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Virtual Aquarium Beta Testers Needed!


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hey all,

i've been working on an aquarium screensaver for about a year now. i've been using houdini for a lot of the development (the aquarium and fish and motion prototyping we all done with it). It's only for windows XP right now, but if people could give it a run. if it crashes it has an easy bug reporting feature. Right now i really need beta testers. it supports multi-monitors.

here's a still:


download it at DreamAquarium.com

thanks, and be sure to let me know if ANYTHING doesn't work for you. Tell your friends and your mom too!


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a w e s o m e

thanks... does it run for a tryout time or its unlimited? (sorry for asking.. you might want to get some money for it.. i was just wondering)... btw.. really nice.. i dont usually use screensavers... but i'll keep this one running :) specially since its done with Houdini :D ... would be nice to have some feedback about the work done too ...


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Hey Alan, one thing that might be helpful is a little section that specifies Required and Recommended Hardware. Normally before I download any sort of graphic/audio/game-ish software I like to be able to see if my machine should be to handle it. Plus it lets the user know what to expect. If I'm getting 15 frames per second, is it because my computer sucks or something wrong with the screen saver, etc.

Very nice. :)

On a Dual Athlon 2000MP+ with a Quadro 4 750 XGL Video card at

1024x768 32bit

Directx: 55-80 fps

OpenGL: 29 fps

(According to Fraps)

Windows 2000

Small bug-

If I go into settings and pick a specific resolution, it doesn't remember the setting, and goes back to Automatic.

Oh...one last thing...

Feed Fish....Best Feature Ever.

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It would be funny if the tank slowly built up on algae....and you had to put in one of those tank cleaner fish in to clean the "glass".  :)


...or you'd have to use your mouse to scrape it off. Yeah, there's lots of fun stuff you could do. I've had other requests for using the mouse to feed the fish too. i like that idea. unfortunately i have a "no new features until the bugs are fixed" policy right now.

oh, and that problem with it not remembering your screen res settings on W2K has been fixed in the latest download.

i have no idea what the required hardware would be other than 'a good graphics card'. that's why the algae thing will probably be a no-go for now - a semi-transparent plane that covers the entire screen is too much to ask of a graphics card at this point. in terms of cpu it's virtually nothing. I guess i should calc how much vid ram it uses though. i'm really suprised to find how poor quality the graphics of many new desktop machines are, because it's all gone intel integrated graphics (graphics chip built onto the cpu).

...and right now it's free because i need beta testers, although i should put an expiration on it. as far as i'm concerned everybody on this list is welcome to it for free. besides, i anticipate it will be much better in the future too, so i don't mind if people keep the beta version. right now it's a good way to spread the word and get feedback.

and as for the work done, sheesh, it's been so long since i actually worked on the fish themselves i can't even remember how they're done. i've been dealing with directx, dual monitors and installers for so long now. i don't even think i could easily verbalize it anyway. it was really tricky and required A LOT of fresh starts before i arrived at my current solution, which i'm KINDA happy with but not entirely. I basically have 10 matrices which run the length of the fish, and rotations travel down it at approx. the rate at which the fish moves forward. There's also a constant compensation applied to the matrices which continually tries to 'right' the fish (make it so the dorsal fin points up) which simulates the swim bladder's effect. i did all the prototyping for the code using houdini though, which was pretty sweet. i often do algorithm prototyping using sops. One of the tricky parts of these fish was the collision avoidance, which will get tricky again soon. ironically collision avoidance actually gets a little harder when the fish aren't moving so much.



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Hey spiralmonkey, After leaving it on overnight I also got that "bad matrix" error.

WinXP no service packs, Pentium3 800mhz, GeForce 6600 with 77.77 drivers. I have no performance problems btw, it runs very smoothly for me.


there's a new version available where that problem will hopefully be fixed. give it a go and let me know.



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hey alan,

nice stuff.. one thing i did notice is if you go to the change tank menu, there is only an exit button rather than a main menu button (or prev menu).. i'd rather have it the other way around, but that's just me..

and is there a limit to the number of fish you can.. i'm just curious because i want to add more and it's not letting me..

and while we're RFE'ing things.. it would be really sweet if multiple monitors could be treated as one big tank as opposed to seperate ones.. i'm sure it's not as easy as i'm hoping, but i just think it'd be cool to see the fish swim across the monitors..

but overall the whole thing is pretty awesome.. the overlayed menu that even respects each monitor with seperate settings and activates based on where your mouse is. And the colors are just really really nice as well..

cool stuff.. thanks for letting us in on the preview..

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hey alan,

so, this is odd.. i switched my screen saver to 'Blank' before going to bed last night (i was rendering).. but this morning had the following error on my screen:

Player::Play Play Dream Aquarium encountered an issue: {Bad vector} PLEASE REPORT THIS

rechecked the SS properties and it was still set to blank.. so yea, don't know what's going on there..

win xp sp2

AthlonXP 1900

gf4 ti4200 128mb

1 gig ram

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