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Interview: Marco Nelissen

Filed under the:  department.
Posted by:Ryan on Sunday, 10 Dec, 2000 @ 9:30 PM

Continuing in our amazing series of great interviews with key players in the BeOS community (not to mention our trademark modesty), We are glad to bring you an interview with Marco Nelissen, creator of many great apps including SoundPlay. Read on for more…

UPDATE: Marco has sent us a screenshot of the next soundplay running the new VU meter, as well as a few VST plugins. Looking GOOD. :)

1) First off, thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

My pleasure.

2) Well, straight to the point - When is the next release of
SoundPlay due out, and what new features will it have?

It should be out fairly soon, but I’m not going to give you an
exact date. The most important new feature I think is the inclusion
of a plugin that allows SoundPlay to support VST plugins. Using
this new feature, a whole new family of effect plugins will become
available for use with SoundPlay. There is also a new API for creating
filter plugins, which the VST plugin adapter uses.
The LiveEncoder plugin has been partly rewritten to allow for
greater reliability and quality when streaming data. BeOSRadio
and other sites are currently using this new plugin.
The Analog VU meter has been redone to allow it to be totally
customizable. Some cool decors for it will be included.
The above will probably be the ones that people will notice most,
but there are a number of bugfixes and other improvements as well.

3) How do the VST plugins interface with soundplay? Is it a seperate
interface, or do the plugins actually work as native soundplay plugins?

Because of the way SoundPlay’s plugin architecture works, plugins can
be constructed dynamically at run time, i.e. you’re not limited to a
single fixed plugin per plugin-file. This allows the creation of
“plugin adapters”, that read foreign plugins, wrap them in a compatibility
layer and present them to SoundPlay as native plugins. This is exactly
what the VST adapter plugin does. The end result is that VST plugins
appear and behave in SoundPlay as though they were native SoundPlay

4) Any interface changes on the liveencoder, or is it purely
performance updates?

The “packet loss” indicator is gone (but might be replaced by something
else eventually), and you can set the “station name” and other info so
that it is displayed in compatible clients.

5) Do you have any long term goals? Say for 5.0? 6.0?

Nothing big. There are a number of smaller issues on my “to do” list,
mostly implementation issues, but I don’t currently have any big long
term plans. Note that that doesn’t mean that SoundPlay won’t be developed
to version 5.0 or 6.0, it’s just I don’t have a featurelist for it yet.

6) There was some discussion about your skin support in the other
areas of the application, such as the playlist editor. Are you
planning to support skins completely in the future?

Probably not. Skins are most often used to camouflage a bad user
interface, as is the case with the WinAmp interface. WinAMP’s
playlist editor is a good example of this. It uses popup menus that
are 25 pixels wide, with text written in a font that is 3 pixels wide.
It’s a user interface nightmare, and no amount of skinning can fix
this. That being said, it is entirely possible for someone to write a
replacement playlist editor that looks like WinAMP, or even something else

7) Besides soundplay, you have several other great applications,
such as WindowShade, your now standard cdda-fs, and of course
liblayout, which should almost be a standard library at this point.
Any plans for them, or any new apps?

SoundPlay takes up pretty much all of my spare time, and there are
also a number of things I still want to with liblayout. Besides these two I
just don’t have the time to work on much else.

8) care to elaborate on what kind of liblayout features/fixes or
changes you are planning? I am sure some dev’s out there would love to

There are some bugs in the layout mechanism that I need to fix once
and for all. I took a couple of shortcuts for performance reasons when
all this still had to run on a BeBox, but by now everybody should be
running fast enough hardware that I can do it right.
Currently it is a little hard to make good looking interfaces with
liblayout, because you have to handle all of the spacing manually.
I plan to make it so this becomes much easier.

9) So now that you are working at Be, what has changed for you? How
did the transition go?

It went pretty well. I’ve been at Be for just over a year now, and I
seem to have adapted to life in America. The biggest change to me was
not having to work on Windows anymore. Truly a blessing. I can now use
Windows only for its intended purpose: playing games.

10) do you see BeOS making any in-roads into the gaming scene with the
upcoming openGL and BONE?

The performance and standards compatibility will certainly be there, but
in the end it all comes down to whether or not there will be a market.
We’ve seen several companies leave the BeOS scene because there was no
market for them, but we also see companies still working on new projects
and ports for BeOS. So it will depend on whether or not there are any
game companies that perceive a market for a BeOS version of their games.

11) What are you working on at Be? what is your official title? Can
you give us any juicy details?

No juicy details, and I’m not sure I can tell you what I’m working on
either, so I won’t. My official title is “Media Engineer”, so I’ll let
you draw your own conclusions from that.

12) Thanks for your time Marco! We’re all looking forward to your
next releases. :)

Stay tuned!

I’m sure we all will. Thanks!

15 Responses to “Interview: Marco Nelissen”

  1. LeftTurn Says:

    Hew 1st post :)

    Hey, I get the first post! :)
    Good interview. Too bad Marco can’t give us more details from Be. Oh well, love SoundPlay and glad to hear it’s still being advanced.
    Silly question on my end but I’m not an audio guy. What is VST?

