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    Angry web3D for amatuer developers,not just big business


    ABOUT WEB3D

    About a year ago I started playing around with the vrml language and have found it most fascinating to work with.Ever since then I have heard much scepticism about it and its chances for survival.I would like to think that it's chances of survival are as good as the survival of the open source movement.I think that vrml and its newer manifestation as X3D is the best way to promote web 3D technology on the web in such a way that amatuer developers will be able to build their own 3d web pages.

    I have seen the big software developers coming out with new web3D design tools that are so costly that only cash ready content creators can afford them.If this is to be so then only cash ready companies will have the advantage in the new web3D industry.It will be hard for amatuer web developers to compete fairly without these advanced content creation tools.

    There is a wealth of freeware devlopment tools,free objects and tutorial resources available to the amatuer developer who is interested in developing web3D pages using the vrml language.It surprises me that so many amatuer web developers don't even know about the cool things that are availabe to them through the use of this very flexible language. I believe that not enough is being said where the potential of web3D is concerned and the capability of vrml or X3D in the use of its development.

    I am Neil Rhule and I am a software engineer.I am also the developer of Neocropolis.com which is a web3D site presently developed with the use of vrml.
    http://www.neocropolis.com
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    VRML is dead.

    Flatland 3DML was much easier to use and overall much better, but now they plan to charge for it and they're time-bombing their betas, so I don't want anything to do with it anymore.

    Not only is VRML WAAAAAY bloated, you're also going to have to pay large amounts of cash for decent editors. AND you're going to have to force your viewers to download a plugin. (flatland rover was small [filesize wise], much smaller than any VRML plugin)


    The solution?

    Java3D inside applets (or standalone applications!). Java isn't hard to learn, and the compiled bytecode is FAR smaller than ANY VRML document. J3D isn't very hard to learn either if you are familiar with Java and some graphics/3d terminology and concepts, which, if you plan on creating anything with a z-axis, you should know anyway.

    OR

    OpenGL in C++. Easy to use (for a C++ library) and somewhat portable. (if you code entirely in OGL rather than say, DX, it will be easier to move your code to Linux) You can use DX if you don't want to code for anything other than windows (it's useable on most windows-compatible hardware), but the creator of Quake refuses to use it, and he's obviously good and experienced at 3d programming.

    OR

    OpenGL in Python using the PythonWin libraries, same as above, but less portable (note the WIN on the end of PythonWin) although easier to code. (cuz hey - it's Python )

    (I know -- the last two aren't webpage technology, but why use bloated 3d documents when you can make significantly smaller standalone applications?)

    And there are lots of other technologies out there that make VRML look bloated and ugly.
    Click here and wait. It's a kewl effect, trust me.
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    other technologies yes, but vrml dead ?...I hope not !


    I understand that there are other technologies out there that may be better than vrml ,but I hope that that is no reason for it to die.You see,speaking from my own perspective as a wanna be 3D developer It hasn't cost me much to do the few little things that I have done on my website at http://www.neocropolis.com just time.Most of my objects were generated using a inexpensive shareware and code from other developers.The openess of vrml is strength that I would like to see promoted.

    I have seen Macromedia launch there new Shockwave Studio for the development of 3D on the web which currently requires the use of 3D StudioMax to complement it.I think that this will only allow relative big players to participate in the Web 3D industry.

    I believe that if a little more effort was put into the making of simple vrml editors for amatuer developers then vrml could be used in developing web3D on a more wide basis on the net.I am talking about getting the kind of amatuer developers who you see at angelfire.com or homestead.com involved in web3D
    and I dont see them trying to learn java 3D or Open GL to do so...more over I do not think they can afford Director Shockwave Studio,3D StudioMax or Adobe's Atmosphere to build there own little 3D worlds.

    I personally though am planning on developing 3d content using 3D Studio Max,Director Shockwave Studio,java 3D and Open GL while championing the cause for vrml.

    What do you think about the X3D ?

    Hope you reply
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    Note that with most of the technologies I mentioned ('cept 3DML) it will take you a while to get anything worth doing done.

    I agree that decent editors would help VRML out a lot, but what it really needs is some way to compress the files. Many (like myself) have slow 44k-56k connections and don't have the time to wait for a 50MB short and somewhat simple VRML game to download.

    3DML was really a VRML killer. 3DML WAS free + open-source, but they didn't get the attention they needed so they'll be charging for version 3 of their plugin. (http://www.flatland.com) Small files and VERY easy to code. More than perfect for amateurs. They might still be distroing version 2 of Flatland Rover.
    Click here and wait. It's a kewl effect, trust me.

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