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We're starting into 2020 with a couple of activities, culminating in the recently announced NODE2020 happening in October. So leading up to that, here is what we got for you in the first quarter of this year:
Every fourth Tuesday a month we're running a vvvv gamma intro workshop for total beginners. It goes for 2 hours and gives participants an idea of how it feels to work with vvvv gamma. Here you learn the fundamentals that you need to be able to follow further workshops or take the next steps on your own, continuing with online learning resources. Spread the word, send your friends and family!
The workshop costs 5€ and you can sign up here.
Right after every intro workshop, meaning also every fourth Tuesday a month, starting 8pm, we're running a vvvv meetup. Here we count on you: Have a project, demo or new library to show? Just come with your laptop and present. Low profile, no pressure. Doesn't need to be polished, rough around the edges is very welcome! Or just grab a drink and lean back...
The patching circle is a vvvv support group. Once a month, every second thursday, we're meeting to help each other out and find collaborators for our projects. So please join us for patching and drinks if you...
If you feel like coming to a meetup or patching circle, please announce your participation in our getogether events.
All the above are happening at the cozy NODE Institute, Wipperstrase 13 in 12055 Berlin/Germany. If you're running a similar event, be sure to also post an announcement here in the blog to get the attention of your local vvvvriends.
...we're announcing the immediate availability of the vvvv gamma 2019.2 series of previews, finally including one of the more anticipated features in vvvv history: Executable Export.
This means we are now in the final stage of the preview leading up to a proper initial release after the waves introduced by the new features in this series have been smoothed out.
Besides staying true to its nature of being a an easy to use and quick prototyping environment, vvvv is also a proper programming language with modern features, combining concepts of dataflow and object oriented programming:
While for now the number of libraries we ship is limited, the fact that you can essentially use any .NET libary directly mitigates this problem at least a bit. Besides there is already quite some user contributions available in the wip forum and here is what we ship:
A growing number of video tutorials is available on youtube.
We've announced the pricing model of vvvv gamma in a separate post. Until further notice, the previews of vvvv gamma are free of charge but due to its preview-nature we don't recommend using it in commercial scenarios yet.
Here you go: vvvv gamma 2019.2 preview 0140
0140 09 01 20
0081 16 12 19
0026 10 12 19
0015 06 12 19
Compared to the 2019.1 series
Unfortunately this preview introduces some breaking changes. This means that projects that were working fine with 2019.1 previews may no longer work correctly with 2019.2 previews! If you encounter such a situation and cannot resolve it on your own, please get in touch via forum or chat! Here is a list of possible problems you may encounter:
For technical details please see the blog post about the New Roslyn based backend.
We'll update this blogpost with new preview-releases regularly. Please check back often and report your findings in the chat, forum or a comment below!
Happy new year, evvvveryone! Welcome back and we hope you had some fine holidays. More than one year has passed since the last report. An update is well overdue. This post sums up last year’s (2019) progress on our upcoming 3d engine for vvvv gamma.
Xenko’s codebase is huge and even after one year, we are still in explorer mode. But help is near! As you might have read, Xenko’s lead developer Virgile Bello aka xen2 is now with us in Berlin. While his main focus is maintaining Xenko and building a community around it, he also helps us to achieve our goals faster by answering questions and fixing bugs that we encounter.
As it is still early, for each technology we work on, we try to focus on creating only the basic nodes required to get a working prototype. Because if we have to change something fundamentally, every node has to be adapted. Nevertheless, there are tons of nodes already.
Besides many little things, here are the main topics we worked on:
The scene graph is the fundamental data structure of the 3d engine. It contains the entities and scenes of your application. Most engines use a tree view to visualize and work with it. In vvvv, we have “Group” nodes to build the parent-child relations of entities.
For convenience, every group and entity got a transformation and name input. The name becomes handy for finding and accessing certain entities later programmatically or just for getting an overview. It also shows up in the tooltip.
The scene graph can become large and complex quite quickly. Especially when you are a brave patcher and you use sub-patches to stay organized. Sometimes you want an overview of the whole tree structure and see basic properties (at runtime, of course!). Luckily there was an older project for Xenko that traverses the entity tree and visualizes its components and properties.
We updated it to the latest Xenko version and imported it as a debug helper.
If you look at the options and properties of a material in Xenko it’s quite complex and some features require expert knowledge. To make things quick and easy, we made a few simple nodes to cover the basics.
We’ll also add texture-based versions of them and for more complex setups, you can always design the material in Game Studio and import it.
For almost every project you have to import content. Be it images, videos, models or just text files. This sounds trivial at first, but as you come closer to deployment, it gets more tricky to have everything at the right place. Even more so, with the new executable export in vvvv gamma.
