Totally cool desktop customization
As Microsoft just announced, one of the first Ultimate Extras (extra features users of Windows Vista Ultimate can download) is a new animated wallpaper feature called "Windows DreamScene".
Windows DreamScene at a glance:
So what exactly is Windows DreamScene? And what are the extensions and enhancements coming out for it?
Windows DreamScene is an animated wallpaper technology developed by Microsoft that plays high-definition video content as your wallpaper. The key ability of it is that it can do so without using significant amounts of CPU (basically the decoding of the video is the only real CPU use involved). The animation itself is run through the hardware accelerated DWM.
Software developer Stardock, makers of popular desktop enhancement utilities such as WindowBlinds, DesktopX, ObjectDock, etc. worked with Microsoft on the creation of content and has developed a number of tools to extend the feature set of Windows DreamScene.
On the content side, Stardock Design created a number of 3D animated content for Microsoft including the default animated Aurora. Microsoft is holding back on releasing all the content they have until Spring 2007. Stardock also added support for animated wallpapers on its popular WinCustomize.com community site at Dream.WinCustomize.com.
With regards to the additonal tools and enhancements Stardock has released two of them.
The first enhancement is a new program called DeskScapes. DeskScapes extends DreamScenes to support dynamic content (i.e. videos are pre-rendered). With dynamic content, you could have your wallpaper change based on weather, time of day, or news. Or you could just have some cool Direct3D "stuff" that runs (like one of those fish aquariums running as your wallpaper).
Stardock DeskScapes at a glance:
The other key feature of DeskScapes is that it introduces the .DREAM format. This allows artists to protect their artwork. The .DREAM format supports triggers (changing what is playing based on specific triggers) and it allows creators to insert their author info and a link to their website which we think is crucial to encourage artists to spend the time to create good animated wallpapers.
The other tool Stardock is working on is tentatively called Dream Maker. What it does is make it easy for authors to create .Dream files. Its goal will be to help make it as easy as possible to create your own animated wallpapers.
Get More Dreams (animated wallpapers): Dream.WinCustomize.Com