Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Amiga Kit Amiga Store Iridium Banner AMIStore App Store A1200/A600 4xIDE Interface

AuthorTopic: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?  (Read 2991 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline B00tDisk

  • VIP / Donor - Lifetime Member
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Join Date: Dec 2002
  • Posts: 1670
  • Total likes: 1
    • http://www.thedelversdungeon.com
Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« on: April 16, 2013, 06:09:45 AM »
Once upon a time there was a company that made a device called the LightRave for all models of Amiga.  This is about all I could dig up at a glance.  For the linkshy it was a dongle you plugged in to any Amiga to allow you to use Lightwave, which at the time was tied to the Video Toaster hardware.

It had a few features that the VT didn't, like allowing 24-bit images and animations (the Toaster apparently did fewer?  12 or 16 bit?), Full Screen Preview on all amigas, etc.

Anyway aside from fooling whatever Amiga you had (and apparently any amiga could use it - from a 1000 to a non-toasterized big-box Amiga) into thinking you had a VT, I wonder what specifically was inside of it.
Back away from the EU-SSR!
 

Offline nicholas

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 06:37:20 AM »
I found this old review on eab.

http://amr.abime.net/review_51574
“Een rezhim-i eshghalgar-i Quds bayad az sahneh-i ruzgar mahv shaved.” - Imam Ayatollah Sayyed  Ruhollah Khomeini
 

Offline Ral-Clan

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 11:57:40 AM »
Was LightRave (or an actual Toaster card) required for later versions of LightWave, or did later versions become "stand alone" versions (as promised by NewTek in the article linked to above) that could run without actual Toaster hardware?

Maybe LightRave was only ever needed for version 3.0 of Lightwave?
Music I've made using Amigas and other retro-instruments: http://theovoids.bandcamp.com
 

Offline Coolhand

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 12:35:57 PM »
AFAIK, later versions after '94 didn't need anything like that - just the amiga was enough, not sure if you still needed a security key dongle though.

Offline psxphill

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 12:54:02 PM »
Quote from: ral-clan;732137
Was LightRave (or an actual Toaster card) required for later versions of LightWave, or did later versions become "stand alone" versions (as promised by NewTek in the article linked to above) that could run without actual Toaster hardware?
 
Maybe LightRave was only ever needed for version 3.0 of Lightwave?

As soon as LightRave came out, NewTek started selling LightWave as a standalone software product. They probably hated the idea of LightRave making money for per seat licenses to share one copy of LightWave more than they hated the idea of piracy.
 
From what I can tell LightRave was just a software patch and the dongle was just there to stop you pirating LightRave.
 

Offline jandreas

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2013, 12:44:29 AM »
Quote from: B00tDisk;732124
I wonder what specifically was inside of it.

It was basically just a PAL chip that stored a unique 8-12 byte encryption key.  The damn thing cost a fortune (~$40) at the time because of the urethane potting/encapsulation.  However because we were a "hardware" solution we no longer were constrained to selling at 40% of the retail price to the large software distributors that regular software was sold at.  We never had any illusions about it protecting the app.  It was there for marketing and to allow us to charge basically whatever we wanted.  The actual application was encrypted a bunch of times and I threw in some self-modifying code for extra fun.  There was a little application that programmed each dongle and encrypted the app.  The copy-protection was really only for show, there wasn't much to it!  I was kinda shocked that we managed to last almost 6 months before somebody cracked it.  The only thing I could attribute that to was Ben Fuller being a personal friend...

Quote from: psxphill
As soon as LightRave came out, NewTek started selling LightWave as a standalone software product.
If I remember correctly Newtek patched Lightwave/Modeler a few months after we delivered.  Which I then reverse-engineered/disassembled and produced a patch within days.   It wasn't until somewhere around Siggraph the following summer that the stand-alone appeared, giving us maybe 10 or 11 months of sales.

Quote from: nicholas
I found this old review on eab.
I had forgotten all about that.  The interview at the end was total BS (unknown to the reviewer).  I had spent a stupid amount of time disassembling ALL of the toaster software.  First to reverse-engineer the framestore file format (i had figured out 95% without touching their software the year prior when I was working at U.of.Lowell but couldn't get the color conversion matrices 100% correct), then the wipes (ToasterVision), directly writing to the frame-buffers from ImageFX, etc. etc.  Then it was only a tiny bit more work to debundle Lightwave & Modeler from the Toaster (I never intended to "crack" lightwave...)  The bigger deal was keeping the whole project quiet.  Newtek's distributors had quietly shipped out hundreds of copies of the VideoToaster Software upgrade to Europe and in the end, nearly every major Lightwave house was beta-testing for us.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 09:36:15 AM by jandreas »
 

Offline Heiroglyph

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 01:28:40 AM »
Lol, I completely forgot about this product.

