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Submitted by Ales Holecek, posted on October 15, 2001




Image Description, by Ales Holecek



This image is a screenshot of a scene rendered in the Viewpoint Media Player and represents an Internet banner ad demo (seen in action here). It showcases the integration and interaction of various media types, including flash movies, streaming 3D, composited 2D elements and HyperView all within one scene.

The model was created in 3D Studio Max by Viewpoint's Chris Iorillo and took 2 days to create. Lighting and additional features specific to Viewpoint Experience Technology (VET) were edited using the Viewpoint Scene Builder. The model has 10,682 polygons and 5,011 vertices. The VET proprietary software renderer, renders the scene at 11 fps while fully compositing against the html and desktop background. The scene runs at 800 x 600 resolution on a P3, 450mhz with128 mb memory.


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Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
 
sree

October 15, 2001, 03:38 PM

Hi guys,

There obviously is great potential for *really* annoying advertising content, but we try to make things not so irritating for the consumer. For example, Hyperview retracts automatically if you switch windows, click outside the Hyperview area, or click in the taskbar.

The idea is to allow sites that are offering free content to charge a premium for "richer" ad content, i.e. the cost of content is advertising. It indeed is similiar to pop-unders, etc., but hopefully more interesting. Commerce sucks, what can I say :)

And just to answer some questions:

1) By "streaming 3d" we mean progressive 3d loading (i.e. rough detail and more filling in as data loads)
2) it's 85kb total (including the 2d art, textures, etc.), and 11,000 polys renderered/antialiased/lit/etc. in realtime - compression is a part of the technology - and clever instancing helps in this case.
3) 11 fps is a little slow in general for the SW renderer, but the compositing, shadows, etc. slow things down. Plus it gets fillbound when the car get bigger.
4) At it's root, it's an ActiveX control/Netscape plug-in, so no magic securtity holes there (other than the normal ones)
5) We try to be very friendly and install all of our components into the Viewpoint Folder in your Program Files folder; we don't shit stuff all over the hard drive.
6) If money is indeed the root of all evil, then this is indeed evil (though we do make the tools, licenses, technology, etc. available *completely* free to content developers, hobbyists, etc).

Hope this answers some questions,
Sree Kotay
Viewpoint

 
Jukka Liimatta

October 15, 2001, 03:50 PM


Politik, the streaming part here is that the model gets more detailed while more triangles are "streamed" into the scene from the HTTP server.

Ie. it's progressive level-of-detail mesh, this is generally accepted terminology. MetaStream from MetaCreations, inc. a while ago was similiar. ;-)

 
Kretenoid

October 15, 2001, 04:00 PM

Tools->Internet Options->General->Settings->View Objects
right-click->Remove

aaaaah...

 
Lord Electro

October 15, 2001, 04:14 PM

Okay, you can be guarenteed that I will be closing immediately any website that chooses to use this. Good tech or not, this is bs, I do not want this invading my desktop. So congrats, you made the Internet even less worth using.

 
Happy_Dog

October 15, 2001, 04:23 PM

Although I agree that this will be used for evil marketing purposes, it could be used for good too. Similar to the camera demo (that constantly refreshed so you could not see it) web sites could use this tech. for freeing up space until the detail is needed, and I'm sure someone out there could find even better uses for it. Oh, well it will just be another annoying pop up full screen ad.

P.S. Interesting idea of using swf for the textures on the truck. The vector format can keep them very small-8.12KB (if used properly). Although the 5.83KB for the "COOL", "Different" swf seems pretty big, I think the logo could be optimized a bit.

Steve

 
sree

October 15, 2001, 04:34 PM

Kretenoid: You can pretty much delete the Viewpoint folder in your Program Files folder to uninstall - that'll kill pretty the whole Viewpoint Media Player.


Lord Electro: Ouch. (Perhaps a tad doomsday-ish?)

