Re: LANG: Text in VRML

Anthony Parisi (
Fri, 24 Feb 1995 13:11:24 -0500


>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.

Well, no more or less bad than the lack of standards for text display in
HTML. We know that situation is a mixed bag.

I haven't been plugged in to this lately-- how go the efforts to standardize
text attributes/layout within W30 or IETF? We should follow their lead(s),
because they are farther along and have many more people thinking about the

>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.)

I think it would be much better if the renderers subsume 2d text-like
features into their APIs. We (as a community) don't want to be in this
business. And there are font companies out there who are in the business of
making fonts. The renderers should be able to display popular 2d fonts.
The key technical problems here are doing the transformation math and
pumping out the bits to the display, both of which, presumably, the
rendering vendors know how to do really well. Our job should be, simply, to
define standards for the data types and presentation information.

>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.

I agree. As I intimated above, if we do no better then HTML does for text,
and we follow its lead as style standards develop, we wouldn't be in that
bad shape.