[WF-General] 3D previews in WOMBAT

Mike Gist xordan at gmail.com
Fri Mar 26 18:11:07 PDT 2010


I popped in to IRC but apparently everyone was asleep :)

Firstly, I'm not a GSoC student want-to-be. This just happens to be an area
of interest of mine.
I came across WOMBAT again recently and saw the 3d previews idea after doing
some reading,
so I thought I could make some suggestions for whoever may end up
implementing it in future;

>From what I can gather, the current idea is to use (write?) a software
renderer which can do a
single frame render of a 3d object (represented by an intermediate format
which is the output from
plunger). This will then get cached server side and updated every time the
model gets updated.

I would suggest a slightly different (perhaps more ambitious) approach.
First of all, instead of using a software rendering solution, use WebGL.

I've seen a working solution using the Crystal Space engine + WebGL which
allows real-time renders of
CS models (so you can rotate etc. the model in the browser) as well as the
simple cached preview.
I don't think that this would be much harder than the software rendering
approach and would
produce far nicer results. Of course WebGL is a very new (draft) standard,
however I think it's
the way to go in future and will be pretty well supported by browsers.

Secondly, make the system extensible. Instead of going entirely through
plunger, allow any developer
to write a plugin which will take his/her model format and output the result
Then plunger support would be done in a plugin.
In general, the 3d engine (be it Ogre, Irrlicht, CS, Blender GE...) will
probably be able to do a much better job
of handling its own models and any specifics that come with them than a
Plunger based solution.
Not that I think Plunger is bad, I think it's a nice idea - however it's
probably best to leave the option open to have custom plugins.

If this has already been thoroughly discussed and thought up of already,
apparently I missed it so sorry
for making you waste a few min of your life :)

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