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COLLADA Contest Winners From Siggraph 2009

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what's-in-there? dept.

Cellphones 31

An anonymous reader writes "COLLADA — the group creating open 3D data standards — announced their latest contest winners at Siggraph 2009. Ordinarily this wouldn't interest me, but the grand prize winner, NaviCAD, really did submit something rather interesting — an iPhone app that lets you explore Google 3D Warehouse models. Of course there's the pinching for zooming in/out, but it also uses the motion sensor to control the view. If you are walking around the inside or outside of a building, as you look around in the real world the view on the iPhone displays the corresponding view."

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31 comments

iphone only? (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29086089)

So we get closer to merging virtual reality with reality, but only for the iphone?

why don't people show windows mobile the love?

let us welcome our new iphone app overlords.

Re:iphone only? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29086305)

Just as with the "Augmented reality" story the other day this sort of thing is available on Android too, and was before it was available with the iPhone, but Slashdot is so horrifically full of Apple zealots it's apparently only news when the iPhone does it.

That's also the reason this post will almost certainly get modded down, but at least this should answer you question. If you want to know what cool apps are going to be coming out for the iPhone, pay attention to the cool apps that are already out for Android and iPhone developers will soon copy them and pass them off as their new iPhone exclusive inventions.

Re:iphone only? (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29086385)

I want cool and interactive apps for my windows mobile phone. Its not like its less powerful than the Iphone.
But as far as i see, windows mobile phones are seen as a "Executives" phone, ie more business, less play.

Iphone(normal, 3G)
412 MHz processor (600 in 3Gs)
128 MB DRAM (256 in 3Gs)
320 × 480 px screen

compared to my Epix:
624 MHz CPU
150 MB RAM
320 × 320 px screen

Re:iphone only? (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29087947)

I think the reason is that the iPhone includes a big touch screen, a GPS radio and a compass so is particularly well suited to AR applications. There is also only 1 model and it's userbase is growing everyday so it's particularly tempting to target when developing applications.

Re:iphone only? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29090829)

There have been several Iphone models.

Most phones have experienced a growing userbase. All it needs is that the sales rate is higher than the phone-dying rate...

Re:iphone only? (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088869)

If you want to know what cool apps are going to be coming out for the iPhone, pay attention to the cool apps that are already out for Android and iPhone developers will soon copy them and pass them off as their new iPhone exclusive inventions.

Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers of NaviCAD.

Okay, I'll bite. We actually started this project almost a year ago. We had no intention of claiming the functionality as one of our "new iPhone exclusive inventions," but decided that we'd work on it in our spare time because:

1. we had iPhones
2. we liked the Google 3D Warehouse
3. we thought that showcasing the technology would generate practical apps
4. we had iPhones

Re:iphone only? (1)

fe1ixunger (1619371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088947)

One more thing about why we built it: The iPhone provided us an opportunity to experiment with a device that combines a 3d display with the ability to get real 3d input (not a mouse with the ctrl key). Goog 3dwh is a great data source and it made collada the natural choice.

Re:iphone only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29101853)

I would like to thank you for developing for a platform that makes free software impossible and that requires you to be permission from Apple to develop for it.

Additional points are awarded for supporting a platform that give the platform owners a marked advantage denied to every other vendor.

If such restrictions had been in place at NeXT TBL would never have been able to have developed the web.

Re:iphone only? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29090801)

I find that reading Slashdot is a great way to keep up to date with developments in the mobile market, of about one to five years ago.

(The funniest one we had was that "Read a website ... On Your Iphone" a few months ago.)

Get READY... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29086231)

For some seriously kick butt self-guided tours.

kikephone only? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29086233)

They need to release this app on an anti-semite firently phone like the H(itler)TC or the HeilBerry.

ludmila (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29086463)

ohohohho! 3D data standards
http://artmazok.com/

First? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29086591)

wow what a sad and boring summer evening...

Boring. (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29086623)

Ordinarily this wouldn't interest me, but the grand prize winner, NaviCAD, really did submit something rather interesting â" an iPhone app

WTF? This has to be the least interesting thing related to Siggraph ever. I'm sure they did a good job designing it for the platform, but it's just a fucking model viewer.

Re:Boring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29086725)

But dude, maybe you're not on the same wavelength, let's analyse it again.

They designed a 3D model viewer... on the iPhone!
The freakin' iPhone man! Do you have any idea what this means??
Now people can make 3D porn and upload it to their iPhones!

This is absolutely not boring.

Re:Boring. (2, Interesting)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29087047)

I totally agree.
Not possessing an iPhone, I don't see the point of such an application (I have seen tons of 3D viewers on so much platforms).

BTW, their application is not free (sold on AppStore), and they'll probably license it to Apple.

The second prize seems a lot more impressive: http://3d.athens-agora.gr/index_en.html [athens-agora.gr]

Shouldn't these prizes reward people that don't write commercial applications ?

Re:Boring. (1)

mapuche (41699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088701)

WTF? This has to be the least interesting thing related to Siggraph ever. I'm sure they did a good job designing it for the platform, but it's just a fucking model viewer.

iPhone is the coolest thing these days. This year almost every technical paper at SIGGRAPH had an iPhone application to show an inplementation of the idea.

