Lack of Visualizations

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Exavior Offline
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Post: #1
As someone who primarily uses XBCM to play music (on the Mac), I'm saddened by the distinct lack of visualization options. There are a few items in the menu, but honestly the only "real" choice is ProjectM. What options we do have are either simplistic our outdated.

Now, I know this is the internet, but I'm not just here to complain. I have a positive suggestion to contribute... honest!

Part of the beauty of open source projects like XBMC is that aspects can be opened up and handed off to others for expansion. Take fan art for example. Thanks to the efforts of fanart.tv, we gain access to an actively maintained (living) pool of content to improve our UI experience.

Why not do something similar with visualizations?

The core XBMC development team should not be burdened with the task of creating/porting/maintaining visualizations, but rather opening up the API so others can. Much like how we now install addons via an in-application UI, the same should exist for visualizations.

And rather than trying to create a new community of visualization developers, it may be a good idea to try and leverage existing communities, by making it easy for their visualizations to be imported. In this case, I am speaking specifically of the "demo scene" community.


http://www.demoscene.tv/
http://pouet.net/
http://scene.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demoscene


Here you have an active community of artists and programmers that create complex 2d and 3d visualizations (many of which are designed to interact with music). A partnership here could really breathe some new life into the world of XBMC visualizations.


Thoughts?

/Chris
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #2
Anyone is welcome to create a screensaver or visualisation - they're addons.

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Exavior Offline
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Post: #3
Understood, but there does not appear to be anyone doing it. I've looked around and had no luck finding anything. And from inside XBMC's addon interface I've not seen any visualizations available.

What I am suggesting is XBMC (in some official capacity) reaching out to another community in the hopes of breathing some life into what appears to be a dead portion of the product.

XBMC is amazing and beautiful, it just needs a collection of worthy visualizations.
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Dumb ? Offline
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Post: #4
I agree with Exavior in that the progress of visualization/ screensavers has taken a backseat to other XBMC projects (with good reason). With the development of AppleTV2, ARM and SoC architecture, maybe we should look to outsource these particular projects to developers who are already creating visualizations. For example, there are many Itunes visualizers, Android live wallpapers and visuals of these matters that would fit in perfectly with XBMC's interfaces. Maybe we should look into gaining permission to port some of these ideals into XBMC as possible add-ins. This would increase or replace the ones we can't update due to older architecture (Open GL) and definitely blow all media centers (including Apple's) out of the water.

My question as a person with no programming experience is "Does it have to be developed in Open GL ES?" Are there any other programming languages that would be compatible with XBMC?
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Exavior Offline
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Post: #5
I've just confirmed that going to the add-ons section via the system interface from inside XBMC you will find no category for visualizations anywhere. It is only accessible from the OSD display menu when you initiate the visualizations drop-down. (which basically means its hidden when using the standard UI or not playing music) And on the Mac, there are 0 visualization add-ons listed.

Making the visualizations category as accessible and prominent as the other add-on categories would be a big improvement... then it's a matter of getting content.

I am by no means suggesting that progress in the visualization front should distract from other product improvements, (I know you are all hard at work making XBMC even more awesome) but it should at least be on the list.

A big part of how software is perceived is by its appearance, and when playing music that really comes down to visualizations. We have beautiful skins, so we are half way there.

I would just love to see a visualization development community (like those that sprouted up around winamp "back in the day") generating new content, but that would require both outreach and making visualizations an accessible top level add-on category.

Heck, even publicly providing an API or templates for flash based visualizations would open the door to a large audience of developers, with a relatively low barrier to entry. I have a few flash based visualizations I made back in my VJ days that I could port to AS3. Granted flash will never deliver something as slick as milkdrop, but you can absolutely (and very easily) have a large selection of fun/beautiful visualizations that trump "OpenGL Spectrum" or "Waveform"
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spiff Offline
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Post: #6
So start coding.
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topfs2 Offline
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Post: #7
Dumb ? Wrote:My question as a person with no programming experience is "Does it have to be developed in Open GL ES?" Are there any other programming languages that would be compatible with XBMC?

It has to be what the platform needs, i.e. on windows its DirectX on desktop linux/os x (and windows if compiled right its OpenGL. and on ARM its OpenGLES. Visualizers on OpenGLES should work on OpenGL if we bumped the spec (or had a runtime check of it).

One could probably add support to make visualizers in pure sw also, but I doubt that would be very fast and convenient for anyone.

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Exavior Offline
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Post: #8
spiff Wrote:So start coding.
I can't code visualizations into the top-level (or properly listed) add-ons categories for the default skin.
I can't code outreach to potential communities of content developers.

I will however look into what would be required to develop flash based visualizations.

Edit: Also, there is a big/active community around the open source "processing" visual programing language, and they make a lot of audio-reactive content.
http://processing.org/
(This post was last modified: 2011-07-10 03:59 by Exavior.)
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garbear Offline
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Post: #9
Can someone help me out on this?

I'm reading a lot of screensaver and visualization code to get a sense of how everything is connected togther.

huceke and Memphiz have been adding some GL and addon stuff. What are they working on? Is it iPhone-specific, was the code ported from another pre-existing part of the project, does it even change anything really? I wish I had the dialog between them, i feel it would help me understand this area of code better

Cheers,
Garrett
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spiff Offline
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Post: #10
* spiff chants irc

anyways, they ported the gl spectrum to gles. in particular for ios.
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X3lectric Offline
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Post: #11
http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=90686

thats a viz posted right here on this sub-forum.
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Kode Offline
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Post: #12
Exavior Wrote:A big part of how software is perceived is by its appearance, and when playing music that really comes down to visualizations. We have beautiful skins, so we are half way there.

