The Zork Library in real-time 3D

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DrPaul
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The Zork Library in real-time 3D

Post by DrPaul »

Hi Guys,

As some of you may recall, I developed a real-time 3D interface/environment for the computer a couple of years ago.  The environment, called Knexus, takes the form of a 3D virtual library in which the 'books' in the library are links to files, programs, folders, webpages, etc., and it opens them on your computer when you so choose.

Well, during Christmas Break, I've been working to adapt the basic Knexus technology to run as an applet in a web browser.  What this means is that it is now possible to create a real-time 3D web page in which you can move around just like in a first-person shooter game.

I call these 3D web environments WebWorlds.  These WebWorlds can be anything.  Streets, buildings, caves, airplanes, ships,...anything you can imagine.  But since I first developed this 'technology' in the form of a virtual library, I was thinking...Why not adapt The Zork Library to true, real-time 3D?

So I did.  I've only worked one day on it so far, but I though you all would like to check it out.  In order to view The 3D Zork Library, you need to have Java 6 and the Java3D extensions.  So I created a 3D Library pre-launch page that has links to Java and Java3D installers (all free) and a link to The 3D Zork Library, once you're setup.

Check it out here:  http://myknexus.com/WebWorld.html.

Try it and please let me know what you think.  Soon, I will replace the pictures on the walls with some proper Zorkian images and will try to stitch a 'Z' into the oriental rug on the floor.

I am particularly interest in Dat's reaction since it is his page that I have based it on.  Make sure you read the navigation instructions before launching the Library.
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Re: The Zork Library in real-time 3D

Post by DataAngel »

That is pretty neat Dr Paul!  8-)

Let me know if you want critique later, so far so good! just slow moving around the "library" hehe.

Nice job though really!  :D
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Re: The Zork Library in real-time 3D

Post by DrPaul »

Let me know if you want critique later,
Of course I want some feedback.  However, please consider that I based the implementation on an existing library layout which was designed for a different purpose.  More on this later.
so far so good! just slow moving around the "library" hehe.
Yeah.  The library layout is much too large for the number of 'books' in The Zork Library.
I used 22 bookshelves altogether - and had to stretch things a bit to use that many.  I could easily have put all of the books onto the bookcases along the north wall, with plenty of space to spare.  The reason I didn't want to do that was to give the library a greater sense of space and three dimensions. If I had put them all on the same wall, then we would essentially be back to two dimensions.

My original 'vision' for these WebWorlds was to apply them to web sites that have enormous amounts of content, like the sort of web sites that large organizations such as universities, corporations or governments tend to have.  The idea goes like this:

Have you ever had to go to one of these large sites in which you have to navigate a maze of web pages in order to get where you're finally going?  Takes you hours to find what you want.  Then, when you have to return a week later, you can't remember how you got there!  

Those kind of sites are perfect candidates for the library because you wouldn't have to go through several levels of web pages.  Everything is on top and it can all be logically organized just like a real library or bookstore, making it easy to browse the content.

For the Zork Library, my existing layout is too big.  It would probably be worthwhile to build a smaller layout, similar to the library that you use as a background image.  Actually, my first library was very much like that.  It was essentially just the north half of the library you see now, featuring 5 cases on the north wall and two on each side.  The problem was that there was little room to maneuver since all the shelves were just a step away, so it didn't have much of a 3-D feel or sense of space.

But maybe that's just what The Zork Library implementation needs.  What do you think?

Anyway, comments from you and everyone else here are welcome.  Actually, more than welcome.  I am begging for comments.  Also, do you mind if I use the Zork Library as an example?  It may send new traffic to your site, which you may or may not want.  I don't know your feelings on that.
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Re: The Zork Library in real-time 3D

Post by Afgncaap5 »

I'm sorry to report that it doesn't work for me. Probably because I use dial-up.

Which is a huge shame, because I love the idea. :-)
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Re: The Zork Library in real-time 3D

Post by DrPaul »

It ought to work with dial-up, but it probably takes too long to load the image files.
First of all, did you download and install Java 6 and Java 3D as instructed on the WebWorld entry page?
If so, you have to install Java 6 first, and then Java 3D after Java 6 has been installed.

Java also has to be enabled on your browser. It usually is, but might be set disabled.

The library loading is as follows:
tzl.jar (92 Kb)
data.jar (8.25 Kb)
images.jar (1.22 MB)

Once all of this stuff loads, the 3D library runs entirely in your browser and doesn't require the internet
(except for when you select a book to link to another web page.)

If Java and Java3D were installed correctly and Java is not disabled in your browser, it should work providing you can wait long enough for the images.jar file to load. It might be possible that something times out before the images finish loading. I have never tried running it from dial-up.
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