Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope there was some good food and great company for everyone.
We think we've got something that's stable enough for the hardy of heart to play with. My apologies for not hitting our September goal. While we could have put something out that month, there have been a lot of changes since then that we would have dragged you guys through, and that doesn't seem fair. The changes have died down and it's been calm for a while now, so the time is right.
What to Expect
Very basic functionality. The intention of this is to garner feedback. Please, please do not use this for your display. We like it when you guys stay up and running and aren't brought down by our hand. You will be able to administer your setup and create and execute sequences. We've been playing with it for a while, but we know how it's supposed to be used, so it behaves quite well for us. It may be that a normal person lays their hands on it and it bursts into flames because of what we didn't anticipate, and that's what we need to know.
What's Included (so far)
- Administration application - setting up your controllers, channels, groups, creating and opening sequences.
- Module testbed application - so you can write a module and test basic functionality. Supports the most common modules types.
- Editor - just a single editor for now for simple timed sequences.
- Effects - five basic effects.
- Media - basic audio support.
- Hardware - just Renard right now, but more is coming. We can only develop against what we personally own. But there is also a "dummy lighting" module that gives you visual feedback on Renard output. This is NOT a preview, just visual output feedback.
- Preview - Erik Mathisen has been putting in a lot of work on a better preview. It's not 100% where he wants it yet, but he would appreciate your feedback on it. There are only circles to draw with currently, but we had to start somewhere. Play with it, get a feel for the direction he's going in.
- RGB Property - Apply this to RGB channels and groups and effects that are aware of it can handle those groups more intelligently. This particular property works with single-channel RGB and RGB that is made up of separate red, green, and blue data channels.
I feel like I'm cutting you guys loose without enough information. There is so much more that could be said and explained, but I'm trying to be brief for a change (too late!) and not make this an unreadable post. Just what Michael's done with the editor alone could be a separate post. However, there are a few things you should know to be able to use it:
1. Administration is pretty key. You define your display once and then write sequences for that single display. As it was mentioned in an earlier post, three things you will need to set up are:
- Channels and groups (logical channels of your display elements, e.g. "Front door")
- Controllers (if you have a 24-output Renard controller, you create a 24-output Renard controller)
- Patching between the channels and controllers ("I want the 'Front door' data to go to the first output on my Renard controller)
Some of this can be done for you. When you define a controller, there is a button for generating the channels for you, if you wish. We would have liked to add more such functionality, but it was a slippery slope and we had to put a stop to it at a point.
2. In the editor, you drag effects onto the work surface and then edit them (by moving, resizing, or double-clicking to setup the effect). This is very different from existing versions. Once you drag on an effect, you can drag it around to change the timing of it or the channels it will be applied to.
3. Try to avoid extremely high channel counts for now. It will result in huge editor startup times.
Also, read back through the 3.0 introduction posts. They have some good foundational information.
What you see is pretty utilitarian in some cases. That will change over time; we don't intend to keep it like that. There are more modules to be added, but we didn't feel they were quite ready. Also, there are going to be sample module projects posted so you can get an idea of how to author one. Each one has a basic walkthrough, but they do assume you have some basic Visual Studio knowledge. ctmal has put together a series of videos that are much more comprehensive and cover the basics more thoroughly, including preparing your development environment. I don't know if he's posted them yet, so if he hasn't, I'm guessing he will soon now.
We know you have choices out there and we prefer that you use what works for you and keeps you up and running. If that happens to be us, awesome, we appreciate it. If not, well...the point of all of this is to help you create a show that you enjoy putting on, regardless of how you get there. We do this because we love doing it and you should have the same experience as well.
Thanks for reading. I'm going to go grab some Thanksgiving leftovers.
- K.C. and the Vixen team
P.S. I guess you need a link! Here: Vixen 3.0 Beta 0.
P.P.S. And a link to...the aforementioned samples.