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Submitted by Katascope Visuals, posted on April 10, 2002

Image Description, by Katascope Visuals

This is from my latest visuals software - KataFX 3

The full picture can be seen here:

The Winamp visualization plugin is here:

KataFX 3 is a 3d editing and display environment for projection visuals (for concerts/shows) using OpenGL. It uses a scrim based gui for interaction.

Notable features:
  • Skinned, resizable scrim gui and windowed/fullscreen
  • OpenGL rendering
  • Three levels of user expertise.
  • Visuals autopilot/ai.
  • Milkshape model support.
  • Can be run as Winamp visualization plugin.
  • Unique licensing.
  • GUI: Visuals software for shows have one important difference from traditional software/games - Multiple viewers. For shows, this means no one but the user should see the interface.

    The only solutions(AFAIK) are:
  • No visual interface at all - Just keyboard and mouse, this just doesn't cut it for creating complex scenes.
  • Dual monitors - Nice, but fewer people can use it, and a lessened sense of immersion.
  • A Scrim interface - It can be clipped by the projector and not displayed. This is what KataFX 3 does.
  • The scrim interface has one important rule: the interface should not, for any reason, drop below its rectangle, or be visible to the audience. i.e. no drop down menus, no popup dialogs.

    The KataFX 3 scrim has four parts:
  • Play - The mode it starts in, will work without any human interaction. (easiest)
  • Groove - The mixer mode, allows tweaking of the autopilot. (medium)
  • Edit - The editor, allows the user to create background or foreground worlds. (hardest)
  • System - Configuration & file/skin loading & saving.
  • Graphics: The interface & display are both rendered in OpenGL. By sacrificing some rendering power to the interface, I gained some nice freebies - The interface looks good up close (and impresses the promoter, which is wise). Another nice benefit is resolution independence. Since it is rendered with OpenGL, it can run at virtually any resolution and still look right. OpenGL handles resampling, so the gui resizes without pixelation -something traditional windows can't do!

    AutoPilot/AI: Shows/raves can easily last 10 hours, an autopilot keeps the user from getting exhausted too easily. KataFX 3 uses an implicit autopilot - Emotion based, with a large database of scenes. The autopilot knows the difference between background & foreground worlds. The background scenes are autofaded in/out. The foreground scenes connect end to end, creating a continous journey. Either can be enabled/disabled in the Groove scrim.

    Legal Issues: The license/eula states the software is free for personal use, but cannot be publicly displayed(i.e. used to make money). This is because I provide projections for shows, and it would be unfair for the competition to use my work. It's the best balance I could find between providing something to everyone without shooting myself.

    Software used:
  • Visual C++ 6.0 - For development
  • CVS/WinCVS - For source control/bug finding.
  • Doxygen - To keep the source from collapsing under it's own complexity.
  • NSIS - Used to create install executable.
  • Paint Shop Pro - Image editing.
  • StyleSkin - A universal skinning tool, used to create the skin.
  • ImageMap - Used to map regions in the skin to functions used in the program.
  • I hope this provides some useful info to someone. Scrim interfaces solve a niche problem, but it's the best solution I've found so far. Sorry, no source available, but the plugin is very customizable.

    Thank you
    Katascope Visuals -

    Image of the Day Gallery


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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

    April 11, 2002, 05:33 AM

    Winamp simple provides you with 256 frequency readings for equalizer style effects and 256 displacement readings for waveform style effects.. you never have to analysis the raw music data. It makes everything really quite easy.


    April 11, 2002, 05:44 AM

    Just an idea... Why don't you just restrict mouse movement to the scrim window? That wouldn't be hard to do, would it?


    April 11, 2002, 05:57 AM

    Aparrently some people get off on being told that the time and effort they put into something hasn't been a complete waste of time and that in actual fact some people find it useful or amusing.

    Strange concept but for what it's worth this is actually a bloody nice piece of work!

