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Ode to OpenTZT

Discussion in 'Developers Area' started by tdeagan, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. tdeagan

    tdeagan Ambient Narrator

    OpenTZT is a great program.

    It's Free. (as in speech and beer)

    It's got a great feature list, stands head to head with a lot of commercial VJ software:
    - wide range of formats supported (avi, mpg, mov, swf, bmp, and more)
    - 3 mixable clips w/ 2 effects each, on 2 crossfade-able busses, each with a whole-bank effect
    - Dozens of (heck, it might be over a hundred) effects from multiple sources (esotic, pete warden, etc.)
    - dual-head support
    - live input support
    - Mouse, Keyboard or MIDI driven (or all three!)
    - BPM driven features
    - built-in output recording
    - stable performance on long gigs
    - very moderate system requirements
    - has been through multiple releases over a couple of years (road-tested)

    It does have some things that make it less appealing for some folks:
    - Only on Windows machines
    - really prefers 16-bit color depth
    - works in and outputs 320x240 res
    - you'll probably need to do some forum searching to answer questions that come up (though SourceForge, VJForums and VJCentral have it all :) )
    - you have to tap a key to set BPM

    But, the really cool thing is that it's Open Source (GPL)!
    - No one but VJs (at least ones that are getting paid :) ) ever makes any money off it (it's just an incredbile gift from everybody involved!)
    - People can add features, fix bugs, make effects and generators
    - People can see/download the sourcecode and learn a LOT about how programs like this work (means better software in the future)
    - It's a labor-of-love, it distributes most excellent karma! (makes up for a whole lot of bad M_cr_S_ft karma if you're feeling it)
    - Maintains pressure on commercial vendors to continually improve to keep earning your money ;)

    No one gets paid, I'm writing this because I'm hoping the software and effort get checked out by folks. It's improving constantly. It was already bad-ass when the mighty Triplet bestowed the hallowed GPL on it. I'm having fun with it so I'm trying to pay back folks who are working on the effort by doing some hype (it's a do-ocracy.)

    Check it out at:
  2. PiedPiper

    PiedPiper Old And Crusty


    OpenTzT is so solid, i'm alomst hesistent to let the secret out!

    But the more people we can get interested the bigger the user base will be, and the more influence this application will have on the phuture of vj'ing.
  3. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    With such a solid and reliable base as we have to build from the future of OpenTZT is looking AWESOME.

    As with the usual quips, its never going to be all things to all ppl (and who would want one program that does everything the same). But with this great start and plenty of ideas and MOST importantly ppl devoted to making OpenTZT even better things look good.

    Ok ppl we have a NEW BASELINE standard for VJ apps (free and otherwise). I guess some out there need to pull their socks up ('specially in the UI dept)..... So if your a coder, ideas man, or can contribute in anyway to the OpenTZT project please come be involved.

    Also on a side note, unlike being involved in the main current crop of privately developed VJ apps, this one won't die when the main developers give up and move on to other things or pack it in due to "other issues"

    SUPPORT OpenTZT & Freeframe.... VJ tools for the Future.
  4. klumsy

    klumsy VisualJockey JesusFreak

    so what the the features being thrown around for the next version?

    32 bit?
    other resolutions than 320x240?
  5. akira_k

    akira_k 8GB EUTour 2010 - book us

    Hmmmm... never tried this proggy, being mac my VJing platform, but I might give it a go even if just to try to revamp the UI.
  6. tdeagan

    tdeagan Ambient Narrator

    Hmmmm. Next version. Version is not a strong concept at the moment.

    So far, folks (esotic, beatsurfer and myself) have been adding functionality as the opportunity has presented itself (some usability tweaks, huge expansion of MIDI functionality, defrustration of the japanese to non-japanese keyboard issues, some work on generators and an exploration of the audio sync'ing.)

    The quest for better than 320x240 has been underway for a while. It's in the code a bunch of places, but Beatsurfer has a positive attitude, so who knows? :)

    I'm hot and bothered to get the audio sync/spectrum analyzer working. Esotic has pushed hard on this and we're either very close or it'll turn out to be a big deal.

    I've been working to tart up the C++ source for generators (a .dll that is used as a clip to do coolish things.) Generators work, esotic has produced a proof-of-concept and I'm working to make the source new-user friendly. Once the audio stuff is working and if we get the calls changed to pass the text from the text box to the .dll then all kinds of text and visualizer stuff is feasible.

    In any event, we're currently not organized around doing planned releases, folks are just fixing stuff as it gets interesting to them. Sounds pretty slack, but a lot of cool stuff is getting built!

    My guess is that eventually we'll run up against a couple of walls, like needing to do heavy refactoring around resolution or audio capture or somesuch set. Then we'll probably decide to fork the code or something for the purpose of creating a new Version. We'll need a lot of discussion around degree of backwards compatibility with effects and such. <Highly_Personal_Opinion> I'd be okay with having two versions, a 320x240 and a 640x480, mostly because I'm happy in 320x240 and I think the 640x480 will be a resource pig and will require better computers than I (a cheapskate) can afford. Sure multiple versions are a bitch to maintain and the lo-res version would wither over time, but that's okay with me </Highly_Personal_Opinion> In the end, I'm betting on MoRpH keeping us on track here. ;)

    Everyone is welcome to come to the SourceForge site and add feature requests! New ideas are cool.

