Windows DreamScene to support 3D rendering?

DreamSceneBefore the launch of Windows Vista, I had a lot of high hopes for Desktop Aurora, a rumor floating around the concept of animated desktop wallpapers, including dynamically rendered scenes. When the Windows Ultimate Extra DreamScene was officially announced at CES in January, it provided both a sigh of relieve and disappointment to what many had hoped for. Whilst DreamScene is still a well-received feature by many, it didn’t bring anything revolutionary to the experience – video wallpapers has been available for quite some time (although DreamScene is technically superior quality-wise). But today, my hopes are restored.

In an Australian trademark application filed last week for the word “DreamScene”, Microsoft provided an interesting classification to this product.

Class: 9 Operating system software; computer software for displaying video and three-dimensional images as background on a computer screen

I read it several times to make sure I was not misinterpreting. Three-dimensional images could have meant static images detailing 3D objects or videos showing 3D scenery, but that shouldn’t be the case since static wallpapers are just wallpapers and videos aren’t distinguished by dimensions. It could only mean one thing, live 3D-renderings.

Currently, DreamScene only supports high-definition video loops to create the experience of a seamlessly animated scenery. For 3D, you have to download Stardock’s free add-on, DeskScapes. Only DeskScapes add support for dynamic 3D renderings with its proprietary .Dream format.

Practical examples of 3D wallpapers they present include a rotating Earth showing the day/night cycle, and also a weather application that generates a scene based on the weather in your locality. If Microsoft does decide to add 3D support in DreamScene, it is unknown how that might affect Stardock.

Three-dimensional wallpapers as opposed to film loops on the desktop might actually become practical than just quick-melting eye-candy. Microsoft knows the techniques to present information (such as weather, time) at a sub-conscious level on the desktop, they have a patent for it. I think it is about time to use that patent to deliver something truly revolutionary.

Update: I have been told DreamScene will not support live 3D renderings at its release.

15 insightful thoughts

  1. Personally I don`t understand what is the hell! Why the best Microsoft`s idea was realized by Stardock? Aurora Desktop with XAML output on Windows desktop (the next step of 98`s Active Desktop) was the great. But, probably, this idea have dead with Lab06_N, old-school Longhorn and other great projects.

  2. this could get really good once they include Live Maps 3D into it.

    imagine your wallpaper actually being a model of your home or office that relates the time of day and weather in real time…

  3. Why, Jeff? Stardock was actively involved in DreamScene development… so they are partners.

  4. I don’t speak for Microsoft but the patent is not for *dynamic* 3D desktops but video imagery (like the nature scenes) and 3D generated images (like Aurora or the ones Stardock Design made for Microsoft that come with Windows DreamScene).

    Stardock DeskScapes predates Windows DreamScene with the capability to do both video and dynamic 3D. So the patent wouldn’t affect Stardock in any way and Stardock has no plans to patent the technology. Stardock didn’t patent GUI skinning either. Microsoft later patented its uxtheme skinning technology which is effectively the same as what WindowBlinds does.

  5. Well I’d be impressed with a space scene or something of the sort… Wouldn’t it be cool to have Deep Space Nine on your background with the occasional Federation ship docking onto it? Lol, I love Star Trek.

    But this could be a very compelling feature!

  6. @Brad Wardell: I know I should listen to you since you are probably the closest person to the DreamScene people, but somehow I don’t see the difference between video and a video featuring 3D scenery. It’s still a video.

    To specify both video and 3D images sounds like it suggests they are two completely separate entities.

    It’s a trademark by the way, not a patent. Would not affect Stardock.

  7. Very interesting; we’ll have to wait and see what actually happens, 3D rendering would be really nice though.

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