor and the Aquarium looked like I was viewing it through a screen door.

My bold and large font response is clear -- there IS a widescreen background that you purport doesn't exist. It simply is not at the resolution you desire.

Originally posted by Nakata:
Seriously, how about addressing something like this before you keep adding fish (it must be easier to render a background capable of 1680x1050 resolution, than it is to create all new fish models)?  
Jim Sachs, developer, author, artist, etc. of the Aquarium, is not responsible for the Macintosh product. He created the background, fish, and animation.

Development of a new fish takes approximately 1 day. I doubt source materials exist to simply re-render the existing background (which is assembled from numerous photographs of coral and then hours of retouching performed afterwards) at a higher resolution, so this might take a week or more to do what you want.

A new fish will increase sales of the product while a slightly better background probably won't. THAT SAID, Jim intends to create a new background some day which should look fantastic on ALL displays because it will be 3D modeled.

If you have concerns about the development of the Macintosh product, take it up with Order-N-Dev, the firm that did the translation.
P.S. I am not official SereneScreen tech support.
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Old 12-02-2005, 05:20 PM   #44
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Well,
If it's going to be a quote-a-thon:

Originally posted by feldon29:
You demand a 1400 x 1050 resolution background suitable for YOUR computer. The Aquarium was not designed for you. It was designed for everyone.  
Ehh... no. Not at all. I demand nothing unique to my iMac. 1680 x 1050 resolution has been the default standard on all 20" iMacs which have ever been shipped.

Originally posted by feldon29:
My bold and large font response is clear -- there IS a widescreen background that you purport doesn't exist. It simply is not at the resolution you desire.  
And there is a clear difference between scaling a smaller image to fit a default (shipping) resolution and having a native image available in said resolution.

Originally posted by feldon29:
Jim Sachs, developer, author, artist, etc. of the Aquarium, is not responsible for the Macintosh product. He created the background, fish, and animation.  
I don't even mention him... so? He does great work.

Originally posted by feldon29:
Development of a new fish takes approximately 1 day.  
Huh? No way can this be accurate. I'd have expected more fish by this day and age. (And would/will be glad to pay for them.)

Originally posted by feldon29:
If you have concerns about the development of the Macintosh product, take it up with Order-N-Dev, the firm that did the translation.
P.S. I am not official SereneScreen tech support.  
I have... and they say it lays with Mr. Jim Sachs (they just do the porting). You'll note that it's Mr. Jim Sachs' name which is across the bottom of the background in the lower left of the screen. I would take that to mean he created the original background and he would be the one to modify it for today's larger monitors.

I don't see why I'm viewed as such a pariah when all I want is an update once a year (at most) to address issues such as this. Not to mention I'd be happy to pay for them.

Adam
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Old 12-02-2005, 05:35 PM   #45
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Jim works at his own speed. Sometimes a year to us seems like a week to him. At this point, I consider the Aquarium product to be "stalled", but I might be surprised by something amazing next week or next month. Who knows?

I got to see a very early build of the Freshwater Aquarium and spend a bit of time with Jim 2 years ago. It was very exciting to see what was and was not complete (what was complete clearly had received a perfectionist's touch, what wasn't was rather gaping). Jim is the most hospitable and intriguing person I've ever met. He also does not work on any schedule that I could discern.

This forum is definitely Jim-positive, and that may rub you the wrong way, but how many forums allow you to ask questions directly to the developer of a product?

The background is definitely at a frustrating standstill at this moment and you may not see the logic in WHY it is frozen at its current status. I figured we would have a new background ages ago. All I can give you is this brief history:

- Jim releases the Aquarium in fall 2000. Announces at the time that the 1024 x 768 background it ships with (which blows away any and all aquarium products available at the time and is only rivaled 4 years later by SimAquarium 2) is a "temporary" background and will be replaced "soon" with a 3D background which is resolution independant.
- Jim is advised by his publisher to develop a second Aquarium product, a Freshwater Aquarium, to encourage retail stores (Best Buy, Micro Center, Wal-Mart) to carry the product. Most of these retailers won't accept a single product from a single vendor.
- Time elapses, the Freshwater Aquarium develop jumps forward in certain areas, hits a wall in others. 2 years down the road, enough retailers are carrying Marine Aquarium that there is less urgency for a Freshwater product.
- Jim announces that the Freshwater product is back on the shelf and he's focusing on the Marine Aquarium.

