CUBIC PANORAMA PLUGIN released! (beta)

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CUBIC PANORAMA PLUGIN released! (beta)

Postby GM-Support » Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:53 am

Hello everybody,

After hard work, I am happy to announce the release of the beta1 of the Cubic Panorama Plugin!

The download is the last attachment of this message (after the screenshots).


Notes:

You can try it out with any edition, including the Free Edition if you want (but in that case you are limited to 20 frames).

Whichever edition you use, please note that it is currently NOT allowed to use the beta1 of this plugin for commercial purposes.



Getting Started:

1) Download and extract the file "Cubic_Panorama_Plugin_v1_0_Beta1.zip" that is attached to this message.

2) You will obviously need at least one cubic panoramic picture to use the plugin. You can download a sample picture here (screenshot1 below shows a preview).

TIP: To create your own panoramic pictures, you can use just any 3D rendering program. Simply render 6 square-sized images with a camera FOV of 112.5. You can find a very nice tutorial for Bryce here. Instructions for POV-RAY, Blender, Vue, and Terragen can be found here. Once you have the 6 pictures, you can merge them into a single picture by using the "Cubic Panorama Image Combiner" tool that is included in the plugin package (screenshot2).

3) Copy the plugin files into the "Plugins" sub-folder of Adventure Maker (screenshot3).

4) Activate the plugin from the "Plugins" tab of the Project Properties (screenshot4).

5) Create a new frame by using the panoramic picture mentioned at step2, and apply the plugin by going to the "Plugins" tab of the Frame Properties (screenshot5).

6) Test the frame, and voil?!



Features:

The plugin supports hotspots, cursors, graphical elements, looping videos, full-screen transitions, and more.

You can move back and forth between panoramic and non-panoramic frames.

You can look in any direction, and, unlike the cylindrical plugin, there are no limitations in the range of movement: you can look vertically at your feet, and vertically above your head!



Limitations:

Like the cylindrical plugin, this plugin currently does not support inventory drag/drop, rippling water fx, and animated gifs (use looping videos instead). To drag/drop items from the inventory, please move temporarily to a non-panoramic frame.

You cannot use images bigger than 2048x2048 (however, since it is a cube and not a cylinder, the resulting quality is much better, and the viewing angle has no limitations: you can look at the sky and at your feet).

The beta1 of the plugin cannot be used together with the cylinder-based AM panorama plugin. You must enable either one or the other from the Project Properties, but you cannot enable both in the same project (this may become possible in future updates - not sure though).

In order to be able to use the "Save Game" and "Load Game" features of Adventure Maker without any error messages, you must follow these simple steps:
1) Create a new 2D solid-color frame named for example "PleaseWaitWhileResuming".
2) In the "Frame Properties" of that frame, make it so that it goes to the "Last visited frame" after 2 seconds.
3) Click "Set resume locations", select all the frames, and assign the "PleaseWaitWhileResuming" frame to all the frames.



Enjoy the new cubic panorama plugin and please post comments! :)

GM-Support
Attachments
Cubic_Panorama_Plugin_v1_0_Beta1.zip
The Cubic Panorama Plugin v1.0 Beta1 package, which also includes the new tool named "Image Combiner".
(87.06 KiB) Downloaded 600 times
screenshot1.jpg
Screenshot1: This is a sample picture that can be used with the Cubic Panorama Plugin. Its size is 2048x1365, but you can use other sizes as well (provided that you don't exceed 2048x2048). To download it full-size, go to: http://www.adventuremaker.com/fo
screenshot1.jpg (95.02 KiB) Viewed 14888 times
screenshot2.png
Screenshot2: You can use this bundled tool to merge the 6 faces of the cube into a single picture, thus producing pictures like the one shown above.
screenshot2.png (36.52 KiB) Viewed 14888 times
screenshot3.png
Screenshot3: You must copy the plugin files into the "Plugins" sub-folder of the Adventure Maker folder.
screenshot3.png (33.31 KiB) Viewed 14888 times
screenshot4.png
Screenshot4: To enable the plugin, go to the Plugins tab of the Project Properties.
screenshot4.png (26.07 KiB) Viewed 14888 times
screenshot5.png
Screenshot5: For a frame to become panoramic, you must activate the plugin from the Frame Properties.
screenshot5.png (22.35 KiB) Viewed 14887 times
Last edited by GM-Support on Mon May 05, 2008 7:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Mystery » Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:04 am

Wow GM, that's really GREAT news!!!! :D

I'm looking forward to test it, thank you! :)
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Postby GM-Support » Sun Feb 24, 2008 1:54 pm

Thanks Mystery!

I am glad you liked the surprise! :)
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Postby AncientRein » Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:02 pm

This is great news!

thanks GM
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Postby GM-Support » Sun Feb 24, 2008 4:05 pm

Thanks AncientRein!
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Postby Imari » Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:09 pm

Thanks for this new plug-in, GM!! It's so exciting to see such progress with this. Thank you.

