LANG: Text in VRML

Mark Pesce (
Fri, 24 Feb 95 12:39:17 -0800

VRML Developers -

Yes, TEXT is undoubtedly a major oversight :-o, for the following reason; we
need to have a standard methodology in place for the display of text data
inside of VRML worlds. Without this standard there's no guarantee that a
VRML environment will look the same from one browser to another. That would
be bad.

I'm using RenderMorphics' (er, I mean, Microsoft's) Reality Lab rendering
engine. It doesn't have any facilities for TEXT right now - their solution
is to use 2D text as "decals" on top of polygons as a texture map. There
is, as such, no control for font type or size, both of which are important
(although, like HTML browsers, perhaps they should be handled inside of the
VRML browser).

As far as 2D text is concerned, do we want to have a common library of
gifs/ppms/tiffs/jpegs/??? which can be (perhaps in a commonly created and
shared library) concatenated into texture maps which can then be applied to
polygons? Is this too much work? (Features like kerning and leading
probably are.)

If we agree on a common library of 3D shapes for letters, in both serif and
sans serif fonts, this could quickly solve the implementation problem. This
would require *no* extensions to VRML itself, but rather algorithms in the
VRML generators which can spit out and correctly scale a string of 3D text.

What about text formatting? It seems reasonable that we should recapitulate
all of HTML's features (as heinous as that may sound, they *are* a standard)
into any text formatting that VRML can do. And there's a fair amount of
public domain source code which can help people get up to speed on this.



Mark Pesce *
I AM * 31 - 418 - 2012 * That's AL