Mostly we submitted an IOTD because we thought the tech was cool in a flipcode-ish, we-hacked-the destktop-software rendering-3d compression-and-SWF playing-kind-of-way, but to each his own :)



Happy Dog: Yeah. We wrote our SWF player so we could improve performance/compression, render directly to our texture format and/or our backbuffer, etc.

Though these demos don't show it, it also makes for nice animating textures also, and encompasses vector compression, as well as JPEG/PNG/GIF for images. For most SWF files, we load much faster and render MUCH faster than MM's SWF player, but then, they were focusing on different things (including a great tool and format).

Sree Kotay
developer.viewpoint.com

 
sree

October 15, 2001, 04:39 PM

Happy Dog: Two other interesting things about SWF:

1) It doesn NO interpolation for any animation values; every frame you add, adds data to the file. Further, framerate is fixed at authortime. Makes the format simple (and streamable simply), but not always ideal in the compression domain.

2) MM's SWF player plays each and every frame (i.e. it will not drop frames if performance degrades). This was also a problem for us in a "realtime" environment with lots of resource drains (like 3d rendering).

Sree Kotay
developer.viewpoint.com

 
John Jensen

October 15, 2001, 04:47 PM

I think a really important point has been overlooked here. This technology is great for showcasing products, companies will be able to present their products in a new and exiting way. But if any site uses this for banner advertising I'll blacklist it forever.

Your VET thingie seems to work great and fast (I checked it out a few days ago), but why is it software only? Wouldn't it be better to use hardware when available? or is this kind of transparent rendering impossible in HW?

John

 
sree

October 15, 2001, 05:07 PM

John: We went with software rendering mainly because we had to. There are lots of reasons it has advantages (more control, better quality, like realtime AA, more predictable), but overall it comes down to this:

We had to have a software renderer because of general compatability concerns (see http://www.macromedia.com/support/director/ts/documents/3d_rendering/udl.htm for the problems MM has with Shockwave3d in this department).

And given the time and features we wanted to pursue, it didn't make sense to do HW and SW. It's not *too* hard to right a really good SW renderer, and it's even easier (though not easy) to write a good HW renderer, but really hard to do both, and a good SW renderer is waaaaaay better than a mediocre HW renderer for the type of scenes we have.

Overall, it did make things like the compositing, SWF rendering, etc. easier, and another HUGE concern was image quality, but overall, that wasn't the killer. Hardware is king, it just isn't quite as stable across a wide enough consumer base just yet.

We've done (and continue to do) HW tests and have large parts of the system that *can* work with 3d cards with great results, but overall, it's not yet worth the effort to really finish it (prototype to completion is a huge gap, as anyone who's ever really shipped anything knows...)

Plus, software rendering is just more fun... :)

Sree Kotay
developer.viewpoint.com

 
Roch Denis

October 15, 2001, 05:10 PM

I thought it was a pretty damn cool technologie and I can see great marketing potential. Yeah I know it's always annoying but hey, gotta pay for that bandwith SOMEHOW (Uh ok I admit right away my main interest in it is making more cash with porn banners ^_^).

The only problem I forsee is that you have to install the plug in since it doesnt use flash or some such. I dont know if ppl will be willing to, even tho the average computer user has the IQ of a rock. *grins*

 
Katascope

October 15, 2001, 05:12 PM

So. . uhm. . . if the SUV was behind the browser window would it be a "pop under 3d shockwave ad"? - I'm just curious because it would be so buzzword compliant I'd puke.

 
hurri

October 15, 2001, 05:28 PM

Sree, I have to say that you handle criticism wonderfully. That's at least as impressive as the technology, which I think is also very cool. As others have stated, the potential for abuse is there, but I really don't have a problem with it (yet). I liked the car ad.

For the critics: lighten up, Crusaders of the Holy War Against Ads.

