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Old 04-29-2012, 10:24 AM   #1881
Jim Sachs
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Mike - I don't have access to the database, but thanks for the years of loyalty.

As far as an Android version, it would be a major job. Since DirectX is not available, the whole program would have to be re-written in a different API. As with the iPhone/iPad version, the price would have to be so low that I would only get a few cents from each sale.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:10 PM   #1882
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I too am an original member from the start. I too like the idea of a crab. I also miss the starfish on the screen. Keep up the great work.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:20 PM   #1883
Jean-Pierre Marro
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Hello Jim,
We can hope for the crab before summer the last modification goes back upto 1 year would be kind to all the "Fans" of " Marine Aquarium 3 ".
Thank you in advance, a faithful subscriber who adores this Aquarium.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:39 PM   #1884
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This thread is for the "future". Is there a future? I think MOST of those who have purchased SSA would gladly pay for upgrades - especially new "critters"! I certainly would!!
Jim, if you need sales, offer add-ons to those of us who already love this program! Improved fish movement, live coral, live anemones, lots of choices. And we will buy them!!

Michael
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Old 06-21-2012, 10:56 PM   #1885
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Well, that's what I tried when I spent a year creating the 3D environment, and never really got the rush of people upgrading. In fact, the small bump in sales I got by giving away the free Moray Eel was about the same.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:29 PM   #1886
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Alas!!!
Perhaps I am wrong (would not be the first time!) but I think that "critter" packs would be a seller. I would gladly pay for an octopus, shrimp, a live anemone or other "critters".
If this is not to be, well, I have enjoyed and will enjoy this program for some time to come!
Thanks!!!

Michael
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:27 AM   #1887
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12 years ago, Jim's Aquarium was astonishing, remarkable, unbelievable. People had to have it when they saw it. It appeared on TV programs and on computer screens in the background of tentpole movies. There was no equal, and at the time, the Aquarium made scrupulous use of limited hardware, thus ensuring that it would appear on millions of desktops.

Now, Aquarium screen savers are too numerous to count. Computer hardware has increased in performance 10-fold, and everyone has high speed internet. The remaining distinction between Jim's Aquarium and the others are realism and artistic integrity, and some of the other Aquariums out there are getting awfully close on the realism.

When Jim visited me in Italy, I proffered that Jim being mired in the day-in and day-out gruntwork of programming the Aquarium (instead of creating the Art and 3D animation and supervising a developer or two) was like the sculptor Michaelangelo toiling away for years in a rock quarry before carving each statue.

This is my personal opinion, but at this point, I think the only way forward is a Kickstarter campaign to do a NEW screen saver (possibly the butterfly habitat or terrarium) along with 1-2 programmers and technical types. Jim would do the artwork and animation and have full editorial control over anything that is released. If he hates everything they produce, then so be it. But, if the project is a success, then his new-found programming posse would be able to sweep back around and knock out those niggling physics issues that stand between Marine Aquarium 3 and its first creature pack.

I don't wish to dwell on history too much, but the original plan of the Jim's screen savers was one per year, and after 5 years and 5 screen savers, he would have the funds to produce a film. Here we are at year 12 and we're still on the 1st screen saver. I have the utmost respect for Jim, but friends tell each other the truth, and there is something to be said about performing the same action and expecting different results.

I know Jim has had crappy results working with partners and programmers in the past. Some of that comes down to the bad nature of some people, and some of that comes down to not having well-written binding legal contracts. I believe Jim's abhorrence for crooks and publisher interference is is why he chose Prolific. They've been totally hands-off and given him complete creative freedom. But at some point, you have to realize hey, here's a great artist who is languishing because he doesn't have the tools he needs.

Jim is like a painter with no paints, a sculptor with no marble, a photographer with no camera. There are thousands of talented, fantastic programmers out there. Let's find some!
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Old 06-22-2012, 02:21 AM   #1888
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I couldn't agree more! Well said! - (Though I'm not sure Jim will be listening. Particularly re: adding outside help.) - Dream Aquarium also seems to be languishing in the same stagnant duck pond! - It must be a sign of the times we are going through.
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:44 AM   #1889
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I'm am all for a Kickstarter campaign! Sign me up, I'll be the first one to pledge 3 digits.