Game engines usually solve it like this: Resource files like models, textures, etc. get imported via the editor and compiled to runtime assets. These asset files get placed next to the executable on compilation. This works well for static assets, but for rapid prototyping and changes at runtime, we need something more flexible. So we took the Xenko asset builder and adapted it to work at runtime. This allows for importing and building assets while the application is running.
Load single resource files directly from disk, aka FileTexture. Good thing is, this works together with Xenko’s asset database and caches already loaded files. So everything is pooled by default.
That’s a nice one, you can create a Xenko project in Game Studio, work on Assets, Scenes, Prefabs, etc and import everything at once with the LoadProject node. It even updates on save!
Since we work directly with Xenko’s data types, imported entities are in no way different from patched ones. You can access and modify them in the same way:
vvvv is known for treating shaders first class. The Xenko team seemed to have a similar attitude. They created their own shader language called XKSL. It is a superset of HLSL, so you can paste shader code from vvvv into an xksl file.
However, there is much more. They added quite unique features that make writing shaders easy, fast and clean. If that wasn’t enough, you can compose shaders with other shaders at runtime and avoid an explosion of shader permutations.
The well known TextureFX node-set in vvvv beta makes working with textures easy and fun. Of course, we want to have the same experience in vvvv gamma. But, with preview in the tooltip! There you go:
Visual shader programming with nodes? Yes, please! The composition feature of XKSL makes this easier than expected. Turns out, the Xenko team was working on something similar which made it relatively easy to build a node-set around it.
To test these nodes, we had the pleasure to have Kyle McLean in our office for some days and worked with him on porting FieldTrip nodes to VL.Xenko.
FieldTrip is a modular shader library Kyle McLean created for vvvv beta. It includes raymarching and general tools to work with scalar fields and vector fields on the GPU.
We ended up with a working prototype, as you can see in this video from the vvvv berlin meetup:
Since Xenko has no native instancing for their material shaders yet, we tried to use stream out aka transform feedback to transform a mesh multiple times and build one big vertex buffer that works with the Xenko material pipeline. The node works nicely and takes a Mesh, a material, and the instance transformations. You can easily draw a few thousand instances with it. The header image was mostly done with it.
The bigger your project gets, the more important it is to know how well your shaders perform. Thanks to Xenko’s profiler infrastructure we can give every shader a profiler key and see it listed in the GPU page:
There are still some topics left in order to make VL.Xenko as convenient as we like it to be.
One major feature that vvvv beta does exceptionally well is working with multiple windows. Games are usually focused on one output window. In order to get this to work, we have to find a solid way to instantiate multiple windows in Xenko and render content into them. This requires some coding behind the scenes. We are planning to get this done by early 2020.
At the moment one still needs Visual Studio to set up a VL.Xenko project. This should, of course, be just a one-click package installation as we have it with other VL libraries. Initial tests went well and we are confident that this will work out just fine.
Because of legal reasons about the trademark, Xenko has to do a re-branding and will be called Stride soon. We'll of course follow along and will rename the library to VL.Stride.
If you want to know more about something specific or have any remarks or requests, don't hesitate to leave a comment below.
That’s it for now, looking forward to NODE20 and more exciting patches in 2020.
Previously on vvvv: vvvvhat happened in November2019
still no bigfat vvvv gamma release but we're now really getting close. See what we've just released last month:
This means we're now basically feature complete and are planning for an initial release in Q1.2020! More tweaks and fixes will happen for the export and we'll do some more work on the help browser to make it even more useful. Meanwhile please keep reporting your buggers and help us make this a solid first release.
Documentation-wise there've been three updates: A new Section on IOBoxes in the gray book and two new how to videos:
And the biggest news of all: NODE20 is happening! Just in time so that we'll have 3d-support in vvvv gamma and hopefully finally match most features of vvvv beta. Ideally we'll have at least a first version of VL.Xenko out before, so that some of you can even already prepare workshops with it... Curious about our progress there? Expect a separate blogpost with a wrap-up of latest developments shortly.
A few updates:
woei opensourced two of his contributions:
And there's been some action in the work-in-progress section on the forum:
And some more fresh from the vimeo group:
That was it for December. Anything to add? Please do so in the comments!
Who NODE 2020
When Fri, Oct 2nd 2020 - 13:36 until Thu, Oct 8th 2020
Where Mousonturm + other Venues, Frankfurt, Germany
2019 comes to an end and we are glad to be able to announce the next festival edition for 2020 just before this year ends. It is finally official. NODE Forum for Digital Arts will be happening in October 2020 in Frankfurt. We got the locations and the date. So please save that date and equip yourself with patches, projects, questions, presentations.