    Nothing I write here constitutes anything at all 'official' about OpenTZT, it's just my opinions, observations and such.
  7. VJamm

    VJamm VJ Software


    any news on freeframe support in OpenTZT?

    all the best

  8. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    I emailed pete about it the other day but no answer yet... yes yes I know pete's not the only guy that can do it, but pete and I have done worked on a few other things b4.

    I guess we really should get onto the freeframe sourceforge site and see if we can beat up some interest :)
  9. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    petes the one guy who expressly cannot do it - his contract with apple prevents him from developing any opensource video stuff.

    it would be better done by one of the people who are actually working on the TZT code.

    the 320x240 issue is far more pressing than adding any new effects features imho an app that only uses 320x240 is shockingly useless in these days of HDTV.
  10. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    Well that sux, but I guess were lucky we got Freechain b4 that huh ;)

    I'm not 100% sure any of the guys working on the OpenTZT source are in a position to build in native TZT support, but I could be wrong, lets hope I am :)

    Hmmmm well I'm sorry to say but talking to users that doesn't seem to be the focus of what ppl are asking for *shrug* we all "want" higher resolution, but it seems are content to stick with 320x240 to get all the other benefits.

    As it is the guys that are doing the majority of coding are still getting to grips with it, I think a higher res is somewhere down the track, but I don't think its a high priority. As for whats shocking, I seriously doubt that many ppl running OpenTZT are using anything @ HDTV res and it seems a sad little snipe @ what is without a doubt one of the best VJ progs around. I guess this jsut another one of those "res obsessives" picky points. As I have said a million times, I'd rather see something different and interesting @ 320x240 (scaled nicely of course) than the same old shit @ 1024x768 (most of the hi-res cheese I see)

    BTW tom, can you stop in @ the "playing across screens" thread I need your or another VJammer's help... cheers :)
  11. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    which thread is that i can't seem to find it?
  12. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

  13. Rovastar

    Rovastar /..\

    I agree with Tom the low res seems all wrong I am relutant to recommend this app to newbie VJ because of this.

    The people using OPenTZT might not mind as they are used to that res and no doubt create clips in that chunky res too so they are less likely to want it. But other that have normal res then it is heartbreaking to downres your work........I cry everytime I make a DVD........:):cry:
  14. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    Hahaha well that just goes to show the "realisim" here.

    As for recommendations to newbie VJs, thats sad cause with the the software being free and open source I would say its a great recommendation.... and it focuses on performance, ease of use and interaction all KEY VJ areas, far more important that "resolution obsessiveness" IMHO
  15. VJamm

    VJamm VJ Software

    well i recon simple freeframe support is more of a priority than rez - but then I would, wouln't I?

    seriously though, there's about 200 FF plugins out there now, and it just seems really poetic for TzT to be open sourced, and then to support FreeFrame after the whole story of Petes Plugins, FreeChain etc.

  16. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    I agree russell its something I would all like to see come together, both FF support and Hi-Res..... as usual we rely on our coders, who I maight add have so far done a wonderful job, Esotic, Beatsurfer, etc... BUT others would be MORE than welcome.

    GAME ON!! :jump:
  17. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    yeh well freeframe is a great way to add more effects for almost no work.

    however i still feel that TZT has a lot to implerment before it will have the power of its rivals
    its file handling is stupid - adding a proper load clip interface to allow brousing to clips that are not in the media directorys would be a good start.
  18. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    Call me strange but I actually like not messing with clip loaders and such, I prefer jsut browsing thumbnails in windows and the packing my directories, also it makes it very transportable (both jsut materials directory or the entire app), load it with clips, throw the whole directory on a CD/DVD and your set to take it to any PC...... try doing that with any of the other "rivals". I guess you could say that "power" is in the eyes of the user :)
  19. Esotic

    Esotic Fine Ass Posts

    Everyone Loves What They're Used To

    Getting TZT to be higher res (any res you want) would be fantastic, but nothing near an easy task. I'm looking into this as an option and slowly laying in the groundwork. It may never get here, but that doesn't mean I'm not pressing in that direction.

    At this point I'm super-stoked and motivated to be working on the code, but time being what it is can only get so much done. Wysiwyg and Beatsurfers have been doing a good job with updates as well, though.

    My "short" term (personal) goals for OpenTZT:

    Enhanced Generator Support
    - Pass Text to Generators (done)
    - DVD Player Generator
    - Receive Video Stream Generator
    Enhanced Effectors Support
    - Export Effectors for MoRpH
    - Add FreeFrame support
    - Continue to Make effectors
    Learn and Code Assembly/MMX
    Empirically Quantify Optimum File Formats/Codecs
    Create a TZT(SDK) CD/DVD

    There is no particular order to what will get done when, so feel free to make suggestions for what you'd like to see happen first. Or additions for the list.


