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Vol.3, No.5, May 2000

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Bot Of The Month Club

Courtesy of Hamfon & The Hambots

This month we take a look at a "bot" technique that was used to do repeated automated building, before the AW SDK was available. BinaryBud wrote RoboPic (as well as RoboBuilder and other utilities). This program converts a graphic image to objects in AW, so that you could "see" the picture when looking down from a high altitude. Note that the Vevo "satellite" maps that are given as links in BB's article give you a snapshot of objects built in AW from a VERY high altitude, looking straight down. Here is BinaryBud's description of RoboPic:

This Bot was designed way before the AWSDK was available, and as such was considered a “macro” program. Its purpose was to take any graphic image and convert it to objects on the ground. My first attempt at this was to make a “monochrome” version.

The first thing I did was to convert my image to a monochrome scatter plot - basically a black and white “dithered” photo. Then I wrote a routine that would scan the image a pixel at a time, row by row, from top to bottom. As the routine scanned the image it was, at the same time, moving an object along the ground in AW (all with the arrow keys), and as the routine “saw” a black pixel in the image it would “duplicate” an object on the ground in that relative position. When it was done scanning the original image, there would be a huge image “plotted” on the ground with the object you started with. This would allow for photos, as well as any image you could draw in your favorite “paint” program.

Just a note: With this program the way in which it was controlling the AW Browser was to:

  • Make the Browser the application in “Focus”…then
  • Issue a Visual Basic “SendKeys” command to send the proper keystroke to the browser…..either an arrow key to move the object or maybe an INSERT key to duplicate the object. Very simple stuff really.

Later, after I got this program working good, I decided I needed a version that would plot a “photo” in color. I created another “Macro” program that used 16 custom objects I created (one for each of the 16 basic windows colors). I did the custom object route to save cell crowding, as I needed to make these objects as small as possible. This version turned out pretty kewl, but as I started finding out, the AW browser was having a hard time handling the thousands of objects involved in a simple image. My machine would freeze for minutes at a time trying to render these images. At the present I have none of these images available for display….on special request I suppose I could rebuild one or two of them.

Then the final “Macro” I did of this program was a 24 bit version…. It would actually plot full color photos to the ground in huge plots. This was awesome to look at , but as you can imagine it would really freeze up the browser. I have not tried this one again since building my new PC.(I have a lot more RAM and Video Card now).

I have, since the release of the VBSDK by Mr. Grimm, converted the simple monochrome version to an SDK BOT. It works pretty slick, but is not a publicly available program. However I will entertain it’s release to trusted world owners/builders.

Some samples of RoboPic’s work can be seen in AW (BTW, I did these before the macro builder ban in AW….heheheh). I have two versions of the same plot….and here’s the strange part…they are both of my FACE…. The first one I did was way out on the outskirts of AW 95n 32595w, by my huge pyramid(Built with the testing versions of RoboBuilder). The second “Huge Face” is as close to GZ in AW as I could get it at the time I built it…AW 651s 811w .

Both the Original Test Face and the Newest plot are best viewed using VEVO’s AW Mapper.

Any questions or inquiries should be directed to: Leo Mauk aka BinaryBud



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