Visual Productions forum

Author Topic: Server facility  (Read 2942 times)

July 20, 2006, 11:55:19 AM
Read 2942 times

Maarten Engels

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As from release 1.46 build 5, VisualDMX will contain a server facitlity. When enabled, this server side of VisualDMX can communicate with external applications. For example the new versions of Visual3D and the newly developped VisualTouch application use this communication to interface with VisualDMX.

This communication interface is made public to allow 3rd party developpers to create their own plug-ins for VisualDMX. A document describing this interface will become available at the download section of www.visualdmx.com.
Maarten Engels
Visual Productions BV

December 13, 2007, 01:05:38 AM
Reply #1

Stoney3K

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Just installed VisualDMX today, and was surprised by the very interesting features.

A good decision to give away the software for free, of course. Most lighting desks come bundled with software which only works on their specific desk, while 'older' PC's are constantly thrown away. A PC with a few fader controls also makes a good lighting desk!

Since your main concern seems to be the hardware, I can perfectly grasp the idea of VisualDMX only 'working' on the Visual Productions DMX dongles. Which is a good decision, since it encourages users to purchase your products.

You do realize, however, that adding this server functionality opens the door to a whole new area, and possibly enabling clever third parties to develop their own solutions of allowing DMX output without the VisualDMX hardware? Having the backing of the community might also be a good thing in this, though. I'm not sure if you as Visual Productions would be happy with people doing this. Primarily the smaller market segments (prosumer, enthousiast, small theatres/stages) might go this route.

It also opens up another few interesting areas of control, though, as the server would also allow uplinking with VJ packages (e.g. Resolume), DJ software (Traktor) and all kinds of software sampling and synthesis applications (like Ableton and Reaktor) via Open Sound Control. Which would make for a completely interactive, artist-driven performance... think in terms of Jarre (Europe Tour 1993) with him controlling everything from his big keyboard. Hitting a note or a chord migth trigger an array of presets and effects, including the video, lighting and laser environment. This would effectively turn the artist into a DJ, VJ and LJ at the same time, and put him/her at the center of attention.

December 13, 2007, 08:11:57 AM
Reply #2

Maarten Engels

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I agree, the server functionality does open the door for many different applications. It would be very interesting to see what people would be using it for in the future; now it is mainly used by the VisualTouch and Visual3D programme.

Considerations have been made to restrict the actual DMX data to be fetched via this interface.
Maarten Engels
Visual Productions BV

December 13, 2007, 10:00:29 AM
Reply #3

Stoney3K

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I agree, the server functionality does open the door for many different applications. It would be very interesting to see what people would be using it for in the future; now it is mainly used by the VisualTouch and Visual3D programme.

Considerations have been made to restrict the actual DMX data to be fetched via this interface.

That's the whole point: You don't neccesarily have to have access to the DMX data to allow DMX output. The data on all individual fixtures is available (otherwise Visual3D won't work either) and, although this is not DMX data, the functional parameters like pan/tilt/gobo/strobe/dimmer/etc... will have to be encoded in the network protocol somehow. A software developer may be able to piece together all the fixtures and generate the actual DMX data itself back through a mapping file (which contains the fixture <> DMX patch). This may be a lot of effort on the third party end.

The same holds for using the output of fixture parameters over MIDI and translating that back into DMX via the appropriate hardware (e.g. the Behringer LC2412 is able to do this). I'm not sure if it will be a loss of customers for you (I'm suspecting it won't be) but it may also be a really good point of advertising to also have a community of third-party "hobbyist" guys behind you. That's what made Linux big after all. I would certainly not agree with some developer thinking to be smart and selling a VisualDMX <> DMX solution beyond your own.

(BTW: The TCP protocol looks a lot like another I came across in the flight simulation business, namely Broker from Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers. It has a lot of advantages, like just being able to Telnet to the server and punch in commands, as the communication is plain text debugging is pretty easy.)

December 14, 2007, 10:02:10 AM
Reply #4

Stoney3K

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Alright, minor correction on this: The data on color/dimmer/spot position isn't available through the 'regular' protocol. Visual3D can access the data but it is encoded in a proprietary format (not human-readable). Although this may prevent other visualisation developers from building a fully featured set of light visualisation, it does prevent third parties from "circumventing" the condition of using VisualDMX hardware exclusively. So IMO that's a good move.

Applications can send full control commands to the VisualDMX program, so the lighting will be 'slaved' to other controls, instead of the other way round.

 

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