Nexus in the solar plexus.vrml

Jason Cunliffe (
Sat, 10 Sep 1994 08:33:17 -0400 (EDT)

I have watched and followed the recent
script/api/coordinate/compiler/language/vrml identity-crisis with great
interest and also some impatience like many others I suspect. As a
designer-end.user/dreamer I have a slightly different set of priorities
and focus from many here who are more keenly endowed with engineers' genes
and emotional response systems. So here is my $0.02 of purple prose:

By my reckoning, so far there have been three waves of VRML-syndrome.

The first was the almost overwhelming initial response from everyone's
collective unconscious when this VRML thing was
first announced. No one knew what it was, but everyone wanted it. And
everyone wanted it to be something where they could build, propagate and
share their own dreams and realities. And it was vast, complex,
contradictory and poly-synchronous in its scale and potential.

That was the first proof of concept.

The second involved a lot of push=me=pull=you arguments about means and
ends, open vs. proprietary, practicable vs. ideal etc.... Eventually some
of that dust settled and the survey was undertaken in a fairly healthy
spirit of partisanship. Among that cr op OpenInventor emerged as having
probably more going for it right now than the others. All share some
common ground, all follow design compromises, I mean constraints.

This was primitive initiation rites.

The third has been the back-to-school re-iterative script/api/coordinate
nexus which has been very valuable in my mind mostly because I am now
convinced that we are severely limited here by our own vocabulary and its
semantic ancestors. At the same time as having enormous respect for those
brave enough to debate these questions, I can't help feeling this is
brilliant plot by Mr.. Billsoft to undermine and test the courage and
tenacity of VRML dreamers and builders...

This was puberty rites.

No matter which system is used, it is going to need adaptation and
evolution towards the kind of world in which it is going to be applied.
And despite everyone's elegant and compelling visions, none can really
know what that world is going to be. Especially if VRML fulfills one of
its initial missions, namely to bring accessible interactive 3D-ualization
via the web to the non-hacker, non foley.vandam-reading public.

The painful part in building this spec is that there is sensitivity to
initial conditions and this clearly includes: the early selection of
scene description, linguistic meta-logies, and attitudes with which this
project is cooperatively embraced.

The challenge here now is to fuse enough complementary symbiotic visions and
perspectives together that we will have created a dynamically viable
approach. To use some classical terminology, what's missing IMHO from the
recent discussion is more top-down design. What do you want to do with
it? What might someone else want to do with it? How many other existing
and thriving authoring systems, rendering engines, relational database
widgets, MIDI sequencers, and group protocols etc.. can one imagine being
used around this VRML thing. All of them and more.

Some people are going to find hand scripts are perfect. Others are going
to use and modify wysiwyg editors. Others are going to subscribe to off
the web-shelf conversion utilities. Others are going to commutatively hack
together parallel systems to create a richer genetic set of software
possibilities. [Rumor has it some astronomical Forth survivors are going
to embed it in a digital Scan-corder with built-in IP.transceiver and GPS
sensor. Mattel and Chrysler are very interested].

Hopefully, many will take VRML itself and use it to build a better
versions of itself and its related family of tools and environments.

For instance there is an entire choreographic aspect to VRML which has
understandably been ignored until now. Perhaps we shall call it CVML
(Choreographers Visualization Meta Language). This sister-set of VRML
emerged to handle movement, scheduling, timing, design, prototyping and
training Arts. Many people, wished to share dynamic time-series structures
and apply them to integrated 2-D, 3-D, N-D objects and dynamic media. They
wanted to do this incrementally, independently, individually and
cooperatively . They especially wanted to take advantage of the rich
existing set of 3-D meta-linked and environments built on VRML,
OpenInventor, MIDI, Quicktime, digital video etc... They were very lucky
that VRML, in particular had been designed to accommodate diff erent
layers of complexity, scale, detail, context and extensibility.

Personally I want it for a component core technology in the time-stamped,
animated, multi-user, distributed, interactive global visualization system
I have been obsessed with creating for the past four years. That's why I'm
here. Seriously.

VRML-list is not sci.viz.vr.www.vrml

I think that would be very popular when there are some tools and some
talent out here using it...

Enough ranting.

Keep up the good works. Thankyou all.