 
Waramp

October 15, 2001, 05:39 PM

LOL!
Agreed :)

 
Ben Everett

October 15, 2001, 05:55 PM

Actually, I have to give the guys credit. It's a pretty innovative way of getting us to look at the product. "Wtf, what is THAT flying across my screen." Good job dude(and pretty nice technology, there's a few problems with it on XP).

 
Dan Brown

October 15, 2001, 06:13 PM

Hi,

Can this tech be used for things other than in an ad server? 3d object repositories/resellers could use it to give a realtime preview of what you are about to download instead of just a pre-rendered sample. The 'zoom' part may be useful for sites like multimap.com that give directions or streetmaps. It could also make thumbnail pages much better, zoom into a portion of the thumbnail to see if it is worth opening the full-size picture. If there is an option to delay the hi-res version streaming until a zoom is requested it wouldn't be much (any?) extra to download either if you want to view it as a normal thumbnail page.

Personally I don't see what everyones problem is with banner ads (pop-ups I can understand). Sites like flipcode.com, gamedev.net and news servers provide good information for free, so what if there is an advert or two somewhere on the page, the content more than outweighs any inconvenience. Even gamedev.net's pop-behind banners only happen once every few hours and I normally don't even notice it has happened until I close my browser windows.

Cheers,

Dan

 
sree

October 15, 2001, 06:52 PM

Hi again,

Just to be clear, overall ads are not the only or even primary intended use of the Viewpoint Media Player. It's available FREE for developers of all sorts for previewing 3d models. See http://www.quakerally.com/viewpoint/ (it's watermarked because they have an old broadcast key - they can get a new one free at developer.viewpoint.com )

Also, it's used for product presentations, zoomable images (see http://www.viewpoint.com/wtc/wtc_zoomview_popup.html for a World Trade Center image), configurators, galleries, and more. Companies like Sony, Eddie Bauer, Niker, Office Depot, Subaru, etc. have all used for these type of things.

There are lots of examples at www.viewpoint.com (click gallery on the nav bar for even more examples). There are even some other "HyperView" type examples at http://developer.viewpoint.com/index1.html?vp1&developerzone/techdemos/camera/index.html

But we didn't post an IOTD to make any kind of marketing splash - we just thought some of the tech was cool, we like flipcode, and we thought we'd share.

HOWEVER, we do think you'll start seeing this for ads as well. So apologies in advance :)


Sree Kotay
developer.viewpoint.com

 
David Brebner

October 15, 2001, 07:08 PM

Congratulations on some of the new features. I thought the integration with flash was really cool. Not just the way the truck left the window, and pissed off the forum : ), but the way the truck interacted with the 2d elements in the flash file. I have been following the technology since the early metastream days and it still kicks the various accelerated products that are around for visual quality.

The architecture is cool too, allowing the streamed download of all the different features (plugins) which are seperate from the 3d renderer like zoomview, and the panorama.

The only thing I got to work out is how to convince clients its worth the money (damn those small New Zealand companies) so I can get to have a real good play with it.

Cheers
David

 
Happy_Dog

October 15, 2001, 07:37 PM

Sree: I'm not sure if you misunderstood my optimization comment but I was actually talking about the way the logo and text effect was created not rendered. I work with Flash myself and with many designers (probably one of the biggest collection of flash designers in one place) and we have learned a lot about optimizing in Flash. I am also a little familiar with the file format as we have outsourced for some custom programs for working with swf files and I worked directly with the programmers myself (only a little programming experience myself- trying to get more). Anyway I think your use of Macromedia's formats is great and I think that we are all bound to see the ads that come from this. Good for you bad for the general E-Surfer.
P.S. Thanks for the info, I find that very interesting.

Steve
www.knowledgenet.com

 
Lion V

October 15, 2001, 07:41 PM

Technically, it is good.
But I hate ads, and perhaps once in a month click on them.
I would really really hate this kind of thing.
But I think it could be cool...