To be fair, I think the skins that use extrafanart in the visualization view look awesome.

For example http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?...7645828933 this shows it in use in Aeon Nox

Get and request your ClearLOGOs / ClearART / TV Thumbs / Season Thumbs / Music ClearLOGOs / cdART / Artist Backgrounds / CD Covers from fanart.tv

Severus Server Monitor - Self hosted application to monitor all your servers
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Rovastar Offline
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Post: #13
Exavior Wrote:As someone who primarily uses XBCM to play music (on the Mac), I'm saddened by the distinct lack of visualization options. There are a few items in the menu, but honestly the only "real" choice is ProjectM. What options we do have are either simplistic our outdated.

Now, I know this is the internet, but I'm not just here to complain. I have a positive suggestion to contribute... honest!

Part of the beauty of open source projects like XBMC is that aspects can be opened up and handed off to others for expansion. Take fan art for example. Thanks to the efforts of fanart.tv, we gain access to an actively maintained (living) pool of content to improve our UI experience.

Why not do something similar with visualizations?

The core XBMC development team should not be burdened with the task of creating/porting/maintaining visualizations, but rather opening up the API so others can. Much like how we now install addons via an in-application UI, the same should exist for visualizations.

And rather than trying to create a new community of visualization developers, it may be a good idea to try and leverage existing communities, by making it easy for their visualizations to be imported. In this case, I am speaking specifically of the "demo scene" community.


http://www.demoscene.tv/
http://pouet.net/
http://scene.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demoscene


Here you have an active community of artists and programmers that create complex 2d and 3d visualizations (many of which are designed to interact with music). A partnership here could really breathe some new life into the world of XBMC visualizations.


Thoughts?

/Chris

As someone that has been writing visualizations on and off for the past decade I thought I would give my insight here.

Firstly I would say across the board on all players/formats there are fewer visualizations out there. Very few people make them now-a-days and was a handful of people at its height.

I think the fashion of visualizations has past its peak. People just aren't as interested as your used to be. Also the barrier to entry is higher I feel, people want something looking as good if not better than is already available.

Also the barrier is high because the public are expecting the more fancy graphics, etc to compete with latest Call of Duty they see advertised on TV.

10 years ago it was possible to write something easily to compete with the latest games now not possible and mostly visualizations are perceived about graphical quality. Now they have teams of professional fulltime graphics artists just working on the textures you see let alone the entire engine and game.

I find this discourages many, in general, from taking up the untraditional coding route of visualizations.

Those that do something invariably get comments like:

"What options we do have are either simplistic our outdated."

As I understand it there are a few people that do make visualizations for the XBMC platform. Encourage these.

You have the open source reserve engineered MilkDrop clone ProjectM.
I think it is difficult to build on that if it as a baseline. The MilkDrop engine was a full time job paid from Winamp/AOL by a talented dev Ryan Geiss who then went on to code demoes for Nvidia and wrote the software for the tracking in the XBOX Kinect with Microsoft. Even then he just wrote the engine (that is key too an editable engine) and was not the most creative that came from the larger base at the time of the Winamp community and even then I can only remember 3-4 regular authors of merit at any one time.

ProjectM then built on that success and just ported an engine that was relativity easy to do, the difficult bit is getting the ideas in the first place.

I think it is unlikely to get the seemingly, with hindsight, perfect mix again.

For the demo scene that in itself is getting smaller and smaller year on year and they haven't ever embraced the visualization scene in the past I am not sure they will do that now.

But going forward that will look more and more dated over time despite authors finding new things to do with the engine. Also it is still fundamentally a 2D visualization despite the shaders and new other technology.

Writing 3d stuff is much more of a challenge especially if you want to have a editable engine so you can have scenes/presets made by the wider community that the most successful visualization have had in the past.

However you do have potential with your own visualization here Vortex.

I remember when that was being written by, I think MrC here, a 3D visual and based-ish on R4 visualization. However from what I understand (and that is little) there is not much community uptake for this. I imagine that that doesn't help/encourage more work in this area of creating a new visualization for the community.

3D based engines for visualizations haven't really been all that successful as there is more to learn and to make something unique will require more patience and OpenGl/DX like understanding/skills. In fact R4, was probably the most successful and then I can only think of me and 1 or 2 more that actually made any and shared it with the community and it does take a lot of documentation/work/design to create an engine and make it flexible. So much so that most of our latest/current visualization Morphyre has no editor for people. The question was should we spend x weeks making a system so 1 person might edit something when we could make y more scenes for everyone. Anyway back more onto topic.

I would either:

a) try and build on Vortex that you have here - by that I mean people try and write something for that. Look at others too like FishBMC and try and help out there.
b) make a plugin for running Winamp plugins, WMP plugins, iTunes, etc. However this require more dev work.

2 different paths and the second one is sadly not that compatible with the fully open source model.

Sorry we the long post, I haven't been here for a year or two and just thought I would share that hope I didn't bore you too much for all those that read this far. Smile

Good luck.
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zag Offline
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Post: #14
God I remember rabidhamster!! I used to stare at the screen for hours watching that Smile

Have to agree with all the above. Put something in place, write some tutorials, make it easy to understand. They will come...

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pike Offline
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Post: #15
Hi Rovastar -you rockstar in the Vis scene- (I'm gonna try flattery)

Any chance you or Rabidhamster can opensource old stuff from R2-4 or whatever ? Or better yet, adapt them to xbmc directly... I know, not much money in opensource freeware, but there's the glory Smile

I guess I am one of the few that use Viz'es for personal enjoyment regularly and as good as ProjectM is, it's no Milkdrop. It just isn't 100% compatible with all milks Nerd

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