Friday, February 8, 2008

The Microsoft Cabinet of Caligari

Todays announcement that Microsoft purchased Caligari Corporation and their 3D animation package Truespace gave us an old feeling of Deja Vu. This is not the first time Microsoft has purchased a 3D company, they tried this in 1996 when they acquired SoftImage. Blame it on the French if you want but that marriage only lasted for two years before Microsoft sold SoftImage at a loss.

Like a silent movie remake who knows if this latest release will be good or bad for the industry. Last time around SGI was so afraid of the SoftImage purchase that they bought Alias and Wavefront and merged them into what later became Maya. Life has a funny way of doing unexpected things like that. How will this affect Aladdin 4D? It won't, we will keep pushing forward and yes the Windows version will still be lowest on our list. But like a old horror movie you will not know the end of this story until we are further into the plot.

Google News Link

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Amiga Nowhere?

A customer asked us today if there will be a version of Aladdin 4D for Amiga Anywhere 2. Rumor has it this is available now for select developers. We are not really pro or anti Amiga Inc, instead we are pro results. Amiga Incorporated has a long track record of promising big but delivering little. It has harmed the Amiga brand and the Amiga market. In fact we got a good deal on Aladdin 4D because of the harm they have done to Nova Design's market. The key to Amiga Anywhere going anywhere but nowhere is 3rd party developers like DiscreetFX.

The classic Amiga's installed base of customers is huge compared to Amiga Anywheres installed base. If Amiga Inc. want Aladdin 4D on AA2 they will have to provide us with a real SDK. Don't wait for us to sign up or come calling Amiga Inc. because it will not happen. If you pay for Aladdin 4D to be ported to AA2 and if you beg it might happen. We will not be holding our breath or waiting by the phone for your call. Soon you will have owned Amiga as long as Commodore. Commodore went out of business but they did do something with Amiga that you have never done. They sold millions and millions of them. This created a vibrant 3rd party developer community. Without a vibrant 3rd party developer community for Amiga Anywhere 2 it is already dead. Amiga Inc. should be busting its ass trying to create this now, but we fear the odds of this happening is about the same as the Easter Bunny (Oschter Haws) being real. We will not be waiting for the Easter Bunny's call either but we would expect it before Amiga Inc's call.

Monday, February 4, 2008


We bring up the Amiga from time to time in this Blog since that is the platform that Aladdin 4D runs on at the moment. It is important to mention that when we discuss Amiga we are taking about the Amiga in a classic sense and not Amiga Inc. the current company in charge. Time will prove if what they are doing works out or not but it is not the Amiga even if it is called Amiga Anywhere.

The Amiga community and Amiga Inc. have had some disagreements in the past over this old vs new ideology. If Amiga Inc. expects the platform to succeed under their leadership they should respect the community that has grown up around the Amiga over the years. The Classic Amiga sold millions of machines, the current Amiga Inc. has never sold millions of Amiga Anywhere solutions. Until they do it would be best if they looked to the Amiga's past for wisdom since that is what made the Amiga brand successful.

Certain Death Avoided

Because DiscreetFX grabbed the remnants of Aladdin 4D and its related IP and source code it got to avoid a common phenomenon in the Amiga software marketplace, certain death. Usually what happens is a developer goes out of business taking its 3D animation product with it, this happened with Tornado 3D and Expert 3D. Or a developer runs from the Amiga marketplace and all of its drama never to return, like Cinema 4D and Calagari TrueSpace.

Since everyone at DiscreetFX is Amiga/MorphOS/AROS fans we would like to avoid both grim circumstances. The return of Aladdin 4D is in process but fans of Amiga and this classic 3D package can help. If there are features you would like to see please let us know. If you always wanted to buy the program but never did please take the plunge. If there are things about the package that you don't like or never liked we want to know that too. Reincarnation can be a tricky business and if you can help please do.

Shades of Grey

Aladdin 4D's current interface supports 24 bit displays but the interface itself is mostly greyscale. This of course betrays its origins as an Amiga 3D animation application. You would never know it by looking at the current versions of LightWave, Cinema 4D & Truespace but they also had greyscale interfaces at one time. Aladdin 4D will too abandon its grey look and will become more modern. We will touch base with its installed userbase as this progresses and have example images of the new interface on this blog for all to review.

