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Offline ART

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ScreenSets/PlugIns.
« on: June 30, 2006, 01:41:22 PM »
Hi All:
 
 As many of you know, screensets have always been a problem. Ive wanted to include many of them, and Im very impressed with some of them to the point Ive wanted to add them to the release package. The main trouble has been twofold. First, many resist new screens based on a variety of things, monitor types, entropy, colour aberations, functionallilty issues..etc.., it usually creates a bit of hard feelings when I try to make serious changes, and I resist making changes to things that have developed in an evolutionary way, screen darwinsim seems the best path to screen acceptance.  ( I wont even touch the theory of intelligent design as it relates to screens. :) )
 
  So, after this week looking at trying to incorporate the excellent work of Mr. Bean, Santini, and zealouse , not to mention a few others.. Ive found there is no way to do it without ruffling feathers or making the download impossibly huge. I am currently looking at reducing the size considerably over the next few weeks, so the size issue is important to me. I need to get all this done while we're still in the summer doldrums. (even the doldrums are busy this year. :) ). So the solution is one that Ive custom designed for us.
 
  Those that are playing with the G100 plugin releases as of late , have begun to use the new "Plugin Installer" which Mach3 automatically sets up the system to use. By clicking any file named ****.m3p , the system will install that file as a plugin. If that file resides on any web site, and it is clicked and "Open" is selected, your computer will install it as if it were local. Ive decided to use the same "Brain dead" installation for screensets.
  From next version onwards, any file called ****.m3s will be seen as an autoinstall screenset. Ive tested it with BlueSteel, both lathe and Mill versions, as well as zealouse's simple 3axis touch screen set. They all worked out perfectly. The only trick, is that a screenset must be in a particular format.
 
  For example, Ive recreated the Bluesteel screensets, by creating a blank folder with just the bluesteel.set file, and a subfolder called BitMaps with the bluesteel graphics folder ( InsomniaXLatheSet) in it.
I then just highlight the .set file(s) and the MillBitmaps folder, and create a self extracting zip file of all those contents. This self extracting BlueSteel.exe is then renamed to BlueSteel.m3s . This completes the creation of a self installing Mach3 screen system. When any *.m3s file is clicked, or selected as Open on the web, it will automatically be renamed to *.exe, copied to the root Mach3 folder (wherever it may be) and run as a file. This means it will automatically unzip into the correct spots, and be available to the layout/loadlayout menu item in Mach3.
 
Benny is on Vacation this week, but when he returns, I will be starting to send him all the screensets that people have taken the time to write, and we will add a new "ScreenSets" page to the website. By simply right clicking and selecting "Open" , those screensets may be fully installed. The same page will list all available plugins that are about to start coming out. Im doign this so plugins and screensets can very easily be installed, even by those with no computer aptitude. It should cut support quite a bit for screen loading and plugin maintenance.
 
  I have found , howver, that the THC screens are a mess. The bitmaps do not reside in proper folders and they are hard to find. SO if anyone has the time or inclination, or has a plasma screenset they really like, could you send me a ziped folder with the graphics in one folder, and the *.set file in the root of the zip file. Ill clean it up from there.  I want to support as many screen set types as is possible, so even if you have a 5 axis set or a 800x600 , or perhaps a 640x480 set that you like to use, feel free to send it along. As long as you send me all the graphics, and the .set or .lset file, Ill be able to clean it up, and create a .m3s file from it so that everyone can share the screen. Authors names will be posted ( unless they request it not be attributed) on the download page, and the authors will be entered inthe help/about matrix hall of fame page in Mach3. They will also have my gratitude, which sometimes comes in handy when someone wants somthing specific, but otherwise isnt terribly valuable. :-)  So far, I have three autoinstall screensets ready to go. MachBlue, SilverBlue, and SimpleScreen, I hope to get a few more before the web page is turned on. I cant officially support any of the THC screensets till I get some that are working, all the ones Ive checked seem to be missing graphics and such, so if anyone has one that works, please send it along.  Once a screenset is listed as publiclly available on the website, I will endeavor to support it, error reports will trigger a fix proceedure here so that various buttons and such get fixed over time and if the graphics permit. Its why I need a THC set that works, once listed, it will be maintained. (screens will be low priority maintenance, but they WILL get maintained at least.. :) )
 
    Ive seen an awfull lot of custom screens, and Ive heard from a few plugin authors working on various things, so anyone with plugins or screens, feel free to send them along. Its my hope that within a month or two, we'll have lots of toys for people to download when they feel like changing the look and feel of Mach3. When all that is done, and things are running well, Mach3 will lockdown to version Mach3, version 2.0.
  At that time we'll work on an addendum to the Mach3 docs to show important differences between 1.84's lockdown and version 2.0's full lockdown.  Version 2.0's lockdown will be an important one, as it will remove alot from the core to allow PlugIns to control various subfunctions currently done within Mach3, thus increasing stability and making the initial download as small as possible.
 
 Id like to move THC for example to a plugin just as the joystick was moved, same with ModIO, it will eventually (Ive seen the upcoming plugin--wow..) be removed from Mach3 in its current form and will be plugin supported only. Many plugins are planned, and all this is really a thrust to get Mach3 ready for such things. As soon as I get a bit further with the G100, myself and Brian will be starting the Probe PlugIn, to allow for rapid 3d prototypiing and many 2.5D probing functions to be done.  It will be a very interesting year in Mach upgrades. 
 
   I truly appreciate the hard work that has gone into some of the items I have seen, My hat is off to the screen experts Ive mentioned above, they have done a great job, I think in future its not enough to simply have their work languish on forums for those who investigate support enough to find them, its time to put them front and center of the website so anyone can easily get their very artistic endevours into their machine setup. As an aspiring artist myself, ( or is that expired artist.. ) I look at these things like paintings or sculptures of their own, and Ive felt kinda bad that while many download them (many being dozens), there are thousands that should see them, and likely many hundreds that would use them. I think these changes will allow them to be seen and used by an awful lot more people. Its just a matter of making the process as painless as possible..
 
(Sorry for the verbosity today.. been one of "those" days.. :-)
 
Thanks,
Art
www.artofcnc.ca
 
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Re: ScreenSets/PlugIns.
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2006, 11:22:22 PM »
Art, I watched some of the screen desgin video's and would really like to attempt to design a couple of screens. But I seem to recall a post here somewhere when you mentioned changes coming to Mach3 or the way the screens are used in the program. So, I'm wondering if I should be jumping in to the learning curve now and buying Realdraw ( it's actually pretty cheap), or should I wait for other developments at your end.

Can you provide a little guidance ?
David Morrow

Offline ART

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Re: ScreenSets/PlugIns.
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2006, 11:25:46 PM »
Hi David:

   The screen designer being done by a third party seems stalled. So no major changes will be coming real quick.
Id jump in, what you learn will always be applicable..

Thanks
Art

Offline CncBr

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Re: ScreenSets/PlugIns.
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2006, 02:16:21 AM »
Hi Art, 
 
As it will be installed them file of image. 
 
Regards
Junior

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Re: ScreenSets/PlugIns.
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2006, 07:20:14 AM »
Art,
I will implement the suggested changes in the next few days.

Offline CncBr

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Re: ScreenSets/PlugIns.
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2006, 07:36:55 AM »
Oh Thanks, Benny

I am with an idea, I will try to write and to post later

Best Regards Good Mem
Junior