View Poll Results: What's most important to you?

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  • Scripted sequences

    56 35.44%
  • Remote access (e.g. internet, local network)

    60 37.97%
  • Triggers

    49 31.01%
  • Dimming curves

    63 39.87%
  • Inputs - recorded to a sequence

    44 27.85%
  • Inputs - live execution

    47 29.75%
  • Object models for developers

    42 26.58%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: The State of Vixen

  1. #1
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    Default The State of Vixen

    Let me start by thanking everyone who's hung with Vixen over the past season or two. I know that a good number of people have defected to other applications, including paid-for applications, and I understand the desire to do so. Regular updates dropped off the face of the planet after the failed 2.5 release and it left some people wondering if I abandoned the project. Let me be perfectly clear...I did not, have not, and have no plans to abandon the project. One thing that 2.5 showed was that my policy of reckless patching needed to stop and a rewrite needed to happen. The application was getting into realms that it was not originally intended to do.

    I started doing a rewrite from the ground up at some point in 2009. Since then, there have been about a dozen such rewrites until I got to what I felt was a good foundation that addressed architectural needs that were lacking. With that foundation now in place, version 3.0 is moving forward over the coming year, expanding upon Vixen's current capabilities and allowing for new ones.

    I want to put initial focus on what's most important and useful to the people who use it, so I've started a poll and seeded it with some functionality that is present in 2.x. I'll add more items to the poll as needed, but this covers some of the bigger things the application does (or attempted to do) to give you an idea of what I'm looking for. I'm not trying to get "look and feel" concerns, that comes much later, but more of what the application does. Examples:

    Good:
    Variable playback speed

    Bad:
    The placement of the toolbar buttons for playback speed

    And let's get this question out of the way:
    Question: "When will it be released?"
    Answer: "Sometime next year. No date will be promised."

    Okay, onto the poll. Feel free to choose multiple items.

    P.S. Assume the scheduling and preview capabilities to be a given (and, yes, the preview will be replaced).

    P.P.S. Some mediocre explanations, as requested:

    Scripted sequences
    One of the available sequence types, it gives you the ability to create a dynamic sequence using C# code.

    Remote access
    Using the existing Remote Client add-in, you can allow channel and sequence control by people over the internet. You can also do some limited editing of a sequence using a PDA (how 2000, I know) while you're walking around in your yard.

    Triggers
    The act of triggering execution of a sequence by way of external hardware, generally. Useful in things like haunted houses.

    Dimming curves
    Not all light strings are created equal. In order to get a linear progression between 0% and 100% intensity, dimming curves allow you to say "when a channel is set to X%, I want it to actually output at Y%". That way, two strings that would otherwise have different intensities at X% can look reasonably the same.

    Inputs - recorded to a sequence
    A 2.5 construct that allowed for hardware (generally) to create sequence data. Examples would be joysticks and Wii guitars. The data they generate can be recorded to a sequence.

    Inputs - live execution
    The data generated by inputs can also be immediately sent to the controllers so, for example, pushing a button on a joystick results in a string of lights turning on.

    Object models for developers
    When you create a plugin, sometimes you want to interact with the application in a structured and predictable way that mimics how the application appears from a user's standpoint to get information and/or affect it somehow. This is going to be my worst explanation of any of this.
    Last edited by KC; 11-20-2010 at 02:15 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    Good to see you're still around KC! I was one of those that at least attempted to flee into the arms of another (so to speak) but I failed miserably and came back to good 'ol Vixen 2.1. I look forward to 3.0 in the future!
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post

    Okay, onto the poll. Feel free to choose multiple items.

    P.S. Assume the scheduling and preview capabilities to be a given (and, yes, the preview will be replaced).
    You may want to describe what some of these things are in a little more detail...I kinda voted on what I "thought" they meant.

    Tony M.
    There are 10 types of people in the world. Those that understand binary, those that don't and some who know Gray encoding.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    Just a note. As a newb (what 1 week into this). I've been able to create a decent sequence with more trial by error vs watching any vids or anything. Now I'm computer and software literate so maybe that's it. But I like the software and some of the current features already make it straight forward enough to make a sequence. I still have to try some of the features I heard about today and I'm thinking anything you add will make it that much better..

