Thursday, September 25, 2008

Open Themes - Key to Coherent Media

There are great amount of 3d models, sounds and music available as open source in the Internet. Building a good user experience from these incoherent sources is problematic. Open themes: color packs, style guides and examples would be an important catalyst for open virtual reality development. Once a theme exist the open media could be themed accordingly to become an open media pack with unified style and standard media formats like Collada. This would inspire more artists and developers to participate in the effort and give open virtual environments more polished and professional look. If you find such theme projects please let me know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Virtual Brought to Real World

Polygon Playground is an innovative way to bring virtual phenomenon to real world for children and adults to play with. The video is worth watching. Reminds me of science fiction movies.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vision, Theory, Standards and Engineering

The trend has been visible in many areas of computing...

A great vision has been evolved by theorists and scholars to in depth model. The model albeit being detailed is not practical and subsequent standard have the same nature. Which brings us to the standard compliant implementations that do not work, implementations that do work but are nothing alike the standard and finally the implementations that claim to implement the standards but actually provide inadequate standard interfaces and actual operation is based on proprietary interfaces.

After this the path is forked. Some standards embrace solutions from the working implementations and fulfill their potential. Others do not evolve but stubbornly rely on the original theoretical models and actually hinder the development instead of accelerating it.

My current observation is that unfortunately the latter is the case with virtual reality related standards. It is quite obvious that there are very well functioning implementations like World of Warcraft and other massively multiplayer online role playing games. The existing commercial and non commercial social 3d worlds in contrast are painfully cumbersome.

The worst engineering misconception is that virtual reality is web in 3d. That alone brings many misleading ideas to the table. For example dynamic object loading which is visible to the user breaks the immersion. Another good example is that 3d protocols and model formats are TCP and XML based. 3d has more data and binary formats are practical in model presentations. At minimum XML ought to be encoded to binary format when larger models are in question. Grammar could be the same but encoding more efficient. Virtual reality has dynamics which do not exist in web and again practical engineering solution is to use UDP based messaging. Communicating the dynamics requires massive amount of messaging between client and server creating encoding performance bottlenecks if XML is used.

It is high time that the standards are re-evaluated from engineering perspective and solutions from MMORG genre are adopted to standards. There is no need to worry about backwards compatibility as long as there are no well functioning implementations. I would also like to question if competing standards are actually a bad thing. Little competition has always been a good thing. It forces the opponents to go for the best possible result they can achieve.

We have the technology and we have the knowledge today. We only need to ask the right questions. What is the minimal standard required to realize virtual environments? The first rule of software design is to solve the known problem with minimal complexity. Same principle should be applied to standards.

Future Wikia Vision about Virtual Reality

I recommended this Future Wikia article for anybody interested in virtual reality. If you think you have a vision yourself then contributing to this article is definitely a way to get your voice heard:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Popular Open Source 3D Engine

When I started to talk about the open source 3D engines one of my friends pointed out that Ogre3D should not be forgotten:

Ogre3D is one of the most popular open source engines and has many stunningly beautiful rendering features.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Development in the Open Source SceneGraph Arena

Thanks to the VR news I stumbled on OpenSceneGraph which looks like a solid c++ based open source 3d engine with several applications and active development:

One example of the applications:

OpenSceneGraph may turn out to be the future standard for open source 3d. Solid open source technology combined with solid standard will make the basis for global integrated virtual environments.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Following News about Virtual Reality

I recommend following News Predator and especially the Virtual Reality category for latest information in the VR field. The nice thing is that if you happen to know additional news feeds to the ones listed at Sources page you can always submit those yourself for others to enjoy.

The site also includes various other categories but VR category seems especially useful as there are not many if any good VR aggregate feeds about.