Re: WEB : Mapping out communal cyberspace

Jerry Isdale (
Mon, 13 Jun 94 15:31:48 PDT

re: Coordinates
I suggest that local worlds be allowed to specify their own local 'world'
coordinate systems. These should be entirely seperate from the external
coords. There might want to be some 'web space' that would allow you to
wander down a virtual street to see what WWW servers exist. Each such space
would have a 'storefront' on the boardwalk (perhaps with adverts &
hawkers). When you enter a store, you move into its world coords. Inside
a store there would be hyper-links to other places. These might be doors or
buttons or whatever. When you pass thru the links, you get the new world
space which includes its geometry, descriptions and coordinates. An
important part of the coordinates is the "Local Vertical", which may vary
depending on where you are within the worlds.
Kinda like walking around an M. C. Escher space. (which Doug Faxon has
built using VR Studio and some Rend386 stuff.)

re: object sharing
Transfering entire geometries across the net whenever you enter a new
space will absolutely kill your bandwidth. Especially if your VRML (or VR
Interchange Format - an alternative evolving standard) gives vertex coords
in ascii text.
Consider instead that you have at each client machine a library of object
geometries (and possibly some behaviors). The VRML would then need only
specify that a "teapot:utah" is needed instead of sending the 500 polys
needed. The client would look up the symbolic name in its database and pull
the appropriate level of detail and format required by its image
Object libraries could be distributed on CDROM in some common format,
with symbolic indexing database. If the object is new to the local client,
it could request a copy from the server (perhaps not the same one the VRML
document resides upon, but a different 'geometry server')

re 3D Gopher
I have heard that the folks who developed Gopher are also working on a VR
type interface to that network information finder. Somewhere on the net is
the seed document that has some excellent descriptions about why the 3d
interface is desirable.

re: other VR standards
At the Meckler VR'94 show last month, Bernie Roehl organized an informal
discussion group on the design of a "VR Interchange Format". The group had
representatives from several of the commercial VR product vendors, all who
expressed great interest. The basic outcome of the discussion was that a
'standard' would be very good (DXF just doesnt cut it for VR). A
preliminary draft has been posted to the site in
pub/vr/documents/drafts area. It appears to be more complete than the VRML
document from Marc Pesce and Tony Parisi, but not fundimentally
incompatible. I urge a careful look at both and hope there would be a
single public standard.
keyword: Public
The Standard *must* be publically available on the net and royalty free.
Another standards effort appeared at the meckler show, backed by the IEEE.
This effort currently is focusing on terminology. A discussion between the
VRIF folks and IEEE brought up the availability of IEEE standard specs.
These excellent specs are available only in print and at a fee from the
IEEE. There is no ftp location from which you can get the documents. There
is also a copyright issue here. Vendors cannot reproduce an IEEE standard
in their documentation. (Fair use allows for some portions to be
reproduced, but not all.)
It is essential (IMNSHO) that the VRML/VRIF be completely in the public
domain, available on the net and freely reproducable in vendor

Jerry Isdale
System Engineer
Illusion, Inc.
2660 Townsgate Rd., Suite 530
Westlake Village, CA 91361

Phone: (805) 371-4530 FAX: (805) 371-4533

Standards aren't