[WF-General] 3D previews in WOMBAT

Kai Blin kai.blin at gmail.com
Sat Mar 27 08:57:50 PDT 2010

On Saturday 27 March 2010 02:11:07 Mike Gist wrote:
> Hey,
> I popped in to IRC but apparently everyone was asleep :)

Yeah, for some weird reason people tend to be asleep after midnight ;)

> 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.

Well, using plunger to do this would be one idea, Erik suggested using a real 
3D engine to do the job instead, like Ogre or even the Ember client directly.

> 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.

I'm not convinced yet. There's going to be a ton of issues with brain-dead 3D 
drivers on top of the usual issue with braindead browsers. Besides. I don't 
even have 3D drivers installed on all the systems I use. And I'd be concerned 
about this being dog slow on, say, a netbook.

> 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 in WOMBAT.
> 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.

That certainly was the idea. Wombat will actually look for thumbnails in a 
specific directory and doesn't care too much _how_ the thumbnails get in 
there in the first place.

> 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 :)

Not at all, I'm glad you brought this up. It's always good when more than just 
one person think about features.


Kai Blin
WorldForge developer  http://www.worldforge.org/
Wine developer        http://wiki.winehq.org/KaiBlin
Samba team member     http://www.samba.org/samba/team/
Will code for cotton.
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