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                             Scala Conference

[ Recently, an independent conference was held with John Chang of Scala US.
From the various fragmentary logs we received, this is what we were able to
flesh out. We join this conference already in progress... ]

     IcePic | JohnnyC: But one could export the complete scala-scripts from
            | a pc to an Amiga, and it would run?
    JohnnyC | This means that we can take 80% of the "PC" code and transfer
            | it back to the Amiga.
   «Action» | HeadQuake note: General Instrument is a HUGE cableTV decoder
            | maker/seller.  We have them in Sweden, at least I do.  :)
    JohnnyC | Since many of the RTG/EGS boards are VGA chipset based, there
            | would be little to convert.  Well, if we transfer BB back to
            | the Amiga, then yes.  As it is now, no.  BB and the current
            | Amiga code is too different.
     IcePic | JohnnyC: Since lots of cfxcards move towards cybergraphX, it
            | just might be an idea to go for that...
    JohnnyC | Correct.  The wipes that we make for the PC, should work well
            | with Cybergraphx and other RTG/EGS cards.
   MrDaniel | Speaking of RTG, is there any plans of supporting CyberGraphX
            | in ScalaMM ### or BackBone?
    JohnnyC | If we get the go-ahead from ESCOM/AT, then yes, BB will be
            | ported back to the Amiga.  More than likely, it will be for
            | the new PowerAmiga line and not the existing ECS or AGA machines.
      XT600 | icepic: Why ? then ypu must have a conversation to PAL again ?
     IcePic | XT600: AGA has it's speed limits, it isnt up to 1996
            | standards...
     IcePic | JohnnyC: Is there a big difference in the wipes available for
            | PC/Am, since the graphics differ so much?
    JohnnyC | Yes, there are some things that the PC graphic system can do
            | that the Amiga can't and vice versa.
   MrDaniel | jhonnyc: Good idea.  I dont think its worth spending much
            | more developent money/time on the old Amigas.  The Amiga wont
            | be back for real until the PowerAmigas appear...  IMHO.
    JohnnyC | Most importantly, moving in the Z axis.  We can now do a
            | "real" zoom wipe and fly-ons etc.  In other words, real
            | "scaleable" based stuff.
      Perty | JohnnyC: The tiles thing... How About it?
    JohnnyC | Oh yeah!  Sorry about that Perty.  Yes, the tiling thing will
            | be added to MM110, a maintenance version after the initial
            | release.
    JohnnyC | It will be in the authoring program for General Instrument
            | but not for the initial PC release.
    JohnnyC | Well, while we are waiting for questions, I'll tell you more
            | about the new wipes.  We now have "Picture" wipes.  That is,
            | you can use a 256 color image to create your own wipe!  We
            | also have "Script" wipes, that are based on Scala's new
            | ScalaScript scripting language.  Operations like grow, copy,
            | move, etc are now available to create your own cool wipes!
     IcePic | JohnnyC: How compatible are the PC/Am versions now?  Can one
            | use the remote feature to control different platforms?
    JohnnyC | Unfortunately, there is very little compatibility between the
            | current Amiga code and the BackBone code used in the...  PC
            | version.  If we do port BackBone(BB) back to the Amiga
            | (Power), then there will be cross-platform...  compatibility.
     IcePic | JohnnyC: Will there bo more platforms later.  or is it just
            | x86-pc and Poweramiga?
    JohnnyC | Well, the good think is that BB can be used on just about any
            | platform.  So we are looking at others to port to.  As some
            | of you may know, some of the Scala engineers, on their own
            | volation, no company funds involved, have purchased BeBoxes
            | from Be, Inc.  including Dave Haynie.  Right now, they are
            | tinkering with them, but, who knows.  :) Of course, the Mac
            | is another platform to port to, but its difficult to program
            | for.  I suppose we'll have to wait until Apple allows direct
            | control of video hardware, in order to achieve the same
            | performance as the Amiga and PC version.
   MrDaniel | Will/does BackBone support 3D hardware?  (like, for example,
            | gfx chips with builtin 3D, thats is getting more popular by
            | the day...) This could make some really nice wipes.
    JohnnyC | Ho!  Very perceptive Daniel!  Very perceptive!  Indeed, we
            | have been exploring some of the capabilities of the 3D
            | chipsets on the market.  All have some very promising
            | capabilities.  But there is no standard API.  If the industry
            | agrees to a standard (i.e.  Microsoft's new 3D Primitives
            | API), then we can really start development in earnest.  Yeah,
            | boy do we have some f*cking great ideas for 3D chipsets!!!
