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Old 07-15-2012, 01:20 PM   #1
flipper
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Question Extending MA3's capabilities?

Seeing as this forum has been pretty quiet for a while now, I thought I'd post about something I've been working on over the years that involves Mr. Sachs' MA3 screen saver.

What I've been doing is extending it a bit to add some more realism to the overall scene. And to make it a bit more user friendly as an app. IMHO of course.

Here's a screenshot showing some of the additional realism options enabled.

Would this be something Mr. Sachs might be interested in giving his stamp of approval to, so it could eventually be released as a free add-on? It makes no changes to MA3 except in memory while running, and I could make it work only for owners, or put whatever other restrictions on it as required, etc.

I hope this is appropriate to post about this here. If not, please delete. And my apologies to anyone who finds this post offensive. I know there are some purists around who view MA3 as a work of art which should not be touched except by the artist.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
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Could you describe what you're doing in a little more detail? If you're replacing the background with a real-time scene, then that might have possibilities. If you're changing the camera angle, then holes in the geometry will show up rather quickly.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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That looks pretty cool. I'd love to try it out on my machine.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:03 PM   #4
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Hello Mr. Sachs and Patrick.

Mr. Sachs, yes it replaces the drawing of the background with a 3D model or a skybox or a skydome. This particular model came from Google's 3D Warehouse. It's of a doctor's waiting room, which I thought would make for an appropriate setting. And the model was high quality enough so I thought it fit well with your models. Although unfortunately it had no lights placed within the model, so that's one area I need to work on.

The app also has an option to free up the camera a bit. To compensate, it rotates the coral slightly as well. But that is one area I'm still working on - to make sure nothing looks amiss. The main thing I'm trying to do is get the camera to the point where you can see the side glass reflections of the fish, plus whatever is behind the tank.

Patrick, I'm afraid the app's not going anywhere soon. First, I need to get Mr. Sachs' okay to distribute it. Second, it does its work through some technical mumbo jumbo that's not quite working on enough different machines yet to my liking. Third, it needs a lot of user friendliness added to it to make it usable by non-techies.

Thank you both for your interest. I was afraid I'd be "booed off the stage" with this.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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Whether it will ultimately work or not, there sure is a wow effect to this.
The aquarium's cool colours contrast nicely with the background's warmer tones.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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I'd have to see it in operation to determine if it's viable. The still image is quite striking, but it's almost impossible for me to believe that holes won't show up when the camera is moving. It took literally thousands of hours of experimentaion to get just the right camera angle, viewing frustrum, scene depth, etc. to convince people that they are seeing a little 3D world, and not what it really is (a Hollywood set).
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:09 AM   #7
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It's a good effort though, so I'm certainly happy to see you post here.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:53 AM   #8
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it looks realy good, it brings the fish tank alive, realy good work
Dear Jim Sachs, i would love it, if you could, bring another, of your living Corals to life.
i live in hope, everything works out for you one of your many fans.
regards
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:02 AM   #9
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phil - There's a possibility, as sales have improved slightly this month. Summer is usually our slow season (people are outdoors instead of on their computers), but the Mindspark advertising seems to be helping.

I may take Cliff's suggestion, and add a couple more Featherdusters.
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Old 07-16-2012, 11:09 AM   #10
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Dear Jim,
So Good to hear, that things are picking up for you, hope all is well, i look forward to some good news, that things will get better.
regards phil
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:22 PM   #11
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Excellent!

Ever since seeing the grouping of Christmas Tree tubeworms, in the Coral Seas episode of The Blue Planet, I've been hoping that we could perhaps have a small grouping of Featherdusters....
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:43 PM   #12
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Sounds like a winner to me as well.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:11 PM   #13
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
I'd have to see it in operation to determine if it's viable. The still image is quite striking, but it's almost impossible for me to believe that holes won't show up when the camera is moving. It took literally thousands of hours of experimentaion to get just the right camera angle, viewing frustrum, scene depth, etc. to convince people that they are seeing a little 3D world, and not what it really is (a Hollywood set).  
Yes, I completely understand, having spent quite a few hours myself trying to make sure that the tracking the app controlled camera does won't break the illusion. I even went so far as to pre-fill the background with magenta to see if any pixels bled through from the coral, and then wrote a shader to count them for each frame, until I didn't have any. But that was only with a standard 4:3 display and I never reran the test on 16:9 or any other format.

Since you haven't given me a definitive no yet, it looks like I need to get busy and come up with a version for you to try out yourself. Please feel free to shoot me down at anytime between now and then. I came here with low expectations so being turned away won't be too much of a disappointment.

And thank you to those with words of encouragement.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:18 PM   #14
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All of us beta testers went though all the formats we had available for several weeks. You won't be able to count on 4:3 taking care of the problem, it has to be addressed with everyone, which is why it is such a pain to get it done correctly.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:04 PM   #15
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Looking at that pic, it's hard to believe that it is a moving app and not a photo shopped static image.
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Old 07-16-2012, 06:53 PM   #16
Jim Sachs
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flipper - It sounds like you have such a high level of skills that you should be writing and marketing your own programs instead of piggybacking onto an existing app.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:11 PM   #17
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
flipper - It sounds like you have such a high level of skills that you should be writing and marketing your own programs instead of piggybacking onto an existing app.  
Or helping you with the nitty-gritty of the Aquarium while you get to do the art and animation.
"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations." - George Orwell
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:11 PM   #18
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Originally posted by Jim Sachs:
phil - There's a possibility, as sales have improved slightly this month. Summer is usually our slow season (people are outdoors instead of on their computers), but the Mindspark advertising seems to be helping.  
Maybe it's so gosh darned hot this summer everyone's hiding indoors and dreaming of swimming in temperate waters. Whatever the reason I'm glad sales are up .
Run you clever boy. And remember...
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:29 AM   #19
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What is "Summer" ? ..... Is it what we used to have once-upon-a-time, in July ?
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:44 AM   #20
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Originally posted by cjmaddy:
What is "Summer" ? ..... Is it what we used to have once-upon-a-time, in July ?  
Summer in Denmark was nice this year. It came on a Tuesday.
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