Before the launch of Windows Vista, I had a lot of high hopes for Desktop Aurora, a rumor floating around the concept of animated desktop wallpapers, including dynamically rendered scenes. When the Windows Ultimate Extra DreamScene was officially announced at CES in January, it provided both a sigh of relieve and disappointment to what many had hoped for. Whilst DreamScene is still a well-received feature by many, it didn’t bring anything revolutionary to the experience – video wallpapers has been available for quite some time (although DreamScene is technically superior quality-wise). But today, my hopes are restored.
In an Australian trademark application filed last week for the word “DreamScene”, Microsoft provided an interesting classification to this product.
Class: 9 Operating system software; computer software for displaying video and three-dimensional images as background on a computer screen
I read it several times to make sure I was not misinterpreting. Three-dimensional images could have meant static images detailing 3D objects or videos showing 3D scenery, but that shouldn’t be the case since static wallpapers are just wallpapers and videos aren’t distinguished by dimensions. It could only mean one thing, live 3D-renderings.
Currently, DreamScene only supports high-definition video loops to create the experience of a seamlessly animated scenery. For 3D, you have to download Stardock’s free add-on, DeskScapes. Only DeskScapes add support for dynamic 3D renderings with its proprietary .Dream format.
Practical examples of 3D wallpapers they present include a rotating Earth showing the day/night cycle, and also a weather application that generates a scene based on the weather in your locality. If Microsoft does decide to add 3D support in DreamScene, it is unknown how that might affect Stardock.
Three-dimensional wallpapers as opposed to film loops on the desktop might actually become practical than just quick-melting eye-candy. Microsoft knows the techniques to present information (such as weather, time) at a sub-conscious level on the desktop, they have a patent for it. I think it is about time to use that patent to deliver something truly revolutionary.
Update: I have been told DreamScene will not support live 3D renderings at its release.