      Jacob | Q: Any plans for cybergraphx support?  since that is pretty
            | much the going standard in RTG for amiga now (would be nice
            | for something faster than aga)
    JohnnyC | Jacob.  Its hard to say what we will support on the current
            | AGA or ECS chipset.  For one thing, to even begin RTG/EGS
            | support, AT needs to choose a standard.  But as I've said
            | before, more than likely it will be on the PowerAmiga, since
            | they will probably have RTG/EGS native.
     IcePic | JohnnyC: Is the development of Am/680x0-Scala down now,
            | waiting for the Poweramiga/PPC-cards to arrive?  If so, have
            | you contacted Phase5 to get PPC-cards?
    JohnnyC | Yes, for now we are at the end of the development cycle for
            | the Amiga products.  Can't do much more, as the code is
            | highly optimized and difficult to...  add more to.  The
            | BackBone technology makes it much easier to add really cool
            | new stuff.  Yes, the current Amiga code is "spaghetti code".
            | Any new...  features would probably make it way to unstable
            | to function reliably.
      Perty | Q: Have you seen ImageVision, What did you think of it?  (I
            | haven't seen it yet)
    JohnnyC | No, I haven't had the opportunity to se ImageVision.  I
            | understand that its quiet nice.  We need more multimedia
            | programs for the Amiga.  Yes, they may be competitors, but
            | that is good in a way.  It shows the industry that there is
            | still unique uses for the beloved Amiga, despite its age.
            | Oh, forgot to answer IcePics second question about Phase 5
            | peripherals.  The answer is, I don't know if we've picked up
            | the cards or not for development.  Can't do any development
            | until we have development tools anyway.
  HeadQuake | ImageVision (I have betatested it) is delived with 1 CD full
            | of backgrounds, cliparts etc..  Any plans for Scala to go CD?
    JohnnyC | For the PC version, yes.  Lots and lots of animations,
            | sounds, pictures, backgrounds, etc.  Have nearly 400 MB of
            | it.  All designed by Scala Studios!  This includes new stuff
            | by Bjorn Rybakken!
    Babbage | What do you think of the new ppc amigas/have you seen
            | anything of them/what can you tell us about them, know about
            | future AT ppc machine gfx capabilities?  and whats this about
            | taking over beee'a big apple mac'box?  not amiga cd as well?
    JohnnyC | I haven't seen the specs on the PowerAmigas, so I can only
            | conjecture as to what the specs will be like.  First, I
            | believe they will be CHRP/PREP compliant, so that means in
            | addition to the PowerAmiga OS, it will run Power WindowsNT,
            | Copland, Linux, etc.  There has been some talk of a "legacy"
            | peripheral, that has the AGA chipset on a PCI card.  It would
            | be great to run 3 or 4 of these cards on one backplane.  This
            | would result in 4 or 5 player systems in one chassis.  A very
            | InfoChannel platform indeed!
      Perty | Q: Why aren't there any usage of the sprites (specially in
            | AGA version), like a little clock, brushes, tripple
            | playfields or something?
   MrDaniel | Will/does BackBone support MPEG/JPEG hardware?  I know that
            | ScalaMM supports a few MPEG cards, but what about
            | VLab-Motion, PAR, DB-Elite etc.  ?  And speaking of
            | ImageVision.  There is a demo on Amiga Computings February
            | issue cover disks.  I'll check if its freely distributable.
    JohnnyC | We've been asked that question many times Perty.  :^/ All I
            | know is that it was a flaw in the design of the original
            | Amiga code.  I can say that BackBone does support sprites and
            | brush anim type stuff.  Because chunky graphics can "push
            | through" 8-bit palettes than the Amiga ECS/AGA chipset, its a
            | safe bet that we'll have to wait until PowerAmiga.
    JohnnyC | While we're wating for the question, I want to thank everyone
            | for coming.  This is great!  We have an EX that uses any OM-1
            | (Open MPEG Consortium) compatible MPEG hardware decoder.  So,
            | yes, it will be supported in BackBone.  If there is an API
            | for V-Lab or PAR or whatever, when we have the BackBone Amiga
            | version, it would be easy to support these types of products.
            | Right now, its hell to make an EX for the current Amiga code.
            | Getting busy HQ.  :) There are other EXes that we are looking
            | into, but as you know, they are PC products, that have the
            | potential for use on the PowerAmiga.
      Jacob | Q: any plans to make a scala -> shockwave converter?  (or an
            | equivalent of shockwave for scala).  Also, why wait for AT to
            | do anything?  so far they're pushing very little, it's phase5
            | that's actually been showing PPC and did CybergraphX.  AT
            | can't even get a new developer kit out the door and their
            | inet package (which was supposed to impress us all) is a joke
            | (my point being if you wait for AT to do anything it'll be
            | too late :)
    JohnnyC | Very perceptive Jacob.  Indeed, we've been looking at making
            | EXes for ShockWave, Java, etc, that run from OUR software.
