Scene Layering Strategies

In this forum you can share tips and tricks on how to use Cinemar products with some program or a task that you want it to do. So no one has to reinvent the wheel if you already did! (No questions in this forum only solutions, questions will be deleted without hesitation.)

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ronsatter
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Postby ronsatter » Thu May 07, 2009 3:02 pm

bigDvette wrote:What I figured out on this current re-write is that layer 3 has a tendency to overlay layer 2 for some reason.

So I I have a background in layer 1 and then I put a common structure on layer 2 and then put say my device specific screen in layer 3, when I swap out layer 3, layer 2 would disappear. I simply swapped layer 2 and 3 and now all is fine although I am confused why that was happening.


I haven't had any weirdness happening with layering with this current version of ML.

Maybe I'm not following your description correctly, but it would make sense that layer 3 would cover any layer 2 scene, it's above layer 2. Are you certain that some portion of your layer 3 scene is not physically covering some portion of layer 2 scenes?

You might check your commands for the layer loading. Sometimes I get the layer numbers screwed up. Also, if you are loading all layers on a scene dynamically with commands, make sure you don't have any layers "hard-coded" in the "Scenes Options" panel. That's burned me before.

Ron
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Postby Evja » Thu May 07, 2009 3:16 pm

No worries Ron, it´s just i am trying to take baby steps on your layering approach whilst you and BigDvette are going at 100 miles an hour ....

I´ll await your PM and then summarize what i plan to do to bounce that off you for a sanity check if that´s OK.

BTW, how are you creating that green pointer next to the live RSS feed that is being shown ? Would like to understand that setup incl the cyclestates and timers a bit better. Are the pictures part of the RSS feed or are you grabbing those in another way.

Cheers,

Evja

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Postby ronsatter » Fri May 08, 2009 2:47 pm

Hi Evja,

Look at this thread "MLRSS Plugin Photo Thumbnails":

http://www.cinemaronlineforums.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13804&highlight=

Hopefully, if you follow the posts and use Yahoo RSS News Feeds as your source, you should get the photos to display. It's very cool when it works. Not always reliable. Yahoo often doesn't provide photos for all stories, and sometimes they screw up the html code in the RSS feed, and our parsing routine is defeated. But it works most of the time, and is a great visual addition to ML scenes.

Thanks again to ML veterans Rick S and Brandon Higa for their string parsing contributions.

The story cycling and pointer display is not too difficult. It's been awhile since I looked at how I accomplished it all. Give me some time to "brush off the cobwebs" and I'll post.

Ron
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Postby DaveB » Fri May 08, 2009 6:33 pm

Ron; I had this working at one time, but then lost the actual RSS feed URL you are using for the Yahoo Feed. Can you please post that when you have a chance?
Thanks!

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Postby ronsatter » Fri May 08, 2009 7:50 pm

Dave,

Here's the Yahoo RSS Feeds link:

http://news.yahoo.com/rss

There are several categories. All the feeds on the main page have the jpg image encoded in the feed urls.

Ron
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Postby DaveB » Sat May 09, 2009 8:39 am

OK, so it has been 2 years or better since I have touched MLRSS. You have inspired me to dig deep and clean up many issues and left over code surrounding this plug-in. Why am I telling everyone this; well I am of the same mode as Ron in that "If it ain't broke ... don't fix it!", but there comes a time to make it better.

This has been a 8 hour process so far. It was so bad that I could not even figure out how I was cycling my feeds. I had several timers, sever macros and several cycle states variable groups all calling each other in a tangled web. I also had 23 feeds, was only using 9 with various setting combinations.

It is getting better now, and I almost have it all working much cleaner than prior, and with much less work on the part of my server and many less stranded variables. It was a mess.

I still cannot get the #&%& thumbnails to show up for the feeds, but that will be tonight's adventure.

Bottom line - Be diligent with your coding with this plug-in; keep it thin, straight and simple, or you will affect the performance of even the most powerful MLS server machines.
Thanks!

Dave Bruner
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Postby DaveB » Sat May 09, 2009 9:12 am

Ron;

If you have a chance, post your home scene startup macro and home scene exit macro code relating to the RSS timer trigger. I have jacked somthing up with my code and would like to take a look at yours. My timer starts but I am getting invalid feed number errors.

ALso, what type of text field are you using on your home page to display the feed titles?

Thanks!!
Thanks!

Dave Bruner
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Postby jjjukebox » Sat May 09, 2009 1:12 pm

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Postby jjjukebox » Sat May 09, 2009 1:30 pm

Ron,

Thumbs up on your screens. Looks very bright and tidy. My scenes look fairly old school but the system very stable so it is now time to fancy things up.

I too keep each layer to dedicated purposes which allows navigation to other resources without having to reload main overlays when changing zones or media types. All my scene information changes dynamically whenever the zone or media type changes. All overlays are focused on one area of the Main Menu.

Layer 0 (Main Scene Layer)
The Main Menu occupies this layer and most is always visible for navigation to numerous Gallerys (informational & media), Home Controls (lighting, irrigation, security etc), Zone Selection, Media Selection and Active Media Control overlays.The area with the blue background (Fig 1) is the area where all overlays will slide into. There is a JPGLoader behind everything that changes the background depending on the overlay selected.

Layer 1 (BackGroundFX)
This layer is dedicated to 45 hidden buttons that use keyboard shortcuts for keystrokes provided by a FireFly remote control. These keyboard shortcuts launch the appropriate command map macros for navigation through the system when client is viewed on a television.

Layer 2 (OverlayFX)
All Gallery & Home Control overlays occupy this layer.

