3D GUIs (was: metaphors)

Thierry Goubier Thierry.Goubier at enst-bretagne.fr
Wed Jun 12 21:21:07 UTC 1996

On Wed, 12 Jun 1996, Jecel Assumpcao Jr wrote:

> I think the my design for a 3D engine should work reasonably
> well on both slow and fast computers. It works by assuming
> that people only see in details when things are not changing,
> so I do quick 2D approximations when objects are moving and
> then clean things up in the background when they stop. This
> is ugly, but responsive on slow machines but becomes
> unnoticable on faster machines. This is much like adaptive
> compilation. 

Yes, I think this is a good idea. Something great could be a system that
is able to lower the detail level when the response time is too important.
A kind of adaptation to 3D of the shadow rectangles in 2D.

But I think this point may be independant of the metaphor used.

> > What I believe is that hyperjumps are the crucial feature, susceptible to
> > get anyone lost if they jump too much. The problem is the same as with
> > hypertexts, and has no easy solution without restricting the freedom of
> > organisation.
> Jumping from room to room would be roughly equivalent to
> changing directories in most systems. Users don't normally
> do it very much.

That's a way of avoiding the problem... You imply that there won't be a
lot of rooms. The counter argument I'll give is the importance of the
object environment (I know I don't follow the *user* is different from
me). It's size may ask for a lot of rooms.
> > I prefer the way the 3D file browser is done in a SGI. The best thing
> > thoses new metaphors may gave us is an ability to view more things at the
> > same time. Freedom of movement is important. I like Pad++ for
> > this; there's a great freedom of self-tuning, to view differents aspects.
> I like the PAD interface very much, and was tempted to use
> it for Merlin. In fact, nothing prevents me from having
> some room be PAD styled since each room is really a self
> contained universe with its own rules. The problem with
> PAD is that while the user can freely move about, the objects
> feel as if they were "stuck" on a surface and their
> relations are a bit hard to change.

That's the point which annoys me. Differents physics models in the rooms
implies a potential complexity for the user (and I speak of me, here :-)).
You have to adapt to a whole different world when you go from one room to

My second fear is about theses rooms. I know that I prefer a non-discrete
partition of my mind (and I think this way, also), and I'm always
disturbed by strict divisions schemes. How may I share objects between
rooms other than by copying them ?

> > You have to remind that, when there's hyperjumping and a lack of
> > landmarks, to get lost is easier.
> Back to my rooms analogy with directories, just because
> you have them you don't have to use them. A user can
> put all his objects in a single room and never have
> to hyperjump at all. And while landmarks are not built-in,
> you can drop objects as Hansel and Gretel did and create
> your own landmarks (as long as no one comes along and
> eats them ;-).

I think the problem is that directories are not a really correct metaphor
to start with. Yes, it has defficiencies :-)

> You don't have to have separate rooms if you don't want
> to, as I mentioned above. And there should be many levels
> of organizing objects inside rooms beyond just spreading
> them around. One object might be a catalog with hundreds
> of other objects for you to view (a multipage factory
> morph, for example).

I'd just like to have something unified... Multipage is nice to save
screen space, but you have to avoid the microsoft ones. And it adds
another metaphor to the 3D world.

___________________Thierry.Goubier at enst-bretagne.fr__________________
    Je ne suis pas un patriote car je n'ai pas peur de l'etranger
        I'm not a patriot because I don't fear foreigners

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