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  Matrix Code
Version 1.2.2
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  Submitted by: Wildman

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About Matrix Code:

Freeware Matrix Code screensaver for BeOS v1.2.2 1/14/01

0. Newbie help

To use the supplied font, create a /home/config/fonts/ttfonts/ folder to put the font in, and then rescan for new fonts from the Preferences (the folder may exist if you have installed other True Type fonts earlier).

To install the screensaver, just drop it on the "Drop Screensaver here!" shortcut and activate it from the Preferences (yes, people actully asked about this).

1. Introduction

Why another Matrix screensaver, you might ask? Well, I've seen all of the "3D" Matrix screensavers for Windows and I think all of them look flat and uninspiring (with the exception of Matrix2, which is really cool, but unfortunately made with a program called D3D Demo Maker, which uses a really crappy interface with limited graphics options).

This version, however, does not use OpenGL, but still manages to get a believable "3D" effect by using any True Type font installed on your system. This makes it much less dependant on hardware and less CPU intensive (hopefully it won't bring your system to it's knees just to keep the screensaver going). Also, the algorithm that calculates where to draw the glyphs (and in which color) is really amazing, and produces really unique and interesting patterns! (I'm allowed to praise this algorithm, since I haven't written it myself, only ported it, so it's not exactly bragging.) :)

3. About Matrix Code

This screensaver was originally made by Lou and can be found (including the Windows source) at http://www.louai.com (look in the "Coding" section). Porting to BeOS was made by Robert Hagenström.

The program itself is built on the screensaver skeleton app from the Be Book. The Matrix algorithm
is in Ansi C. The fonts are drawn to the screen using a BView displaying Unicode character strings with a simple DrawString function.

BeOS provides for free anti-aliasing and scaling of the fonts (and note that the number of columns determines the font size right now, not the other way around, so you'll get the exact same look of the saver, no matter what resolution you use in your workspaces).

The source of the port will not be given away at this time (nothing terribly unique about it either, so it shouldn't be any loss). Check the original source if you're interested in it (use the URL above).

4. What's new in this version?

Memory leak in the ConfigView fixed (it wasn't anything serious that affected your computer when you ran the saver, it only managed to crash the Preferences panel from time to time).

A resource file was also added, so the app has a spiffy little icon and a description in the File Types.

5. What's planned in next version?

Hmm... I really don't know now. Any ideas? (Beware not to ask for too much, though... I'm lazy.)

As for a preview window for the saver, I'm sorry, but I currently don't have time to figure out how to do that properly (and I don't know if it would look good, the way the current code takes the window width into account).

6. Known Bugs

* Drawing a character on screen in BeOS is really wonderfully easy... except if you want to do it like I did... which lead to alot of cursing. Anyway, it should look alright now, but if you see a character which looks "cut off", don't jump and shout, okie? (And if you see trailing pixels which aren't erased, choose another font or size.)

* The Courier font (and other fixed width fonts) sometimes doesn't display in fixed width, and thus "shrinks in size", even though you haven't changed the number of columns... this happens seemingly at random!

* Any font which doesn't behave properly with GetHasGlyphs will be ignored and the standard Courier font will be displayed instead (does anyone know why some fonts refuse to reveal their glyphs?).

* You have to press enter in the TextControl boxes to activate a new color value...

* No other known oddities, so drop me a mail if you notice anything!

7. Credits & Contacts

Skeleton Screensaver: Be Inc. (The Be Book)
Original Code: Lou (lou@louai.com)
BeOS Port: Robert Hagenström (robert.hagenstrom@ebox.tninet.se)
Matrix01 Font: From "The Matrix Screensaver by J.F. 1999 version 0.2 Beta"

A whole bunch of thanks goes out to jbq and ctate from #bedev on ExodusIRC (and everyone else I might have forgotten to mention)!

Special thanks to Carlos Hasan for creating font menu code!

Also a great thanks to Mathias Agopian for detecting and fixing the memory leak, and for helping me understand BeOS programming better!

8. Disclaimer

I take no responsibility whatsover if the application suddenly starts printing offensive language in the code streams! Everything is done totally at random, so if you start seeing sinister messages in the code, you're either extremely (un)lucky or need to see a shrink! :)

Oh, and "The Matrix" might vaguely refer to some movie copyrighted by Warner Brothers... ;)

9. Final Note

Even though the original homepage of this screensaver says "No strings attached, free to do anything you like with it", I tried to mail the author to get his explicit permission to distribute this port. However, until I get his response, I'll leave this note here so you'll know that it's an "unauthorized" conversion.

Latest Version

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