    Thanks btw, it really does make it easier for a newb to have a package like Vixen to play with!

    Tory

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    One thing I'd love to see would be a time base corrector. For example, in videotape, to get a standard VHS or even home camcorder video to broadcast through a TV station, they use a time base corrector that essentially takes the video timing and adjusts it by expanding or contracting very tiny moments of time so that the frames can work with the professional broadcast equipment.

    I'd love to be able to take a small subset of a sequence, say a ramp-up operation that takes 3 beats and simply select the "expand" time base option to paste it over a 6-beat section of pixels and have Vixen automatically adjust the individual pixel values accordingly (or vice-versa, of course, going from a 4-beat effect to a 3-beat effect).

    This would be tremendously handy for taking a certain effect from one song that is one meter (such as 4/4) and pasting it into a song that has a 3/4 meter yet achive the same effect even though the amount of time the two songs take is different.

    I know we can do this manually one channel at a time, but think of being able to take an effect that lasts 3 beats and you have 60 channels and want to paste it over a section that's 5 beats and in a different song.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    KC,

    I've been working with Vixen for 3 years now. Never put up a display and ran it through the paces, so I speak in a really non-experienced way. I'm going to try 2.5.8 this year, mostly due to what extra functionality it has in it. If I see if failing, I'll try and downgrade.

    So far, I think I need to say you sound as though you feel 2.5 was a waste of time, but at this point, I must disagree. Maybe after next week, once I try putting it through the paces, I'll recant, but for now, it's a good piece of software. It makes sequencing a little easier than with the older version, so it has value.

    One thing I hope for the 3.0 version is that system requirements don't change. Being a programmer by trade, I realize that newer releases of programming software will sometimes make it much easier to accomplish the desired results. But I run Windows 2000 on my computer, and newer releases of .Net are just not available. I would imagine I may be a loner or there are very few who are also using the older OS, but I use a dedicated machine for this, recycled from the trash bin at work, and can't justify the upgrade expense for something I may use for 1 month out of the year.

    If at all possible, please keep the system requirement changes as minimal as possible. If you can express what might be expected to change as early as possible, I'd really like to hear about the new requirements to help me plan a new course to take.

    Edit - After reading the descriptions, I'd also like to check the "Object Model for developers", but can't see how to modify my choices.

    Thanks for such a great piece of work. Your time is truly appreciated.

    Happy Holidays to you and to all.

    steve
    Last edited by Blackbeard; 11-20-2010 at 05:52 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    KC,
    having bought a license for the opposition (I thought Vixen was Dead), I keep coming back to vixen for it simplicity of use.

    To be honest, I don't understand what the options really mean to me, but what I really need is a way to cope with RGB colour mixing and chasing a number of channels mixing form one colour to another.

    I won't vote until I know what the options mean.


    Finally it would be wrong for me not to thank you for the effort to date, you came up with a brilliant product. Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to seeing the next generation of Vixen.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    Hi KC,

    Well I came from the LOR world back in March of this year and I have spent many many hours working on new projects that run on your creation and I plan on sticking with it. Your thought on Dimming Curves would very useful seeing that all lights are not created equal. Will you be offering any Beta testing on the Vixen 3.0 if so I would like to participate with that.

    Thanks again

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    I don't use too many of the fancy features but might have a play with dimming curves next year.
    I don't have any RGB at the moment but I will have a litlle bit next year and would like to see easy colour fades and mixes.

    Edit: After just completing my setup for this year I have realised the re-order channels feature is a must. It is so easy to fix a simple setup error by moving the channel output.

    I love Vixen. Keep up the great work KC

    Jon
    Last edited by jpb; 11-22-2010 at 10:34 PM. Reason: addition

  10. #10
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    Default Re: The State of Vixen

    KC,

    Thanks again for all the work and dedication you've put into Vixen.

    I know your frustrations trying to make a program thats well rounded to fit the desires of the client and still be both practical and functional.

    Keep up the good work.

    I'm always here to Alpha-test for you!
    Cheers!
    Steve

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