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Something Fishy: 3D Desktop Aquarium Screensaver for Mac OS X

Version 1.7.1 for MAC OS X 10.3 or higher - 22/02/2009
Robert Bennett

Please note: NEVER link directly to the files listed below, always link to this page. These files will move due to bandwidth restrictions, but this page will always have the latest links.
Click here to download!


Ever since I started making screensavers for Windows, I've had requests for Mac versions. So I decided to go and buy a Mac so I could make Mac OS X screensavers for you guys. Problem is, the Mac cost me a fair amount of cash. So I've made this screensaver shareware. It's only US$12.95 to register and get rid of all the nags that pop-up, and all the intro banners at the start. You'll also be able to download new fish to add to your aquarium, and get rid of the 3 fish limit! But more importantly, you'll help support Useless Creations, which means I'll be able to keep developing nifty screen savers for Mac OS X!

So register now to get the full version, help me pay for my Mac, and look forward to more cool 3D screensavers in the future!

Click here for all the details.

How To Download New Fish (Registered Version Only)

To get to the download screen, click on the "Download New Fish" tab on the screen saver Options screen. With the trial version, all you can do on this screen is check which fish are available. With the registered version you can actually download them, all you need to do is follow the steps on screen. Closing the settings sheet while any downloads are in progress will cancel the current download, and of course, you need to be connected to the internet to be able to download new fish.

After downloading a fish, the screen saver needs to be restarted for the new fish to be available.

The button at the bottom lets you set where the downloaded fish files are kept on your machine. The screen saver will create a default directory for you when it runs, however you are welcome to change it. Remember though, if you change the directory the screen saver will not be able to find any fish in the previous directory, and you will need to give any users who are going to use the screen saver permission to at least read from the folder so they can use the data files, and they will need write permission if you want to allow them to download fish aswell.

Because I've been asked a lot, here's a quick note: If you get an error saying "Download Failed - Error! Cannot Create File http://" it means that it can't save the fish file, usually because you do NOT have full read/write access to the folder (as it says you need above). So you need to make sure you have access to that folder it's using, OR you can create a new folder somewhere you know you have full access to, such as under your home directory. Then click that button at the bottom of the settings and tell the screen saver where you new folder is. Then you should be fine.

The following fish are currently available for this screensaver (See above for instructions). New fish will be added as often as possible, so check back regularly!

Please note: These add-ons only work with the full registered version. Info on registering is just above on this page.

Click here to see all the different fish species available for this aquarium screen saver!

Release Notes (v1.2)

When I was writing the Ultimate 3D Aquarium Screen Saver (it's different to this one, and has full 3D environments, check it out!) I finally had the chance to change the way you select the fish. People have been asking for a different fish selector for ages, and now you've got one!

You can now select which fish you want included. For example, you can select to just have Neon Tetras and Clown Fish, if that's what you want. Or you can select all the Salt Water fish, and then take out the one's you don't like. It's a lot more flexible than the old way, so I hope you like it.

I've also done some bug fixes and general tweaking.


Release Notes (v1.1.3)

Once again a fishy update! The most requested feature of all time has now been added: a volume control! You can now set how loud you want the background fishtank noise to be.

Also, another highly requested option has been added, you can now select to stop the fish from swimming off the screen. Personally, I like them coming and going, but you can stop them if you want to be cruel to the fishies.

There's also some new fishies on the way, keep checking the webiste!


Release Notes (v1.1.2)

Here's another update version for you guys. There are 2 changes: the first is that this program is now a Universal Binary which means it will run on all Mac's running OS X 10.3 or higher, including the new Intel Macs. Yay.

The 2nd is the addition of an option that lets you select the resolution of the screen grab. Some people have been having video memory issues which means the program can't take a proper grab of their screen which seems to be caused by using a high resolution but not having the video memory to store the grab properly. The result seems to be a weird pattern of a background instead of the proper grab. Now with this option you can set the detail of the grab which means that if you have a problem with the background you just set it to a lower detail and you will still be able to enjoy the screen saver without any major difference. I actually like running it with the low detail because it means the background is a little blurred and you can see the fish better, and it also runs faster because your video hardware doesn't have to do as much work!


