Re: [-empyre-] commerce compatability and web 3d

Color me a zealot or just plain stubborn, but I still believe Open Standards
are still the best bet for content durability and re-purposing.  3D format
translators for VRML (Okino) have been improved recently and exporters for
authoring tools (Callow's ,blaxxun, shout3D, spazz3D) are substantial
improvements.  In the United States, government, military, and other public
agencies face the same problem for their investments in 3D data.  Nearly all
come to the conclusion as above and every time.
    Consultants and contractors take note! ;-)

Yes we have Babelizing forces in action right now, but this is the
'proliferation factor' of market Darwinism.
Market realities such as the continuance of user/developer demand for open
interchange (vs defacto or fascist standards), will soon again prove the
necessity of the Web3D Consortium as the common ground to a bigger market.
The web market requires an ecology of tools, and these all need to talk
through something.  Currently we are in the 3rd round of commercial Web3D
earthquakes, but VRML that ran in the SGI days still does...

X3D provides a great opportunity to integrate across the spectrum of content
needs.  It provides a solid VRML-compatible profile as well as an easy
migration path.  It provides compatibility points across W3C and MPEG
standards.  It provides a scalable set of profiles.  It provides new
features and enhancements for Web3D and its encodings and apis.  It allows
extension and use of high-level markup.  With the XML encoding of your web3d
scene, a whole powerful set of tools, translation, integration, and
publication paths are opened up.  This is another testament to the viability
and advantage of standards.

Short term and on the delivery side,
VRML runtimes are running more quickly and more consistently on more
platforms: PC, Mac, Unix flavors, and in Java3D, Java, etc!  Many with
hardware rendering.  Some of the exciting application and server integration
fronts are only now being developed and deployed as client's pipe is bigger
and machines are faster.  Numerous vendors and browser companies continue to
converge on their support of the standards.  Multiple Open Source players
(like Xj3D, FreeWrl, etc) have improved and emerged this year as well.

For general plug-in browsing, Parallel Graphics has a small and stable
footprint player for the broadest audience; their authoring tools are good
for beginner to advanced...versions 3 and up has good VRML support and 4 has
great new rendering and features IMO.  If you need codebases to build your
own VRML/X3D browser app, there is quite a healthy set of choices sold and
in the open source.  Also, Contact 4.3 source is free for non-commercial use
through the Consortium source group.  If you need that special node that is
specific to a VRML player, you need to require that player or sniff and
server appropriate versions to make some kind of seamless delivery for the
wide audience.  'Closed' systems like labs or museums and such are much
easier to guarentee of course.

I am always trying to emphasize the everpresent tempering and fusion of
design intention and audience technology; story boarding and compositional
planning modulo delivery and interactivity capability yield proper visual
direction, staging, and production.  Basically, its knowing what features
you can expect to publish to a highest-common factor of the 'wide' web- and
your audience... same lessons from html publishing eh? ;->

  Right now, I feel VRML operates with considerably more richness and
capability than ever before.  With lighter player downloads that are more
mature, it is also easier to author content by modules or components which
encourages re-use and good IP management.

blaxxun3D and Shout3D are players aimed at content operating on the
Interactive or Extensible profile.
This is basically a subset of VRML nodes/fields and functionality, and both
are powerful platforms.  Authors should be designing to profiles; aka 'what
are your audience requirements'?

I agree the blaxxun codebases will continue to be available (because they
are so good at what they are), but I am not sure we could call them
'plug-in' less players anymore...
Clientside Java is light, but not a given since MS don't pre-install a VM
anymore... as if I needed just one more reason to avoid new MS products!
    perhaps I am preaching to the choir?

best wishes for an exciting year of learning and growth!


> At 03:28 PM 3/19/2002 +1100, you wrote:
> >the integration of standards, the competition and the commercial aspects
> >online 3d was something i wanted to ask Nick Polys about  from his
> >statement, and how the people who work in software development see it
> >panning out.. or is it just anyone's guess? it almost feels like waiting
> >an earthquake.. wondering which bit of ground will open up next to
> >up years of artwork.
> presumably even if blaxxun does disappear, the plug-in is likely to remain
> either as is or be bought up and developed further by someone else (well,
> here's hoping...)
> we generally use shockwave at the moment (it's got a very flexible 3D
> engine) and are similarly in the hands of macromedia shareholders and
> directors which is an uncomfortable reality.
> however, the other side of that coin is that at least there is some
> standardisation across platforms; in the case of shockwave3D you can run
> the same app through Mac and Windoze, OpenGL/DirectX or just software and
> on Netscape and IE and the piece looks pretty similar on them all, mainly
> because there is only one player -- no Unix though...
> the issue of preserving digital work is an interesting one; there are
> organizations around the world involved in backing up not only interesting
> content and plug-ins, but the whole OS and hardware too - one thing you
> guarantee is that in 10 years computers and operating systems will have
> completely changed - and even if blaxxun were to be around then it would
> asking a lot for their plug-in to be backward compatible for 10 years.
> much stuff that was written 10 years ago runs on the computer you are
> to read this?
> [in fact i think i'll keep that old Mac I was about to throw out; it's got
> Quicktime 2 on it....]
> however, if a piece of work's good enough to preserve, it can always be
> ported onto another platform.
>   -- ant
> ::
> anthony rowe
> squid s o u p
> _______________________________________________
> empyre mailing list

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