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Light-O-Rama version 4.0.0 released as an open beta

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We have just released version 4.0.0 of the Light-O-Rama software suite as an open beta.

 

Before deciding to download and install the beta, please take some time to read this post for some important information:

  • What is meant by "beta" and "open beta"
  • An entirely new "Pro" license level (above Advanced)
  • How licensing will be handled during the beta period
  • Information about the help files

How to download the installer can be found at the end of this post, but please take the time to read this information before deciding to download and install it

 

What is beta software? Beta software is code that has been tested by the programmers who have written it and has received some internal testing by other members of the company.  The software is stable enough to be tested by a rather large group, but it is not software that is ready for general released.

 

Why an open beta? We have received many requests from people asking to join the beta testing group.  In the past, we have kept that group closed, and have always had a backlog of people wanting to take part.  To make management of the beta group simpler, we are going to open the beta to everyone.

 

Who should use beta software? Beta testing is not for everyone.  By nature, beta software will have more problems in it than generally released software.  Testing beta software allows a user to find out if an enhancement does what they need, and if not, provide suggestions on how to fix or improve the software.  Do NOT use the beta software if you are not ready to uncover bugs/problems with it.  People who volunteer to test beta software must report problems, but please do not complain that there are problems - problems are expected! When testing beta software, please make sure to save often so that if something crashes, you'll minimize your loss.

 

How can I report issues, make suggestions, or ask questions about the beta? There is a set of forums for the open beta, where you can report bugs or give other feedback, here.

 

The new "Pro" license level

In the past there were four license levels for the Light-O-Rama software suite (not counting those for Light-O-Rama SuperStar, which are handled independently): From the lowest to the highest, they are Basic, Basic Plus, Standard, and Advanced.  With the release of version 4.0.0, there is now a fifth license level, above Advanced, called Pro.

 

At this time, the differences between Advanced and Pro are that the Pro license level enables the use of the new Light-O-Rama Pixel Editor, "intensity files" (which can be created using the Pixel Editor or SuperStar), and Light-O-Rama Enhanced networks.  These new features are intended to improve the experience of using very large numbers of circuits (though they can be used with small numbers of circuits too).

 

During the beta period, certain users' licenses will act as if they were Pro level licenses.  Please see the next section of this post, "Does my license cover this release?", for details.

 

Does my license cover this release?

 

Depending upon when you purchased, renewed, or upgraded your license, it may or may not cover version 4.0.  However, during the beta period (which will last through June of 2015), some licenses that do not really cover version 4.0 will act as if they do cover it: If your license is valid for version 3.12 or higher, then during the beta period it will act as if it covers version 4.0.

 

Also, during the beta period, Advanced licenses will act as if they are Pro licenses.

 

In this way, even if you don't have a license that really covers the new version or the new Pro license level, you can try them out during the beta period without committing to purchase them.

 

After the beta period is over, if your license does not really cover version 4.0, it will stop acting as if it does.  Similarly, if you have an Advanced license, it will stop letting you use Pro level features.  At that time, you could either:

  • Purchase a license upgrade, if you want to continue using 4.0 and continue using Pro features; or:
  • Purchase a license renewal, if you want to continue using 4.0 but do not wish to continue using Pro features; or:
  • Uninstall version 4.0 and reinstall version 3.12 (or an earlier version).

Please note that if at the end of the beta period you decide not to upgrade or renew, not everything that you created during the beta period will necessarily be useable afterwards.  Specifically:

  • Any "intensity files" that you create during the beta period (such as by the Pixel Editor or SuperStar) will not be useable afterwards unless you upgrade.
  • Visualizer files created in S4 are not compatible with previous versions.  You should make sure to back up your existing Visualizer files before modifying them with S4, in case you decide against fully upgrading to S4 in the future.

Also, please be warned that although the above list is intended to be complete, it is possible that there are other incompatibilities that were overlooked here and not listed.  It is always wise in any case to back up any of your data files, even those that you have no reason to believe will be affected by the upgrade (such as your sequence files).

 

You can check whether or not your license covers version 4.0 by using the Software License Retrieval page.  Please note that if your license covers 3.12 (or higher) but not 4.0, the Software License Retrieval page will not mention to you the fact that your license will temporarily work for 4.0 during the beta period.

 

Special information about the help files

In this initial beta release, the help files are not completely updated.  They are updated to a large degree, and we are working on updating them completely.  There may be several parts of them that are not currently up to date, but the two major portions that are not are:

  1. Information about the new Light-O-Rama Pixel Editor
  2. Information about some new SuperStar features

However, the Pixel Editor itself contains some documentation about itself; to view this information, go to the Pixel Editor's "Help" menu, and then click on the "Welcome" menu item.