  20. unfold

    unfold New Member

    not in reply to previous posts:

    How is the midi-thing working ? What is it basically capable of ? Can the effects be hooked up ? How well can video be scratched ?

  21. tdeagan

    tdeagan Ambient Narrator

    MIDI now ROCKS in OpenTZT, it's capable of doing even more than the keyboard can do. Effects, speed, clip selection, x-fade, etc. Scratching is enabled about three different ways and kicks ass!

    Check out:
    for a full listing of capabilities

  22. unfold

    unfold New Member


    is there a changelog being kept af all the changes ?
  23. topherz

    topherz dandelion collective

    a note on Esotics post.
    TZT SDK sounds cool.
    I am a programmer but am put off by having to get deep into native OS code. Its always nice when I can accomplish a goal by using an existing code base / engine.


    and anyways, thanks to all working on OpenTZT project!
  24. Esotic

    Esotic Fine Ass Posts

    Coding up generators and effectors is actually quite simple in comparison to some of the more hardcore tasks like composite modes and what-not. With a little SDK guidance it should be fairly elementary for anyone to get in and start "rolling thier own".

    I've been talking about some TZT coder tutorials for a long time, so that's definitely something I'd like to get done.

  25. Rovastar

    Rovastar /..\

    Seriously MoRpH if you think a native low res 320 clip looks better then a native 1024 clip then you have a problem.
  26. Esotic

    Esotic Fine Ass Posts

    "A clip of what?" would be the more relevant question.

    Hell, you might as well discredit van gogh for using such coarse brush strokes.

    There is good distortion and bad distortion. It's all about how you use it.

    Boring VJ crap at 1024x768 is still boring VJ crap. Style and content are far more important than sheen. Or maybe you'd prefer listening to Britney Spears over Minor Threat

    But that's not to say that I don't respect Rova, cuz I do. He's been doing great things for the visual community for quite some time.

    Maybe it's time we had a VJ battle? Like a DMC for VJs. Or we could post some demo clips and have people vote.

    Beat It, Just Beat It, Wooooo!

  27. elbows

    elbows PixelRomper

    I refute the notion that resolution is ever unimportant to people.

    True it depends what kind of content, true lower res has interesting style implications of its own, can be used to good effect etc.

    But, I feel the real argument is about what minimum resolution different people are happy with. If resolution was unimportant, then surely theres no bottom limit, why isnt everyone happily vjing at resolutions such as 160x120 or 80x60?

    What I think should be acknowledged is that resolution is a barrier for certain styles/content/end results every bit as much as 320x240 is quite acceptable for certain other styles/content/end results.

    For the stuff I hope to achieve one day, resolution is an issue, so its a barrier to me using openTZT, every bit as much as lack of flexible midi was a barrier.

    Try telling people who are used to creating cinematic releases that the quality of film compared to typical internet streaming video quality is just sheen.

    I dont see any fundamental difference between screen resolution and colour depth compared to audio spec. Yes the songs need to be great in their own right, but would I want to listen to them encoded at 8bit 22Khz?

    Stuff about content such as "boring VJ crap" is a distraction to the point of the issue if you ask me. In what way does caring about resolution in any way suggest that there is less room to care about all the other important things? They arent mutually exclusive. Just because it happens to be rich corps that can most often afford to put a fake gloss over empty soulless message of adverts, doesnt in itself mean that striving for better sheen = compensating for lack of other aspects of quality in the work.
  28. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    I never said that I said, it depends on the material... simple
  29. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    Its integratal to the point, whats the point of having a higher res if your not going to use it for something WORTHWHILE.

    As for resolution harping I think a lot of it comes down to ppl that are obviously champions of other software pointing out the ONE thing they see as a stumbling block in OpenTZT and harping on it, which is pretty SAD IMHO.


    We ALL OBVIOUSLY want to use higher res stuff and for something WORTHWHILE. Its going to take a huge amount of effort to in OpenTZT (yes, strangely enough ppl we have discussed it, were not against it), I'm not ure anyone @ the moment has the time or stamina to take on the task.

    MY REQUEST to the community is:

    GET on the OpenTZT site, download a copy (especially if your a coder with some time), mess with it, check out all the GREAT stuff thats already in it, then if you decide the resolution is still an issue for you, get involved with the ppl handling MAKING it higher res! If it doesn't suit your performance style, delete it.... simple, no money wasted.

    The whole idea of buying the TZT source was to not have to re-invent the wheel to continue improving what is quite simply one of the best VJ apps around (UI, ease of use & performance, system requirements, etc).... CONTINUE IMPROVING! is the key in MANY ways (including output res).

    I have to admit for the normal support level of the community I'm a little disappointed now that we have a solid base to work from for a OPEN SOURCE project, that so many ppl are sniping and not getting involved with the project itself.
  30. WordVirus23

    WordVirus23 NoInput is Detected

    just a note... TZT will load SWFs that are larger than 320x240 but it only displays the upper left portion of it... hidden support for rez about 320? :)


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