  2. Technix : Chris Simmons Says:

    In Response To LeftTurn @ 12/10/2000 10:42:28 PM

    Re: Hew 1st post :)

    VST is a series of great effect plugins that let you control all kinds of audio aspects of your sound stream… Things like echo, reverb, room sounds (picture concert hall sound, versus bathroom sounds), to delay effects.. to compression, to adding crunching sounds, etc.

    Great fun. It used to be that the only way to achieve this was to use Cortex, but now that a [url=”http://www.bebits.com/app/1176″]wrapper[/url] has been made, SoundPlay can incorporate the same effects too, almost natively.

    You can find more about VST plugins either on the [url=”http://www.bebits.com/app/1176″]page[/url] at [url=”http://www.bebits.com”]www.BeBits.com[/url] or visit the [url=”http://members.tripod.de/cell/vst_addon/plugins.html”]official plugin page[/url] directly.

    Have fun!

  3. Technix : Chris Simmons Says:

    In Response To Technix : Chris Simmons @ 12/11/2000 00:02:43 AM

    Re: Hew 1st post :)

    DOH… Do to the comment system not accepting [url] tags, here’s the list of related url’s that I tried to post above.

    VST Wrapper : http://www.bebits.com/app/1176
    VST Official Page : http://members.tripod.de/cell/vst_addon/plugins.html

    Have fun!

  4. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Technix : Chris Simmons @ 12/11/2000 00:07:29 AM

    Re: Hew 1st post :)

    in the comments system selected html tags work, but not [] tags like in the forums. I am considering adding it though, because its a common mistake.

  5. tpv Says:

    Media Engineer

    Didn’t you used to be DTS?
    If so I have some theories:

    1) You graduated, and you get to play with the big boys now :)

    2) BeOS is so easy to program for that DTS were never needed

    3) Be worked out that paying you $300/hr and charging you out at $200/hr was a bad idea.

    4) (and one for the nay-sayers) BeIA sucks so badly that no one wants to partner with Be, and so Be pulled everyone off DTS (since they had no one to support anyway) and got them writing stuff to make BeIA half-decent.

    I think I vote for #1.

  6. sadistic_mystic Says:


    Marco, I must say.. on the skins topic I disagree. I don’t like the way that skins work at high resolutions where you have to zoom and pixelate the interface to be able to see it properly. But, why not make a scalable skinnable interface. Be creative with it! Do something different. Write your OWN skin plug ins! Winamp does have a crappy way of doing skins. Don’t emulate them, show them up!!

    I want a skinnable interface that doesn’t pixelate. Maybe do it with anti-aliasing? Or converting the raster images to vector? That would work and it would be faster too!

  7. LeftTurn Says:

    In Response To Technix : Chris Simmons @ 12/11/2000 00:02:43 AM

    Re: Hew 1st post :)

    Thanks for the info. I’ll have to check it out :)

  8. Eugenia Says:

    Window colors…

    Hey, Marco!
    You are using the exact same colors for your window/frame decorations as I do (as I can see from the SoundPlay sshot)! :o
    All yellow for the active window and that ‘oily’ color for the inactive windows. I don’t know who was inspired first to use those colors, but I use them for more than a year now. :D

  9. Delija Says:

    Screenshot query

    Here’s something I haven’t seen before - if you have a look at the screenshot, in the deskbar dock there is a circle with the number 5 in it. Anyone know which app this circle belongs to?

  10. Gregor Says:

    In Response To Delija @ 12/12/2000 4:16:12 PM

    Re: Screenshot query

    Must be a new “Workspaces”-skin. I want it, too:)
    (you can grab Workspaces at BeBits, it’s an app that shows the active workspace and allows for quick ws-selection)

  11. Delija Says:

    In Response To Delija @ 12/12/2000 4:16:12 PM

    Re: Screenshot query

    Found it. There is an app to show the current workspace in the Deskbar.

  12. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To Eugenia @ 12/12/2000 05:51:31 AM

    Re: Window colors…

    What colors are those anyway? They are nice looking…

  13. ynop Says:

    In Response To sadistic_mystic @ 12/11/2000 7:02:48 PM

    Re: Skins???!!!

    flexable skins ..

    remindes me of Kjofl for windows .. that was one of the best mp3 players.

    For a long time it even sounded better than winamp (and doesn’t have a browser in it :P )

    But its skins were Higly flexable …

  14. mlk Says:

    In Response To sadistic_mystic @ 12/11/2000 7:02:48 PM

    Re: Skins???!!!

    God, I hate skins, the only skinnable interface done well is Java’s swing.
    Even then, I hate, I mean REALLY hate having windows that don’t look like the rest of the system.

    Personally I don’t see the point in waisting time making a skinnable interfaces, if its not at an OS level.

    But hey, SoundPlay comes with a very cool native l&f, so i guess I should leave the rest of you o what ever turns you on…


  15. kidpaddle Says:

    VU meters..

    Nothing beats analog VU mters .. even if they’re simulated on a digital OS :)

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