 

The new SuperStar features that are not currently in the help file will be described briefly later in this post.

 

What's new in this version

This is split up into two parts: The first is a list of very brief descriptions of things that have already made it into the help file's What's New page; for more details on them, please refer to the help file.  The second is a list of brief descriptions of various SuperStar changes that have not yet made it into the help file.

 

1. "What's new" items that are already in the help file's "What's New" page

  • Pro level license
  • The Light-O-Rama Pixel Editor
  • Intensity files
  • Enhanced Light-O-Rama networks
  • Speed improvement for converting channels to RGB channels
  • Fading images and text in and out in SuperStar
  • Visualizer now supports DMX RGB Pixel Universes
  • Visualizer now supports inserting Symbol Fixtures with more than 256 Vertices
  • Visualizer Wizard Updates
  • Improved Pixel Ordering Display in Visualizer Draw Window
  • Improved Visualizer performance while rendering
  • Improved Visualizer Error Messages
  • Improved Visualizer Shimmer and Twinkle Emulation
  • New SuperStar parameters windows in Visualizer for Fixtures & Props
  • Improvements for certain Comm Listener log messages
  • New and updated firmware
  • "4GB Patch" enabled by default
  • New LOR PIXCON16 E1.31 based controller
  • Cosmetic Control Panel changes
  • MP4 media files
  • Various bug fixes

2. SuperStar changes that are not yet in the help file

  • Added support for the DMX pixel tool that is now in the Visualizer
  • Fixture group marks were not showing up on the superstar sequencing grid. This has been fixed.
  • Group modify was messing up star scenes if you did a group modify action that that had star scenes in the selection. Changed it so the only group modify action that changes star scenes is effect type (shimmer and twinkle)
  • At launch time it was reporting "file not found errors" on the visualization file stored in the SSEdit.cfg file even if you were in CCR mode. Changed it so it only reports the error if you are in visualization mode, or if you are changing to visualization mode.
  • Added support for export in the new enhanced Light-O-Rama File format
  • Exported visualization sequences were only exporting channels that contain commands. Fixed it so it exports all channels in the visualization.
  • Added support for getting visualization parameters that are now available when you press the "SuperStar" button that is in the Prop Properties and Fixture Properties dialog boxes in the Visualizer. These parameters support the same features that the "Keywords" in the comment line support. The "keywords" in the comment line are still supported for backward compatibility, in fact the keywords takes priority over the visualization parameters
  • Fixed it so the white color control only appears if it is visualization mode AND there are some non-RGB fixtures in the visualization
  • The export of macro channels for Cosmic Color Devices now defaults to "disabled." Added "Export Macro Channels" to configuration dialog box. The macro channels get exported for Cosmic Color Devices only if "Export Macro Channels" is selected or if there are Pixel Resolution macro commands in the sequence. This helps those that are going to convert the exported sequence to DMX
  • Added support for "manual clip" in smooth effects, images, and text. Before, smooth effects did not clip at all. Text and images did "auto clip" where they clipped to the current matrix
  • Increased the maximum number of sequencing rows from 50 to 64
  • Enabled "rapid fire" trigger in instant sequence dialog box.
  • When opening old superstar .sup files, text actions were reading in the "preramp" time as -.01 seconds. This caused the text to sometimes get drawn incorrectly (not sure why). Fixed so preramp time defaults to 0 if no entry is there. 
  • Made it so the color temperature of the lights defaults to "warm" if using the DMX keyword.
  • Added "cool" and "warm" as keywords in a Prop. The Prop color temperature keyword overrides the Fixture color temperature keyword. Visualizer also added a color temperature setting in the Prop Properties dialog box.
  • Added check for archive file when exiting the program. If it is an archive file and the effects have been modified it says you can't save the changes to the archive file and allows the options to save to a different file name or to exit without saving.
  • Added DMX addressing as an option in the Config dialog box (used when in CCR mode)
  • Added support for new keyword in props "matrixLength=", this must be use for a matrix of DMX pixels where the DMX addressing is fully packed.

How do I get this new version? The new version can be downloaded from:

 

www1.lightorama.com/downloads/4.0.0/LOR-4.0.0.exe

 

Or from our alternate download location:

 

www.lightorama.com/downloads/4.0.0/LOR-4.0.0.exe

 

Thanks for your help!

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