The tool bar will also get a face lift and be more exciting. We are looking for an artist in fact to paint those icons in a new modern glory. The fun has just started Aladdin 4D fans!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Hand in the Cookie Jar

What hurt Aladdin 4D before the DiscreetFX acquisition was "Hand in the Cookie Jar Syndrome". What this means is that cookies or money kept flowing out of the jar but were never put back in (R&D). This lack of research and development can work wonders for profits in the short run but can be a call of death to a software package long term. We are not dumb asses and know modernizing Aladdin 4D will take a lot of work.

Because of this fact we vow that for the first 18 months of the Aladdin 4D take over we will take zero profits from all sales. All money flowing in will go towards development, modernization, interface upgrades, advertising and paying Aladdin 4D's bills. To be totally honest the current state of affairs for the package when we took over were pretty bleak. We have yet to even sell one copy of Aladdin 4D ourselves which did surprise us a little. We thought that maybe a few Amiga fans would support us since we saved one of their software packages from certain death.

We are fine with the current state of affairs though since we are on this roller coaster ride for the long term. If you like Aladdin 4D though and are excited what the future will bring don't be a stranger.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Until Death Do Us Part

Todays average computer user replaces their machine about every three years. If they are using Windows maybe even sooner, once it slows way down because too many applications have been installed or it has a major spyware and or virus infection running rampant. Mac OS X users may keep there system a little longer but eventually OS X upgrades no longer work on old hardware after 3-4 years. Amiga owners though keep using their machines literately until the silicon wears out or the battery becomes so old it leaks on the motherboard. It speaks volumes about the quality of the product and the value the users see in it. The founder of DiscreetFX has an Amiga 1000 is his possession that was donated to us after its owner passed away.

That owner had the machine on every single day since he purchased it. The time line for this was 1985-2006, over twenty years. We tested the machine today to install a compact flash card in it. The machine booted right up and works flawlessly. This is the rich heritage that Aladdin 4D comes from. When we first took Aladdin over there was a vocal minority that called for the Amiga version to be laid to rest. For the focus to switch to Windows and Mac. When we asked this vocal minority why they want the Amiga version killed they don't really provide a good reason to do it. They mentioned that other 3D animation programs that came from Amiga adopted this policy but what does that prove? Future sales of Aladdin 4D will be generated more by listening to customers and adding features they want then platform choices. The risks and ROI generated by A4D is equally split anyway. We don't do accounting based on operating systems. Unless a Genie comes out of the lamp and grants a wish to see the future we can't even tell how many will sell. It could sell one unit or a million.

If sales are low at first we won't blame the Amiga or run away, we will just work harder on the next version. We will always look at that A1000 still puring away after all these years and strive to build a product like that, something customers love. The Amiga should inspire us all.

On the Hunt for 3D Software

We are on a hunt. Not a safari hunt but a hunt for old and new 3D animation software. Some things we already have like the latest version of Aladdin 4D, we have lots of those. We also have Sculpt Animated 4D, The Amiga Video Toaster version of LightWave 3D and a few others. What we don't have is early versions of Aladdin 4D for our historical library. We need those and are willing to pay for them.

If you have other packages you would like to get rid of please contact us via the Aladdin 4D forums.We will let you know if we need what your selling. You might be surprised how much you can get for your old 3D software thats collecting dust.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Whats in the Lamp?

It came as a great surprise to us that all the years Adspec Programming and then Nova Design owned Aladdin 4D they never opened the lamp to see what is inside. We are in the process of doing just that and you will be very surprised what we find. Anyone that can guess what it is before we tell the world can get a copy of Aladdin 4D for free.

Pounce of the Leopard

Apple has made great inroads with the Mac since they allowed the old Mac to die and be reborn via a unix FreeBSD/Next kernel. Apple almost died a horrible death like Commodore. Unlike Commdore they understood this before it was too late and gave control of the company back to one of the original founders. Who knows what today's Amiga would look like if it too was given back to its creators.

Mac OX X Leopard bears little resemblance to OS 9.0 and this is a very good thing. Even todays Mac hardware has shed its Motorola and PowerPC heritage and runs on Intel hardware. The great thing about this is that Windows is regulated to guest operating system status. Sure Windows can be step up and run full speed but its not encourage or required. Mac OS 9.0 can no longer be run via an Apple solution so the divorce from old Mac to new is complete. Of course Apple has seen record growth and is a Wall Street darling now. The post Windows era is upon us and customers are now open to options beyond Windows. Mac OS X is now used more in Japan then Windows. The shift away from Windows will continue and that is why we don't focus on the Windows version of Aladdin 4D. The OS X version though is a very important piece of Aladdin 4D's future and growth.