ROOMS 3D Desktops
      what is it?
      register NOW
      things to try
      using plugins
      plugin SDK
      user forum
      contact us
      trade marks
      site map


ROOMS Build 442/444 - release info

This page tells you about new features which are included in the build 442 release of ROOMS.

ROOMS build 460 is now available instead and includes all the features of 442 and more.

New build 460 features are described here:

Please report any bugs, either using the Contact Us form or using the ROOMS forum.


1. How to install or upgrade

2. New features


1. How to install or upgrade

To install or upgrade to ROOMS build 460, simply download, unzip and run setup. If you already have ROOMS it is automatically upgraded. Build 460 delivers a new default world to a new folder so you wont lose your existing world configuration.

[v1.4.460   7.2 Mb]

Download NOW: FreeWare ROOMS 460 [US Server]

Download NOW: FreeWare ROOMS [Singapore Server] (temporarily offline)

Download NOW: FreeWare ROOMS [UK Server] (temporarily offline)


2. Features from build 442

Realtime lighting*
AVI movie files as textures
Sampled animation and other smart texture effects*
Sculptured walls (aka profiling)
Negative and adjustable gravity (room by room)*
Plugins for third party texture effects (e.g. AVI movie)*
Plugins for device control (e.g. CD player)*
Plugins for 3D file conversion
SDK for plugins*
ROOMS running on a timer*
Fractional room heights*
Direct load of desktop icons*
Background color
Screensaver display modes*
Forget 3D - ROOMS goes 4D (and more)
Parameterised textures*
Add-a-room thru floor and ceiling*
ViResist virus protection layer
    * based on your comments and requests


Realtime Lighting

Up to now all ROOMS worlds have been bathed in uniform ambient white light.

With this release we add realtime (or dynamic) lighting.

This means first you can change the color of the ambient light including turning it off altogether (via the World Wizard page 6).

It means you can have a sun or moon of any color you choose with directional light shining in a direction you choose (including upwards for special effect) (via the World Wizard page 6).

It means you can turn any 3D icon into a light source of any color you choose. Icon light sources act like spotlights and you choose the angle at which the light beam spreads (Icon/Property Wizard page 5).

We also let you decide whether any particular texture is affected by the local lighting conditions or is fully visible all the time. If your texture is an AVI movie you will probably want this feature so you can see it as a screen projection or TV image above the ambient lighting conditions (to always show a texture at full brightness uncheck the "Is texture modulated?" option in any Advanced/Smart Texture dialog).

The Soapbox CoolWare world is a good world (previously released) to try out lighting effects on.

Back to top



Fog adds atmosphere. You can have any color fog you like and control the distance it acts over. White fog is cold and wintry, red fog is volcanic, aqua fog is futuristic, black fog is spoookeee...

[note that having fog enabled does slow down your world unless you have hardware acceleration. But if you have acceleration ... WOW!]

Back to top


AVI movie files as textures

This is one of two new ways to animate textures.

Up to now you have been able to animate textures using ANB (animated bitmap) files, which simply contain a list of textures to display one after another.

With this release we introduce animation using AVI movies.

Any texture in ROOMS can be used to display an AVI movie. In fact you can have several textures playing different movies at one time if you wish.

And this means you can also play AVI movies as part of a ROOMS screensaver [see also 1-Above-3D Screensavers].

AVI movies are played from an AVI file via a ROOMS plugin (which we provide).

To select an AVI file you check "Get texture from plugin" in any Advanced/Smart Textures dialog (e.g. Icon/Property wizard page 6) and click the "Setup Stream" button to see the plugin setup dialog.

The plugin dialog lets you select a plugin. The plugin itself lets you set up a channel (or texture stream). For example, browse for an AVI file and give it a channel name. Then select the channel name to use as the texture for this object.

We publish the source code for the plugin so you can see how it is done, and even write your own to work with other sources of textures.

Back to top


Sampled animation and other smart texture effects

With this release we also introduce what we call Sampled Animation.

Sampled animation lets you move a texture across the surface of an object. You can move the texture in a straight line, in a direction and speed you choose. Or you can move it in a circle or figure of eight or zigzag.

We have added a special sampled animation called "squirm" in which a texture goes through a series of distortions, a bit like a swirling pool of mud.

Any texture on any surface can be animated like this through any Advanced/Smart Texture dialog (e.g. see Icon/Property Wizard page 6).

We have also upgraded texture tiling, so you can tile (or repeat) a texture different number of times left-right from up-down (before now up-down tiling had to be the same as left-right tiling).

We have added texture transparency so that a particular texture can be in part see-through. What you do is: decide which color you want to see through, and check the "make texture transparent thru a color" box in any Advanced/Smart Texture dialog. Then when the texture is displayed, that color is omitted from the texture - so you see straight thru!

With the use of realtime/dynamic lighting, we have also added the feature of ignoring local lighting. So you can make a texture always appear at full brightness or, technically speaking, unmodulated.

Back to top


Sculptured walls (aka profiling)

Up to now room walls have been flat.

With profiling you can turn each wall panel into a pyramid shape which can protrude into the current room, or receed out of the current room.

