What are the key features of the Moving Worlds proposal?
Moving Worlds is VRML 2.0 proposal from a consortium of companies, formed by SGI, who are interested in working together to produce the new VRML standard. They have invited outside input, so that their proposal represents the views of developers working with VRML. Moving Worlds is based on a procedural programming approach which, its supporters believe, is more intuitively obvious than the nested functions approach of functional programming.
Here are the areas where Moving Worlds improves over VRML 1.0:
- Enhanced static worlds now have a simpler scene graph structure, so parsing and optimizing files is easier.
- New nodes permit realistic landscape effects such as backdrops of mountains or other scenery, irregular terrain, and fog to blur the distance. Sound effects nodes can be put into a scene. Sensor nodes allow the user to interact with the scene. A sensor node triggers actions when you enter an area or click on an object. Objects can be dragged from one place to another. A time sensor provides a basis for any actions determined by time, from an alarm clock ringing to repetitive animations. Collision detection makes the world solid around you and terrain following makes it possible to walk up stairs or slopes. Animation is produced by script nodes which can give the semblance of intelligence, or at least characteristic behavior, to an object or a creature. Scripts are triggered by events provoked by sensor data. By passing events information along with route statements a whole world of interaction can be induced by one action. Interpolator nodes smooth the action between the designated key frames. Prototyping is the way to produce new geometry nodes. Scripts are attached to nodes and nodes can be grouped into a new node type, a prototype. Then the new type can be made available to everyone.
Besides the above areas Moving Worlds has WWWInline which allows for objects to be linked in from diverse Web locations and ExternProto to allow for very large distributed worlds, too large to fit into memory. Availability: Moving Worlds is available free and without any legal restrictions. A reference implementation is being prepared by SGI.