The assembly tool is great. It is very easy to use and works just perfectly. Also, the quality of the on screen image is much better, too. And just FYI, I tried to use a JPG of 3072 x 2048, and it did "play".

I am, however, having the same problem with this plug-in as I did when trying to play "The Landing" earlier. (here ---> http://www.adventuremaker.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=12695&highlight=landing#12695) The screen breaks up. The sides of the cube appear to move over top of one another and the edges become smeared.

Here's a screenshot (reduced to 75%) -
Image

My computer specs are -
Intel D975X BX2 MB
Quad Core Q6600
2.40 GHz, 3.25 GB RAM
NVidia GeForce 8800 GTX
Windows XP Pro SP2

I just checked again and I do have the latest drivers installed. I really do hope that this is just something happening on my computer. In which, case perhaps I can figure it out.
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Postby Von Knudenberg » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:49 am

I send my thanks too, from cold and wet Finland!

This is much needed plugin, almost essential to have. Now I'm much closer to make something which I have intended from the beginning. AM starts to look and feel just perfect tool to make games with this feature. No need to glance over the fence anymore and wait SCream (or any other engine). It is so easy with AM, but still the results can be very good.

But (time for "but-section") I have that very same problem what Imari stated there. I have tested different resolutions for pictures and every time it ends to act like that. I had (and have) this same problem with cylindrical plugin as well. Non of the settings have made difference so far.

My specs are:

AMD Sempron 3500+
1,5 GB RAM
NVidia GeForce 8800 GTS (Overclocked Edition)
Windows XP Media Center edition SP2

I have tried to adjust graphic card's settings and non of the adjustments didn't solve this problem. I really do hope also that we could figure this out. Now the plugin is (almost) useless with this problem.

Best regards,
Pete
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Postby Dalton » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:41 pm

That?s a great news! :D

But, i?m using the cylindrical panorama. Am i gonna have to create all the images again to have a better image with the cubic panorama? :?:
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Postby Imari » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:57 pm

Sorry, but yes you will need to rerender your images. A cubic panorama requires 6 square images (four sides plus a top and bottom), each capturing a 90 degree field of view.

There's a brief synopsis of panoramic types on Wikipedia.
http://www.panotools.info/mediawiki/index.php?title=Panorama_formats
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Postby GM-Support » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:13 pm

Hi,

Thanks for your enthusiasm!


to Dalton: The cubic panorama plugin is currently not compatible with the cylindrical one. I am not sure if it will be possible in a future build to enable both of them in the same project (the problem is the fact that there are 2 DirectX devices open at the same time). I will keep you updated.


to Imari and Von Knudenberg: I have attached to this message a newer version of the file "CubicPanoramaPlugin_ID1.ocx". Please do the following:

1) Close Adventure Maker
2) Extract the attached file, copy the extracted file into the "Plugins" folder of Adventure Maker, and make sure to REPLACE the old one.
3) Launch Adventure Maker, test your cubic panorama project and, when entering a panoramic scene, make sure that a message box appears saying '"This is the beta 1.2". If you don't get this message, it means that you are still using the old version of the file.

I have made several changes to the way the polygons are rendered, so there are chances that it will fix the problem (I cannot reproduce your problem on my computer, so I cannot verify by myself).


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CubicPanoramaPlugin_ID1.ocx.zip
The version 1.2 of the OCX
(32.68 KiB) Downloaded 505 times
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Postby Imari » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:35 pm

Sorry GM, but this did not fix the problem on my computer. I did get the beta message. Also, when trying to go to another frame I received multiple error messages saying that the Scripting Engine was already running a script.
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Postby GM-Support » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:37 pm

Ok thanks.

I will try something else then.
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Postby GM-Support » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:31 pm

Ok, attached is the beta 1.3.

I hope this is the good one.
Attachments
CubicPanoramaPlugin_ID1.ocx.zip
The version 1.3 of the OCX
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Postby Imari » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:07 pm

I'm so sorry, GM, but this did not fix the problem. It did, however, remove the error message. I did see the Beta 1.3 tag.
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Postby GM-Support » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:10 pm

:(

Does the problem behave the same in the beta 1.3 as in the first beta?
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Postby Imari » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:52 pm

Yes, I'm afraid it does.

It's as though some of the sides of the cube are moving with the cursor, while some are left behind. The sides that do not move are partially covered as the "moving" sides slide over them. The junctions between the areas look smeared as though about 4 or 5 pixels at the the edge repeat multiple times.

If other people would like to test this.... I quickly made four rudimentary cubic landscapes and have used the pano tool to combine them into the AM format. (Love that stitcher!) The scenes were made with 512 x 512 images, so the quality is not great, but they should do for testing on other computers.

I can email them or else I'll find one of those free download places, if anyone is interested. The zip file is 3.4 MB.