I've got to ask about this tomorrow at work to see what NewTek thought about it. (I wasn't there yet)

You've got to admit that selling LW stand alone seemed like a no brainer.  It's not like the millions of slot-less Amiga's or any non-NTSC part of the world was being served by Toasters and the programmable logic on the Toaster was so hand tweaked to work at all that converting it to PAL would have required as much development time as the original did. (Tim told me this in no uncertain terms)

That's one heck of a feat, I applaud your ability to make it work reliably.
 

Offline Vlabguy1

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2013, 02:22:20 AM »
Quote from: B00tDisk;732124
Once upon a time there was a company that made a device called the LightRave for all models of Amiga.  This is about all I could dig up at a glance.  For the linkshy it was a dongle you plugged in to any Amiga to allow you to use Lightwave, which at the time was tied to the Video Toaster hardware.

It had a few features that the VT didn't, like allowing 24-bit images and animations (the Toaster apparently did fewer?  12 or 16 bit?), Full Screen Preview on all amigas, etc.

Anyway aside from fooling whatever Amiga you had (and apparently any amiga could use it - from a 1000 to a non-toasterized big-box Amiga) into thinking you had a VT, I wonder what specifically was inside of it.


I've wondered that as well, the thing is pretty well made/sealed up. Not willing to cut mine open
to find out.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2013, 12:51:13 AM by Vlabguy1 »
 

Offline jandreas

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 02:36:01 AM »
Quote from: Heiroglyph;734219
I've got to ask about this tomorrow at work to see what NewTek thought about it. (I wasn't there yet)

I vaguely remember Tim, Paul, Allen & Stuart being more than a little pissed off in Pasadena @WOCA and their lawyers trying to find a way to shut us down...    (A really good friend of mine that was also pretty close with Paul since the beginning of FAUG had let me know that opening morning)  And probably equally pissed off were the people at "Video Toaster User" magazine after realizing that we had snuck a full page color advertisement into that months "show" issue.  I think it was even the backpage too?  :)

What I don't think anybody realized at the time and not that it makes it right but, I was 19.  Had worked in booths demoing software I had written, at every Amiga and graphics tradeshow (Siggraph, NAB, CES) since I was 15 pretty much along side them.  And completely idolized Newtek and everything they  stood for!  (we won't even talk about Laura Longfellow & Kiki).

  The original development that went into what became LR was legitimate and it was just coincidence that along the way I found I could debundle LW.  I would've done anything to work in Topeka (despite it being Topeka) but they were never interested, especially after...

Quote from: Heiroglyph;734219
You've got to admit that selling LW stand alone seemed like a no brainer.
You would think but the profit on those Toasters was pretty major.  Not to mention that without the VideoToaster, Commodore and the Amiga would've died much earlier.  I really hope it (as I was told) helped Allen & Stuart during their next contract negotiations.

 
Quote from: Heiroglyph;734219
That's one heck of a feat, I applaud your ability to make it work reliably.
Getting it to work reliably was definitely the most important and (also) most difficult thing!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 02:51:51 AM by jandreas »
 

Offline DrProcton

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2021, 08:55:47 AM »
I resurrect this old thread because I recently did try LightRave with the Open VideoToaster CD image downloadable from DiscreetFX website.
I made a little video. Lightwave 3D 3.2 works perfectly without Toaster with Lightrave. Here's the video (sorry for the typo on the floppy label ;) and for my bad English)

https://youtu.be/SenNfDjEJjQ

@jandreas I understand that you were the Lightrave coder. Can you give permission to put Lightrave adf on the Open VideoToaster website? It'll be a great gift to Amiga community and a great piece of historical software preservation.

If anyone is in contact with jandreas can point him to this thread, please. Thanks
 

Offline jandreas

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2021, 04:12:58 PM »
Please feel free to do whatever you would like with the Lightrave binaries.  You can check the USA library of Congress to confirm my (Jason Andreas) copyright info.  I also have all sorts of other toaster related software that I wrote back in the day; ToasterVision, ToasterFx, parts of ImageFX, etc. etc.  Whatever I own the copyright on can be distributed.  When I am back in the USA sometime in the next few months, I will see if I can dig out the source code for everything.  I am really curious to compare the open source Newtek software with my completely disassembled versions.

Offline Pyromania

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2021, 05:36:29 PM »
Thanx so much for responding jandreas. If you could please provide binaries when you get a chance that would help. If you don’t have access to the source right away you can provide that later. Do you happen to know if ToasterVision & ToasterFx work with the last version of the Video Toaster software that NT released? This software is located at the link below.

http://www.discreetfx.com/DownloadToaster.html
« Last Edit: February 23, 2021, 08:53:35 PM by Pyromania »
 

Offline DrProcton

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2021, 02:12:37 AM »
Woow!! Thank you a lot jandreas! I'll try your other Toaster software as well to see if they work with the Toasterless Switcher.
 

Offline DrProcton

Re: Amiga Lightrave - what was inside?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2021, 11:08:49 AM »
I made a short video of Light-Raved Open Video Toaster running on my Amiga1200 (with a v1200 card)

https://youtu.be/AqxF_ENMqYg

Hope you enjoy, Jason!