View Full Version : Screamernet - "The child that never grew up"

02-07-2006, 09:20 AM

Perhaps Im missing something big... but I am utterly bewildered at how complacent Newtek are over ScreamerNet. Its easily the most archaic, and arguably one of the most important parts of Lightwave. Viewing the workflow as a whole it seems to be really holding Lightwave back as a serious professional choice. Cries of 'Amleto' or whichever other, let's face it, technically ugly 'wrapper' solution you care to namedrop simply don't wash. It's obvious from forum posts that I have read that people still have difficulty with networked rendering either way.

Why, with all their excellence in other areas of hardcore coding, do Newtek not drag this out of the past and update it into some kind of IP based solution; even a screensaver type affair that could harness the power of all computers in an organisation would not be that much of a coding leap - surely the 3D code itself is the hardest bit!

So, am I missing some industry solution that really *does* makes it all better again? Or do Newtek have some kind of dark business agenda in crippling that part of Lightwave?

If this sounds like a fanboy-ish 'flame' to you, I say this: I take no pleasure in criticising any part of Lightwave for I love it and congratulate Newtek on a wonderful product; I just feel sad that, in my eyes, it is let down so needlessly by ScreamerNet.

I was holding out for a big change in Lightwave 9 but, astoundingly, the far reaching list of changes and improvements doesn't even mention this most glaring of all possible improvements!

If you agree, please post even a short reply and perhaps in number we can lobby Newtek into looking at it more seriously?



02-07-2006, 01:01 PM

I am managing a small renderfarm of three nodes and 2 workstations. Made it working with screamernet, and after installd the Cows of VueInfinite and see how easy is the Hypervue to use, I REALLY think that this is an area cannot left alone anymore.

I managed to install StealthNet on the past on a renderfarm with 7 nodes. Was difficult but kicked the *** of ScreamerNet. A pity was retired because people said it was difficult to install and use.

Managing a network it is not easy, but it is true that Screamernet could be a LOT easier and powerful. I am waiting to Newtek do the new changes on LightWave 9 and I hope for a next 9.x we would have a nice surprise about ScreamerNet :)

Best regards,

02-07-2006, 02:39 PM
I second this as well, in particular I'd like to see development to either the LWSN linux version or have a solution that would run decently under wine. think I paid microsoft enough already, and their operating system is not very well suited for this type of use, way to much overhead. With Linux, you (not necessarily Newtek) could develop a disk that you could put into a box and it would set itself up pretty much unattended.

No matter what happens I also would like Matt Gorner to write the guide to it, his screamernet tutorial is extremely excellent. Still was like a day's project to get it working nicely on a few boxes, could have been like an hour, I mean with "today's technology".

I think there should be a screensaver edition that you could have your friends install that'd work over web, and maybe with function that'd facilitate to micropay people for their cycles. Big words ahead, but I think it'd change the 3D app market if we could put up some competition for [email protected] I do care about aliens too, but I need cheap online renders today, aliens can wait until tomorrow ...

I'd put this at about #1 after getting whatever we get with 9, so I salute the head of this excellent crusade.

02-07-2006, 03:07 PM
i used in last studios where i worked Butterfly net render, and all nightmare died. it allow you to manage a mixed renderfarm (win mac, with different processor) different scenes with priority, splitting frame and more, and if you have maya, or messiah, you can control also this render engine.

if you need it developer have different solutions for different needings.

02-07-2006, 03:15 PM

After I posted my prior reply, I'be been thinking on this, and I think LWSN it is designed in thatway it is so it can be CONTROLLED by an external app. Look to Amleto, Virtual Muster, Butterfly Netrender, etc... or the panel inside Layout.

They are network managers, they transfer the data, and simply tell to LWSN what it must do on each node with each scene.

So I think we really need a network controller that controls LWSN and let us for example create instructions to control another controllers for example. Maybe through LScript? Or a kind of XML instruction files?

