3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 79: Shout is Out!
Lesson 79 - Shout Is Out! - Part 2
Shout has taken an intelligent approach to bringing interactivity tools to developers. As I have been stressing over the past few months, Shout's special importance lies in the fact that it is putting Java into the hands of the 3D developer. Java is a full-strength programming language, and there is nothing that cannot be achieved with it. Yet the overwhelming number of people interested in bringing their 3D graphics skills to the Internet have little or no programming skills, Java or otherwise.
So Shout has packaged a couple of extremely useful applet types that will serve many of the needs of interested users right now. You can simply plug-and-play with these, and as your interests and skills develop, use them as a basis for more sophisticated interaction. The WalkApplet allows the viewer to navigate through space. The ExamineApplet allows the viewer to rotate around a scene, which will typically be a single product.
To demonstrate the use of these classes, and to jump right in with my first practical essays into the world of Shout3D, I tried a couple of interesting experimentsÂand was extremely impressed.
The scene below is one of the standard tutorial scenes from Lightscape, the application that generates superb radiosity solutions that accurately simulate sophisticated indoor lighting. Lightscape can export its scenes ("solutions") to VRML format, and VRML walkthroughs of Lightscape scenes are an important architectural tool. It took a little bit of playing and experimentation to get it working in Shout, but for the most part it was just a matter of using the Wizard to get the scene into a WalkApplet. The result is very impressive. You are looking, probably for the first time, at something that you'll be likely to be seeing a lot of in the future. The era of truly beautiful virtual spaces for Internet navigation is about to begin.
Take some time to play with this. The scene contains about 7600 polygons, yet it moves pretty fast, especially on a late-model workstation. The total file is half a megabtye, but only 128KB in a zipped version. Note the collision detection in the WalkApplet. If you try to walk through a wall, you'll be stopped. The room is rather small, so you have to move and rotate carefully, nor is there a way to tilt your "head" up and down in this basic applet. Adding that feature would be a great first project for someone learning the Shout programming interface. The package comes with the source code for a number of demonstration applets, and with a full-guide to the Shout3D Java class library.
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Created: Nov. 11, 1999
Revised: Nov. 11, 1999