Re: Creating Objects (was: Re: WWWInline; include non-VRML data?)

Lew Hitchner (
Tue, 18 Oct 1994 13:59:34 -0700

On Tue, 18 Oct 1994 14:01 Linas Vepstas wrote:
>> >Date: Tue, 18 Oct 94 13:15:07 EDT
>> >From: miker@nashua.progress.COM (Mike Roberts)
>> >
>> >On Oct 17, 6:00pm, Gavin Bell wrote:
>> >
>> >> What happens if a WWWButton that Embed's a URL is picked twice?
>> >>
>> >> Adding the same set of children again doesn't seem very useful; maybe
>> >> it should become "dead" and ignore picks after the first one?
>> >
>> >I don't think this is what you want to do in all situations, though
>> >I do think
>> >that in most cases it will be. I have run across may educational apps
>> >in which
>> >creating a number of objects for sorting, playing with, etc is exactly
>> >what is
>> >required, with no clear limit on the number of objects which may be
>> >created in
>> >some cases, and in others, a fixed limit on the # of objects.
>> Interesting point. I like it. But we are walking a thin line between
>> "browsing" (walking around and looking) capabilites and "authoring/edting"
>> capabilities. Obviously, children's games have noted that authoring can be
>> fun. But I ask -- are you sure vrml needs to support this?

I also think the "browser" vs. "author/editor" is an interesting
point. I've only recently begun reading the VRML list mail, so I
apologize if this issue has been hashed over thoroughly earlier. But,
it seems to me that VRML specification poses a possibly significant new
direction from "traditional Web browsers" (:-). Mosaic, et al, are
primarily (though certainly not 100%) just that -- browsers, i.e.,
"look, but don't touch".

However, many in the VR field would say "look, but don't touch" apps
aren't "real" VR (which expands to the truly oxymoronic phrase "real
virtual reality"). User interaction with the virtual environment
(i.e., editing) is one of the main distinguishing features of VR
relative to apps that have been around for a decade or two and that
merely let one examine or navigate through a 3D geometric database.

So, my point is: Should there really be such a thing as a "virtual
world browser"? If so, does that imply that a VR browser isn't true or
complete VR? And, if that is so, what should the paradigm be for using
Web links to virtual world databases that we can not only visit
(browse) but interact with (edit) as well. Perhaps two paradigms are
needed: a passive browser as well as some kind of an active
interaction system. My personal opinion is that the analogy of
Mosaic-like links to Web pages is insufficient when extended to VR.
History has shown that extending 2D graphics paradigms to 3D graphics
has rarely produced the best result (e.g., CORE and GKS).

Lew Hitchner
Virtual Reality and Visual Simulation Consultant
Mountain View, CA
Voice: 415-964-9425
FAX: 800-825-7689 (USA)
FAX: 510-472-6951 (international)