 
CGI Joe

October 15, 2001, 09:11 PM

Uhh, what was it supposed to do? Was the car meant to fly out of the banner or something? Because it didn't for me. Just behaved like a bog-standard add-banner. All graphics were contained in the rectangle. (Win2000, IE 6.0).

 
Timothy Barnes

October 15, 2001, 09:23 PM

Down with your republic!

 
LessBread

October 15, 2001, 09:29 PM

Thank goodness I don't have to get the plugin for it if I don't want to... I think I'll pass :-)

 
Politik

October 15, 2001, 09:31 PM

How much easier would it be to make a program to remove these banners? Probably could be made in a night. Lets see some new Anti-Streaming-3d-2d-Compositing-Compression-Media-Festival-Banner-Ad (AS32CCMFBA) technology innovation.

 
sree

October 15, 2001, 10:28 PM

There are actually lots of utilities/apps for blocking banner ads, including Viewpoint Media Player banner ads. So not only is it easy, it's already available :)

No reason for anyone to get *too* worked out (a little is good) - whatever the market demands, the market provides.

Sree Kotay
developer.viewpoint.com

 
sree

October 15, 2001, 10:32 PM

Also (minor amusement) the actual entire Durango ad (85kb)in VET format is smaller than the IOTD (100kb).

sree :)

 
Mattman

October 15, 2001, 11:05 PM

How to remove it from my computer was my next question. Thanks for informing me!

 
NEGA

October 16, 2001, 12:08 AM

Looks real pretty, but I see this becoming just as popular as Metacreations' Metastream tech or shockwave3d. As I went to see the page, I left 3DSMAX running, and then It froze and gave me a low resources warning(640MB RAM, usually doesn't do this), which might be a bad thing, so look into that. but seriously think of turning it into a VR CHAT type of thing or something, ADS suck ;)

--OH yeah, can't wait til porno sites start making ads with this. HUGE 3D gangbang and you didnt even ask for it...

 
Kalani Thielen

October 16, 2001, 12:18 AM

Yes but the IOTD doesn't rob most available CPU cycles.

 
Avulsion

October 16, 2001, 12:27 AM

Hey, congrats, you're making some money off advertising and the internet... 'bout time somebody did ;) Keep it up!

Avulsion

 
chas

October 16, 2001, 02:04 AM

Sorry if that was a little blatant, but...

"No reason for anyone to get *too* worked out (a little is good) - whatever the market demands, the market provides."

CRAP. That's no argument at all. The "market" you're referring to is a bunch of spammers who want control of your computer. I'm all for technological advances, but would you really argue that the same "market" you're talking about was justified in creating filthy mass spam mailing lists?! The same market that keeps me from having a hotmail account? Is _that_ the natural supply-and-demand scenario you're alluding to? The fact is that you're failing to distinguish between the money-grubbing producers and the _real_ market, the consumers. An uneducated consumer base is HARDLY anything to model off of, unless you're treating them as nothing but uninformed credit cards. How many car enthusiasts go out and buy a car because of an ad campaign? How many software engineers are migrating to WinXP simply because of the full-page magazine ads?

I guess my complaint is that this technology allows for SUCH blatantly unethical behavior. It's the advertising equivalent of dredging a river- you'll end up with results, but at what costs? Owner-draw privelages of the entire desktop?

Do you REALLY think that your average joe computer user wants to dive into the dreaded control panel? This is a GAME DEVELOPER SITE and instructions were posted on how to remove them, implying that (and there's nothing wrong with this, btw) even us, the technologically elite, might have trouble uninstalling it.

I just don't see how this is a good thing in the least. Just because consumers are uneducated (especially now, in the internet's infancy), it doesn't give you the right to turn workstations (or even home machines) into billboards.

Again, though, the technology is pretty neat. If you're not spilling the beans, can you talk a bit about how you're coaxing win32 into drawing wherever you want? My experience with owner-draw windows (especially with transparencies) is that they're slow as dirt. Slow dirt.

My 2c.

-chas

 
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