Look at http://www.drqueue.org it is an open source network manager, I tried to use it but I wasn't able to make it work! :(

So maybe for a LW 9.x that it what we need a network manager and a LWSN with more options?

Best regards,

02-08-2006, 01:36 PM
No matter what happens I also would like Matt Gorner to write the guide to it, his screamernet tutorial is extremely excellent

Wow! Thanks!



02-09-2006, 05:07 AM
i've just been playing around with StealthNet v1.1.0 and it seems i'm doing everything correctly, but my scene wont render. it gets "queued" but no rendering happens. my nodes are seen, my scenes seem to be in order.

i guess i'm just wondering, since StealthNet was LW6.x, it's no longer compatible? i thought it was just a controller of ScreamerNet. i mean, i've been using LightNet, and though there are some issues, at least LightNet is rendering.

any thoughts about StealthNet and LW8 compatibility?


edit: actually, i'm getting a "communcation error: init" message... and does anyone know what StealthNet L+ is?

02-09-2006, 06:10 AM
The issues we have with Screamernet are not the fact that it is tiresome to set up - that could be said of any rendering network worth it's salt, and these administrative hurdles can be overcome.
No, the far more important issue is rendering procedurals and G.I. over a distributed farm comprising different processors using Lightwave.
Will this potentially crippling drawback be fixed in 9?

02-09-2006, 07:10 AM
StealthNet L+, i found, is an active SN controller. that means you need SN processes activated and running valid jobs and acks. SNL will then acquire these jobs and acks as nodes, and it runs almost the same as SNC. i still havent gotten SNC to work, but SNL seems to be running fine for me. in fact, aside for it only supporting LWTGA (as opposed to the other TGA output plug), it works fine. the edit scene attributes dont reflect the current LWS features, like the PLD AA and stuff, but otherwise, it seems ok......

the reason why i'd prefer to use SNL as opposed to the standard ScreamerNet panel is because aborting a job doesnt mean the end of the whole render. i've had problems with stopping renders. they caused me to restart all the nodes. it'd still be great to run SNC proper, and use the StealthNet services, but until i get magic procedure (if there is any), i think i'll be using SNL from now on. ;)

Ron Herrmann
02-21-2006, 06:42 PM
I'm brand new to LightWave, so I feel almost unqualified to comment, BUT...
I've used Bryce's Lightning, and I do realize that creating a simple, elegent interface that's truly rock-solid on 3 or more platforms has to be at least somewhat challenging.
As a Mac user (and consultant) who owns 7 Macs, I'm frothing at the mouth to try a render farm set-up on my first complex LightWave composition...
I don't care whether it's single CPU-controlled, or uses "slave" mini-apps, as long as it works reliably.

02-23-2006, 12:56 PM
I'm brand new to LightWave, so I feel almost unqualified to comment, BUT...
I've used Bryce's Lightning, and I do realize that creating a simple, elegent interface that's truly rock-solid on 3 or more platforms has to be at least somewhat challenging.

Ah yes... Bryce Lightening. You open the render node program on a computer. You open Bryce on a different one. You click Network Render...

I have to say, this beats lightwave's SN by about two-three days of setup (not to mention the arcane command file setup). Even after setting up a couple render farms in the past, it still takes half a week to get it working, no matter how carefully I try to do things. The latest one has been 2 days of setup, but there's still an undeterminable render error that causes the nodes to crash.

02-23-2006, 06:36 PM
right now i'm setting up the company's render farm for after affects and (when i get that done) for combustion. many of the apps that i'm exposed to requires drive-mapping. having come from LW's SN setup, it was pretty easy to grasp other apps' distributed rendering workflow.

in my own personal experience, most of my errors stem from an improper Windows network configuration. this is even more true if i use render clients as services.

i've tried several rendering options and though they are "easier" to set-up (for example lightnet, amleto, spider), there are things that dont work that need extra effort to fix. i guess i feel that there is no magic bullet, especially for complex systems like LW, afx, etc.

ps: SNL+ is not very stable on LW8.5, for almost obvious reasons. i REALLY hope newtek develops this to further.