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Since the first public preview release in summer 2020, we've made steady progress and released many updates based on feedback and bug reports. In case you didn't follow the daily changes, this blog post highlights additions you might have missed and are worth checking out.
First and foremost, we added loads of new help and example patches. It is already a nicely browsable list in the help browser, with more in development:
A core feature of vvvv is to have a live preview of your data. And since you can patch your own tooltips to do exactly that, we patched previews for Materials, Models, Meshes, and Textures. More to come!
A Material describes the rendering pipeline. This is very fundamental and after working with the first iteration for a while we found some improvements:
We reduced the number of base nodes and added easier building blocks to customize a material. There are help patches for most of these, check the help browser and the material category in the node browser. It basically mirrors the Stride documentation.
The parameters of a material are GPU values, either float or color. For the GPU a color is just a vector with 4 components, so we now have inputs of type GPU<Float32> and GPU<Vector4>. We simplified the node-set in a way that you can use a single value, a texture, or any dynamic GPU value. There are also nodes to input different values per instance. The reworked nodes are internally built with ShaderFX. If you are interested, have a look inside the new nodes to get an idea of how you can build your own.
Compiling complex materials takes a while because there are often several shader stages involved. Stride has a mechanism to compile a material in the background and cache the compiled shaders on disc. So the next time the same material is used, it loads almost instantly. So when you see a geometry blinking green, it means that the material is compiling in the background and will be saved to disc. If it is blinking red, the material has an error.
In practice, this means a patch loads much faster the next time you open it.
Rendering any scene into a VR headset is now straightforward, just have a look at the new help patch.
When you build on-screen displays you often need pixel or device-independent units (DIP). And if images are involved, they should keep the same aspect as they are stored. For these tasks, we now have new nodes that calculate these spaces for you. And the QuadRenderer got aspect ratio modes that depend on the connected texture:
Simulating a perspective that behaves like looking through a window is an important tool. It allows you to create cameras for interesting things like virtual productions and head tracking. There is also a help patch to get you started.
You can now share textures with other software using Spout or shared textures. Spout 2 support is also planned for the next release.
This workflow is for advanced users. It allows you to attach a patch as a sync script to an entity. That's a common workflow in ECS-based game engines and you can find many tutorials on youtube that use this design pattern.
In some cases, this has an advantage over just placing an entity node in a patch and building logic around it. For example, you can retrieve your attached script-patch from the entity somewhere else and call operations on it. You can check out a use case in the forum thread How can I modify a material without changing the original node?. There is a help patch as well.
So far, we released two video tutorials:
After we’ve done many pull requests that fix bugs and add features that we need, we switched to the official Stride release nuget packages. This allows for an easy workflow when you load a Stride project since the version now matches to what the Stride installer downloads by default.
Got some fixes, however, there is one known bug. In a multiscreen setup, when the window is too far on the right on one screen, it goes fullscreen on the next screen to the right. We’ll try to fix this in the upcoming releases, of course.
Easy node to write textures to disc. You can use this in combination with the incremental main loop mode to export animations.
Most high-level nodes, like Sphere, DirectionalLight, and so on, are simple patches made from more fundamental building blocks. A good way to think about them is to see them as a "default setup" and not a finished black box.
So if you miss a feature, or a node does too much, look inside and copy parts of it, or the whole definition into your personal library document to customize it.
We also try to stay as close as possible to the Stride documentation. So if you are looking for more info on a certain feature, it is always worth peeking into it.
If you have a useful addition or you want to contribute in any other way, you are welcome to fork VL.Stride on GitHub and make a pull request. We are always happy about new help and example patches.
As a first step we want to improve:
We'll also add these features:
And we are also working together with the FUSE team on more advanced rendering node libraries built on top of VL.Stride.
Looking forward to seeing what you will create with it! -> Latest download is always here.
P.S.: The gallery of VL.Stride impressions also got some new additions.
Here we are now!
Getting vvvv gamma 2021.3 out, including the 3d engine VL.Stride, was the last big milestone to bring vvvv gamma up to par with (and far beyond) vvvv beta. One could think this would give us a bit of a break but far from. The next big mountain we're looking forward to climb is right in front of us and it is called: .NET5.
