Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
 Product Review 


A fishy screensaver
by Chris Taylor

Anyone remember having a mid-80's computer with a monochrome green screen and a permanently burned-in image of Lotus 1-2-3? Back then screensavers were designed to…well…save your screen. While screensavers quickly became unnecessary due to advances in monitor technology, they live on to this day for their entertainment value.

I was recently offered a review copy of Rixane Interactive's Water Life v2.44, a 3-D underwater screensaver. I downloaded the 3.5MB installation file and ran it. I entered the registration number I was given. Didn't work. After checking with the company, I was told to download v2.45 which fixed the problem. Anyone get the feeling nobody tests anything anymore because it is so easy to roll out a new version?

The setting dialog box for Water Life allows considerable customization. You can choose resolutions from 640x480 to 1600x1200. You can adjust the numbers for plants, fish and flotsam & jetsam on the bottom. There are toggles for soothing music and bubble sounds and you can adjust the volume.

There are a large number of fish species available, although you can't choose specific ones. The fish, at a distance, look quite realistic, but any that swim very close start to suffer from jaggies. Light plays quite realistically through the water and creates shifting shadows on the bottom.

The scene drifts around. When going slowly forward, movement is quite smooth. But when it pans sideways, things are a bit jerky at any resolution higher than 1024x768 on my 2.4GHz P4 with 1GB RAM and 64MB 3-D video card. You can use the mouse to pan, but not move forwards or backwards.

Water Life is a very nice screensaver. My only problem is the cost - CAN$23.41. I am not sure I would pay that much for any screensaver.

You can download a fully-functional 30-day eval copy from the web at
www.rixane.com.

System Requirements:
Windows 98 or better,
PII 1.4GHz, 128MB RAM,
32MB video card with DirectX 8.1


Bottom Line:

Water Life Screensaver
CAN$23.41
from Rixane Interactive
Web site:
www.rixane.com


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Ottawa Personal Computer Users Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON  K2G 1S6

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