EDIT: I uploaded the zip file with the four panos to rapidshare--- > http://rapidshare.com/files/94840010/AMPanos.zip.html
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Postby Candle » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:57 pm

I just gave it a try with your pictures Imari and it work fine.
I have a 19" wide screen, maybe something to do with it?
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Postby Imari » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:21 pm

Good news, Candle. I'm glad to hear it, and Ancient Rein also seems to have gotten the plug-in to work. He suggested that I try running without hardware acceleration, but I tried reducing the setting in increments without success. If I move the slider too far to the left, it disables DirectDraw. Then the panos will not run at all.

Just for curiousity, what version of DX are you running? Ancient Rein and I both have DX 9.0c.
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Postby Candle » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:34 pm

Looks like the same
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Postby GM-Support » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:48 pm

Imari wrote:Just for curiousity, what version of DX are you running? Ancient Rein and I both have DX 9.0c.


As far as I am concerned I have version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904).

For those who are wondering how to know the version number, just click the Start Menu, click "Run", and then execute "dxdiag". A window will appear with the DirectX version on it.


Imari: are the "sides that do not move" always the same when you look around, or do they change as you rotate the camera?
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Postby Von Knudenberg » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:18 pm

It seems that when the new face of the cube (be it left, right, top or bottom) appears it won't "slide", but stays still. Only the edge of that certain picture will stretch and multiply. When the cubic has rotated enough it shows the face correctly. This happens when looking up or down, left or right. Only the picture which from I'm moving to another continues it's movement normally.

I hope I didn't just repeat what has said. But this is how I would explain this with my lousy English.

The DirectX version is 9.0c, same version number as stated above.
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Postby Imari » Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:22 pm

Von Knudenberg has said it very well. It happens with all sides of the cube. Most often the bottom and one side tend to move together. If I move left, the right side and "floor" planes move left, but the front facing plane remains fixed. If I then start to move to the right, the "smearing" of the edges occurs as I pull back.

Since last posting, I have tried various refresh rates for my monitor, and have flashed the bios for my MB. Neither seems to have fixed the problem for me. I also ran dxdiag without any errors.
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Postby GM-Support » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:49 pm

Hi,

There may be a problem with "back face culling" and zorder, causing some triangles not to be rendered. I have changed the polygons so that each face of the cube is now two-sided. I have also changed several rendering parameters. Attached is the new Beta 1.4. EDIT: link removed because the beta 1.4 has problems.

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Last edited by GM-Support on Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Imari » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:18 am

Hi GM,

I wanted to let you know that I am having similar, though lesser, problems with tests using the earlier cylindrical panorama. I'm guessing this all has to do with something on my computer, though I'm not the only one having problems.

I'll test this next version out right now and will get back to you in a few minutes. It must be getting late in the evening in your part of the world.

~Cleo
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Postby Imari » Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:42 am

GM,
With Beta 4 version installed, I'm getting something very peculiar. It looks as though the composite image is being rendered infinitely in a tunnel-like effect.

Reduced screenshot -
Image

That screen was taken as soon as the frame loaded and without moving the cursor. Once I move the cursor, that entire image that you see in the screenshot moves around with the cursor as one plane, and becomes surrounded by the streaky edges seen earlier.

I really think that this may have to do with some incompatibility between my computer and.... something in AM. Maybe the NVidia 8800 card? That seems to be about the only commonality with Von Knudenberg's computer.

I did check again and all of my drivers are up to date --- MB, chipset, audio, video card, etc. I wish that I could be of more help. Perhaps if others will test the plug-in and weigh in with their computer specs and results, we'll learn more.

Thanks again for spending so much time on this.
~C
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Postby Von Knudenberg » Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:27 am

I have thought that too, Imari. That the problem could be something with 8800 card. I have same result with new 1.4 Beta version. And that same "smearing" problem still can be seen...

We definitely need to search-and-hunt this bastard down. Men and women! Attach your bayonets and face those evil cubic freedom fighters! Let's sweep those cowards from the world of AM, once and for all!

Fight continues,
Pete
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Postby Imari » Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:04 am

I switched back to the Beta 3 version and tried several combinations of settings in the Dx9 Control Panel, but nothing seems to make real difference, other than turning off Direct3d and Direct Draw, which causes the panorama to be replaced with a gray screen during run. :cry:

I also fiddled with the setting in the NVidia Control Panel, but nothing that I tried stopped the tearing and smearing of the image.

Manana.... :P
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Postby MarkSA » Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:08 am

I have installed the first version of the plugin in AM4.3 and it works fine.

Beta1.4 went all wonky

Beta1.3 Works okay

I have tried one of Imari panos and it appeared to me to work okay.

DX9.C and a 6600 gt card
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Postby GM-Support » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:01 pm

Imari wrote:It looks as though the composite image is being rendered infinitely in a tunnel-like effect.

:shock:

I never thought this could be possible.

Amazing. :shock:
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Postby Imari » Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:05 pm

GM said -
I never thought this could be possible.

Amazing.


Pretty Amazing, huh? I admit, it made me laugh. :lol:

I'm afraid that perhaps we're trying to solve a problem related to the NVidia 8800 video card's (mis)handling of Direct Draw.
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