INFO: Yet Another Scene Survey! (Martin Preston <> (fwd))

Brian Behlendorf (
Wed, 6 Jul 1994 13:16:27 -0700 (PDT)

From: Martin Preston <%20(fwd))">
Subject: INFO: Yet another scene survey!
To: %20(fwd))"
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 1994 09:08:11 +0000 (BST)


As this is my first posting to the list perhaps i should introduce myself.
I'm a final year (nay final months) Ph.D. student at Manchester University.
Whilst my principle concern is animation i'm also interesting in the
description of scenes to graphical application.

To this end i was one of the co-authors of the Manchester Scene Description
Language (MSDL), and so i've taken an interest in this list! :-)

The reason i'm posting/writing is that while we were writing MSDL we
talked with a few people round the world about scene description. One of
the most interesting, and for this list most relevant, things we came
across was a survey of Geometry formats and grammers. The survey,
undertaken by Jonathan Hess of Vivistar Consulting gives a good rundown
of the strengths and weaknesses of the various formats. Most interestingly
it also proposes a new language, which combines the strengths of each,
as well as adding a bit.

Johnathan put his report on an ftp site in Mac Word format, which he
converted to PostScript for me. Unfortunately i've lost Jonathans email
address, but i don't think he'll mind too much if i put the PS version
on our machine for you (just so long as we all thank him when we meet him
:-) ). You can find it on

The tar file contains several ps files, which together form the full report.

Lastly perhaps i could draw everyones attention to the work undertaken at
Brown University on the "Brown Animation Generation System"[1] or BAGS,
which is intended to form part of an interactive electronic book. The
bottom line of which being their desire to have electronic books which
can have controllable animations in.

Imagine you were writing a WWW page intended to show basic physics to
a student. Wouldn't it be nice if you could encapsulate a little world in
a page, which the user could run as a simulation, and alter things to see
what happens.

Now of course this is very similar to VRML, in that they are interested in
distributing scenes across a network.

If we're going to consider developing a scene language for remote use,
i propose we include enough hooks to allow physical simulations to be
distributed across the Web.

What does everyone else think?

Martin Preston,
Manchester, UK.


[1] Paul Strauss "BAGS: The Brown Animation Generation System"
Technical Report CSS-88-22. Brown University, 1988