Re: LANG: Text in VRML

Len Wanger (lrw@SDSC.EDU)
Sun, 26 Feb 1995 11:59:41 -0800 (PST)

> > I disagree with the proposals to do all text through texture mapping.
> > Lots of hardware does not support fast rendering off textures. also,
> > there are applications where I really do want 3D text.
> >
> 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?
> Kevin


I do believe we can have the best of both worlds. Texture mapping text
onto a transparent polygon is visually equivalent to true 3D
(polygonal) text. I think the important thing is to provide the 3D
text primitive in the VRML specification. Whether a VRML broswer uses
3D text primitive is rendered using texture mapping onto a polygon or
true 3D (polygonal) text can be implementation specific.

By the way, I not sure I would qualify software rendering of textures as
"free". If nothing else, you run into very serious memory swapping issues
when you start using large Textures in an environment. More importantly, I
believe that 3D hardware acceleration will be on every machine sold (PC,
Mac, Unix, etc) within 2 years. These will have good polygon performance,
but because of the economics of the memory required, I can't imagine that
low end machines would provide substantial texturing capabilities.

Len Wanger -- LRW@SDSC.EDU
Project Sequoia 2000
San Diego Supercomputer Center