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Thoughts on MOO/VRML

>As one who participates in running an educational MOO, I see uses 
>for the combination of VRML and MOO that other wizzen might not be 
>interested in.  If you are teaching a biology class, it will be very 
>helpful to have a 3-D model of the heart or or organ. [...]

There was recently a lot of discussion about how it would be difficult (or
at least, slow) to have the MOO serve lots of images and/or
[VRML] descriptions of 3D scenarios.  Until everybody has high-speed Ethernet
to the home, my naive suggestion is to send the user, either bundled with the
client software or else in a single (compressed) file upon their first
connection, all the relevant images, sounds, etc. at once.  That is, cache
them all from the beginning, and then simply have the MOO send a text command
instructing which multimedia item should be used and how.  One could easily
imagine a client coming with its own (large) database of images, and then
have each MOO reference this (somewhat standardized) collection, perhaps
through an out-of-band command command like
   #$# display image heart3D.gif

This scheme would be particularly appropriate for an educational MOO.  When
a user starts a `course,' have him/her download all the relevant images and
other supporting data at the beginning, rather than be encumbered by a need
to wait for the binary data to arrive each time.  Presumably all these
things would be ready long before the `semester' starts.  Updates could be
downloaded when necessary.  The nice thing is, it would all happen locally,
rather than over the frequently lagging network (vaguely like Java).
[Obviously, none of this works very well in a completely dynamic environment,
where everyone is constantly creating/modifying/destroying works of art, but
I think it could definitely be done for an educational MOO.]


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