Layer 3 (RemoteFX)
This layer is used for additional overlays used in the Gallery & Home Control overlays

Layer 4 (RemoteFX2)
This layer is dedicated to Sub-Menus, Active Media Controls, OnScreenKeyboard, and Help overlays.

Attached are few screen shots examples of each layer

Later
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Postby MurrayW » Sat May 09, 2009 2:37 pm

J.J. Jukebox,
Those are great scenes! I love your MLB scoreboard. How do you create you buttons that hold the team logo and scores? Also, how do you handle more than 12 games being played?

thanks,
Murray

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Postby jjjukebox » Sat May 09, 2009 3:00 pm

Murray,

All the logos, scores etc are individual swf or text buttons in front of the background buttons. To get the next set of scores I press the last scoreboard button (if visible) to bring up the next page of scores.

I made a script that runs in Homeseer that scrapes TSN web page and puts all info into virtual devices and then transfers all info into MLS via MLHSPlugin. Currently trying to duplicate this in MLScript.

Thanx
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Postby ronsatter » Sat May 09, 2009 5:32 pm

J.J.,

Great screens for touch panels. Nice big butttons. I especially like your "Help Overview" scene. I've been meaning to build one of those, but my scenes are always being revised ... so I'm always procrastinating.

I try to keep all scenes as intuitive as possible, though. People hate to read. They just want to "Touch and Explore".

BTW, I'm interested in learning more about the remote you use to trigger keyboard commands.

Ron
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Postby ronsatter » Sat May 09, 2009 7:21 pm

Dave B. and Evja,

Concerning timers for the RSS feeds cycling ... I've revised my triggers somewhat. Originally, I started the timers whenever my "Home" scene was loaded and stopped them whenever my "Home" scene was exited.

Now I initialize the timers as part of my "System Startup" macro, and only turn them off when specific scenes are loaded.

Here's my Timer Initialize Macro:

Macro|
MLRss|Update~001!
MLRss|Active~001!
MLTimer|Enable~1!
MLTimer|Enable~2!


I moved to this approach because several of my scenes now incorporate the current feeds "Headlines Panel" as an overlay and I want to keep the timers active, so the little green arrow marker steps down through the stories sequentially. (Fig 3)

Fig. 1

Screenshot of Timers 1 and 2, showing the macros which are triggered.

Timer 1 is used to cycle through the RSS Feeds. Timer 2 is used to cycle through each item of the current feed. I cycle to a new feed category about every 2 minutes, and cycle through each specific headline every 10 seconds.

Fig. 2

Screenshot of the MLCycleStates entry for the RSS Feeds and the associated commands which are triggered with each cycle change.

A quick explanation of the basic macro:

Macro|MLRSS|Active~001!SetVariable|Menu_Subname~{{mlrss_active_feed_alias}}!MLRSS|Update~001!RSS_Photo!Slide_News_Feed

Makes the selected feed "Active" and "Updates" it. Grabs the photo from the first feed item of the selected feed for display (See earlier post in this thread for "RSS_Photo" macro).

Fig. 3

Loads the overlay scene "News Feed" panel which displays each feed item's headline text.

Fig. 4

This gives a summary of all the items in the current feed and allows the user to select any headline and view it's story in more detail.

Several months have past since the original post, there may be some slight variations in the command macros from the original posts.

Hopefully, all can use it as a guideline.

Ron
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Postby DaveB » Sat May 09, 2009 8:41 pm

Ron; Many thanks. I have mine up and running once more and working well. I mostly had a tangled mess that is now straight and simple.

One question; In your Cycle States Macro, why are you doing these parts, specifically the Menu_Subname variable and the Slide_News_Feed command?

SetVariable|Menu_Subname~{{mlrss_active_feed_alias}}!MLRSS|Update~001!RSS_Photo!Slide_News_Feed
Thanks!

Dave Bruner
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Postby ronsatter » Sat May 09, 2009 11:11 pm

Dave,

This command:

SetVariable|Menu_Subname~{{mlrss_active_feed_alias}}

is used to track what the submenu selection is on my scenes. It appears on all my scenes in the lower right corner as the second part of the menu tracking variables. It is not mandatory for the MLRSS feeds to cycle.

This command:

Slide_News_Feed

is a macro which loads the overlay scene containing the RSS Feed Headlines. The right-hand panel on my scenes. It is loaded as layer 3 and slides up (reveals) from under layer 4 which is my "Media Mini Changer Panel" in the bottom portion of the right-hand panel. See Figs 1-3

Here's the macro:

Macro|
MLServeCmd.MLCmd|MLCommand~{{clientname}}~setProperty|3~y~1200!
MLServeCmd.MLCmd|{{clientname}}~loadOverlayAdvanced|News_{{mlrss_active_feed_alias}}.mls~3!
MLCmd|MLCommand~{{clientname}}~setProperty|3~move~0~0


I have named the RSS Feed overlay scenes "News_Business", "News_Sports", etc so that the second part of the scene name can be subbed with the server variable {{mlrss_active_feed_alias}}.

Then the "active" RSS Feed overlay is loaded at every cycle change. So when the RSS feed on the "Home" scene cycles from "Business" to "Sports", the correct "Headlines" slides up in the right-hand panel.

If the user is interested in the little headline tease next to the photo on the "Home" scene, the story details can be accessed easily by either touching the story headline in the right-hand panel, or pressing the "Enter" key on a keyboard.

Also, you asked about the text field to display the "Headlines" text on the "Home" scene.

It's "TextSizable" with "AriBold" 16 ... set to show only 2 lines, which is usually enough to get the whole headline text displayed.

Ron
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