Release Notes (v1.1)

Ok, so this thing quickly became possibly the most popular screen saver I've ever made. I now understand why there are so many fish screen savers, it's because everyone loves them. And the feedback I've had has been amazing! I've had literally 100s of emails from people saying this is now their favourite aquarium screen saver. With so much competition, that's pretty high praise!

So I've set to work adding and fixing things that people asked for and complained about, and a few things I didn't get around to originally. The main thing was that people wanted some sort of sound in the background. Personally, I find noisey screensavers annoying, but I can understand that if you're sitting watching the fish you'd like a bit of noise like a real aquarium. Some people wanted just a hum, and some wanted a bubbling noise, so I searched around and found a sound which is kind of a mix of the two. There's a definate hum, and some nice quiet splashing/bubbling. But don't panic if you don't like noise, you can turn it off!

I've also made the fishies eyes move. This is something I decided to leave out, and I wish I hadn't because it looks really cool when they look around as they're drifting past. The problem is it means I have to re-make the fish files. So until you download v1.1 of each fish, their eyes wont move. Only fish that say they are v1.1 will have moving eyes, but the old versions will still work as normal so there's no reason to panic and update all your fish thinking that it'll be broken without an update. Because I have to remake them, it may take me a while to release 1.1 versions of each fish on the website. Please be patient! I have to re-animate some of them to allow their eyes to move so just hang in there. Since no one reads these readme file, I anticipate being flooded with emails asking why this or that fish's eyes don't move. It's a shame no one reads these things...

What else did I do? I spent so much time changing stuff I'm losing track. You can now select not only salt and fresh water fish, but also cold and warm water fish for both salt and fresh water. Someone emailed me saying they didn't want the Turquoise Discus and the Wakin swimming together because of the different water temperature, well your wish is my command, so you can now having different sets of fish swimming and switch between them easily. However, as I said with the eye movement, I need to release v1.1 of each fish for the screen saver to know if they are a cold/warm water fish. So you'll need to update each fish as it becomes available for this option to work, if you've been using v1.0.

On the bugfix front, some people had problems with the background "splintering" after a certain time. This is something I just could no replicate, but I'm told it's now fixed in this version. Also, the problem with people who were lucky enough to have widescreen monitors and the lighting no going to the edges should also be fixed. I can't remember all the little fixes I made, but I tried to fix almost everything that I could find.

There's also some changes behind the scenes with the collisions between the fish, and I noticed on my machine that the fish all seemed to want to swim together in the middle when you had a lot of fish, so I've tried to make them swim to the side of the screen a little more, but it's all random so it's hard to control the little critters.

Once again, I'm glad so many people love this screensaver as much as I do. Continue to show your support, and I'll continue to add fish and do updates and make more great stuff like this. There are already over a dozen fish available on the website, and it's only a month old! Which I think is pretty damn cool!


Release Notes (v1.0)

I'm gunna say this right off the bat: I love this screensaver. It's taken twice as long as it should have to finish it because I spent half the time sitting watching it.

I know there are plenty of aquarium type screensavers, but I'd never seen one I actually liked. So way back when I started work on my own, but I couldn't make the fish look the way I wanted so it didn't get very far. Then recently I came across a far more talented artist than I who had some cool 3D fish available, and the rest is history. So I didn't make the fish, I just did the animation and everything else. I think this is the first time I've used someone else's 3D models in my stuff, but I think you'll agree that the quality is so high I'd have been stupid to pass up the opportunity.

So what happens is, the screen fills with water and the fish start swimming around. Sounds simple, but it wasn't simple to make. The effect tho, is well worth the effort. It's far more "3D" than any other aquarium screensaver I've seen because the fish swim in all directions, getting closer or further away and all over the place. Watch it and see!

I added an option to let you choose between tropical salt water fishies and fresh water fish. I thought some fish lovers might find it strange that they're all swimming together. But you can still have them all swim together of course, because virtual fish can all survive in the same virtual water!