The pyramid shape (think of a pyramid on its side) can be as steep or as shallow as you wish, and the top of the pyramid can stick out anywhere from the rectangle of the wall (i.e. you decide).

This helps you turn flat walls into rock formations, and is especially effective with the new dynamic lighting.

Profiling also lets you selectively increase the number of triangles (in 3D graphics jargon: simple polygons) which a wall panel uses.

The point is this: you can make any icon act as a spotlight. The edge of a spotlight (the edge of the illuminated ring) is defined by graphics triangle corners. If you only have a few triangles (e.g. the basic ROOMS flat wall has two triangles) then you get a really lousy spotlight effect. If you have loads of triangles you get a well-defined "sharp" illuminated area.

So we let you, as a world designer, control how many triangles make up each wall.

The downside is, more triangles mean more processing, which can mean slower worlds. So you may want to increase the number of triangles in walls selectively - just where spotlight effects might be seen.

Back to top


Negative and adjustable gravity (room by room)

Up to now you have been able to turn gravity on and off, room by room, and separately for the user (your experience) and for icons.

And when active, gravity has operated to mimic earth gravity.

With this release we give you room by room control of the strength of gravity. This includes negative gravity, which accelerates you (or your icons) upwards.

Low gravity gives you a slow motion effect. Negative gravity acts like an invisible tractor-field or lift.

Back to top


Plugins for third party texture effects (e.g. AVI movie)

With this release we introduce support for ROOMS Stream Interface [RSI] plugins.

A Stream Interface plugin lets you get textures from streams (aka channels) of data.

We provide an example of this type of plugin which lets you display AVI movie files anywhere you might normally display a texture.

You select a Stream Interface plugin and select a stream (aka channel) from the choice of streams which the plugin offers.

With the example we provide, the plugin itself lets you configure new channels by browsing for AVI (movie) files and then giving them a name.

When, later, you want to use the AVI movie as a texture, you simply select the plugin and select the channel name.

We provide the source code for the AVI plugin so you can see how it works and create your own.

Back to top


Plugins for device control (e.g. CD player)

An RSI plugin can also be used to control a stream (aka channel) device, like a CD player.

For each channel which the plugin offers, it also offers a set of commands which you can use to control the channel.

For example: stop, start, and rewind.

These controls can be used whether or not you are also using the RSI plugin to generate textures.

So you could use the controls to stop and start an AVI movie or to stop and start a CD player.

To use an RSI plugin to control a stream you select it as the target of an icon [see Icon/property Wizard, page 2]. Click the "Plugin" button on the Target File page of the wizard to display the plugin dialog. And then select a plugin, a channel and a command.

Then, when the icon is opened (or run) the command you have just specified is issued to the channel you have just specified.

And because the mechanism operates thru the "open/run" command, you can use ROOMS EVAC behavior language to map other behavior (like icon select or collide) onto "open/run" so you can choose exactly how you operate your channel controls.

We provide an example CD control plugin with this release. And we publish the source code for the plugin so you can see how it works and create your own.

Back to top


Plugins for 3D file conversion

In addition to RSI plugins we introduce support for RPC [3D File Conversion] plugins.

The 3D File Conversion plugin opens up the possibility of converting popular 3D File Formats into a standard generic format which ROOMS understands.

The generic format is called RAV (for ROOMS Arbitrary Vertex) and is also introduced with this release.

You browse for 3D File Conversion plugins from the Shape Wizard by naming an RAV file (ending .rav) as your target shape instead of an RSF file.

The wizard then shows you a plugin page instead of the usual RSF Stencil page. You click on the plugin button and you get the plugin setup dialog.

The plugin lets you browse for a 3D file in an acceptable source format and then lets you convert that file to an RAV file.

After conversion, ROOMS uses the RAV file.

We provide a sample RPC plugin which converts from RSF files to RAV files (the source of this is not currently published, but a template for creating RPC plugins is included in the plugin SDK).

Back to top


SDK for plugins

We provide an SDK (Software Development Kit) to help you to create your own plugins.

The SDK uses PluginCenter. This is a separate ROOMS download.

PluginCenter lets you create new plugins from either skeletal programs (interface only) or from templates (interface plus some stock code).

PluginCenter also provides a test harness which allows you to run the plugin you create function by function and/or as it would be called from a standard ROOMS plugin dialog.

And as mentioned already, we provide the source code for the working plugins which we supply with ROOMS, for AVI file reading and AVI controls and for CD controls.

Back to top


ROOMS running on a timer

With this release we give you the choice of running ROOMS flat out (as it has in the past) or on a timer.

The timer controls how often ROOMS tries to draw each frame.

This is useful on faster PCs, when the user speed you experience while moving may become unrealistically fast for small worlds.

It also reduces the amount of Windows idle time which ROOMS consumes, and which may be competing for other background tasks on your PC.

Back to top


Fractional room heights

Up to now, you have only been able to create new rooms with height greater than 1.0.

Sometimes you may need to create new rooms with fractional height (0.3, 0.5 etc).

