Project Name: Contrast Mediaplayer
Project Author: Contrast Solutions (www.contrastsolutions.net)
Project Description: To provide the CarPC community with an interface for easy interaction through touchscreens and various other input types.
Basic Idea: The interface would be a 3d "world" so to speak that would be rendered through OpenGL. Now you are probably thinking that the onboard video on your Mini-ITX wouldn't support 3d very well, but since there will be no more than like 1000 polygons drawn per frame I think that with proper optimizations for the VIA processor type this wouldn't be an issue.
The interface would feature 3d objects with which the user would interact with. For instance take the playlist manager for example, this interface could be done via a 3d rotating cylinder much like a rolodex. Basically the song titles would rotate around a 3d cylinder as you scroll through the songs.
Other aspects of the application where the 3d interface would be seen is via the menu transitions between menus or the various screens of the software. Buttons from menus could fly off into space while the next screen zoomed to the foreground of the users screen from the center of the window.
There are many other places where 3d could be used, such as a metaball or a similar object for the visualization section of the player.
Now whats probably going through your mind is, "wouldn't this be more distracting than a normal 2d interface?" And my answer to that is probably not because the default skin would be fairly minimalistic vs other players currently avalible. It wouldn't be any more distracting than your current player, and aslong as you don't drive the car while eating a burger and watching a movie then it wont be a problem really.
So what I am asking from you guys is what are your ideas on such a project as this? What features would you like to see in it, any ideas for this?
Also this project will NEVER be sold, so it will always be freeware/donationware so don't get the impression that I am trying to sell software I developed based off of your ideas. Hell if you sent me a donation I might not even accept it because this is my way to give back to the community I have come from.
If you have any ideas or suggestions on this then feel free to share them. I will try to get some menu/screen designs up in the next day or so. But I may be limited on that as I start a new job Monday.
My next generation Front End is right on schedule.
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Oh I meant to add this into the original post, but oh well.
The 3d engine that would drive the application is already completed. This engine provides everything I would need from 2d gui to custom model/map formats. So really developments already underway
From what you describe this project sounds awesome. Can't wait for it to come out.
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I would love to see some screenshots
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I have played with various 3d desktops, there are some linux projects and one that we did back at PARC years ago. We found that they were nowhere near as usable as a 2d desktop. 3d works in games, but seldom in UI's. Sun tried it too, and that didnt work out.
I hope it works out, maybe its time to try this again, possibly the car is an environment where it can be made to work.
The Epia M's graphics are well capable of handling this, in fact all modern 3d accelerated cards could cope with this. If they can do games even at low FPS then this kind of task is well within their reach.
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Thanks for the input all.
I finished up the SoundCore this evening. I hope to begin work on the actual interface objects tomorrow or the day after, I just have to fix a few things with the engine framework before that will happen.
I am using FMOD for sound right now, which is basically just my interface for DirectSound. My reasons for FMOD are because it already supports a few different sound drivers, and if I keep most of the code OS independent then I may end up using this thing on linux later, heck even Mac OSX would be able to run it with minimal changes.
More updates to come. Next week I hope to have some preliminary screenshots and interface designs up.
I am just in awe! great great great idea...and i would be more than happy to donate for being such a great community member
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I worry about the usability of such a system in a car, but I'm eager to see a beta. Once I take a look at it I'll be able to tell.
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