Navigating with a 2D (x-y pointing) mouse in 3D VRML SPACE requires re-adjusting to the fact that your y-coordinate (upward/downward) movement becomes typically translated as movement 'into' or 'away' from the objects (z-axis movement). Navigation speed and fluidity is dependent on your computer's processing power and affected by the number of large image files present on any one site.
In UROBOROS, care was taken to minimize (compress) image files, but due to their large numbers (including video texture maps), low memory systems will experience 'slow' navigation. Prolonged 'loading' (5-10 MINUTES) is a symptom of current modem speed; the FIVE in-lined worlds contain sound elements which are co-present with objects (they are touch and view-point sensored). MPEG movie-maps will only load when hot-objects are 'touched'. Loading speed will impair but not inpede navigation.
TO IMPROVE NAVIGATION SPEED/FLUIDITY: It is recommended that you set your computer's display to the MINIMUM color resolution. This allows for maximum processing do be applied to refreshing the frames in motion-navigation. 256 Color and 640 x 480 works produces better navigation, but sacrifices graphics quality. 'STEP-MOTION' (jumps in location) is the first indication of poor (slow) navigation.
COSMO PLAYER performs differently on PC and SGI platforms(!). Not only are the dashboard appearances different, but navigation, lighting, and multi-media performance varies. We have tried to optimize this site for both viewing stations. The typical settings, as defaults should read: HEADLIGHT 'ON'; COLOR SATURATION 'normal' for PC, set 'low' for SGI; COLLISION DETECTION should be 'off' for both; FLY MODE should be 'default' for both. Other variables can be set by the visitor according to preferences. These are the 'growing pains' of VRML beta-version browsers and changing workstations. To optimize viewing objects with texture maps (and to avoid 'burning out the image'), adjust 'HEADLIGHT' settings (right-button of mouse for menu) to off or on depending on your equipment. When you click on a hot-object (containing a MPEG movie) it 'will turn white' while the movie loads. This is normal. After the movie-map has played, it will return to its previous textured image.
The viewer should explore the site via FLY mode. The 'surface oriented' WALK mode is not useful in worlds where 'spaces' rather than 'surfaces' join objects. COLLISION mode should also be disabled (if not already disabled on your menu).
For COSMO PLAYER 2.0 navigation options check the COSMO INSTRUCTIONS page.
In earlier (1997) versions, navigation options are available when the viewer clicks with the RIGHT mouse button to VIEWER, and selects accordingly. When coming up close to an 'object', changing from WALK or FLY to 'EXAMINER' will allow the viewer to rotate the object, examining each face of the object, and simultaneously rotating the VRML world around the object. This is especially useful when the object contains anaglyph 3D texture maps (requiring red-blue glasses to view adequately) which can be analyzed from a variety of perspectives.
If the viewer gets 'LOST', or has difficulty in moving about (especially in some of the 'god's eye views' which are purposely restrictive to movement), then, by clicking on the RIGHT BUTTON of the mouse and selecting from the menu VIEWPOINTS, the viewer can let COSMO 'take them to the selected viewpoint'.
In fact, many of the viewpoints contained in the menu, comprise a kind of 'narrative' of scenes and content, and the viewer will find this mode of selection, and moving from view to view, useful and interesting.
In a way, to be purposely 'LOST' and to be extracted by the COSMO player (to another viewpoint) may be a preferred mode of navigation for some.
Many of the objects are, as mentioned, 'hot' (or 'smart') -- that is, they contain attributes such as SOUND, or MOTION-PICTURE TEXTURE MAPS. The typical way to access these attributes is to point and click with the LEFT BUTTON of the mouse on the respective objects. Other objects exhibit change (eg. sound is produced) due to PROXIMITY of avatar (viewer).
The experienced viewer-traveller will quickly master what the three main dashboard controls do, in the various WALK, FLY, and EXAMINER modes, how best to use them, how to set the entire scene 'IN MOTION', and how to visit points of interest.
As VRML develops, and we must remember that it is in its infancy, the various controls, capabilities, and 'looks' of this unique spatial language of depiction and representation will also change.
Come back often, and see the changes!
Banff Centre, Canada
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When you arrive at the VRML world of "UROBOROS' (after the SERPENT MOUTH has vanished), you will see the objects 'loading up' with forms and textures. Be patient with the load up speed. If loadup stops prematurely (resulting in incomplete textures or wire-frame 'bounding boxes') RELOAD.
There are FIVE WORLDS which are depicted: VIRTUAL FLESH (cubes and grid, directly in front of you); STAIRS (appearing above the cube-world); TERRA FIRMA (structures appearing below); FIELDSQUARE (to the right); CLOUD (beyond the cubes, a colored 'cloud'). Since these worlds contain objects CONTAINING SOUNDS OR MOVIES, the load up time can be as long as 5-10 minutes (depending on your modem).