The Room Wizard will now accept fractional room heights.

Back to top


Direct load of desktop icons

Up to now, you have been able to introduce new icons into a world by drag-and-drop from Windows explorer, or from a "new icon" menu option, or via the Room Wizard target folder page.

The Room Wizard target folder page lets you introduce icons from the Windows Desktop, or Control Panel or Printers folders.

Since is may be inconvenient to start up the Room Wizard when you want to populate a room from your Windows desktop, we have added a "Populate" menu option to the Main Popup Menu.

The Populate menu option lets you load icons from Windows Desktop, or Control Panel or Printers.

Back to top


Background color

Up to now, when in map view ROOMS has always displayed a blue background.

With this release you are now able to change the background color (see World Wizard, page 6).

Back to top


Screensaver Display Modes

With this release you are now able to change the Windows Display Mode when the 1-Above-3D screensaver runs (See 1-Above-3D screensaver Settings property sheet, the "Graphix" tab).

This lets you run the screensaver optimally e.g. at a DirectX hardware-compatible size of 640x480 while running your usual desktop at any size convenient to you.

Back to top


Forget 3D - ROOMS goes 4D (and more)

You may have thought of ROOMS as a 3D interface.

Indeed, you are most likely to find us on the internet by looking for 3D interfaces, 3D GUIs, 3D desktops, 3D wallpaper, 3D screensavers and the like.

However the 3D picture is limited.

With this release of ROOMS we have modified the graphics engine to be multi-dimensional.

This has two major advantages.

First, in normal 3D space you can find many routes from one place to another.

Thats another way of saying there are redundant routes (because you dont need to use all the routes).

An example would be two rooms joined by two doors. You can get from one room to the other by either door.

But suppose that if you went through one door you arrived in one room, but through the other door you arrived in an entirely different room - even though they would seem to occupy the same space.

For one thing, for the same distance travelled you would have access to much more icon-containing space.

The world that you are exploring and experiencing has more than the real-world three dimensions.

In principle, whenever you change viewpoint (location and direction), or even with the passage of time, the 2D representation of the multidimensional world (what you see on your monitor screen) could radically change.

Of course, good multidimensional world design, implies that such change would be gradual and intuitive, but radical (unexpected and exciting) change is at least possible.

Another aspect is that the graphics engine only tries to draw a portion of the multidimensional world at any one time.

This means that there is the opportunity to make it faster (it has less drawing to do, and drawing is the time-consuming bit).

A useful side-effect of all this is that you get faster loading worlds, which is a nice bonus (also faster when unloading, or freeing, worlds).

By way of added illustration, If you are a fan of the Dr Who science fiction character you will know about the TARDIS [Time And Relative Dimension In Space] - his time machine. One feature of the TARDIS is that it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Just the kind of effect you can now create with ROOMS.

Strictly speaking this release of the ROOMS graphics engine is fixed-path-multidimensional - for the purists - since there is no extra-dimensional strafe.

Back to top


Parameterised textures

Some objects need both standard textures and user-customised textures.

Examples are: picture frames (the frame is standard wood, the picture is user-specified), and televisions (the box is standard, the picture content is user-specified).

ROOMS now supports a way of achieving these half-customised objects.

You select an RAV object (a picture frame or TV) via the standard Icon/property Wizard shape page.

You select a custom texture (a photo or a movie or whatever) via the standard Icon/Proprty Wizard texture page.

The texture you select appears in the parameterised texture space of the RAV object.

Back to top


Add-a-room thru floor and ceiling

Up to now you have only been able to add new rooms thru the walls of an existing room.

With this release you are now able to add new rooms thru the floor and ceilling of existing rooms.

Now, when you click on a floor or ceiling when in design mode, the "Add Room" option of the Design Menu is available.

Back to top


ViResist virus protection layer

Some viruses work by attaching themselves to your application programs.

ROOMS can store a checksum based on your original program (i.e. when first added to a world as a ROOMS icon). When you open or run the ROOMS icon, ROOMS first validates the checksum, and declines to run the application program if the checksum has changed.

The ViResist feature works as an additional layer on top of your existing anti-virus measures.

ViResist virus protection

Back to top


A large proportion of these new features are added in response to your suggestions, so please keep the suggestions coming (via forum and contact us page). We *ARE* listening and acting...





Frequently asked questions

Download ROOMS 442

Build 470
26 May 2007
Release notes List all CoolWare Worlds
ROOMS 3D Desktops and EiDoxis music




World Viewer ROOMS CoolWare
[4d DrainMaze]

[4d refinery]


[Asteroids] (c) Copyright EiDoxis Ltd 2000-2007
[screensavers of free 3d worlds] [abstract art] [economic recession model]
[Web site ranking, promotion and marketing via search engines] [unique pop art studio portraits pics gifts] [personalized (personalised) gifts] [personalised popart gifts]
EiDoxis music alternative/electronic/indie indie music albums from eidoxis indie experimental music lyrics, song words listen to eidoxis music live web audio music mixer
evening courses classes Notting Hill
meeting rooms hire Notting Hill, London
hotels Wells, Somerset