    JohnnyC | Of course, there will be the superior ScalaScript stuff.  Now
            | couple that with the 3D chipsets and now you're talking real
            | multimedia!
    Babbage | headquake Do you think AT are doing to little to late, and by
            | the time they DO get some new machines released, everyone
            | else will have moved on to more powerfull pastures (as its
            | looking like AT are trying to develop what other people are
            | alreaady using now)
    JohnnyC | This is very hard to predict.  Perhaps it is Phase 5 doing
            | all the R&D for AT.  Don't have any hard evidence to support
            | this statement.  If they are, I'm sure our European office is
            | in touch with them.
   wavegirl | First, can you elaborate more on your plan in regards to HTML
            | support; and is there any chance of making a freely
            | distributable "player" so non-scala owners can view scripts?
            | (Sort of like PowerPoint has?)
    JohnnyC | It would be easy to add a an HTML EX to the software,
            | implementation would be similar to Java, but other details I
            | can't divuldge at the moment.  Sorry.
    JohnnyC | Yes, of course the ScalaScript engine would be freely
            | distributable.  Authoring is where one would have to pay
            | their dues.  :)
   MrDaniel | Any plans of supporting advanced multimedia hardware, like
            | for example the 2GO board from Phase5?  (I usually start
            | drooling when I'm thinking of what Scala would be able to do
            | with such hardware.  :) )
    JohnnyC | If its supported by the OS or if the is a standard API that
            | is available, sure I think it would be easy to implement with
            | the BackBone technology.
      Perty | Q: Is Scala PC multitasking? ;-)
    JohnnyC | Well, yes and no.  Since it runs from MS-DOS, not Windows,
            | there are some limitations.  One of the elements of
            | BackBone...  MMOS (MultiMedia Multitasking Operating System)
            | does do multitasking and limited memory management when in
            | the 32-bit protected mode.  This includes message handling
            | and priority/operation handling of the EXes, etc.  However,
            | as soon as we have to do I/O (i.e.  read or write to DOS)
            | multitasking is halted for that cycle, but then quickly
            | returns to the 32-bit, multitasking mode.  Not quiet a real
            | OS, but close enough.
     ScottE | Do you plan to continue with the use of the Dongle?  I've
            | recieved numerous comments about the unprofessionalism of the
            | dongle for both the Pc and Amiga versions of MM and IC.
   «Action» | HeadQuake comment: AT A1200/4000 Scala bundle use no dongle.
    JohnnyC | There will be different products tailored for different
            | markets, based on the same software technology.  MM100 will
            | not, I repeat NOT have a dongle.  :) However, we will have
            | versions that will have dongles, but only on the authoring
            | modules.  Not the Player.  In addition, these variants...
            | will include the ability to "encrypt" the scripts, Preventing
            | tampering and allowing the ability to author for CD-ROM,
            | product for profit, etc.  InfoChannel, will have dongles,
            | however.  Good thing is that there will be a multitude of
            | different products based on the same technology.  This
            | tailoring is much more flexible and highly desirable.  Price
            | point is there for every budget and every need.
   MrDaniel | Do you have a dog? :) (Just had to ask. I love dogs... :) )
    JohnnyC | LOL!  No, I don't have a dog, but my housemate does.  Two
            | very loud dogs.  But they are nice.  Have a cat though.
            | Names Atilla.  Big, BIG cat!
    Babbage | pc multitask?  hee hee hee;) Any future to a WB interface
            | instead of a stand alone screen one?
    JohnnyC | Well, I don't know Babbage.  I think that the unique Scala
            | GUI (which we call HumanTouch) is one of our products
            | greatest assets.  Certrainly, we can make it more WB function
            | centric, but I doubt if we will utilize the WB intuition
            | gadgets or interface.
    Babbage | could always patch WB to all look like scalas (award winning)
            | interface of course =:)
    JohnnyC | Well, think about this, what makes Scala , Scala and makes it
            | different from any Amiga or PC based multimedia product?  I
            | think the interface is a great asset.
    JohnnyC | Well, that's about it for tonight.  HQ and I have agreed to
            | hold this again this Thursday at 5pm EST.  Hope to see you there!
    JohnnyC | Thanks to everone for coming by!
  HeadQuake | Last question is from me: Johnny, do you use an Amiga?  And
            | if so which one?  ;-)
    JohnnyC | HQ, of course I use the Amiga!  Have an A4000 on the right of
            | my PC!