[X3D-Public] my musings on O3D and JavaScript on the web

miriam miriam at werple.net.au
Tue Apr 28 03:28:46 PDT 2009

Hi folks,

Time for me to chime in here I guess. Long time no speak... I still lurk 

I have no real opinion one way or the other about Google's offering. It 
might come through... it might not. I guess we'll see. For various 
historical reasons VRML/X3D had a shot at the big lights and *almost* 
made it. Will it still eventually make it? Who knows?

But one thing I *must* correct is Len's statement that "Interpolators 
for example, are a pretty good authoring hedge because most people get 
the idea of clock ticks and points on a line."

No way! Len, I think you are the greatest, but boy, are you wrong here! 
Interpolators are great for the browser programmers but they are 
actually antithetical to how most people think and it takes quite a bit 
of mind-stretching to get used to them. Ask someone how they want to 
move something and they'll generally say something like "that direction 
at that speed", whereas interpolators require start point, start time, 
end point, end time, and if the movement is not constant then one or 
more inbetween point and inbetween time too.

Even the simplest animation in VRML/X3D requires a timer, an 
interpolator, a sensor, and a moderately involved way of connecting 
those parts.

If you want to do non-deterministic animation, like a lot of blocks 
falling in a heap then it becomes almost impossible with interpolators.

Contrast this with scriptable objects in ActiveWorlds, which are simply 
told to move when they sense something. I don't know how things work in 
SecondLife, but I bet it doesn't use interpolators. Not long ago I was 
fiddling with pygame and it allows non-deterministic actions. The 
programming is probably as complicated and non-intuitive as VRML/X3D for 
getting animations working, but it is far more flexible. Blender (my 
main 3d tool now) is far more capable than either pygame or VRML/X3D and 
is almost entirely point-and-click. Added to that, you can do extremely 
complex scripting that I wouldn't even attempt in VRML/X3D. (Blender has 
a very steep learning curve, but it is worth it.)

But in the end I have to agree with you Len, that the more toys, the 
more fun.

I know I seem to dump on VRML/X3D whenever I pipe up, but in truth I'll 
always have a very big soft spot for it. I still tell gob-smacked little 
kids that using VRML they can make a simple world in just 3 lines of 
text. There is something very profound in that. Also very cool is the 
learning curve of VRML/X3D: you can get started knowing very little 
about it and learn as you go.

My big disappointment was always that the potential was never fully 
realised. Some of that was the "fault" of VRML and the community and the 
consortium; some of it was outside anybody's control (the browser wars, 
the changing rules for embedding plugins, the IE security problems, SGI 
incinerating their 3D arm, the Highlander tug of war between Cortona and 
Contact, and so on). But whatever the reasons, VRML/X3D took a hell of a 
beating over the decade or so. What is most surprising of all is that it 
is still standing.

Good luck to you all (and to you especially Len, you crazy, musical, 3d 

	- Miriam

Len Bullard wrote:
> Yes, if the sensors scare them, maybe they don't understand the model.
> VRML97 and by lineage, X3D, do have a lot of features.  Interpolators for
> example, are a pretty good authoring hedge because most people get the idea
> of clock ticks and points on a line.  Should that be automated?  Sure.
> It may be this is also coming down to the HTML/Javascript page model versus
> the real-time 3D world coordinate animation model with
> Javascript/EcmaScript.  The discontent here is most likely over the SAI.
> As to mass market, the mass market is adopting Vivaty at a good clip and
> getting their feet wet that way.  The mass market doesn't code.  It drags,
> drops and goes.  The high end simulation market where the code crosses grow
> wild is adopting Bit Management, Octaga, and Cortona.  The game market for
> ubiquity is adopting Flash.  Gamers are adopting frameworks like Unity3D.
> What am I missing here?
> I think mass adoption to some means mass adoption by programmers and those
> who need to write specialty engines can certainly use O3D to do it, and
> import quite a bit of X3D.  All?  Who knows but that is irrelevant as long
> as the engines we do write for survive.
> In the long run, that is the test.
> That said, bring it on.  More toys is more toys and a 3D scripted HTML
> wedgie is likely to be useful.
> len
> From: x3d-public-bounces at web3d.org [mailto:x3d-public-bounces at web3d.org] On
> Behalf Of Lars O. Grobe
> Len Bullard schrieb:
>> Converting a Phong sphere and converting the behaviors of any real-time 3D
>> content are not so simple.
>> What does an O3D converter do with the internal Javascripts,
> interpolators,
>> sensors, and so on?
> I think this is part of the alternative that this new engine offers.
> A) Convert the 3d-part into low-level code that will work in any web
> browser, make it simple and have this work with all kind of
> 3d-content-generators.
> B) Have a scripting interface, that again works fine in any web browser,
> to implement the logic.
> x3d tries to solve both at once. This may be a nice idea, but in many
> cases fails. Most work-flows produce geometry from tools that do not
> know anything about behaviour - so there is no need to stuff all of it
> into one format. And dividing logic and geometry not only matches the
> tools better in many cases - it avoids a lot of errors.
> So if anyone wants to compare the sphere with some logic in x3d and o3d
> - look only at the logic part, as the geometry can be imported and will
> not by created by typing in a text editor in most cases.
> Do not misunderstand me, I still think that x3d is a great tool. But for
> a mass market adoption, the support by web browsers is missing. And the
> developers of these browsers obviously fear integrating the whole system
> of geometry, sensors, scripts that comes with x3d, as they can have the
> same result with adding some 3d geometry features to existing
> programming apis. Can we blame them?
> CU Lars.
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My time wasn't completely wasted last year.
I went on a 940 million kilometer journey.
Website: http://miriam-english.org
Blog: http://miriam_e.livejournal.com

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