PHIL: What are we building?

Jerry Isdale (
Thu, 16 Jun 94 15:02:19 PDT

It seems to me there are a number of very different discussions going on in
this list. Allow me a moment to outline the basic thread concepts:

1 VRML - The Object Description Language
This is the basic object geometry/attribute/positioning level. It has
a tremendous amount in common with other VR applications. Personally, I
think the VRIF spec provides an excellent starting point. This level of
common intechange is needed no matter what higher level things we do.

2 VRML - Object Linking
Use of semantic links of one sort or another to reference objects stored
outside the current 'document'

3 Network basis
My impression is that this whole list was started to allow people to
access the WWW in a VR type graphical browser. This means building HTML
clients that have 3D represenation of documents & links, i think.
Alternatively we are looking at something more like 3D Gopher for browsing
files, or maybe a 3D Mud/Moo interface.

3.1 Universe Description
A sub discussion of the network basis is how the user perceives the
Universe when not in a paricular VRML room/world. Some of this argument
covers the area of universal coordinates, v.Real estate layout, ownership,

4 Interaction in VRML doc/room
Given a VRML document describing a room or world, what interactions can
you do? Fly around obviously. Jump to other documents, too. Reading html
text files or other similar aspects. Most of this area would be delegated
to the VRML client with minimal network interaction (download VRML doc and
then wait for user to activate links)

5 Interaction with other people
Here we really begin to move away from the WWW and the http: systems.
These are not designed with complex real time user interactions in mind.
Interacting with others is more of a IRC or MUD/MOO thing. There are some
commonalities with a single-user world, but that would be a smaller subset.

My guess is that the Object description stuff would be easiest to get
going, and other stuff is moot without it. Next there is the division
between doing a WWW/single person world and someother multi-user
interactive space thing. Both can build off some basic commonalities, but
the latter is a whole new thing to build.

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