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miscellaneous files

This is just a bunch of odd things I have uploaded to my site. Mostly I've put them here to illustrate points in conversations. If they are more generally useful then they tend to linger and get included in this cover page, but there will almost always be more in the files area than this page indicates. To see the full list get the current directory listing here.

Virtual worlds - I've removed the link to these because I haven't built any 3D virtual worlds for some time now. I hope to get around to converting the files to something usable again... one day.

vrml1to2.exe (19k) - converts VRML1.0 files into VRML2.0 (it commonly makes a small error that can easily be fixed with a text editor. Can't remember offhand what it is).

cp211_vrml1to2.dll (130k) - a dll file that vrml1to2 seems to need. I think CosmoPlayer normally installs it, but if you don't have CosmoPlayer you will probably need to put it in your C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM folder.

NpChooser.zip (125k) - a small program that lets you swap plugins for Netscape and Mozilla. This lets you keep CosmoPlayer, Cortona, and Contact plugins all on the same copy of Netscape Navigator or Mozilla. Just use npchooser to choose which you want to activate before using. Note that blaxxun Contact and BM Contact seem to fight and the only way I've found to get blaxxun's viewer to work on a system where BitManagement's one is also installed is to temporarily rename the BM npbx3d.dll to something like npbx3d_BM.dll. Similarly renaming the blaxxun npbx3d.dll to npbx3d_BX.dll will let the BM one work (of course you have to remove the extra letters from the one you wish to re-enable).

If you find you are unable to install CosmoPlayer into Mozilla, don't worry, it is simple even though CosmoPlayer doesn't know about Mozilla and where its plugins folder is. Install Mozilla as normal then grab the npcosmop211.dll and npcosmop211.jar files that it puts into Netscape's plugins folder (for example C:\Program Files\Netscape\COMMUNICATOR4.7\Program\Plugins and copy them into your Mozilla plugins folder, probably at C:\Program Files\mozilla.org\Mozilla\plugins.

Or if you are reluctant to go thru the hassle of installing Netscape's browser just in order to get CosmoPlayer into Mozilla, grab npcosmop211.dll and npcosmop211.jar from here as a zip file, unzip them and copy them to the Mozilla plugins folder. I seem to recall that Mozilla still doesn't know about CosmoPlayer until it is installed in in anouther web browser. I think that may be because it needs the registry to be updated. When I work out what the registry entry is (when I have time) I'll add that here too. For now it may be simplest to just install Netscape too. Note that I haven't tried it with a more recent version of Netscape than 4.7.

There is a description on the NIST site that tells how to do it by tricking CosmoPlayer into thinking that there is an old version of Netscape installed. Read it there.

write_inside_document.zip (45k) - a tiny example to show how to affect html from inside vrml in a completely cross-platform way. (Live example here.)In this particular case it changes the src name of an image in another frame, but it could just as easily be another window or the same html page in which the wrl is embedded.

WriteToFrame.zip (3k) - a tiny example to show how to write to another frame from inside vrml in a completely cross-platform way. (Live example here.) This does 4 different things to the frame on the right by moving the mouse over the appropriate object in a wrl in the frame on the left:

testmovie.zip (36k) - a small example to show how surprisingly tricky it can be to get animated textures to work across the three main Win32 VRML viewers. I tried to use an old animgif that I got from somewhere on the web, ages ago. It wouldn't work in CosmoPlayer or Cortona. That didn't bother me much as I remember gif is not required by the spec. So I tried converting it to mpeg, but had lots of fun and games with that because it wasn't an even multiple of 16 pixels wide and high. I had to break apart the animgif, resize all the individual frames then reassemble the animgif, then convert it to an mpeg. I'm sure I've converted a sequence of images to an mpeg before, but couldn't remember how I'd done it, so I went via the animgif. It is lucky I did because I found that this new animgif does play in both CosmoPlayer and Cortona. However the mpeg still didn't play in Cortona. This surprised me as I thought that playing mpeg textures was required by the spec. Anyway I tried one last possibility. I converted the mpeg to an avi file. That does play in Cortona, but not in CosmoPlayer. :( You might be wondering why I haven't mentioned Contact. Simple. There is no problem at all with any of the movietextures in Contact -- they all play. Even the old, crappy animgif from the web.

The strange moral of the story is:
If you want to use a movietexture that will work in CosmoPlayer, Cortona, and Contact, then the best bet is to use animgif (though make sure it is properly built). It isn't required by browsers, but all of them support it. What a surprise, huh?

english-linux.au (40k) Linus Torvalds pronounces the word 'Linux' in English.

swedish-linux.au (40k) Linus Torvalds pronounces the word 'Linux' in Swedish.

BackgroundMaker.pov (2k) is a very cool POV-Ray file that you can use to turn your POV-Ray scene into a cubic 360 degree background panorama. It doesn't alter any picture you've already rendered; it re-renders your POV-Ray scene from 6 different directions so that you end up with pictures that you can use from within VRML or QuakeII as a background. (Note that Quake and VRML arrange the images differently.) I found this on the fantastic SkyPaint website. To see the kind of thing that results from the BackgroundMaker.pov file, this ocean.wrl (1k + 186k images) example (you'll need a VRML viewer) was run on on this ocean.pov scene I put together some time back. The clouds are my invention, but the water formula is taken from a POV-Ray file by the utterly brilliant Gilles Tran. You must visit his site, http://www.oyonale.com. Put it on your list of things you need to do before you die. He is an artist's artist.

rgbvk1c1.mov (292k) is a QuicktimeVR panorama assembled from to pictures taken by the old Viking lander on Mars all those years ago. It always amazes me how few people know about these. I revisit them from time to time and bask in the feeling of standing on Mars. Unfortunately you'll need a version of Quicktime that includes the QTVR capability. One day I'll get around to extracting the images so that they can be used as backgrounds in other programs.

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