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Versioning and visioning

Or maybe just hallucinating? Ok, so I’ve got these great ideas – this overall vision – of what a computerized brewing sculpture interface would look like. I’ve seen examples made by various folks (including commercial examples like FALCON), looked at alot of screenshots, and even downloaded some VB source code to see what others had as part of their vision… I am thinking through not only how the brewer would interact with their sculpture during a brew session, but how they would want to to set up graphics for their own sculpture (if they were to build apon what I am doing)… In short, I am not only am I trying to please myself in this effort, but also to develop a solution that could fit the needs of others as well.

It is a daunting task… and one that constantly is adding to my list of to-dos.

Take, for example, my Pipe class. Two weeks ago I was very proud of how this class could take a series of points on the screen, and route / draw a reasonable looking pipe. You can see screenshots of it in posts like Confessions of an Ubergeek. It even supported flanges at the ends or internally, and oversized elbow joints. I figured the other graphics stuff would come in time, but at least for those few days, I thought I was done with the pipe class.

In the past two weeks, I’ve identified lots of other stuff I wish the Pipe class could do, like:

  • Terminate in a transition gradient for T-s and 4-way junctions, or rounded for things like pump inlet graphics
  • Support internal T-s and 4-way junctions for header pipes
  • Support concentric pipe arrangements easily, like for a counterflow chiller
  • Support different elbow graphics, other than just smooth curves… like "BumpUp" and "BumpDown".

BumpUp/BumpDown

I have actually started trying to visualize and document my ideas using Powerpoint as the quickest medium I know of to realize them… (I get lots of practice with Powerpoint at work). It turns out to be a really quick way to prototype ideas, since the same building blocks I use in VB.NET are available in their drawing tools (like horizontal, vertical, and path gradients), and seeing the construction of the graphics helps identify what object properties are required.

Valve concept drawings

You can actually see the full concepts by checking out the Concept Powerpoint I have been working on.

Hopefully the result of all this rework and effort will be a flexible and robust platform for people to apply to their own pursuits… of course that’s probably just the handful of us crazy enough out there to want to computerize their homebrew rig.

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