Windows DreamScene - Animated Wallpaper for an Ultimate Extra

Totally cool desktop customization

Sunday, January 7, 2007 by Frogboy | Discussion: CES 2007

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:

  • A Windows Vista Ultimate Extra
  • Run High-Definition Video as a Wallppaer
  • Uses .MPEG/.WMV as content

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:

  • Extends Windows DreamScene to support Dynamic/Live content
  • Adds support for the .Dream format
  • Displays author info/URL in the desktop background dialog
  • Supports triggers (change videos based on time, weather, etc.)
  • Is only available for Windows Vista Ultimate Users
  • Is free

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.

To learn more about Windows Vista Ultimate, go to www.windowsultimate.com. To download content to personalize your Windows Vista experience, visit www.wincustomize.com.

Get More Dreams (animated wallpapers): Dream.WinCustomize.Com

Screenshots:


(1) Dyanmic content uses virtually no CPU, it's all on the video card. (2) DreamScene in action. (3) .Dream Files support author info.

 

First Previous Page 3 of 4 Next Last
Neil Banfield
Reply #41 Wednesday, January 10, 2007 1:47 PM
Zubaz: While you are at it you might as well get one of those large widescreen TFTs to show off the desktop a bit.
ZubaZ
Reply #42 Wednesday, January 10, 2007 1:54 PM
Zubaz: While you are at it you might as well get one of those large widescreen TFTs to show off the desktop a bit.


Good idea. Please forward me the tracking number when shipped.
bistro
Reply #43 Wednesday, January 10, 2007 4:14 PM
Congrats to Stardock for the collabaration on DreamScenes. But you guys are really gonna have your hands full checking the content of the user-submitted DreamScene vids.....I do not envy you.
Oh puh-leeze...don't let people submit crapola like:

1."My 3-year-old kid dancing around our coffee table with chocolate smeared on her face and her full diaper spilling effluent on the floor...ain't she just the cutest thing!?"
2. "My 43rd Birthday Surprise Party....Here's our Grandpa Fred asleep in the easy chair, cake on his chin....Aunt Martha wearing her birthday hat on her nose....hahaha....etc. etc. etc."
3. Any version/variation of vid games, cute penguins dancing on ice, ripped-off scenes from any action movie, etc.
4. "My cute [insert pet here] playing with [insert pet toy or other object here]. (It's YOUR pet....not mine....why do I want to see YOUR pet on MY desktop over and over again??).
5. Anime scenes of Martian-Afro-Transformer-Samurai Squirrels slicing and dicing their way through a horde of Scarface-Cocaine Addicted Hoods who are in league with Wookies.
6. Hackneyed animations of Bill Gates getting a pie in the face, cutesy cartoon animations of anything to do with Bush and all other politicians, etc. (animated cartoons that are funny only once....but not over and over again on a desktop).
7. "My Family Vacation to an Idaho Potato farm".
8. Desktop animated marquee in neon letters that show you the latest weather report for places like ØutÞweÏsteinmaklsé, Greenland, or the current market prices for baked panda poo in Tibet.

ZubaZ
Reply #44 Wednesday, January 10, 2007 5:02 PM
I don't think 1-7 would ever be accepted by the moderators here. #8 . . . that I could see and support. I'd hope it was implemented via rss so it was configurable of course.
Excalpius
Reply #45 Thursday, January 11, 2007 1:42 AM
p4blo,

There are billions of people and trillions of possible things to play on those screens.

For example, I work with four monitors at the same time. While I wouldn't run a "high impact" animation like a Milkdrop visualisation (and some are subtler than others) on my main desktop (I run it on monitor 4/cpu 2, the one with winamp, widgets, messenger, etc. on it, 1600x1200), I can definitely see running a more relaxed subtle animation or video on my main machine. A waterfall, a flowing river, grass blowing, the ocean surf on the beach where I used to live...sigh...that would be nice for a guy who works 20 hours a day on those four monitors.

And while I wouldn't go disco ball crazy on my main machine, some subtler animations like the aurora-like Vista window effects or some of the classier soft fractal pieces might be very nice.

And CPU issues are not going to be a big deal for anyone with 2/4/nigh infinite CPU cores this summer. Graphics card issues are a big one, or were two years ago, but on my Vista beta machine, I am very happy with the Aero performance, so I look forward to giving it a shot.
Excalpius
Reply #46 Thursday, January 11, 2007 1:50 AM
bistro,

If you don't want to play something, don't download it.

I would love, for example, to be able to tie my MSN Messenger to DreamScene so that a video of my choosing plays in the background when I'm chatting with someone in Florida, or Australia, or Italy. Or have their webcam playing in the background instead of some tiny window.

I'd love to have youtube videos auto fullscreen to the desktop background on a secondary monitor, etc.
Jafo
Reply #47 Thursday, January 11, 2007 5:02 AM

or the current market prices for baked panda poo in Tibet.

