DreamScene Ran on Windows 95 But Not My Vista
I was pleased when I heard that Microsoft was making their Vista Ultimate Extras available. I was especially looking forward to DreamScene which provides cool animated, video desktop backgrounds.
Unfortunately, the machine I use for Vista testing doesn’t support DreamScene. This Ultimate Vista Extra requires the Windows Aero theme. Unfortunately, Aero doesn’t seem to be supported on my year old NVidia GeForce3 graphics card.
Not many people know that animated desktop backgrounds were introduced over ten years ago on Windows 95. An ingenious Seattle programmer named Joe King created a wallpaper animation engine called Crystal Walls. Joe, who once worked on the Windows 1.0 team, had the support of over 30 programmers and artists who created over a dozen unique flowing backgrounds.
I was honored to be one of the programmers who created a scene to include in the product which was first launched in Egghead Software stores. My scene “13 Sharpei’s Contemplating the Universe” included a number of playful pups including Nosey who would occasionally approach and tap his paw on the monitor glass.
Crystal Walls was considered to be included in a “Windows PLUS Pack!” but instead, Microsoft introduced something called Active Desktop with Internet Explorer 4.0. Active Desktop broke the Crystal Walls engine and promised to provide a similar experience. Active Desktop was created to take advantage of “push” technology but it never really gained mass appeal.
According to his LinkedIn profile Joe’s talent has been discovered by the folks at Amazon where he’s Senior Manager of Social Computing.
Vista Trick: There’s a window handle trick on Vista that lets you to use a screen saver as desktop wallpaper. LockerGnome wrote about it today and according to Chris Pirillo, this works on monitors that may not support DreamScene. Unfortunately, it didn’t work well on mine.
From the cmd.exe box, type “ribbons.scr /p65552”. This trick is cool but be sure to close any open files before you try it. While it may work on some machines it could jumble the screen on others. If you try this and it messes up, you’ll need to Ctrl-Alt-Del and either Log Off or Restart. You can use other screen savers and it should work on all version of Vista, not just Ultimate.