All along, Jim has depended entirely upon himself to research and build the Aquarium. Even though some of the concepts required to build such a 3D background which fish and invertebrates can interact with are beyond 99.5% of 3D programming experts. You see it's not enough to build a 3D background. It has to include a geometic increase in the interactivity of the fish. Right now the background is a 2D still. The fish appear to swim in front of and behind pieces of it, but it's really just a trick. The fully 3D background has to be so accurately produced in 3 dimensions that the fish can peck at it, swim close to the surface, and that creatures like eels, octopus, shrimp, etc. can crawl or swim near the surface, accurately casting shadows, and not passing through it. Few of even the most advanced 3D simulations have this level of accuracy with teams of programmers working on them. Yet Jim is trying to do this alone. Do some question his chances? Absolutely. Will he hand the Aquarium over to 3D experts? Not a chance.

I have hope for the future of the Aquarium, and I'm excited to see new fish, but the ambitions of the new background have apparently consumed thousands of man hours on Jim's part with no obvious resolution.

How's that for a response?
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Old 12-02-2005, 09:54 PM   #46
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I like it... thanks!

Adam
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:20 AM   #47
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There are two backgrounds for both Mac and Windows machines - the normal one at 1024x768 and the widescreen at 1280x768. If the bubble column is in the left half of the screen, you are looking at the normal version. The widescreen has the bubble column on the right. What you are asking for is not a widescreen aspect ratio, but a higher resolution image. Some Macs don't do a very good job of stretching an image of this resolution to fill a hi-res display. Some do. I've seen it looking really fantastic on the Mac cinema display. Many retailers were encouraged by the Apple field reps to use the Aquarium to sell those machines. I have no idea why some of them can't do a proper interpolated stretch.

At any rate, the steady increase in resolution capability for all personal computers is not lost on me, which is why the 3D background is my next order of business. People keep asking me to name a resolution for the next version, and I usually say something like 3200x1600, but that's actually misleading because everything will be 3D objects. They will get sharper and sharper as your resolution increases (like the fish do now). The textures on the objects still have a certain resolution, but it's surprising what you can get away with there. Many of the fish textures are 64x64, and some are 64x32. As long as the objects are kept a good distance from the camera, they look sharp.

What won't be happening is a higher-res 2D background. It's a total waste of time. The 1,310,720 pixels of the existing background took the better part of a year to create, so double that resolution means 4X as many pixels and 4X the time.
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Old 12-08-2005, 01:31 PM   #48
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Who, where, how?

Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
I think Prolific plans to announce the new fish by the end of the week.  
OK, I used Marine Aquarium starting in 2003, but I quit using it a few months ago when the "Close last active application on mouse move" problem became too much for me to stand. But I thought perhaps there was/is a new version. So, would somebody please answer the following questions that don't seem to be otherwise answered in any documentation:

A. How do I tell what version I am running?

B. If I go to the Prolific site, I see Marine Aquarium 2.5 listed - but clicking on the link takes me to Serenescreen where I can download 2.0 - or at least that's what it says. It's the same byte count that I could download 6 months ago, whatever version that is. MAquarium-V2.exe 1,363,095 bytes

C. In 2004, I downloaded MAquarium-V2-MD.exe (1,651,950 bytes). I'm confused about whether this (MD) is different/better/worse/older/newer than the version(s) being distributed by Prolific/Serenescreen.

I'm fairly certain that the answers to those questions are somewhere in this forum, but I'm at a loss to find the time to search for them.

D. Has the "Close last application on mouse move" problem ever been resolved? There was a thread about it several months ago, that I participated in, but it turned out that none of the suggested fixes actually fixed my problem. So, I gave up and uninstalled MA - but I would sure like to be using it again.

Thanks.
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Old 12-08-2005, 01:41 PM   #49
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[quote=Dale] Followup:
C. In 2004, I downloaded MAquarium-V2-MD.exe (1,651,950 bytes). I'm confused about whether this (MD) is different/better/worse/older/newer than the version(s) being distributed by Prolific/Serenescreen.

I just found the rather obscure link on Serenescreen to download MD.

MAquarium-V2-MD is now 1,641,324 bytes, rather than the above. The "file version" is still 0.0.0.0. I can't seem to find out anywhere the information about what changed, when, etc. etc.