I'm going to have additional fish add-ons available for download from the website but they'll only work with the full version. The full version lets you have more than 3 fish at a time aswell, so if you like it, register! I've tried to make it real value for money, and it's a hell of a lot cheaper than any of the other underwater aquarium type screensavers I've seen aswell!

As always, if you spot any bugs, let me know!


Version History

v1.7.1 - 22nd February, 2009 - Bugfix
Small bugfix to fix a random crash bug.

v1.7 - 10th February, 2009 - Update
Fixed the bug in the image loading options so you can now use your wallpaper / random image properly.
Added a random fish size option, which makes fish of the same species all different sizes.

v1.6 - 18th December, 2008 - Small Update
By popular demand, I have added an option to select the detail of the image used in the background.

v1.5 - 8th April, 2008 - Multimonitor Update
This version fixes some issues with using the screen capture option with multiple displays. It should now correctly capture each monitor separately before unleashing the fish!

v1.4.1 - 26th February, 2008 - Bugfix
Some people experienced random blank white backgrounds in certain situations. Should now be fixed!

v1.4 - 19th November, 2007 - Updates and Bugfixes
Leopard (OS X 10.5) and some older versions will give the screensaver a black screen to capture when the screensaver password option is turned on. The screensaver now attempts to detect this and display your wallpaper image instead, so that you don't just get the black screen OS X is trying to display!
Added an option to reverse the tilting direction for people who's motion sensors are giving opposite values to the one I used for testing.
Redesigned the settings screen to reduce the clutter, and make room for a new fish selection system coming in a future update.

v1.3.1 - 3rd August, 2007 - Bugfix
Ok, so I fixed one bug and introduced another one in v1.3. It caused a weird diagonal dark big to sometimes appear. Fixed!

v1.3 - 1st August, 2007 - Update
Seems some Mac's give upside down motion sensor readings, or start off on an angle. This version should work around that!

v1.2.5 - 2nd April, 2007 - Update
Added option to limit frame rate and CPU usage.
Added Motion Sensor Tilting feature for testing purposes. Feedback needed!
Changed the bubble randomness slightly, and other small tweaks.

v1.2 - 18th November, 2006 - Update
Changed the way you select fish to give you more flexibility.
Lots of bug fixes and tweaks.

v1.1.3 - 1st July, 2006 - Update
Added a volume control option for the background noise.
Added an option to stop the fish from swimming off the screen.
A few other tweaks, and some nifty random stuff.

v1.1.2 - 10th March, 2006 - Update
Added an option to let you choose the resolution of the screen grab. This will help people who are having problems with a lack of video memory.
Converted to a Universal Binary to work on both PowerPC and Intel Mac's.

v1.1.1 - 12th January, 2006 - Major Bugfix
Bugfix: turns out the fish selection thing (ie select warm/salt water fish etc) wasn't working at all because of an endian issue. It's now been fixed!
Btw, there are now 16+ fish available!

v1.1 - 1st October, 2005 - Major Update/Bug fix
Added new options to let you select your own background images, or let it grab the screen as before.
Made the fishies eyes move so they can creep you out as they swim around.
Added background bubbling/humming noise.
Changed the way you select the water level so you can have random, or set it to whatever you want.
Fixed problem with widescreen monitors not having lighting all the way to the edges.
Added option to let you select between warm and cold water fish, aswell as salt and fresh water.
So many other little tweaks and fixes I've forgotten what they are.
Now over a dozen fish species available for the full version!

v1.0.1 - 8th September, 2005 - Bugfix
Bugfix to try and stop the background splintering, which a few people have reported. I can not recreate the problem, but I think this should stop it.
Btw, there are now 10+ fish available!

v1.0 - 1st September, 2005 - Original Release
Real time 3D fish swim around your desktop.
Select between salt water and fresh water fish, or mix them all together.
Additional fish available for download to add to the full version.

Brought to you thru the endless magic of OpenGL!

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