Re: Machine Capabilities

Thomas Churchill (
Tue, 28 Jun 1994 11:00:48 -0700

Geoffrey Clapp writes:

> great commment - I have been waiting to write that one myself - we are making
> a VRML for the future, but constricting ourselves to the "hardware present".
> About the Atari Jag - can you elaborate - I have only heard rumors, never a
> statement as bold as "Available for $250!" Where, how, and what!!

To be honest, I don't play own a game box, or even play video games. But I
do keep up with the technology, because it is often a precursor of things
to come. Especially now, with the emphasis on 3 dimensional graphics and
visual computing.

The Atari jaguar has been available for at least the last three months; there
is a newsgroup (alt.atari-jaguar.discussion) dedicated to it. A FAQ is maintained
which has complete details on the hardware capabilities (Audio DSP, object
processor, 68K controller, etc) Retail price is $250, and they are stocked
at several stores here in the valley. Contact your local video game distributor
for more information.

Given SGI's phenomenal ability in developing graphic engines, however, and
Nintendo's position in the market, to my mind their joint venture may well
produce a sub-$250 dollar box that could be used for a lot more things than
blasting space invaders. (Sorry if that shows my age :-)

I think the references we see to ensure that VRML will run on the hardware
people have is due to enthusiasm -- A lot of people are excited about the
possibilities, and can't wait to start experiencing it. And this is good.
But we need to temper our desire for immediate gratification with the
knowledge the the world we live in is a dynamic, fast moving one, and that
we will have to live with the decisions we make for a long time. There
are a number of things in the WWW architecture that could have been done
better, but for a lot of them, it's too late now to do anything. Fortunately,
none really assumed a minimum hardware platform, and the protocol is quite
extensible. But imagine if, 4-5 years ago, the folks involved made some
hardware-related decisions which were no longer valid today -- most of us
would be incurring a performance penalty. (In fact, really we are: the
fact that you have to re-establish a connection with the same server to
get inlined images adds to overhead, so that people on low-bandwidth
lines don't have to view them)


1 3 5 Thomas Churchill (KC5GAU) Voice: 408.433.1516
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