See also the public announcement
Within the next month, we will be developing the professional program together with you. As usual, we will focus on vvvv, but also invite other communities to plugin to the program to foster exchange and skills and support social and technical integrations from community to community and software to software. As soon as we have some open doors you will be informed..
Lets bring it to life again and create a festival from which we as a community as well as new users and curious minds can expect the finest and most relevant workshops and masterclasses to learn about creative patching techniques from experts and new talents from the international digital art and design scene.
Together with Mousonturm and other international partners, we are also developing the discursive and cultural program for you. We will soon release our next leitmotif that shall be reflected within the community program, exhibition, lectures, talks and labs – so stay tuned for the open call to contribute with your ideas and projects!
A word on whats beendiscussed at last link. There has been the idea to run a community summit separetly from the node festival. This is indeed something that has been discussed intensly with many people and relevant partners. For now we decided to keep things together and let NODE Forum for Digital Arts be our community gathering as it always was. With all the topics and discussion we need.
What should I do next?
You may starting to collect topics and workshops here on vvvv.org and contact us for urgent requests.
You may start making travel arrangements as the date is fixed. It makes sense to think of Thursday 1st or Friday 2nd as the arrival date and to plan your trip back home on October 9th earliest so we can have a final party on the 8th. We will be releasing the tickets soon.
In the meantime watch that video from the previous edition and get into the mood.
looking forward to see you all again.
A summary of the main changes in respect to the previous blog post:
1) Indie is now up to 50k€ revenue
2) We removed the idea of a product license, meaning you don't need to license devices that run an executable exported from vvvv!
3) There are now only 2 types of licenses that are needed to run vvvv itself: Developer and Device (See below for details)
4) We simplified monthly payment
We recently released a new preview of vvvv gamma, including executable export. This makes it feature-complete for our first official release in early 2020. We're now only ironing out bugs and tweaking the help/onboarding experience a bit further. So what you see now is what you'll get, when you buy a license to use it commercially. Therefore now is the time to inform you about the licensing options we have planned for it. Note: This does not mention any discounts that we're still planning to apply for early adopters.
Trust me, when I tell you that this is the most rewritten blog-post we ever published. Creating a suitable licensing model seems far more complex than creating the software itself.
Foremost it is important for us to keep our (pattern pending) T.R.U.S.T model, which means:
That's the world we want to live in and we hope you too! We don't believe in any form of copy-protection or artificial feature limitations that usually only restrict honest users. Others will always find a way around such restrictions and thus not be bothered anyway. We're all grown-ups here. If vvvv helps you make a living, then help us make a living by providing vvvv for you. How simple is that?!
Same as above, this is what we believe in. In the end, everything always comes down to education and equal access to it. We don't want to be responsible for anyone to not have the pleasure of learning vvvv.
There are commercial educational institutions that could make us a lot of money indeed. But also we're smart businessmen and know how to cash in on the free drugs we hand out now, later.
Further, it is in the interest of any professional user of vvvv to quasi support the free educational use as this keeps the flow of new talents steady. WinWinWin.
So why not simply keep the existing licensing model? Indeed, to make this clear: The licensing for vvvv beta will not change! As long as you're not interested in vvvv gamma, everything stays exactly the same for you (except you're missing out quite a bit! Just sayin...).
But then, regarding vvvv gamma, there are a couple of reasons to adapt the licensing model:
So bottom line up front: vvvv gamma is more and therefore requires a more defined licensing model.
We'll want you to declare your use of vvvv gamma using the following options:
Another thing we wanted to improve over the beta licensing model is the fact that we understand that vvvv is used in quite diverse scenarios regarding the financing that is behind them. To accommodate all of those on an individual basis is not really feasible. But at least we thought we can add an option on either end of the default "professional" user. So depending on who pays for a license, there will be different prices:
Subscriptions are optional and will be available for both yearly and monthly options. If you sign up for a yearly subscription, we thank you for that with a 30% discount from the second year on. Otherwise, subscriptions simply offer the convenience that you don't have to think about the validity of your license all the time.
Of course you can cancel a subscription at any time and if you had a yearly subscription (or a monthly subscription for more than 12 months) you then own the last version of vvvv that was available within your subscription period and you can keep using that version commercially indefinitely. A subscription that was canceled cannot be continued/updated at a later point. This means if you need an update to your license after you cancel the subscription you need to buy a full new license or start a new subscription.
Accommodating the various requirements of all types of users and use-cases is a tricky task. This paired with trying not to completely disregard the pricing politics of "the competition" but also adding our own ideas and still balancing an economically viable solution didn't make it any easier. We still hope that we found a way that can be sustainable for all of us.
