Friday, December 28, 2007

Aladdin 4D Copy Protection

We want to go over the new proposed copy protection scheme in future versions of Aladdin 4D. Will it be dongle based? Will it be DRM based? Will it be look up a word in the manual based. The answer is .....drum roll....

None of the above! In fact Aladdin 4D will have no copy protection of any kind. The CEO of DiscreetFX still remembers days long gone on the Amiga platform. He would buy a new cool game and it would have disk based copy protection and word lookup manual based copy protection on the same title! The pirated versions of the same game would have no copy protection at all. So the pirate got a better and more functional version of the software even though they did not pay for it. He vowed that is not the way he would run a company. It may be a decision we later regret but the new version will have no form copy protection at all. What will go hand in hand with this though is you the customer don't give away copies of your purchased software. Aladdin's future depends on you the customer being honest. It is a critical time to be honest and support Aladdin 4D because it is going through the pain staking process of being revived after a long slumber. Updating and porting it to many platforms is a big task but with your support and help it will succeed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sexy Lightwaves

A few have asked if the plan for Aladdin 4D is to compete with other 3D animation programs that were also born on the Amiga platform like LightWave 3D or Cinema 4D. This is not the plan though. LightWave 3D 9.3 is a very advanced 3D application that has been developing and maturing for many many years. In fact, DiscreetFX uses it in house for animating many of our digital video effects. Our plan instead for Aladdin 4D is to attract new users that are intimidated by 3D software and give them a low cost easy to use package to ease them into 3D. In fact we will give them $50 towards the purchase of LightWave 3D if they buy it within one year of buying the new version of Aladdin 4D. Aladdin 4D will get them started and LightWave can help them get a job. We are also exploring making Aladdin 4D a LightWave plug-in.

Code Review Time

We just got the source code to Aladdin 4D a few days ago and are in the middle of a code review. So far the code looks very manageable and portable. For the OS 4.0 version we are evaluating toolkits to use for the GUI, MUI vs ReAction. If MUI is used it makes it much easier to do the AROS & MorphOS versions. MorphOS uses MUI & AROS uses something similar. Amiga OS 4.0 can use MUI or ReAction. We also have the option of creating our own custom GUI for all the platforms Aladdin 4D is ported to.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Special Thanks to Nova Design

DiscreetFX would like to thank everyone at Nova Design for helping to make this deal happen. We will work hard to make them proud of where we take Aladdin 4D. The application would not be where it is today without the hard work of Nova & Greg Gorby. They have given us the canvas to paint our 3D art.

Offical Press Release Detailing Aladdin 4D Aquisition

On December 17, 2007, DiscreetFX completed the acquisition of Aladdin 4D from Nova Design for an undisclosed sum of money. All remaining inventory of the current version is being shipped to DiscreetFX and Nova Design will no longer be selling this application. DiscreetFX is a leading developer of 3D digital video effects technology. This acquisition extends DiscreetFX's reach into 3D software development in the hobbist and beginner 3D animation industries. This also marks the first time DiscreetFX 100% controls an application. Before today we were always a 3rd party developer for other companies.

Aladdin 4D was a leading 3D animation program on the Classic Amiga platform and sold over 18,000 units on Amiga OS alone. DiscreetFX will breath new life into this application and release a new version on the following platforms.

Amiga OS 4.0 - For the first time Amiga OS 4.0 customers will have a professional PowerPC native application for their operating system to show off it's true potential. With the exception of Pagestream 5.0 Pro and Hollywood the amount of current professional commercial applications is very limited. There are no native 3D applications for OS 4.0, other Amiga developers left long ago for more lucrative platforms or went out of business.

AROS - For the first time AROS customers will have a professional native 3D animation application for their operating system to show off it's true potential. AROS has never had any commercial 3D software released for it.

MorphOS 2.0 - If a new version of MorphOS ships then a native version will also be produced for this exciting operating system. For the first time MorphOS 2.0 customers will have a professional PowerPC native 3D animation application for their operating system to show off it's true potential.

Mac OS X - Aladdin 4D has a rich heritage on the Amiga platform but never reached it's full potential since it was limited only to Amiga customers. The OS X version of Aladdin 4D will take full advantage of Core Animation/Core Image on Mac OS and should give Mac customers a new, fast and unique animation program to learn 3D and enjoy.

Linux - We are strongly considering doing a version for Linux but the expectation of open source and completely free software may hinder this release. Linux customers will have to show us a demand, then we don't mind supporting them.

Windows - DiscreetFX will never sell a version of Aladdin 4D for Windows but a free version will be included with each purchase of A4D for other platforms. DiscreetFX dares to admit what other developers keep to themselves. That Windows is an old legacy code garbage operating system that should be abandon. The failure of Windows Vista in the marketplace only goes to show that Windows days are numbered. The Windows version of Aladdin 4D will not be free but included as a bonus to support customers that may still temperately be using Windows. It will support the industry standard OpenGL and not lock in technology's like DirectX.

Other versions of Aladdin 4D will take advantage of OpenGL or whatever accelerated graphics technology is available on the host operating system. In order for Amiga OS 4.0 and other Amiga type systems to succeed a developer has to take the risk and release professional software to breath new life into OS4.0/AROS/MorphOS. DiscreetFX is willing to take that lead and work hard to reestablish a market. We welcome competition and hope that other developers will also return to the platform and create fresh new software ideas/releases.

Nova Designs CEO stated, we are happy to have reached a mutual agreement with DiscreetFX and have selected them because we feel they will give Aladdin 4D a great exciting future and will add cool new features.

A message to current Aladdin 4D owners. Be happy your 3D program of choice will not die and has a great future!

The following is a very quick FAQ that will try to cover the most common questions users may have about this acquisition.

1. Will the current Amiga version remain available?

A: Yes, the current version will remain available from DiscreetFX instead of Nova Design.

2. Will the price of Aladdin 4D be going up?

A: Not on the current version but for later versions yes.

3. What about the effort to make Aladdin 4D open source?

A: DiscreetFX also donated to the Open Aladdin effort and was hoping it would succeed. DiscreetFX derived no benefit from donations to this effort but any donators should contact DiscreetFX with your paypal receipt and we will work to accommodate you.

4. What about Aladdin's Lamp newsletter?

A: It will return shortly with a new issue on the DiscreetFx website. All back issues will appear there as well.

5. Why is DiscreetFX getting in the 3D animation software business?

A: We feel there is a need in the lower cost and easy to use beginner's market. This market is currently not being served.

6. Will Aladdin 4D complete with high-end applications like LightWave 3D or Cinema 4D?

A: No Aladdin 4D is a lower end beginners product. In fact once the new version is available DiscreetFX will give buyers a $50 cash back voucher if they buy LightWave 3D within one year of buying Aladdin 4D. Also, we are considering making Aladdin 4D a Lightwave 3D plug-in.

7. Will Aladdin 4D still support the Amiga Video Toaster?

A: Of course, that is one of it's strengths.

8. When will a new version be available.

A: We are still in the process of reviewing source code but rough estimates are 6-12 months. The source code is very portable.

Stay tuned... more information is coming soon.

About DiscreetFX

DiscreetFX has been creating software products for the Amiga, video editing, computer generated graphics (CGI) industry since 1995. The Amiga computer defined and created the video editing, computer graphics market when it went on sale in 1985. The acquisition of Aladdin 4D expands DiscreetFX's portfolio into 3D animation software.

Aladdin 4D Blog First Post!

This blog will track the acquisition of the 3D animation software Aladdin 4D by DiscreetFX and it's journey being updated and ported to Mac OS X, AROS, Amiga OS 4.0, MorphOS, Linux & Windows.