Are we all perhaps linked by invisible bonds? Do the actions of one affect others, even if those others are far away? Our lives and the universe itself may be all part of a single mechanism in which all creatures and events are 'entangled' with one another.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday TimeWasters

The most full-blown fireworks screensaver ever. It has bright lights, smoke trails, clouds that are illuminated by the explosions, sound effects, and plenty of other eye candy. I hope you have a powerful graphics card. Keyboard commands allow you to launch various types of rockets, pause the movement of the fireworks, and control the camera with the mouse.

(The description above comes from the creator of this program)

This week's TimeWaster is a bit different from my usual games, because it's a screensaver. But I did waste a lot of time watching and playing around with it, so I guess that counts.

It's not just any old screensaver though, but one of the coolest ones I've seen! If you enjoy watching fireworks displays, and who doesn't, you'll love this program.

Called "Skyrocket", it was created by a guy who enjoys making screensavers and he has a bunch of other great ones on his site. And you can download all of them in one 'zip' file here.
It's right at the top of the page. Now it does require a little bit of work to get running, but it's not hard at all. After you download and 'unzip' the files, you'll see all the screensavers files as well as a 'readme' file & one named "OpenALwEAX.exe". The 'readme' file has the instructions for setting up the screensavers and keyboards controls that let you launch different types of skyrockets and changing the camera angle. The "OpenALwEAX.exe" is needed for the sound effects--all you have to do is double-click the icon to install it.
Here's a copy of the 'readme' file instructions and keyboard controls:
1. Extract the files from this .zip file using your favorite zip program (you should have already gotten that far or you wouldn't be reading this).
2. Place the .scr file(s) in the directory containing all your other .scr files. This directory varies between versions of Windows, but it's probably something like "Windows\System32\"
3. Open your "Display Properties" window by right-clicking on your desktop background. Click on the "Screen Saver" tab and select your new screensaver.
Keyboard controls for all savers: s - Toggle statistics
Extra controls for Skyrocket:
Skyrocket has the following special controls.
f - Pause the fireworks (particle physics stops updating)
g - Slow motion fireworks (slows down the particle physics)
c - Pause the camera (camera stops moving)
n - New camera view
m - Toggle mouse camera control
Left mouse button = accelerate
Right mouse button = deccelerate
types of explosions to launch:
1 - Sphere
2 - Split sphere
3 - Three-colored sphere
4 - Ring
5 - Double sphere
6 - Sphere and ring
7 - Streamers
8 - Meteors
9 - Streamers and little sphere
0 - Meteors and little sphere
q - Streamers inside sphere
w - Meteors inside sphere
e - Cluster of sphere explosions
r - Cluster of streamer explosions
t - Cluster of meteor explosions
y - Little firecrackers
u - Bees
i - Loud boom
o - Spinner

Step 2 above is important to get the screensaver files (.scr) with the rest of your screensaver files. I'm using WindowsXP and those files are located (as it says) in the 'Windows' folder in the 'system32' folder. All you need to do is 'drag & drop' the .scr icons into that folder. Then from the desktop, right-click on 'properties' to open 'display properties' where under the 'screensaver' tab you'll see the new ones. Select 'skyrocket' and you're all set! You can also use the settings button there to change things such as the amount of rockets that are fired and other effects.

Try it--it's worth it! The fireworks are incredible and the sound effects sound like the real thing!

P.S. The other sreensavers in the 'zip' file are really cool too, but "Skyrocket" is my favorite.

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