Re:Boring. (4, Informative)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088785)

Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers of this app.

I tried to submit a story on our app to /. pointing out some of the technical challenges on developing a complex-model 3D app on the iPhone thinking that this angle would be appreciated by the /. crowd, but it wasn't accepted. When I saw this submission come out, I have no doubt that comments would be critical with respect to the contest.

The main challenges included the fixed memory footprint and the relatively slow processor (all of us iPhone developers dream of performance equal to that of the simulator). Perhaps we will try and submit a technical article to the likes of Ars Technica and see how that's received.

Yes it's just a [insert your choice of bad word here] model viewer, but like other technologies, we threw spaghetti against the wall just to showcase possibilities for the platform. We have several 'practical' applications in the works that probably won't merit an accepted submission here :-)

performance (2, Interesting)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29086835)

I wonder how well that performs? Collada is rather bulky because it is designed as an intermediate format. You would normally convert it into a more steamlined binary format before actually using it in an app.

Re:performance (2, Insightful)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 4 years ago | (#29087189)

Collada is a bit bulky. But it kind of has to be that way achieve the design goal of being a lossless intermediate format. It really can describe just about anything 3d.

However, apps like this one only use a small subset Collada. And performance isn't that much of an issue; the convenience of xml leads to interesting things like the <NetworkLink> element in kml, which can actually increase performance by loading models on demand from the server based on the view.

So yeah...you'd use a binary format in a traditional app, but Collada is totally useful for network apps.

On the other hand, omg does the documentation suck... And spitting out valid Collada dynamically is a giant PITA (full disclosure: working on a kml/dae project at the moment). Sony's C++ DOM api and FCollada seem to work okay, but don't help those of us who don't have cgi as an option.

It would be nice if Kronos has somebody else handle the Collada website and forums (which are a joke), and produce documentation just for the small subset of the standard used by GIS apps.

Re:performance (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 4 years ago | (#29087321)

I agree about the documentation. Kronos seems to be underfunded IMHO and only improve collada at a slow pace. I don't know why some of those big ass companys (apple, nvidia, etc) throw some resources their way.

Re:performance (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 4 years ago | (#29089079)

Or you could write an API or two :). FCollada and Sony's thing are all that's out there. If we all shared the DOM APIs we're writing for our own apps, maybe something more intuitive (for everyday tasks) could come out of it. Most of us are using only a subset of the standard, and we don't need the expressiveness that something like Unreal needs. I wonder what Google's using for Sketchup and GE...

In fairness to the Collada docs, it is a gigantic project. The thing can describe anything, and the standard now includes animation and physics. And the Collada standard itself seems to swallow up new features pretty quickly; I think their target is to maintain "losslessness" by tracking the big content creation software closely. IMHO, the project is probably well-funded as all of the members are now totally dependent on it. Maybe they just have a shortage of web people; until Google came along, their audience was developers of game engines and DCCs.

Re:performance (2, Informative)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088467)

Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers for this app.

Parsing the XML on the iPhone platform does take some time. In an update (waiting for approval from Apple), we will be serializing the model on the client so at least on second viewing, the model loads much faster. In a later update, we may do the serialization on the server and just serve up the serialized model to the client.

Re:performance (1)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088849)

Awesome! Congratulations.

Thanks for the info. I was surprised by your experience at first; but I just realized that I probably overestimate the raw computing power of iPhone-type devices, and I didn't think about the diversity and complexity of models on 3D Warehouse.

Visualization is so beautiful. Interesting time to be a developer.

Re:performance (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 4 years ago | (#29120037)

Can't they off load string processing on to something more suited, i.e. the GPU, only going through a specialized microcode, Unisys B5000 style.

Re:performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29100631)

"""
  Collada is a bit bulky. But it kind of has to be that way achieve the design goal of being a lossless intermediate format. It really can describe just about anything 3d. However, apps like this one only use a small subset Collada. And performance isn't that much of an issue;
"""

Agreed, there is no expectation that the entiere specification need to be utilized by any one given application. Tools and viewers are expected to be specialized, understand the subset that they need to, and keep the rest of the information untouched. .

Think about it this way: the data is stored in a database, make a query and you get back a COLLADA document that contains the information you need, in the subset you require (for example, I want triangles, nothing else). Most of the time data is stored in files (the simplest form of database), and the query is simplified to the filename, so apps have to deal with un-necessary complexity because of the weakness of the rest of the system, but I imagine that in the near future more servers will be able to process (COLLADA in -> COLLADA out) data on the fly and process more complex queries.

Re:performance (1)

gbelteshazzar (1214658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088139)

it doesn't ahve to download the entire collada file to view it, i haven't looked into it, but i assume the conversion is done on the server end and a smaller binary format is sent to the phone for viewing?

Re:performance (1)

fe1ixunger (1619371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29088891)

The other developer here: in the current version, the client gets the data from google 3dwh and builds the gl model on the phone. We probably use >80% of the collada data in the google impl. The greater opportunity for time and space saving is in the texture scaling to iPhone appropriate sizes. Next release, we'll move that (and the XML parse while we're at it) to the server.

You can see the view... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29086965)

If you walk around the inside ot the outside of the building you can see the building?

In other news, a new iPhone App that lets you hear the sound of the engine whilst driving your car.

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