.NET is the framework that vvvv gamma is built on and version 5 was just released a few months ago. It comes with a lot of goodies but also a bit of work for us to adopt to it. So moving vvvv gamma to .NET5 is our next big priority which we plan to ship with 2021.5 towards the end of the year.
Before that, we're planning to release 2021.4 around the end of May in which we take a lot of preparational steps towards .NET5 but don't do the switch yet. Like this, we're hoping to not delay the next release for too long and already get some nice things out earlier.
So here is a first attempt at a public roadmap. Let's see how that goes...
Since we now have the most common things in place, we're going into a cleanup phase here with these priorities:
A big focus will also be on further improving VL.Stride:
We all have a lot of wishes in this area but tackling some of the bigger things here will still have to wait for the switch to .NET5. For now, we're concentrating on the following:
While there are many ideas how to improve the language with new features, we will need to focus on a cleanup of an already shipped language feature: with this release, we'll fix some bits regarding generic type definitions.
Planning a release ahead is difficult and can be disappointing when you mostly see the things that again didn't make it to the shortlist. We've also already laid out 2021.5 and 2021.6 internally but don't yet feel comfortable publishing them yet. The move to .NET5 still has a few unknowns that we want to better understand before we talk more about it. Therefore in the meantime, we only offer a few general notes about our further agenda. To be reviewed after each major release.
Apart from the upcoming major releases, we're committed to regular smaller bug-fix releases to the current 2021.3.x branch.
As always, you can follow our development by test-driving the daily previews.
When Tue, Mar 30th 2021 - 13:30 until Tue, Mar 30th 2021 - 18:00
Where The NODE Institute, Germany
When it comes to timelines and tools to create data narratives vvvv never offered many options. Kairos is not only a tool to finally address this need. It also introduces a vast range of possibilities for managing live data and controlling your applications.
Starting from the comprehension of the very essence of kairos principles, we’ll then familiarize with the library node set and patch together some use case scenarios.
Soon it will be obvious that Kairos is not only a solution for common known problems, but truly a new land to be explored, where to shape new methodologies and creative paths.
You are learning directly from Instructor Natan Sinigaglia (aka dottore), who is the developer behind VL.Kairos and other vvvv libraries such as the UI library VL.Elementa .
Unfortunately we have to postpone the workshop due to important improvements in the Kairos development and also private scheduling difficulties. The new date is March 30, 2020 from 13:30 - 18:00
Join the discussion here: https://app.element.io/#/room/#VL.Kairos:matrix.org
News here: https://discourse.vvvv.org/t/kairos-software/15506
Previously on vvvv: vvvvhat happened in January 2021
What did you do in February?
Well, we did two releases:
We're already working on a beta 42 which will include the latest VL 2021.3 and also the next bigger gamma 2021.4 which we'll talk about in a separate blogpost.
We all met for the 8th online meetup and some of you also couldn't resist and once again made some great contributions:
There've also been some updates:
And as always have a look at the forums Work-In-Progress section for some more recent goodies...
That was it for February. Anything to add? Please do so in the comments!
If you haven't heard of vvvv yet: It is a visual live-programming environment that accompanies you from prototyping to final production. Here is what vvvv can do for you.
If you haven't heard of the Prototype Fund yet:
You can apply for our current application round until March 31, 2021 (11:59 p.m.).
As individual developers or small interdisciplinary project teams, you will receive up to €47,500 over six months from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. With this funding, you can write code and develop a first prototype of your software. In addition, we will connect you with tech and other relevant communities, support you with coaching, and advise you on project implementation and communication.
Who can apply?
Self-employed developers and small teams who live in Germany can apply for funding.
Your results must be made publicly available under an open source license.
For inspiration, here is a listing of previously funded projects.
And here are some reasons to use vvvv for your Prototype Fund project:
Let us know what you're working on. We'd love to hear from your projects!
this is vvvv beta 41, with mostly 3 changes over the previous release:
When Tue, Feb 23rd 2021 - 20:00 until Tue, Feb 23rd 2021 - 22:00
Save the date!
We're meeting up on February 23rd, 8pm CET to get insights into what everyone is patching on. How will this work? Something like the last time. So please invite all your vvvvriends and vvvvamily to join us!
Please do! Anything more or less related to vvvv, yourself and your projects. Share some thoughts, share your funny fails. Or just ask some questions...
No sign-up, no line-up! We'll just have this an open call that anyone can join. Surprise!
Any questions? Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there!
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