Also, I think Jim would easily have the chops to avoid this problem: http://xkcd.com/1055/
I don't watch commercials.
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:55 AM   #1890
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Kickstarter campaign: The sooner the better.

Supervised coders: In my opinion, the way visual effects are achieved technically had always been an integral part of Jim's artwork. He is using techniques that he developed independently, over decades of refinement. I don't think they'd be easy to teach to programmers who learned the standard techniques from college courses or from the literature.

But from a more general perspective, what Morgan is saying is: Jim, you have to take more risks! Do something different. Try it. And that's something I fully agree with.

In a different thread, Jim wondered why nobody seemed to take notice of the music he composed for Defender of the Crown II. If that is so, it is because DotC II was perceived mostly as an update to a game that had impressed the world seven years earlier. Novelty in computer-based art wears off very quickly. People fondly remember what impressed them years ago, but they aren't very often impressed by updates, however significant they may be.
It may be hard to believe, but these days, when I show MA3 to people who were impressed when they saw the Serenescreen Marine Aquarium over a decade ago, they do not even notice that it's all-new, high-definition. They'd notice if it wasn't.

Christof
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:08 AM   #1891
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Ha, ha - a lot of questions to answer since I last logged in! Where to start?

Though I'm aware of the Kickstarter program (and my daughter might use it for a film), I had never really considered it for program development funding. Each project has to pass a Board of Review, and it seems like they would say, "Why should people donate money with nothing in return when they could accomplish the same thing by simply buying the Aquarium?" I don't really have a good answer. Visibility, I guess. Anyway, it's something to think about.

Hiring people - The worst time of my life was when I was the Art Director for Cinemaware. I had a dozen artists working for me, and I had to pay all of them (plus myself) from a total budget of $8000. I ended up having to redo just about every pixel of everything they turned in, but the worst part was being responsible for so many starving artists and their families, each with their own sob story of why they need a bigger share. It led to a nervous breakdown. The money currently coming in from the Aquarium may be small, but at least I don't have to divide it two or three ways.

Then there's the other aspect of hiring programmers - ability. The line from "The Social Network" keeps coming to mind, "If they could have created Facebook, they would have created Facebook." The same goes for the Aquarium. I know that both Microsoft and EA attempted to cut in on the success of MA, and both gave up. In 12 years, the only one who was able to put out a product which I would have been proud to call my own was Alan Kapler (an Academy-Award-winning artist-programmer), and even Dream Aquarium doesn't have a giant scrolling 3D environment.

Those of you who pointed out the main problem with the Aquarium (the newness or WOW!-factor) are exactly right, and that's why I've been reluctant to spend more time on it. If I came out with add-ons, I'd sell a few copies to the die-hard fans, but it wouldn't generate a huge wave of interest. The easiest new product to develop would be the Freshwater Aquarium, since I already did a lot of work on it years ago. But I don't think people would really notice it. Something other than an aquarium is needed, something with a different look. So, for the past month I've been researching what would it would take to create the Butterfly Habitat. There are technical problems, and no one has even come close to creating convincing butterflies yet. But then, 12 years ago no one had come close to creating realistic fish, either.

The Pros -
- A Butterfly Habitat would have a very different look-and-feel, which may regain the necessary Wow-factor.
- Having a second product would bring many more people to the website and almost certainly increase sales of MA.

The Cons -
- It's a big, difficult project, and my old brain isn't what it used to be.
- I'm already working 12 hours a day on the house, which doesn't leave much time for software development.
- Most of the venues for getting noticed no longer exist. It needs to be displayed to masses of people on banks of screens, but there are no stores which do this any more. There are also no websites like 3DFiles.com which whip up interest among millions of subscribers on a daily basis.


If I were to tackle this project, I'd seriously consider switching to OpenGL. That would make it much easier to transport the program to iPads, Macs, smart phones, etc.

