Q: Best Java 3D API ??? 
Author Message
 Q: Best Java 3D API ???

Hello,

I've been working on a client/server project, where the client side
is written in Java for the past 8 months. The client side needs 3D
visualisation for which I was using vrml through EAI (external
authoring interface). However, with SGI shutting down CosmoSoftware
I am left in an unsupported and probably hopeless situation:

A) EAI is not part of the VRML 'standard', although there is a draft
B) The only browser combination I know to support EAI is Netscape
   with CosmoPlayer, now this has lost support and maintenance.
   Furthermore it only work on Windows, the SGI version is way
   behind, buggy, does not work with Netscape 4.x only with 3.01S
   which is obsolete and probably nobody uses anymore.
C) SUN is pushing Java3D instead of VRML-EAI, so the EAI can get
   easily forgetten and never make it to the standard.

So, I do not see too much point working with EAI any longer and
considering alternative possibilities:

1) Java3D API: relatively easy to port the EAI source, should
   provide good performance based on accelerated OpenGL hw.
   and it is a high level scene-graph oriented API like VRML.
   Problem: availability on SGI and other unices
   Question: does it have more promising future than EAI?
             I.e. will other companies cupport it or only SUN?

2) OpenInventor (through Kahlua Java interface or TGS 3D mastersuite):
   EAI soure can be ported with reasonable effort (but more
   than to Java3D), performance should be OK because it is
   also based on OpenGL, so hardware acceleretion can help.
   Problem: quite high cost of OpenInventor for Windows and Unix
            platforms other than SGI (development+runtime)
   Question: How long before SGI drops inventor like did Cosmo?
             Will other companies (like TGS) keep supporting it?

3) OpenGL (e.g. Magician by Arcane Technologies): provides the
   highest performance of all solutions (no layer or communication
   overhead), widely supported standard, i.e. has future, low cost.
   Problem: a lot more work because of the low level API, my existing
   code can be practicaly thrown out and new written from scratch.

So, which is the best solution for 3D visualisation from Java
(keeping in mind platform-independence, i.e. wide availability)???
One of the above 3, or something I do not know about?
BTW: I do know about a few pure-java 3D libraries (like J3D, JGL,
Obj3d, Frag Isaland, enki Polygon Renderer, Browser 3D etc.),
but I do not consider these as acceptable solutions, because
I need high performance for complex 3D modelling in realtime
(even a software-only OpenGL solution is questionable).

I am looking forward to hear/read some opinions, suggestions!

--
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Mon, 29 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Q: Best Java 3D API ???
You mentioned everything but the Microsoft 3D Java and other DirectX
tools.  I am also looking.  Are the MS and Sun tools that much different
in capability for what you are doing?
Best,
Joe W.

Techno and Promo HyperMultiMedia


Mon, 29 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Q: Best Java 3D API ???

Quote:

> You mentioned everything but the Microsoft 3D Java and other DirectX
> tools.  I am also looking.  Are the MS and Sun tools that much different
> in capability for what you are doing?

Thanks for mentioning, because I did not know about them.
However, DirectX tools certainly not suitable for me, as I am looking
for cross-platform solution, i.e. one that definitely supports SGI
and preferably other Unix systems as well, not just Windows.
Another fear is, that Microsoft's Java (J++) is not compliant
with the standard Java, and so their 3D Java might also be
intentionaly incompatible with other platform/vendor Java solutions.
Although I am just guessing here...

Regards,
Zsolt

--
If you want to reply directly to me, remove the dot from my username!

"Windows has detected that the mouse has moved, please REBOOT for
this change to take effect!" - from M$ Win00 (Not Y2K compliant)



Tue, 30 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 3 post ] 

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