We are aware that the above may leave some questions open and we are ready to further refine the fine print and add examples to make it easier for everyone to declare their licenses. Please help us do so by asking your questions in the comments below, so we can understand where we need to get more specific.
If my installation/show is running from an executable, do I need a Device License in addition to my Developer License?
Can I use my Developer license to run vvvv on a device in a museum?
No, the two Device licenses your Developer license covers can only be used during development. Device licenses for deployment need to be acquired separately.
My project (a server and 5 clients) is running at a trade show for one week. I don't want to run them as executables because I need to be able to change things on the fly during the week. I am one developer and it takes me 2 months to develop the project. What licensing applies?
For deployment you'll need 6 monthly device licenses to cover the 6 devices running vvvv for one week. For the 2 month development time you have 2 PCs covered by your developer license. Assuming you're only using exactly the 6 PCs during development that means you'll need 4 additional device licenses for the 2 months of development.
We're two developers working on an installation distributed over 10 machines that will eventually only run an executable. But for development, we have vvvv running on our laptops and all 10 machines for convenient debugging.
You need two developer licenses, which cover 4 running instances of vvvv. You therefore need 6 additional device licenses for the time of development.
My commercial installation is running with a Device License. Does the maintainer of the installation need a Developer License?
Yes, to keep things unambiguous, every developer needs to be covered by a development license when working on or maintaining a commercial vvvv project.
Can a single Developer License be shared by multiple developers?
Yes, but only as long as they are not working at the same time. Even though a single developer license covers two Device licenses it only covers one developer at a time!
I am a freelancer with less than 50k € gross annual revenue. Do I still have to buy a Professional license?
The key to your decision here is whether you consider yourself a professional freelancer. If you are working mostly for professional companies who clearly have to buy professional licenses, then you also buy a professional license or make sure the company covers you. You don't want to be just a cheaper option for those companies by buying an indy license and then working professionally for them.
Aren't software subscriptions a bad thing?
Not if done right, meaning that you can keep the last version once you stop paying if paid for some time (see above). And remember: they are optional.
With vvvv beta we clearly missed quite some opportunities by not providing a clear getting started path for newcomers. Only 15(!) years after launch we added a Getting Started page. Around the same time we added some built-in tutorials you'd see on startup plus some links to documentation, forum and chat. But those would be gone forever once you decided to hide the welcome-patch on startup.
So this time around, we wanna try something different...
The screenshot shows the current status of the helpbrowser as it comes with the latest previews of vvvv gamma 2019.2. It will open by default for every new user and offer a series of tutorials and example patches and encourage to explore the documentation. Obviously we now need to provide many more tutorials, examples and add more documentation, but this provides a structure to fill.
For now, the most useful pages of the documentation are HowTo and Shortcuts which are both searchable. And note that the content of the HowTo tab is dynamically sourced from all packages you have installed! Most other links in the browser go to external sources (youtube, graybook) but we're planning to someday include more content in the browser directly.
The second tab is still rather dry for now but at least is supposed to give new users an overview of the most important entrypoints that are available to our univvvverse. Later we'll want to make this tab a bit more lively by e.g. showing some of the latest live content of those entrypoints. Think latest forum topics, news, screenshots of the day...
When Thu, Dec 12th 2019 - 20:00 until Thu, Dec 12th 2019 - 23:00
Where NODE Institute, Wipperstraße 13, Berlin, Germany
Once a month, every second thursday, we're hosting a "patching circle". Please join us for drinks and patches if you...
vvvv devs and other members of the community will be there to help and share their experience.
Wipperstraße 13 is our new space - for asking questions, collaborating and keeping yourself on your personal level of superhuman programming skills!
Who tonfilm, elias, david
When Fri, Dec 13th 2019 - 11:00 until Fri, Dec 13th 2019 - 18:00
Where NODE Institute, Wipperstr. 13, Berlin, Germany
For the spontanous who are in Berlin or can make it to Berlin..
This one might help to understand the deeper fundamentals of vvvv gamma..
You will learn how to:
Once again later than we hoped for, but here it is: vvvv beta 39 in all its glory! Many thanks go to everyone who reported issues with the release-candidates! Here are the highlights:
If you're also using VL already, good for you, because here you'll find even more goodies you will benefit from:
Besides those, it is important to understand that with VL you also have access to numerous more libraries that have been released recently. A lot of new packs these days come as nugets. For an overview, see VL packs on nuget.org and you can use them all in vvvv beta, via VL...
This is a good moment to get started with VL. Note that everything you learn and do with VL can later be applied to the upcoming vvvv gamma since VL is what both vvvv beta and gamma share. If you haven't already, check out these Tutorials and HowTos!
Have a good patch,
PS: People who liked this release also liked The vvvv Show-Off-Reel
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