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Old 13 December 2014, 22:59   #1
midwan
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Amiga Lightwave "ScreamerNet" - how does it work?

Does anyone have any information or documentation on how the Amiga version of Lightwave 3D used the so-called "ScreamerNet" or "Screamer II" network, to off-load and coordinate slave rendering machines?

Back in the day, there was a box of RISC multi-CPUs called the "Raptor" which was used for this purpose for example.

Nowadays, we have quite fast CPUs on normal PCs, so my plan was to try and network WinUAE sessions running Lightwave 3D with real Amigas in order to built a sort of a "retro render farm".

It doesn't matter that I can do this with newer versions of Lightwave only on PCs, the aim is to use the Amiga for the fun factor.

Unfortunately though, I haven't managed to find much information online on how this thing worked exactly.
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Old 14 December 2014, 04:06   #2
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Nevermind, after fiddling around with it today I managed to get it to work. :-)

Turns out it doesn't really use any "network" method of communication at all, rather it expects all the "CPUs" to have access to a common folder location (which could be a network path), where they all update some files and poll them every few seconds for updates (which are commands sent by the ScreamerNet "master").

If anyone else wants to set this up let me know and I can provide more details...
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Old 14 December 2014, 05:05   #3
amiman99
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I'm interested...

I think I had some files from NewTek's ftp for the Screamernet, but did not know what to do with them.
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Old 14 December 2014, 16:17   #4
Michael Sykes
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So I could fire up WinUAE 4 times, set each of them to use one single core of it's host CPU and add the same windows folder as shared drive in every running instance.
Then I start ScreamerNet,configure it and run LightWave.
Now I could use all the 4 cores for rendering at the same time? Thats it?
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Old 14 December 2014, 16:52   #5
Zoltar
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So I could fire up WinUAE 4 times, set each of them to use one single core of it's host CPU and add the same windows folder as shared drive in every running instance.
Then I start ScreamerNet,configure it and run LightWave.
Now I could use all the 4 cores for rendering at the same time? Thats it?
Pretty much.

I was able to do just that without too much trouble. You can also run instances of the Windows version on your x86 cores and have the emulated Amiga running the show. Or, run a multi CPU ScreamerNet set up on a single multi core Windows box with each instance using a core each. For Windows LightWave 5.5, it's actually the most efficient method to render large animations on a modern processor.

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Old 14 December 2014, 18:41   #6
Michael Sykes
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That was a really cool hint. Thanks a lot.
I will try this when I find the time.
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Old 14 December 2014, 22:50   #7
midwan
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What Zoltar said, basically.

I did such a test yesterday night and it work just fine. My A4000 was controlling multiple WinUAE instances on my i7 PC, feeding them scenes/frames to render.

Ideally you would use the same version of Lightwave running natively on the other platforms, but I had a hard time finding version 5.0 for the PC or Mac, so I ended up testing things under UAE.

The cool factor about this is that you can use any platform being able to run UAE, including Macs, Linux and even Android (though those may be slow) to render.

Also, since the whole thing is filesystem based, you could use methods to distribute the work even on a larger scale than your LAN. For example, I thought about using FTP to share projects with a friend of mine living in another city (there's a tool on the Amiga that allows you to view FTP connections/folders as filesystem mountpoints).
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Old 15 December 2014, 01:24   #8
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I had a hard time finding version 5.0 for the PC or Mac, so I ended up testing things under UAE.
If the Mods are okay with it, I could up the Win32 version to the zone for you dudes. We've certainly had the Amiga version up there often enough in the past. The Mac version hasn't come up in any of my attempts to find it, though. Rarer than a very rare thing, that is.

It would certainly be interesting to have all the different versions to experiment with. You could quite conceivably have a load Mac OS and Windows PCs, along with DEC Alpha workstations and big iron SGI boxes hooked up in to a render farm. With the whole thing being controlled by a little A600.
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Old 15 December 2014, 02:29   #9
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It would be so awesome if you could upload it!

In the meantime, I'm playing around with multiple UAE instances (see attached).

It's a good thing we have a UAE port to so many platforms, which means you can still use the Macs in that way. That's my next step, I was busy preparing a minimal configuration for WinUAE today, which would boot-up with only the necessary stuff to start it up as a ScreamerNet CPU "slave".

Now I can transfer the config file and Workbench package to FS-UAE on the Macs I have sitting around and put them in good use.
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Old 17 December 2014, 20:23   #10
Lonewolf10
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Awesome stuff
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Old 18 December 2014, 14:42   #11
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Okay dudes, LightWave 5.6 for Windows is now in the zone.

Enjoy
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Old 18 December 2014, 22:19   #12
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@Zoltar

Thanks, I will have a look at my backups, if I am not wrong, I have Lightwave 5.x for Macs.
Lets keep our fingers crossed
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Old 18 December 2014, 22:32   #13
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@Zoltar

Thanks, I will have a look at my backups, if I am not wrong, I have Lightwave 5.x for Macs.
Lets keep our fingers crossed
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Old 18 December 2014, 22:41   #14
midwan
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@Zoltar: I must be blind, but I cannot find it. Could you msg me the filename please?

@gulliver: That would be extra awesome, thanks for looking! :-)
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Old 18 December 2014, 22:52   #15
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@Zoltar: I must be blind, but I cannot find it. Could you msg me the filename please?
Are you set up to access the zone? Check the Rules & Help page and follow the instructions. The file you're looking for is Lw56.zip.
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Old 18 December 2014, 22:56   #16
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Ah, silly me I hadn't done all the steps. Thanks!
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Old 19 December 2014, 15:16   #17
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Ok, I have found what appears to be Lightwave 5.6 for Macintosh 68k.

It is an ancient backup, so it may not work, or require some tweaks. Please report if/how it works. It is in The Zone!

Note: It should also work on ShapeShifter 3.11 on an Amiga
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Old 19 December 2014, 15:27   #18
midwan
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Thanks gulliver! I'll give it a try this weekend and report back with my findings.

The PC version already seems to work, though of course it only uses 1 cpu core so you'd need to run multiple instances of LWSN to take advantage of the multi-core CPUs we have today. The multi-UAE approach has also been tested and seems to work fine for distributing work to many clients regardless of platform.

The extra benefit of using the Amiga version is that you can have an environment ready to boot from, so there's nothing left to configure manually (like setting up the correct paths in LW, assigns etc). You can just boot it and you're ready to send it jobs to render. Also, you can use the same path names across all platforms, whereas in e.g. Windows you would have to adapt the paths to the limitations imposed there (windows would have a hard time understanding what "Projects:3D" stands for).
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Old 19 December 2014, 16:11   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gulliver View Post
Ok, I have found what appears to be Lightwave 5.6 for Macintosh 68k.

It is an ancient backup, so it may not work, or require some tweaks. Please report if/how it works. It is in The Zone!

Note: It should also work on ShapeShifter 3.11 on an Amiga

Top stuff dude. I'll have a fiddle around with it today. No real Mac to test on here but, with a bit of luck, it'll run in BasiliskII.

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Old 15 August 2018, 22:36   #20
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I found this comprehensive guide for Screamernet I thought would be nice to pull out of oblivion
http://members.quicknet.nl/rhm.herol...ga_to_a_pc.htm
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