[Rant: It really annoys me when companies put out a new version but they leave the "version number" information the same. And, more importantly, how do companies do tech support when "Version 2.0" might mean any of 10 different code bases?]
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Old 12-08-2005, 02:03 PM   #50
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When Prolific releases the new version, it will be called 2.6. It will include all the other versions (MD, Time, Widescreen, etc.), plus the two new fish. I don't know what's holding it up, but I'm going to their year-end-gathering tomorrow, and will ask.

You can always tell exactly what version you are running by hitting the A key, then clicking on the Version number. The actual build number will then appear.
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Old 12-08-2005, 02:59 PM   #51
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
When Prolific releases the new version, it will be called 2.6. It will include all the other versions (MD, Time, Widescreen, etc.), plus the two new fish. I don't know what's holding it up, but I'm going to their year-end-gathering tomorrow, and will ask.  
Great!

Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
You can always tell exactly what version you are running by hitting the A key, then clicking on the Version number. The actual build number will then appear.  
That's valuable information. What does N808.2.0.6418 signify? That's the number I get with the latest download.

BUT - what I really wanted to know is how I tell (from either the download site or from the downloaded file) what the downloaded version is? It's not entirely useful to know that I'm currently running N808.2.0.6418 if I don't know whether something newer is available for installation.

AND - I do realize that you don't control any of those things. I'm not blaming you - just pointing out that I can't totally make sense of what Prolific is distributing - or the information on the Serenescreen web site.
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Old 12-08-2005, 03:48 PM   #52
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I agree that their version numbering system is a bit hard to follow. There's a method to the madness in there somewhere, but I don't remember what it is. I think the date is included, but Reichart's calendar is different from everyone else's. I seem to remember it counting backwards from the projected end of his life, but then he went past that -- or something.

I'll see if I can get them to post a key to the numbering system.
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Old 12-08-2005, 04:46 PM   #53
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And of course Marine Aquarium 2.6 will start the numbering over.
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Old 12-08-2005, 05:50 PM   #54
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
I'll see if I can get them to post a key to the numbering system.  
It would be of the MOST help if (for the Windows version) they would use Windows' built-in capability to show - for MAquarium-V2.exe as built - the file version, product name and product version, etc.

And/Or name the downloadable version something different, every time it changed. e.g. MAquarium-V2_0_6_002.exe
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Old 12-18-2005, 01:26 PM   #55
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Cool

any update on the new version?
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Old 12-18-2005, 01:41 PM   #56
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I think we have two or three different threads that cover this topic, so I may have posted the latest news in a different one.

Prolific is concentrating on getting the new Goldfish version out the door, then will turn their attention to Marine Aquarium 2.6. I know it seems like a simple thing to just replace the current file on the website with the new version, but it's actually a rather big deal. It must be tested for weeks to make sure that no bugs have been introduced. When you are dealing with tens of millions of customers, a tiny bug can generate an avalanche of email that can easily overwhelm a small company like Prolific. (Sure, the vast majority are unpaid customers using the free version, but they still feel entitled to customer service for some reason.) Before a new release, the servers must be beefed up to handle an onslaught of downloads. The upgrade and KeyCode policy must be re-thought. This version replaces MA 2.5, MA Time, MA Logo, and Widescreen. So we need to figure out who gets free upgrades, who has to pay, and how much. New text and art needs to be created for the Web site, new Frequently Asked Questions, etc. A new master disk must be created for the hardcopy version, a new installer, new disk art, and new packaging. New bar codes, SKU numbers, and product IDs must be created.

I've really just scratched the surface here, and I'm sure that Prolific could list dozens of other things that accompany a new release.
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Old 12-21-2005, 07:54 AM   #57
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Seems like the chance of getting it as a christmas-gift is near zero, eh?
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Old 12-21-2005, 08:19 AM   #58
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Whoa! It sounds like a nightmare of a mess to me.
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:08 PM   #59
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High resolution background

I know that the backdrop image has been discussed in this thread and that it would take a long time to redo it at a higher resolution, but...

I have been playing with Genuine Fractals PrintPro and it just scaled a screenshot of the background from approx 1000x800 (funny window mode resolution) to 2048x1600(ish) and it looked perfect(well perfect enough for 99.9% of people I would think)

Could this be something to look at as an interim measure while we wait for the 3d background ?
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Old 01-05-2006, 09:42 PM   #60
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No, it's too much work to cut it up into little pieces and make all those polygons to project it onto. Even then, it's just a blow-up of the original 1024x768 resolution, which is what the system does automatically when you set a higher resolution desktop, so nothing is really gained.
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