    Hailed Guardian

    April 11, 2002, 06:17 AM

    funny thing... you should warn epileptics before thrashing them with such a multitude of colors and motions...


    April 11, 2002, 07:14 AM

    I plan to license the software to production groups. There are also places too far away(india?) to be practical. It makes better money sense for them to license it instead of flying me there. It also means individual users get a free lunch. In practice, there probably are/will be people using it for small underground events and not licensing it, kids. . . It's the bigger production groups I would really take issue with(>~250 people)

    There are other excellent visualization plugins (Geiss, Milkdrop, R2, Tripex) with varying fees/licensing. There are also video clip mixers for shows. I believe KataFX 3 is the only one with a full 3d editor though. Others tend to use presets and are generally tied to a set of procedural scenes or can't really react to the music because it's just video clips. It's arguably easier for groups to tailor a set of scenes for the theme of an event - like Atlantis or New Years - with a 3d editor.


    April 11, 2002, 07:20 AM

    That would work for the play/mixer mode, but you have to be able to use it outside the window in the editor. I tried doing that, but it was very annoying having the mouse bump around in the small rectangle. Of course the best approach would be to have that as an option. A mouse cursor a couple tims on the screen isn't as bad at a show as a big popup though - and a Windows 98 boot up screen is right out.


    April 11, 2002, 07:40 AM

    Looks nice!

    And i tend to go with Division by Zero and say it's worth a comment :)

    Actually i can't understand why you complain about him, i think it's kind of a running gag - and i like it.

    Oliver Markovic

    April 11, 2002, 07:51 AM

    I know the problems; I've been posting and sitting at the cap for a long time now. I think the problems are due to the more anonymous tendency of moderating at slashdot. If there were only 15 moderators whose moderations would be publicly viewable, abuse of those rights would not pose a big problem. But that would possibly open another can of worms.. oh well.

    Tim Baker

    April 11, 2002, 10:15 AM

    Yeah, I had that problem too (mouse click position is not accurate).


    April 11, 2002, 10:45 AM

    i like the scrim interface
    must have been quite a work ;-)
    i have no problems with inaccurate mouse problems
    after running it the winampplugin twice (once std, once fullscreen 1024x768x32) winamp kept pushing my cpu at 100%
    i don't know if it is your plugin or my winamp that was the cause :)

    btw, i like the double lama(?) logo =)
    if you click on it , it bubbles, is this just for fun? :)



    April 11, 2002, 12:00 PM

    You could have a large read arrow pointing at the direction the hidden cursor is located.

    Division By Zero

    April 11, 2002, 12:28 PM

    Honestly, I couldn't say u are wrong ...


    April 11, 2002, 12:39 PM

    If it's worth comment, It means worth al least SOMETHING ... Is it bad ? ;p


    April 11, 2002, 01:37 PM

    DBZ, you do understand why people get upset by your posts, don't you? It's due to their blatant illogicness - a comment is, by its very nature, *about* something; commenting by saying "i will comment" is both recursive, void and meaningless - it hurts the logical and aesthetical senses of all with an analytical mind.

    To those who understand the world in an analytical mindset, it's like wearing flashing lights and banging a drum while shouting "I'm an idiot! I'm an idiot!"...

    However, to your defense I should commend you for actually commenting this time ("This visual looks NOT bad") even though the actual comment was, keeping with your habit, still practically empty.


    April 11, 2002, 01:59 PM

    Is it just me or does this take like a lifetime to load?
    Pretty neat, though!

    - Nikkoz


    April 11, 2002, 02:25 PM

    A wacky idea - if the mouse goes below the scrim area, why not incorporate it into the visuals? ie: change the mousepointer into something else and do some trails off it or something... Anyways, looks cool! Nice work!



    April 11, 2002, 04:59 PM

    Which is why you should avoid the can of worms (on a smaller site like flipcode) and just let users specify which users posts they no longer want to see for themselves...

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