To wheelers and dealers in panda poo this could be a Godsend.....and I'm sure Tibetan market prices would be representational, world-wide, so the relevance would not be all that parochial...

bistro
Reply #48 Tuesday, January 23, 2007 8:53 AM
OK, OK....You guys know what I mean    I could go for some relaxing pastoral scenes (waterfalls, etc.), well-rendered aquarium fish and/or underwater scenes, a slow journey around the solar system (stopping by each planet for a couple of orbits maybe), slow-motion pastel color changes/ripples, etc. Anything faster would drive me nuts. I'm looking forward to well done submissions like those.
xgman
Reply #49 Wednesday, January 31, 2007 1:45 PM
uhh . . they left it out of the ultimate updates list at windows update.
markdall
Reply #50 Wednesday, January 31, 2007 10:51 PM
Has anybody been able to actually download this? I've had Windows Vista Ultimate for a while now, and I don't see this Ultimate Extra anywhere.
Sosiosh
Reply #51 Friday, February 2, 2007 12:12 AM
Interesing, I used Dream Renderer back in the day... it gets old, too

New caption: "Microsoft, still way behind but making last, look good!
misterME
Reply #52 Friday, February 2, 2007 2:40 AM
Has anybody been able to actually download this? I've had Windows Vista Ultimate for a while now, and I don't see this Ultimate Extra anywhere.


I've seen several references to it being available "at a later date", both at Microsoft and in some of the articles Brad has written. Your guess is as good as mine as to what "at a later date" actually means.

Both Brad and MS have mentioned that the Ultimate Extra itself will be available as a "technology preview" shortly after launch, with the final product being available later (I'm thinking June, though I don't remember why). Honestly, I don't know if that "technology preview" is something that is downloadable and usable, or if they just mean that they'll give us preview screens and video of what it will look like when it finally comes out.

Frankly, I'm a little miffed at laying down the extra cash for Ultimate, since this was the main reason I bought it (Texas Hold'em isn't worth the extra $100). I could have saved myself the dough and gotten the Home Premium version and done the Anytime Upgrade once this feature had been released.

Funny how there are a lot of references now to it being available "later", but I don't remember anything about a lag time between Vista launch and DreamScene availability ever being mentioned prior to the release of Vista. Seems like MS wanted DreamScene to be one of the things to put people over the hump on buying Ultimate, and figured that may not work unless no one knew that that feature wouldn't be available at launch. Certainly worked on me...
Yarlen
Reply #53 Friday, February 2, 2007 9:37 AM
"Technology preview" is basically Microsoft's fancy way of calling it a "beta."
max9
Reply #54 Saturday, February 10, 2007 2:25 AM
thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanks 4 u
dcyphure
Reply #55 Saturday, February 10, 2007 11:04 AM
THEY STOLE THIS FROM DREAMRENDER!!

seriously, dreamrender was created earlier in xp's life, not only did it play movies as desktop background it also could add 3d stuff to wallpaper or add liquid motion to it, also could use webcam stuff as a desktop or weather radars even, add .3ds models..etc, near limitless unlike what these thieves have done.

users could upload the .dream files to share, dreamrender was once abandoned because the 2 creators split and was then handed over to the d.r. community where its now offered freely if you donate to the cause, however its site is sometimes down and i dunno if its out completely or not...however its a good program and works in vista if you can find it.

i'm not knocking dreamscenes and its deskcape additions, its nice to finally see another product thats so much like dreamrender even though its been 5 years but they seriously stole everything, not source code per say but the whole .dream file thing and everything else about it is an obvious knock off
Stalwart Army
Reply #56 Tuesday, February 13, 2007 4:30 PM
Unfortunately, they'll need Windows Ultimate presently.

Incidentally, DeskScapes will be part of Object Desktop.

If its part of OD how can it be free?

Morpheous416
Reply #57 Tuesday, February 13, 2007 8:05 PM
Some of OD's packages are free...

I tried this, not bad....but it will not uninstall. Say's "Cannot read Install.log" and it's readable with notepad!!
Frogboy
Reply #58 Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:07 AM

If its part of OD how can it be free?

The Object Desktop version comes with additional content.

Frogboy
Reply #59 Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:08 AM

THEY STOLE THIS FROM DREAMRENDER!!

seriously, dreamrender was created earlier in xp's life, not only did it play movies as desktop background it also could add 3d stuff to wallpaper or add liquid motion to it, also could use webcam stuff as a desktop or weather radars even, add .3ds models..etc, near limitless unlike what these thieves have done.

users could upload the .dream files to share, dreamrender was once abandoned because the 2 creators split and was then handed over to the d.r. community where its now offered freely if you donate to the cause, however its site is sometimes down and i dunno if its out completely or not...however its a good program and works in vista if you can find it.

i'm not knocking dreamscenes and its deskcape additions, its nice to finally see another product thats so much like dreamrender even though its been 5 years but they seriously stole everything, not source code per say but the whole .dream file thing and everything else about it is an obvious knock off

OS/2 had animated wallpaper back in 1992.

Animated wallpaper as a concept is nothing new. Being able to do it without bringing your system to a crawl or interfering with how you work is.

Bichur
Reply #60 Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:48 AM
Has anybody been able to actually download this? I've had Windows Vista Ultimate for a while now, and I don't see this Ultimate Extra anywhere.


If you're referring to Dream Scapes and Dream Maker go to dream.wincustomize.com and click the 'more details'

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