Thanks for your comments, everyone.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:25 PM   #1892
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I would most definitely be interested in a butterfly habitat. Can I be so presumptuous as to ask that you please include a black swallowtail? They're my favourite butterflies of all time. Even the caterpillars are cute.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:23 PM   #1893
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Sure, no problem.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:26 AM   #1894
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Just a clarification on some points:

At no point did I suggest you would hire artists. You are the artist and 3D animator. Nobody would be tweaking pixels except you. What your 1-2 other (not 8) employees would do is the things you hate.
  • The Direct3D or OpenGL code
  • Collision avoidance
  • Physics
  • User Interface/Dialog Boxes/Windows/sound management

I saw with my own eyes what you showed me on the Freshwater Aquarium. The artwork was essentially done, although a lot of it was still sitting in Lightwave. The roadblock? The items I listed above. None of these are things that most people "see".

Also, it's worth pointing out that the choice is not between a nice dialog box developed by Jim which is aesthetically pleasing, and the rather boxy dialog boxes created by Prolific. Let's be realistic. Prolific took the Aquarium code and made a new Screen Saver Platform to build other products on. That time would have been better spent actually helping you solve the roadblocks you faced on the Aquarium. Instead, it was mostly about cashing in.

Having personally developed an application in Visual Studio, there is absolutely no reason to use the rectangular buttons and boxes everywhere unless it's a design decision. The 'buttons' in my application were all graphics that I created in Photoshop.

I have also successfully built a very popular website for people who play EverQuest II over the last year. It is now the #1 website people use to lookup their characters. I co-developed it over a span of 8 months with an amazing programmer who worked entirely pro bono. Sure we had some miscommunications. But the end result is EXACTLY what I had envisioned. I tapped both my engineering/math side and my artistic side to bridge the gap and get it done.

Finally, Kickstarter will accept just about any project, ESPECIALLY something that would normally be funded and released as a consumable (a DVD, a CD, a download). I can list hundreds of examples. People have funded games, TV episodes, computer hardware, accessories, etc.
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:59 PM   #1895
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Unhappy question

Jim,


I am concerned about your desire to do the butterfly thing. Although it sounds like it would be a great thing to see and have, it almost sounds to me like your giving up on the aquarium 3 thing. I really hope not. Please tell me that at some point you will do more things for the program or at least do some of the more desired additions the people so dearly want before you give up on this most excellant screensaver. Again, it just feels like we will never see some of the other creatures or active starfish.
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:10 PM   #1896
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If sales justify it, I'd be happy to create more additions for MA3. I fully expected the partnership with IAC to generate those sales, but so far it hasn't been enough to fund new development.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:38 PM   #1897
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I fully understand your situation! So sad that there are not more sales being generated. So, as I understand it, we might not ever see anymore updates, additions or creature packs. I will then just check back every now and then to see if there are any changes but i will not hold my breath. Just so you know, I will gladly pay again the full price for these long awaited creature packs and or updates. You can count on me! Goog luck in whatever you decide to do. I am so sad and dissapointed.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:00 PM   #1898
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The only place I've stumbled across the ads for MA3 lite is IMDB. And the sample clip they show is from something else entirely. You might want to get onto them about that Jim. What they are showing is not representative of your painstaking attention to artistry and detail.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:04 PM   #1899
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Thanks, I'll look into it.
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:19 PM   #1900
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Is this the ad you saw, Nicki?

http://cdnx.tribalfusion.com/media/3180396/aquarium.jpg

Source material for the ad may have been acquired from these places:

http://www.colourbox.com/image/image-1672704
http://www.colourbox.com/image/coral...-image-1672708
http://www.colourbox.com/image/threa...-image-1672786

EDIT: Here's another ad that I had not seen before:

http://cdnx.tribalfusion.com/media/3...ic_300x250.jpg

2ND EDIT: There's even more:

http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com...51768178056623

Last edited by Time Crystal Pilot; 07-02-2012 at 08:28 AM. Reason: new link added
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