Google's O3D Screenshots And First Impression

I have tested O3D. Here are some screenshots of the (for now) best scenery that is now available, the beach.

The player installs in less than 1 minute under broadband connection. Then you can go and test the demos:

This is what appears when you enter the beach, that is the best 3D world available on O3D:

o3d google web 3d vrml1

The sky is a shaded sphere or polygon, red with shades of yellow and orange.

This is the water. It looks very similar to what you see in Second Life waters, not so realist but  well done. When the world has finally loaded, you can see this:

o3d google web 3d vrml2

I have seen some people saying that this matches the quality of games of Play Station, but it doesn't. Anyway, the world has been done by someone who really masters worldbuilding and has done an excellent work.

The torches look like animated gifs. The plants seem to be polygons with transparent textures too, not complex at all. The bridge, in my computer, blinks endlessly, something that makes me suspect that it's not geometry but some square plans with transparent textures.

So the skills of the builder are high, but the platform may not support high number of polygons. Also, the size of the file is 17 mb. In my connection, it takes little to download, but it is a high size, considering that doing this same scenery with VRML may only weight 1 mb if optimized, or less.

o3d google web 3d vrml3

The waterfalls looks very similar to the waters of ActiveWorlds, correct and good looking. Not game-like but they do the work.

o3d google web 3d vrml5   
Navigation is hard because controls for mouse are inverted. There is no collision against the objects, and you advance like flying through objects  without colliding with them (so you go through them).

The water has some reflection. If you go into the water, you notice that the polygons have texture only from one side, so you see nothing.

The texture of the rock is combined with color and shading, looking good.

o3d google web 3d vrml4

As a conclusion, O3D looks good, but is not so stunning as people say. Obviously, people that say this have not tested Vivaty, ExitReality, or any VRML world done, for example, Erny's.

The lack of collision detection in this demo makes me think that it has not been implemented or maybe doing that is not a simple task.

Some people have also said that they were unable to run the demo. My PC ran it smooth, but with a little of delay, I think it may be near 20 FPS, and I use a 2,0 Ghz computer, 2024 MB Ram, and a 512 Mb GeForce.

Most of VRML browsers of the past and all the X3D browsers of today get higher FPS and quality, and worlds are easier to build.

It may be a good idea for Google to associate with and make this project together, if they're not together on this. Moreover, it may be good to mix the X3D project and Khronos and O3D (Khronos is already doing that).

There is no sense to start from the beginning again. They may join efforts, and maybe give developers a javascript interface if they want it, but not ignore all the work done by X3D and VRML companies all these years.

For the user, no advantages over existing platforms. For the javascript developers, may be. But X3D syntax is simpler, and more easily understandable by web developers. Web developers may be more easily attracted by Vivaty or ExitReality.

-Jordi R. Cardona-

© 2008 by Jordi R. Cardona. Link to this post without copying the text.

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