When the files are loaded, you will hear a thunder-wind track (emanating, as it were, from precisely where your opening viewpoint is!).
The opening DISTANT view requires you to TRAVEL TO the worlds.
The COSMO player uses a specific 'DASHBOARD' to allow the visitor to navigate the VRML space. One could call this the 'AVATAR'S VIEW'.
If you are using COSMO PLAYER 2.0, reference the COSMO PLAYER INSTRUCTIONS menu items specific to this revised dashboard.
IF YOU ARE USING EARLIER VERSIONS, continue reading below.
In 1977 versions of the plug-in ('player'), and at the bottom of the screen, you will notice the dashboard with three objects. By clicking on each DASHBOARD object, and DRAGGING (hold down the left button and move the pointer) with the pointer in a particular direction, you can effect a movement or change of view.
In the above example, the OPENING VIEWPOINT ('Viewpoint 1'), to travel towards the waiting worlds requires that you CLICK ON THE CENTER DASHBOARD OBJECT and DRAG THE MOUSE DIRECTLY UPWARDS. The FURTHER you drag the pointer, the FASTER you travel. If you drag to the left or right, you will go in that direction, making a full circle if you wish.
The x-y pointer (mouse) allows you to easily travel in TWO DIRECTIONS. Dragging up moves you FORWARD, dragging down moves you BACKWARDS, dragging left or right moves you in those directions.
On the COSMO (1.0 player) dashboard, the diamond object on the right allows you to PAN YOUR VIEWPOINT in the direction you want. You will have to determine which direction of dragging the pointer accomplishes which movement. As in infancy, practice makes for skill.
If you get LOST, click with the RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON, and a menu will appear. Select 'VIEWPOINTS', and click on an interesting one. (Your current viewpoint is marked by a DOT, should you wish to return to it!) When you release the button, COSMO will 'FLY YOU' TO THE INDICATED VIEWPOINT. This is a quick way to travel around the worlds.
With the RIGHT BUTTON OF THE MOUSE you can also change VIEWER SETTINGS: from 'FLY' to 'EXAMINER' or 'WALK'. WALK allows you to move about under the influence of 'gravity' and particular to 'surfaces'. It is not very useful in UROBOROS since all objects exist in 'space' and are not attached to surfaces. EXAMINER enables you to examine a object by DRAGGING ON THE CENTER BALL in any direction and rotating BOTH THE OBJECT AND THE WORLD AROUND IT. If you drag quickly, you can SET THE WORLD IN MOTION rotating 'endlessly'. To return to a static view you need only click on the CENTER BALL again.
Other versions of COSMO PLAYER feature a MENU BOARD at the bottom of the screen. These menu items perform similar tasks.
COLLISION with objects, where the viewer has to 'go around' and not 'through' the object, is typically disabled in default. If not, it can be disabled from the menu provided by the RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON.
Many of the objects are 'hot' and contain sound or movie textures. You can approach an object and CLICK with the LEFT MOUSE BUTTON on it - this produces a SENSOR RESPONSE (if the object is 'hot') and either sound or movie textures. In the first world - VIRTUAL FLESH - you will find that some of the cubes contain movie textures (there are no sound objects in Virtual Flesh World). When you click on a cube containing a movie texture, it will TURN WHITE, then begin to load the mpeg movie. Depending on loading time, the movie will appear within the object quickly or slowly, and play back according to your computer's processing capabilities. If you click on too many objects (for your specific system), ALL OF THE MOVIES will play back very slowly (sub-sonic: without sound). It is best to click, and then move patiently about, checking on the results from time to time.
TOUCH SENSOR movies (mpeg with sound), which you activate by clicking on a object, are also contained in the other worlds. For example, the FRACTAL PANEL in the FIELDSQUARE world contains FOUR MOVIES and some of the other panels and sphere are 'hot'. The texture-mapped objects in TERRA FIRMA contain movies as well.
Images and movies that play back in ANAGLYPH (red-blue) form can best be viewed with red-blue glasses for their striking 3D effect. With correct stereoscopic viewing, what you will see are 3D SCENES contained 'within' objects!
PROXIMITY SENSOR sounds - which are triggered when you APPROACH THE OBJECT OR WORLD - are contained in TERRA. When you approach TERRA FIRMA, your proximity will trigger opera music which will end after 30-40 seconds. As for touch-sensor sounds, each staircase of STAIRS world contains music when the stairs are clicked on (you must be close enough).
Part of the interactive design of this site requires that you explore and discover which objects are 'impregnated' with sound or movie textures. As you become more familiar with the navigation tools and content of the site, you will find it easier to move about and examine objects and views. Future versions of this site will feature more complex avatar (that is, you) and object interactions.
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