[self-interest] Mythical 3Dui

Jecel Assumpcao Jr. jecel at merlintec.com
Sat Nov 13 14:13:15 UTC 2010

Randy Smith wrote on Sat, 13 Nov 2010 13:12:29 -0800
> We had an attempt at ui3, connecting a 3D library (was it open GL?)
> to objects in Self. 

John Maloney mentioned XGL in:

> This work was done by a student of Andy VanDam at Brown. A
> sample environment or two were created in 3D, but a full 3D
> programming environment felt just too clunky at the time.

Interesting! I had seen this later discusion and it had given me the
impression that Brown wasn't involved in the GUI work:


Their course was great - too bad it died out.
> One environment had a bunch of bouncing boxes in a 3D world ...
> you could grab and move a box with the mouse. There was a
> special key combo with which to "go meta" -- which in this case
> meant going "out of body." Your point of view backs away and you
> see the frame and camera through which you had been viewing
> the world. With the frame and camera as reachable objects, you
> could move them around, attach the frame to a bouncing box, or
> pull the camera away from the frame to give it a more telephoto
> view of the environment. There was an "anti-meta" operation to
> let you resume use of any frame-camera pair you might find.

This was a very good idea. In Teleplace (commercial version of Croquet)
you can use the mouse scroll wheel to "step back". Your avatar doesn't
move, so this changes from a first person viewpoint to a third person
viewpoint. You see your cursor as a ray shooting out of the avatar, but
you don't see the old frame you were using.

The meta idea fits in well with the Morphic ideal. But sometimes it is
nice to have more direct ways to navigate. Moving a long way in Kansas,
for example, is very awkward when you have to carry along an object
because you have to keep dropping it to deal with the radar view for the
next little step. I added navigation using the arrow keys in one Self
snapshot I used a lot to avoid this.

-- Jecel

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