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Jet Visualisation Plugin v1.1

software


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Jet Visualisation Plugin v1.1

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Coded By Rowan Wyborn (rowan@irrational.com.au)

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General

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Jet is a winamp visualisation plugin that combines 2D feedback effects with 3D rendering (on supported cards). Jet requires a minimum of an MMX processor and DirectX 7 compatible 2D video card to run. Extended MMX processors (Athlon, Duron, PIII, PIV, Celeron2), and DirectX 7 compatible Multi-texture 3D accelerators are optionally supported. Jet looks best when used on mp3 files with no EQ enabled.



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Plugin Keys

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The following keys all do stuff while the plugin is running:

'i' : Toggles between 14114y243o frame rate and current effect information

's': Brings up current song information

'p' : Pause effect transitions. If the current output of jet looks cool, and you want to watch it for a bit longer, press 'p', and this will stop any new effects from transitioning in. Press 'p' again to resume normal operation.

'g' : Switch to a new Generator effect, while keeping current transform and 3d effect.

't' : Switch to a new Transform effect, while keeping current generator and 3d effect.

Switch to a new 3d Effect, while keeping current generator and transform.

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Render Options

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Video Modes: Jet is a full colour plugin only, and hence runs in 16 or 32 bit modes. 16 bit mode is the fastest, but does suffer from dithering artefacts. 24/32 bit modes look identical, with 24 bit being faster than 32 bit. Most 3d accelerators don't support rendering to 24 bit buffers, and hence 3d Hardware Effects will usually be disabled in 24 bit mode.

Use 3d Hardware Effects: Most of the effects in jet are done entirely in software on the host CPU, however there are some special effects which require a 3d accelerator card. It is highly recommended that you enable hardware effects if you have a 3d accelerator. The check box will be greyed out if there is no 3d accelerator present, or if the 3d hardware does not support rendering in the current video bit depth.

Use Hardware TnL: This enables hardware transform and lighting on 3d effects. This will help jet run faster when 3d effects are enabled, as many calculations will now be offloaded from the CPU onto the video card. Currently only supported by nVidia G-Force cards, and also the ATi Radeon.

Use Extended MMX: On processors that support the extended MMX instruction set, jet can take advantage of certain features to greatly increase frame rate (on average frame rate is doubled). Current processors that support Extended MMX instructions include the Intel Pentium III/IV, and the AMD Athlon. If you don't have a supported processor, this check box will appear greyed out.

Lock Frame Rate: All effects in jet are designed to look best at around 30fps. If jet is running too fast in the current video mode, you can lock the frame rate to a specified number of frames per second, and jet will make sure that this frame rate is never exceeded, hence slowing things down to the right level.

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Timing Options and the Jet Pipeline

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The final output generated by jet consists of 3 stages, these are as follows:

- Generators: These are the images actually drawn to the screen representing the input sound, eg a flat orange waveform, a blue circular waveform etc

- Transforms: After a generator is drawn to screen, it is morphed by the current transform, causing the colours to 'flow' across the screen in a certain way.

- 3d Effects: These are the final effects that are applied by the 3d hardware present (if 3d hardware effects are enabled). These further modify the output in a few funky ways, or overlay 3d images on the existing output.

The Timing options panel allows the time taken for each effect to be set. When an effects time has finished, it will transition into a new effect. Transform effects are pre-calculated in the background while the current effect is running, hence setting the time between transform effects to a low value can actually slow down the frame rate a bit, as more data needs to be pre-calculated per frame.

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Known Issues

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Jet has been tested on, and is known to work completely (with 3d effects enabled) on the following video cards:

Matrox G400,G450

ATi Radeon

3dfx Voodoo5500

NVidia TnT2, Geforce, Geforce2, Geforce MX

Jet does NOT support 3d effects on the 3dfx Voodoo3 or Voodoo2. This is due to a texturing limitation on these cards. I have attempted a work around, but it is so slow that it will not run in real time.

Jet has a beat detection and frequency analysis module that controls the colour of the output waveforms. This module has intentionally been tuned to look best on mp3 files with no EQ enabled. Enabling winamp's EQ will cause the plugin's colours to wash out to a very bright white. This problem may also occur when running jet 'live' on the line in with a high volume input. If this happens, try turning down the soundcards input volume. Future versions of jet will have more robust frequency analysis.

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Mini FAQ

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Q: "I installed jet, but it's not appearing in winamp's visualisation plugin list. What's going on?"

A: The original version of jet (v1.0) had this problem when certain Microsoft DLL's were not present on a system. This has been fixed in version 1.1. If jet v1.1 still doesn't appear in your plug-ins list, check the following things:

go to your winamp/plugins directory, and make sure there is a file called vis_jet.dll there. If it is not there, then jet was installed in the wrong directory. Try reinstalling jet, but make sure the install directory points to your actual winamp directory.

Bring up winamp preferences (Ctrl + P), and click on 'Plug-ins'. Make sure that the "visualisation plug-in directory" is the actual directory that jet was installed into. (ie vis_jet.dll is located in that directory)

Bring up winamp preferences (Ctrl + P), and click on 'Plug-ins'. Click on the "Flush plug-in name cache" button a few times.

If after trying the above, jet still doesn't appear in the plug-ins list, then you probably do not have Direct X 7 (or higher) installed. If Direct X is installed, then your video card drivers may not support it properly. Either way, try upgrading to the latest version of Direct X, and also the latest drivers for your video card (most manufacturers will have them available for download from their web sites).

Q: "I have a voodoo3/2, why can't I use 3d effects?"

A: Unfortunately texturing limitations on the earlier voodoo cards prevents them from running jet's 3d effects properly. Jet will automatically disable 3d effects if one of these cards is detected.

Q: "I have computer X with video card Y, and jet doesn't work... what's wrong?" or even "Jet doesn't work!! Jet sucks!!! You suck!!"

A: I don't mind helping people out if jet is not running on their system... but I need more information than just 'its not working'. Tell me as much detail about your system as possible, and also exactly what is not working, ie does it crash your computer? Or run with a blank screen? Or run with garbled images? The more info you give, the more likely I am to respond with a solution.

Q: "I have an X GHz CPU with super-powerful-mega-wonderful video card Y. Why does jet still run so slowly at high resolutions?"

A: First of all, unlike all 3d games today, the vast majority of jet's calculations are done entirely on the host CPU... having a fast video card will not speed up jet much. (a Matrox G400 is more than capable of dealing with jets 3d requirements). Secondly, jet is a very memory intensive program. At 800x600x32 bit and 30fps, it is moving close to a gigabyte of data around per second. At this point, system memory bandwidth starts acting as a bottleneck, meaning that no matter how fast the CPU is the frame rate will drop.

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Version History

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V

Additions:

Optimised 3d pipeline to give much better performance when 3d effects are enabled (especially on nVidia cards)

Added support for Hardware TnL

New 3d effects (Spectre and Displacement Vortex)

New Transforms (Turbulence, Polar Flow, Melt and Distortion Swirls)

New plugin keys

Bug Fixes:

Fixed bug where jet would not appear in the visualisation plugin list

Fixed some init/shutdown bugs

Fixed 3d effect bugs on Voodoo5500 in 32 bit mode

Fixed Pipeline stall when using dynamic texturing on nVidia cards

V

Initial Release


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