JavaFX Interactive Menu Demo on Raspberry Pi

by | Mar 16, 2013 | 0 comments

Java was the standard for menu interfaces on DVDs, in 2013 I worked on a demo for the Blu-ray consortium to propose JavaFX as the new standard for menus on Blu-ray. The aim of the demo was to show what cool things could be done on cheap commodity embedded hardware. For that reason, we chose the Raspberry Pi 1 as it had a very cheap CPU/GPU. Which was similar or even lower powered than they would choose for Blu-ray. This demo is of a few different menu system concepts.

We put together a demo that shows what JavaFX can do on a RaspberryPi running full 1080p HD on a TV using 5 way navigation(Arrows + Select). 

The first section of the video is a real recording direct of the HDMI output of the Raspberry Pi. So you can see the raw performance of the device, through video capture was limited to 30fps when the Pi was rendering at 60fps much of the time. The second section is a demo of how SceneBuilder could be used to build one of the demos. In all the menus we show the little overlay of arrow keys in top right corner so you can see how the menu is being navigated.

There are 4 separate menu demos:

  1. The first menu is a classic 2D menu system with a cool 2.5D section chooser.
  2. This is a cool vector 2D animated menu with a fun visual style. Playing with the idea of rotation.
  3. This is a cartoon retro style 3D menu showing 3D extruded text and 3D modelled TVs. The text and TVs were created in Cheetah 3D and exported as OBJ then imported using the OBJ importer available in the open source 3D Viewer sample app. In this demo and the next we have random animated lighting and the ability to spin the 3D model with the <- and -> arrow keys so that the user can get a feeling for it being real time rendered 3D rather than video of offline rendered content.
  4. This was a way out 3D menu featuring DukeBot who was a early alternative design for the Java Duke mascot that did not get chosen. He was modelled and animated by John Yoon in Maya and we then imported the Maya ASCII file directly with all animation into JavaFX. The code for this menu is pretty tiny as its mostly working off the imported Maya file. The Maya importer is also open source and in the 3D Viewer sample app.

Its mostly running on the shipping EA of JavaFX 8 Embedded we prototyped a couple changes to the platform that we are working on making them real and I hope they will make it into 8 but not sure yet if we will have time. The changes are some performance improvements to how we draw into frame buffer, also the ability to draw JavaFX with transparent background on a hardware layer over hardware decoded video.