[x3d-public] dynamic cycleInterval changes

Andreas Plesch andreasplesch at gmail.com
Fri Nov 25 15:01:11 PST 2016

The purpose of modifying the cycleInterval is to slow down or speed up a
linked interpolater, in most cases. There is another way to achieve the
same effect which is to modify the keyValue field of an interpolater. The
equivalent of doubling the cycleInterval would be to half all values in the
keyValue field array.

Should both modifications have the same effect ?

I think it is possible to change keyValues at any time. When the
interpolater is then used for the next time step, the interpolated value is
then computed from the new keyValues, eg. to half of the value it was
before the change, in the example above. The animation jumps back.

To mimic this effect for changes to cycleInterval, it would be necessary
that the fraction is recomputed in the time step following the change. So a
doubling of the cycleInterval would lead to jump from 0.4 to 0.2 of the
fractional time.

Overall, I do think that the expectation of most would be that changes in
cycleInterval do not lead to jumps, eg. that fraction does not change.


On Nov 25, 2016 3:50 PM, "Don Brutzman" <brutzman at nps.edu> wrote:

[continuing dialog...]

On 11/23/2016 10:59 AM, Leonard Daly wrote:

> Don,
> I disagree with your concluding comment "Best place to fix this is in
> TimeSensor algorithm/code itself." The specification states (as you quote)
> "An active TimeSensor node ignores set_cycleInterval ... events". The spec
> needs to change for the TimeSensor to receive, process, and act of an
> incoming event that changes cycleInterval.
> Perhaps a better solution is to change the spec to allow TimeSensor to
> accept and process cycleInterval changes.

Yes that was the entire point of the specification comment: to change
TimeSensor specification prose (and corresponding algorithm) to allow
dynamic cycleInterval changes.

So perhaps there is some basis for agreement here after all?

Am looking at the specification comment description, hopefully it is
clear.  Roy if appropriate please improve when entering in Mantis, as you
think best.

        "Issue: TimeSensor cycleInterval needs to be modifiable when

The question that would need to be resolved is what happens to the current
> cycle.

Yes that is the important next question if cycleInterval is dynamically
modified for a running TimeSensor.

 I can see three options
> 1) The TimeSensor would reset (stop and start from the beginning). This
> works for looping sensors, but may cause problems on a single pass sensor,
> or one that must have a specific number of cycles before stopping.
> 2) The TimeSensor would jump to the same fractional time. For example if
> the TimeSensor is .4 of the way through a cycle with cycleInterval of 10
> (i.e. 4 seconds in), and the cycleInterval was changed to 20, the
> fractional time would still be .4, but it would take 12 seconds to complete
> the remaining interval. This is probably the most benign option. It does
> lead to sudden velocity changes in any animating object.
> 3) The TimeSensor would jump to the same real time. For example if the
> TimeSensor is .4 of the way through a cycle with cycleInterval of 10 (i.e.
> 4 seconds in), and the cycleInterval was changed to 20, the fractional time
> would become .2 taking the full 20 seconds to complete this cycle. This
> options leads to sudden position changes in any animating object.
> There can be other variants where the change happens smoothly, but it may
> not be worth trying to standardize all possibilities.
> Leonard Daly

My thinking was that, other than accepting a set_cycleInterval event, we
should try to avoid any other algorithmic changes unless shown to be
absolutely necessary.  Specification complexity can be confusing to authors
(witness the current cycleInterval problem) and inconsistently implemented
if not careful.

Suggested approach is to consider typical animation examples, use those to
determine if anything must be changed in spec, implement and evaluate.

I suspect that your option (2) is most likely closest to a
least-interference update in the algorithm.

This minimalist approach seems workable if cycleInterval is dynamically
reduced (or lengthened) significantly.  Of interest is that subsequent
set_fraction events make sense as well.

Of course an author retains full control whatever is decided here...  They
can always stop/modify/restart a TimeSensor clock, but have to be willing
to do that across multiple event loops in order to achieve deterministic
response (just like the currently existing situation).

Thanks for scrutiny of this relatively small X3D change which appears to
have important potential improvements for HTML5/DOM and VR external

Comment on 19775-1: Abstract X3D Definitions - V3.3
>> 8.4.1 TimeSensor
>> http://www.web3d.org/documents/specifications/19775-1/V3.3/
>> Part01/components/time.html#TimeSensor
>> -----------------
>> Issue: TimeSensor cycleInterval needs to be modifiable when running
>> It is not feasible to modify TimeSensor cycleInterval without major
>> machinations and likely failure.
>> Spec sayeth:
>> 8.4.1 TimeSensor
>> "An active TimeSensor node ignores set_cycleInterval and set_startTime
>> events. An active TimeSensor node also ignores set_stopTime events for
>> set_stopTime less than or equal to startTime."
>> Email discussion illustrates difficulties with modifying cycleInterval
>> without error.
>> Subject: dynamic cycleInterval changes
>> http://web3d.org/pipermail/x3d-public_web3d.org/2016-November/005566.html
>> Issues such as event-arrival nondeterminism, usability and HTML5/DOM
>> interoperability are all interrelated on this topic.
>> Best place to fix this is in TimeSensor algorithm/code itself.  Necessary
>> change is to make TimeSensor cycleInterval modifiable when running in
>> order
>> to avoid two-phase commits and a host of other difficulties.
>> -----------------
>> Submitted on Wednesday, 2016,  November 23 - 8:42am
>> by brutzman (brutzman )
>> IP:
>> See: http://www.web3d.org/node/1694/submission/1072
all the best, Don
Don Brutzman  Naval Postgraduate School, Code USW/Br       brutzman at nps.edu
Watkins 270,  MOVES Institute, Monterey CA 93943-5000 USA   +1.831.656.2149
X3D graphics, virtual worlds, navy robotics http://faculty.nps.edu/brutzman
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