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Some suggestions (obj import, 64bit, display all stellations

 
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indigotwilight



Joined: 02 Apr 2011
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:15 pm    Post subject: Some suggestions (obj import, 64bit, display all stellations Reply with quote

I've been playing around with stella4d for a good few days now, and am thoroughly enjoying the software. Building new polyhedra is quite simple, and I've made some quite interesting looking compounds as a result.

I have some preliminary suggestions which I'd find useful in the sense of how I use the program. Others may agree or disagree.

import obj.
An obj importer would be nice. It is a general format that can be imported and exported by most 3d software. Stella4d currently has an .obj export facility, but no obj reader.
Importing obj's would open up a whole range of new possibilities. Imagine sculpting a virtual model of your house in Blender (say) and then have Stella generate the nets for you to build miniatures of practically any object.

64 bit.
I noticed Stella4d installed to Program Files (x86) by default, which implies the program is 32bit (and thus has a hard limit in the amount of RAM used). My computer has 8GB RAM and a 64 quad core processor (not to mention other computers I use as a render farm). It'd be great to see Stella4d make use of all that processing power and RAM.

Stellations as thumbnails.
When generating polyhedra, I like to stellate them to see the effects. Sometimes there seems to be literally hundreds of stellations. Even a simple icosidodecahedron appears to have at least 200 or so. Could Stella4d be made to display up and coming stellations as thumbnails? Perhaps a browser bar along the bottom, filled with thumbnails lined up like a filmstrip, where one could navigate along to find a star that grabs attention.


Replicate by rotation.
Could be useful for producing compounds of one or more polyhedron type. The replication could be defined by entering azimuth and zenith rotation angles, or by replication within another polyhedron. In the second case, if, say, you have a star made of 12 large points, and want to make a compound of five of them, the replication could be done inside a 'dummy' polyhedron of 60 vertex points.


Provide some sort of SDK to enable other users to build plugins.
This is essentially a list of all the objects and classes in the Stella4d source code, without actually making the source code available. This enables users to develop plugins that could further enhance stella4d.

Manual scaling individual polyhedra in a compound with a simple mouse click and drag...
What I mean by this, is one selects a polyhedron in a compound, and then rescales it. This would be particularly useful in generating compounds of more than one polyhedron type. Ive gotten around this by changing the shortest edge length of the individual components before adding to memory, but this is a bit 'trial and error' until one gets something that looks right.


Linux and mac installers would also be great. Though I guess one could use WINE for Linux.
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daniela



Joined: 03 Oct 2010
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess this translates to "more people should buy Stella so that the developer keeps updating it and adding features".
I would love to see all the features you mention (nowadays 32bit= netbook for the beach...) and would support the software, but may be the numbers are not enough. May be Robert can comment?
Daniela
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robertw
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Joined: 10 Jan 2008
Posts: 395
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:22 am    Post subject: Re: Some suggestions (obj import, 64bit, display all stellat Reply with quote

Well, it's taken me almost a year, but here's a reply at last! Sorry, it went into the too-difficult-to-reply-to-quickly category, and then got left behind indefinitely. This reply may still be sketchy, but I'll see how I go.

indigotwilight wrote:
import obj.
An obj importer would be nice. It is a general format that can be imported and exported by most 3d software.

I seem to remember that .obj is limited to single-precision coordinates, whereas Stella really likes double-precision (can someone confirm that?). I would mean a lot of models from OBJ may have problems (if I remember correctly). Otherwise, at least just for the geometry part, it's a straight forward format, so I might think about it.
Quote:
64 bit.
I noticed Stella4d installed to Program Files (x86) by default, which implies the program is 32bit (and thus has a hard limit in the amount of RAM used). My computer has 8GB RAM and a 64 quad core processor (not to mention other computers I use as a render farm). It'd be great to see Stella4d make use of all that processing power and RAM.

I'm not convinced that a 64bit version would operate any better. Access to more RAM certainly doesn't imply faster operation, and would only be of any benefit when Stella actually required access to huge amounts of memory, which it rarely would unless stellating something very complex. Using 64-bit operations however probably would improve speed a little, but if you're on a modern computer then you're probably not noticing problems with speed anyway. And if you are, it's more likely related to graphics, which is ultimately 32-bit anyway, so again, no difference.
Quote:
Stellations as thumbnails.
When generating polyhedra, I like to stellate them to see the effects. Sometimes there seems to be literally hundreds of stellations. Even a simple icosidodecahedron appears to have at least 200 or so.

Actually, the icosidodecahedron has 847 fully-supported stellations (or a few less if you discount stellations that don't use all the facial planes). Or using Miller's rules, it has 7071672 reflexible stellations and an unknown number of chiral stellations (many orders of magnitude greater than the reflexible ones). You can see some of these results here, counted using Stella:
http://www.software3d.com/Enumerate.php
Quote:
Could Stella4d be made to display up and coming stellations as thumbnails? Perhaps a browser bar along the bottom, filled with thumbnails lined up like a filmstrip, where one could navigate along to find a star that grabs attention.

It's an interesting idea. Maybe somday.
Quote:
Replicate by rotation.

I hope some day to add a compound mode, to make it easy to generate compounds, but it won't make it into the next release.
Quote:
Provide some sort of SDK to enable other users to build plugins.

No plans for this at the moment. I think if I ever did it would more likely take the form of a scripting language.
Quote:
Manual scaling individual polyhedra in a compound with a simple mouse click and drag...
What I mean by this, is one selects a polyhedron in a compound, and then rescales it. This would be particularly useful in generating compounds of more than one polyhedron type.

Might be fun, but not very accurate if scaling with the mouse. Can you give an example?
Quote:
Linux and mac installers would also be great. Though I guess one could use WINE for Linux.

Unfortunately I think it would be a lot of work to port, and I don't have a Mac, so porting is not really on the cards at the moment, though I do think about how to tackle it sometimes.

Sorry again for ridiculously late reply. I'll try to be quicker next time!
Rob.
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