Re: LANG: Text in VRML

Andrew C. Esh (
Sun, 26 Feb 1995 12:35:25 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 24 Feb 1995, Chris Marrin wrote:

> > I agree that polygonal text should be supported eventually,
> > however, most people will not be using hardware rendering to view VRML
> > pages, most of them will be using rendering software. All of the
> > software real-time rendering packages do texture mapping more or less
> > "for free." However most of these software rendering solutions are
> > polygon limited such that converting all text to polygonal models will
> > kill performance for the majority of the users. Is there a way we can do
> > both?
> Texture mapping for free??? If such a machine exists that's great. But
> whatever we do it needs to be left to the viewer/renderer to select the form in
> which the text is displayed. It would be nice if there were a public way to do
> it (just like QvLib). Then the fancier stuff could be left to individual
> implementors.

I had no idea my comment would spark such a discussion!

What I wanted to point out is that any artificial environment is going to
require some explanation to the user, especially in the early stages. The
exclusion of text except as 3D objects (unreadable from the back), or
texture mapped surfaces (time intensive to map) is what I was hoping to

What I really want it the ability to put a yellow sticky note on whatever
I fell could use some more explanation. Since this text could be longer
than the area that the sticky note occupies, we may even want it to scroll.

This thing should be simple. I should just be able to say "{sticky "Text
to show"}, or {stick ref="filename.txt"}. At this point, I don't care
about fonts, or kerning, or text justification. Leave that to the complex

Here's more food for thought: Rather than solve the problem within the 3D
environement, take an area at the bottom of the screen, and put the text
there. This would be just like Closed Captioning. The user could turn it
off if they are familiar with the environment, and no longer need the labels.

This points out the need to address the issue of display use. Are there
ways of limiting the 3D window to a particular area of the display? Can it
be displayed behind a masked area (like looking through venetian blinds)?
I know all this is technically possible (look at any flight simulator),
but should we add this as part of the definition?

Andrew C. Esh       
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