POV-Ray : Newsgroups : irtc.general : Looking to the future : Looking to the future Server Time
21 Jun 2024 11:19:58 EDT (-0400)
  Looking to the future  
From: Chris Cason
Date: 31 Jan 2007 06:00:52
Message: <45c076e4@news.povray.org>
Having seen the amount of comments regarding the IRTC's current pause, it's
clear that there is a real spirit of competition amongst many users who are
now looking for a productive outlet for that.

I've been associated with the IRTC since it was the 'RTC' and run by Matt
Kruse. However irtc.org has always been 'the' IRTC, and honestly I don't
expect this to change a lot. IMO the admins have done a fantastic job in
keeping the competition rolling for more than ten years. Even if the current
situation is not resolved there is no technical reason for the site to be
closed down (though of course it would be wise to modify any parts that refer
to accepting submissions and so forth).

However this is not the primary point I want to make in this post.

My point I think is that the IRTC can operate in parallel with whatever might
come up to serve as an outlet for this creative spirit of yours. It is not a
case of 'replacing' the IRTC, or even having a successor to it. Just for
there to be something suitable (and preferably fairly automated) that can
operate as your virtual sounding stage.

I can provide the POVCOMP site source code and web hosting for a new
competition. Long-time POV user Lance Birch, a professional web designer, is
willing to supervise and assist with the coding stage. We would need some
additional help there, as well as at least three trusted people who are
willing to make a long term commitment to supervising the operation of the

Going on, to me, the question is: what would pique your interest and keep it
long term? A clone of the IRTC? Or something quite different, but with a
similar flavor? Or something else entirely? Or even a competition that has no
set flavor - one that changes according to the times?

I would like to suggest one possibility. It would be interesting to be able
to conduct a series of competitions - of variable length according to
difficulty - that I would perhaps describe as the "POV-Team's Challenge".

This would involve us coming up with interesting or intriguing ideas for
renderings - either stills or animations - and challenging you guys to show
us what y'all can do. It need not be limited to POV-Ray, though of course
that's our primary focus.

I've no opinion how voting would work. But the winner(s) of each round would
get a nice virtual medal rendered in 100% recycled electrons and a spiffy
title of some sort. Possibly I could even tweak the news server web view to
auto-append an award JPG of some sort to the bottom of all their posts whilst
they hold the title (i.e. the badge stays there permanently, but only gets
added to posts they make whilst title-holder. Or something like that.)

Anyhow: what sort of ideas might we pitch? Here's a few that come to mind:

  1. Challenge: make us laugh. No cliches! Be original.

  2. Challenge: using http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/28710584/ as your
     inspiration, come up with something different (no copies!) but that
     invokes a similar sense (of, perhaps, anticipation?*) in viewers minds.

     * this word makes me think of the RHPS. Anyone for a Rocky Horror round?

  3. You are provided with a photograph of an equipment room of some sort
     (perhaps a server room). It has plenty of electronic/computer gear/
     wiring in it. You also get measurements of the room and of the larger
     bits of furniture within it, sufficient to re-create a reasonable
     facsimile of it.

     Challenge: steampunk it. Photorealism is encouraged.

  4. You are supplied a music track in mp3 format and a data file in text
     format, suitable for parsing by POV-Ray's SDL.

     Prior to the start of the competition, a group of you would have created
     a set of SDL routines to manipulate, interpolate, and otherwise use this
     raw data in order to be able to perform the below task (if you're not
     using POV, you will have to find your own way to deal with it).

     The data file contains sufficient information that the audio can be
     matched to each of the 3 or 4 instruments used to record it, such that
     an instrument or scene could be animated in time with it.

     Challenge: create an animation using the above. It is not required that
     you animate instruments. You may choose to make something trippy or
     cool coupled with the beat. It's up to you. Length should be at least
     20 seconds, but would preferably be the same as that of the audio file.

     To be reasonably feasible I would expect that most of the animation
     would have to be automated - but SDL is one of POV's strengths.

     [This challenge was inspired by Animusic*, LOR**, the 'Wizards of
      Winter' video***, and similar items over the years].

      *   http://www.animusic.com/
      **  http://www.lotsofrobots.com/
      *** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IK90Ys2LhSo

  5. You are supplied with a set of images that, if put together, form a
     short film (in the region of 300 seconds or so). This movie is shot
     using a real video camera and consists of a defined room or outdoor
     area, the measurements of which are supplied to you, along with the
     details and locations of one or two of the major items of furniture
     present. You are additionally provided with camera tracking data* in
     a form suitable to be used in SDL, plus some macros to deal with it.

     The actual details of the video, where it is shot, and what it contains
     (e.g. if there are people present, and if so, what they are doing/saying
     etc) will be determined by reasonable consensus in advance.

     Challenge: render something into this scene such that the finished
     result appears seamless. You can choose any part of the supplied data,
     including non-sequential portions, but the result should be at least 20
     seconds long.

     [Obviously, http://runevision.com/3d/anims/hologram.asp inspired this].

     * If possible this will be high-accuracy date captured from the physical
       camera motion, if we can get access to the equipment required. If not
       then it would be derived.

4 and 5 would obviously be longer-term projects and may run in parallel with
shorter ones. Participants in all of these challenges would be encouraged to
share WIP's, techniques, and macros with others if they so choose. The spirit
of the challenges to experiment, learn, enjoy, do new things, and most of all
create neat stuff with POV.

So. Anyone interested?

-- Chris

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