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Software Enhancements for 2014


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A few of our customers have voiced interest in what changes to expect this year in the S3 software suite.  Here is a summary of the major enhancements/changes we are making. Release dates are not available yet but we do expect all of these enhancements to be available for this season.  



Port to .NET – We are currently porting the S3 software to the .NET environment. The current system was initially developed, staring 12 years ago, using Microsoft development tools that are no longer supported by Microsoft.  This port will move us up to current development tools and allows us to develop code that can take advantage of features on newer PCs with multiple cores and 64bit processors. In addition future development will be “easier” and faster under .NET. This port will be staged but we will be doing the most important programs such as the Sequence Editor and Show Player first. These programs will benefit most from this port. This is a lot of work with little immediate benefit to the customer but will help position us for the future. 



LORnet Protocol and Data Storage – To help accommodate displays with very high channel counts (100,000+), we will be implementing a new method for the transmission and storage of data. In general, the high channel counts are the result of a boom in RGB-pixel based elements in displays. We have many customers with displays of 20,000+ channels, these changes will the next step in channel counts. The new LORnet data protocol will be pixel based rather than channel based. This data model, in conjunction with compression, will allow us to support more pixels per LOR network. The protocol is transparent to the user and is backwards compatible with existing LOR controllers so that pixel based products can co-mingle with channel based light controllers. Existing pixel based LOR products such as CCBs and CCPs will support LORnet (a firmware download is required).


As part of the LORnet implementation, the storage of data (sequence files) will use a new model that is much more efficient. The current model uses a fairly verbose presentation of the data which was done to make it easy for third party developers to understand and manipulate the data. However this leads to Sequence files that are very large when sequences reach channel counts in the 20,000 to 40,000 range, making it difficult to go to higher channel counts. The new LORnet will allow for 100,000+ channel ( 30,000+ pixel ) displays. As a result of this new method of representing data, all communications protocols supported by LOR will see benefit.



Sequence Editor Pixel Effects Tool – The Sequence Editor will be enhanced to support pixel based objects such as CCR Trees, RGB-pixel trees, RGB-pixel matrixes, etc.  at the object level rather than at the channel level. Thus effects such as swirls, snow flakes, scrolling text, etc. can be accomplished using high level effects tools with real-time visualization. To help get this to market quickly, Light-O-Rama has purchased a commercial license for the xLights/Nutcracker source code.


The Sequence Editor interface will look the same and act the same allowing existing users to use it as they do today. Existing sequences will continue to work, however the user will have the option of sequencing pixel based objects using a new paradigm.  


Although the new tools in the Sequence Editor will allow for the sequencing of high channel RGB-pixel based objects, it will be limited to a list of pre-determined effects. The LOR SuperStar Sequencer will continue to allow users to create advanced, custom effects for their RGB-pixel based objects.



SuperStar Sequencer enhancements – The SuperStar Sequencer will double the number of channels supported as part of being modified to support LORnet. In addition, it will be enhanced to add new features that simplify the merging of SuperStar generated effects into Sequences. The Instant Sequence feature will be improved, especially with regards to generating sequences for standard 16 channel light controllers.



Visualizer enhancements – The LOR Visualizer will be enhanced to help relieve some limitations such as maximum fixtures, etc. that are currently issues with larger displays.



In General – A vast majority of the Light-O-Rama customers use only LOR 16 channel light controllers and we will continue to make improvements providing them with an easy to use, reliable software suite. Although many of our changes this year are geared towards high channel (mega displays), the changes will also benefit all users by making the software more efficient.


The LOR software suite has been under development, enhanced, made more reliable, etc. longer than any other software product in the holiday light show market place. With the port to .NET we will be in a position to more easily add new features and continue to develop and support the LOR Software Suite for all of our customers and for many years to come! … 


Best regards,

Dan Baldwin

President Light O Rama, Inc. 

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