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Section 3 / Page 74

Virtual Concepts - Technical Section From Pages 74-86

This section is meant for the already I.T. literate.

The technical problems have to be seen as millions of 1ís and 0ís being moved around very quickly, at that level the hardware becomes somewhat irrelevant to the task in hand. The hardware running the types of programs described will keep getting faster, so it is just a question of time until I believe such a network becomes a reality, that's if world continues on the path it seems to be on.

The databases were to have used a lot of, off the shelf knowledge and technology including the use of middleware modelling and physics software, to significantly lower development costs. A non-linear approach was to be applied to the programming method; this would have allowed the users the ability to have totally free and random movement within any of the environments contained.

The hardware currently being used by most end users allows for a reasonable level of detail to be shown. The level of detail capable of being processed by most next generation platforms, will allow for the scaled and accurate representation of many of the modelling concepts outlined. Most next gen platforms are capable of full scene environment mapping, this in conjunction with other hardware functions such as multi-pass rendering / volumetric rendering / Displacement Mapping, High Dynamic Range Imagery, UVD etc, should have allowed most end users to manipulate and generate the real-time level of detail required to make the systems output look and feel the way it has been described within this ebook.  The Latest Direct X standard is compliant with most of these rendering / video systems.

This is cutting edge 3D modelling at desktop level, at least at the time of writing this.

Kinematic modeling systems were seen as being needed, to allow the system to produce lifelike movement (also see Matrix Skinning) for all of the characters and avatars. Kinematic modeling, is also a very important part of robotics. If the network had eventually been tied into controlling robots, then the A.I. system was envisioned as having a store of knowledge applicable to controlling such devices. The future looks set to provide an even more advanced modeling system, for character design work, it uses neural network principals so as to achieve lifelike character movement, see link.

A modelling system that used curved surfaces was to have been used for some narrow band users, this type of modelling system can be used on most platforms. This should have given the databases the scalable geometry required to keep the databases platform independent. This type of modelling software was used in the creation of the online game Quake 3. The use of curved surfaces, should have allowed the system to keep the level of detail required at least for narrow band users, whilst also keeping it within acceptable bandwidth limitations. Curved surface geometry models require a lot less memory than their equivalent polygon models. Also narrow band systems could employ an episodic approach, to allow these types of users access to any of the environments created. Quake 3 is used as an example to prove that this proposals basic concepts could have been implemented on narrow band systems. Also Imagination (see page 48), has developed a low bandwidth technique, to allow a version of Quake 3 to be utilised by next generation mobile phone users. This is included as an example of how some narrow band users could have used at least some of the concepts outlined.

Modelling software using real time progressive meshes also known as real time tessellation were to be used to produce higher quality models. This modelling technique will allow for scalable multi-resolution models, to be produced and displayed on most next gen platforms. This in conjunction with other advanced modelling and mapping techniques should have allowed the system to produce the scalable architecture required, so as to make the databaseís models, truly platform independent. The difficulties involved in conversion between modelling formats, being seen as one of the major problems to be overcome. This was seen as one of the major technical questions to be addressed in the databases design phase.

Developments in the field of CG (see HLSL), happen all the time, and nobody could possibly be an expert in every part of this increasingly complex field. This is about millions of programmers working out individual solutions to millions of problems, we all have our own way of doing things, resulting in millions of solutions. The software tools on the other hand, used to help create and manipulate 3D objects are rapidly becoming very easy to use, widely available and extremely cost effective. The databases in their most basic form, could have been produced via the customisation of relatively cheap middleware. Repurposing the models for all of the uses described, was seen as a means to an end, the images or models contained being maximised for their profitability and usefulness.

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