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Monday, December 04, 2006

System47 - Star Trek LCARS Screen Saver

System47 - FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called "System47"?
Originally, System47 (download) was just a generic name made up for an arbitrary planetary system. Though the program has started and will continue to include more non-planetary displays in the future. The number, 47, may seem random at first. Actually there is a Star Trek story behind it. To find out more, visit the following two sites.     • Pomona College's Star Trek Connection
    • Land of Schlock: The Trek 47s


Who built "System47"?
MeWho.com built the System47 screen saver. Who is meWho.com? Well, actually it's just a one-man shop for web development so far. And how do you pronounce "meWho"? You simply just speak it like the two English words — "me", "who".


This is a freeware... What's the catch?
No catch. I just enjoy in making and sharing this with others. If you do like it, it'd be nice if you can simply spread the words around about it...


What is LCARS?
LCARS is an acronym for "Library Computer Access and Retrieval System", which is the primary computer system in the universe of Star Trek's Starfleet and Federation. On many close-up shots from the Star Trek TV shows and movies, you can actually see the word, LCARS, on some computer monitor displays. For the fans, LCARS is also often used to refer the graphical displaying interface. There's actually another name for this type of graphical displays. It's "Okudagram". It is named after the inventor, Michael Okuda. Michael created it when he was the scenic art supervisor for the TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation.


How is this screen saver built? What tools are used?
Primarily, System47 is built by using Macromedia Flash (version 4), a vector-based 2D animation editor. And since Flash is vector based, the animation can be resized accordingly to any screen resolution without losing much quality. This also cuts down the file size of the program significantly. Also, many Flash scripts (ActionScripts) were written to support the animation by creating the effects of random text, displays and color schemes. After the Flash animation is finalized, another program is used to convert (package) the animation (Flash projector file) to a screen saver. This program is called ScreenTime for Flash, made by ScreenTime Media. There are many other similar programs out there that will do the Flash-Screen Saver conversion job. However, ScreenTime seems to be reliable and easier to use. Though one drawback is that ScreenTime can be quite limited in terms of a screen saver's preference settings and the ability for customizations.

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