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

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 obsolote 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 to 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 soem opinions, suggestions!

--
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)



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

Quote:

> So, I do not see to 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?

Also available for Windows95/98/NT - see SUN. It needs JDK1.2
final coming soon, also Java 3D final 1.1.

I'm in the same situation as you (need also fast rendering in real-time
application). My choice is Java3D due to portability and rel. simple
migration from VRML(2/97) to Java3D. But I will not start now,
and wait until final release and the stability has reached some
higher level. One problem is still for me unsolved, may be also
for you: The access to the VR-World from external software, like
external simulators if the Java3D runs as an applet in the Web-Browser.
CosmoPlayer+EAI+LiveConnect(Netscape) has been the ideal solution, but
now
with Java1.2 I do not see a similar solution like LiveConnect. I'm
hoping there will be a solution in late fall for the JRE 1.2 .

Hope this helps

Christian

--
                         ???????  
                        ?? _~_ ??

*---------------------oOOo-(_)-oOOo------------------------*

| Ruhr-University Bochum www.esr.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/esr/cs |
*----------------------------Oooo.-------------------------*
                 .oooO      (   )
                 (   )       ) /
                  \ (       (_/
                   \_)



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

bochum.de says...
Quote:
> The access to the VR-World from external software, like
> external simulators if the Java3D runs as an applet in the Web-Browser.
> CosmoPlayer+EAI+LiveConnect(Netscape) has been the ideal solution, but
> now
> with Java1.2 I do not see a similar solution like LiveConnect. I'm
> hoping there will be a solution in late fall for the JRE 1.2 .

The easiest (though probably not the fastest) way around this is to have
a Java application control the simulator input channels (serial ports,
VXI, 488, whatever) and pre-process the data.  Before starting to operate
it needs to open a dedicated TCP/IP port to a web server in the target
machine where the visual part of the sim is running.  Then the applet
must hook to the TCP/IP port that the data is put into by the
application.  Now all your data is available to the applet and the
interface into the VRML world is the same as it was before.

The other option is to try to figure out all that security stuff and make
your applet a 'friendly' signature item so it can access local resources,
but having never tried that I can't tell you if it will work.  

I have use the TCP/IP socket method above both with the Java "data
server" running in a separate machine from the VRML world and in the same
machine as the VRML world.  You  just have to be sure to serve the page
with the VRML world in it and not "Load File" the page into the browser.

--

wmc



Tue, 30 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Q: Best 3D API for Java ???


Quote:

>So, I do not see to 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.

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

In addition to option#3, we're currently readying the first beta of our
new product called ``Sorceress'' that is a Java binding to Cosmo3D and
OpenGL Optimizer. Cosmo3D is a scene graph API that was originally designed
as a 1 to 1 mapping to VRML97 in order to make VRML tool building much
easier.

If you're at all interested in evaluating this solution ( which incidentally
uses the same architecture as Magician and can be intermixed with Magician
code ), please drop me a line.

A.

--
Alligator Descartes      | ``Reality Architecture: Building 3D Worlds In Java

http://www.arcana.co.uk  | http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0137486251



Tue, 30 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Q: Best 3D API for Java ???


Quote:
>Hello,

>So, I do not see to 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?

At siggraph 98, at a Java3d meeting I heard that NCAR with help from
Sun was working on porting Java3d to run atop Mesa. [I think this
is aimed at Solaris x86, but Mesa is very universal.]
--



Tue, 30 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Q: Best 3D API for Java ???
Zsolt:

Quote:
>   Question: How long before SGI drops inventor like did Cosmo?
>             Will other companies (like TGS) keep supporting it?

On item one, I'll agree that SGI has been all over the map with their
graphics API strategy - But TGs has been consistant in the statement that
we will continue to IMPROVE Open Inventor.  Our source license of
Open Inventor allows us to do this, and we will be supporting it for
a long time to come.  3D-MasterSuite 3.5 is the latest proof of this.

Hidden in your question in the evidence that there are going to be a lot
of options for doing "3D with Java".  Some will be political (i.e. will
Microsoft and HP embrace Java3D from Sun?), some will be
non-commercial or based on top of non-commercial code (which
raises support and long-term commitment concerns), and some
will be commercial tools offered to "professional" developers.

3D-MasterSuite is obviously a commercial toolkit targeting people
who can afford the benefits of using it.  The benefits of 3D-MasterSuite
include:

 - Availability - It runs and is optimized on all major UNIX and PC
platforms.
 - Robust - It supports VRML and Open Inventor, plus has classes for
   Large Model, charting, high-end visualization and vector output.
 - Longevity - Based upon the already commercially proven Open Invnetor,
   it is the latest generation of 3D tools delivered by a company that has
   done this sort of stuff since 1982.
 - Code-reuse - C++ and Java bindings make it easier to migrate code.
 - Performance - As an independent software vendor, TGS is motivated to
   make it fast everywhere. We are not trying to win hardware benchmark
   comparisons.
 - Support - We'll answer the phone and answer your questions
 - Consulting - We'll help you build it if you need
 - Training - We'll teach you how to use it
 - Satisfaction - When you use a commercial solution, you have someone to
yell at
    if you need to.  (We always saw the EAI approach as limiting - who do
you
    yell at for free software bugs or changes in direction??)

Choices are good - and 3D-MasterSuite is intended to be the choice for
developers who need a commercial-grade toolkit with all of its benefits.

Go to www.tgs.com to learn more...


Quote:

>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 obsolote 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 to 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 soem opinions, suggestions!

>--
>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)



Wed, 31 Jan 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Q: Best 3D API for Java ???

Quote:

> Some will be political (i.e. will Microsoft and HP embrace Java3D
> from Sun?), some will be non-commercial or based on top of
> non-commercial code (which raises support and long-term commitment
> concerns)

One definite pro with non-commercial code is that there is no company
which can "pull the plug out", as was the original problem in this
thread. You have the source, and can modify it yourself. Or pay others
to do it.

BTW: Your quoting was horrible...
--
Trond Eivind Glomsr?d



Thu, 08 Feb 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 8 post ] 

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