Avatar Den Developer Info
The avatars created with the avatar den can be used in blaxxun's multi-user Community.
Note: The avatar den works with Netscape 4.x and Internet Explorer 4.x in conjunction with a VRML 2.0 browser plugin. If you don't have a VRML 2.0 browser plugin yet, we recommend to download and install blaxxun Contact first.
We have experienced problems with proxy servers accessing the den. Turn off your http proxy while using the avatar den.
The information on this page is for VRML Developers, we assume that you have a basic knowledge of VRML 2.0 if you read on.
The right to download, change and reuse any of the examples given is explicitly granted,
All VRML 2.0 code examples are made available in the hope that they will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY from blaxxun interactive, Inc.. Without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
The joints are sacroiliac, hips, knees, ankles, lower back ( vl5 ), upper back ( vc7 ), shoulders, elbows, wrists, neckbase ( vc4 ) and skullbase.
See here for the VRML 2.0 code of the joint model used.
This example differs from the examples given on the website of the VRML Humanoid Animation Working Group in that we base the Segment PROTO on a Transform node. The reason for this is that we want to author the body parts centered around the origin and then translate them into the correct positions in the joint model. Doing this allows us to use the same body parts from within joint models of different dimensions. The example above is about 1.8 meters high, we could also define a different joint model for a giraffe like giant of 2.2 meters or so and then scale and translate only the legs accordingly in that joint model.
More seriously, be inventive, use whatever you like as your own geometry. Just stick roughly to the size values given in the example files. However, if you intend to use your avatar with blaxxun Contact in our multi-user Community, keep the overall download size of the body parts below 50 kilobytes and keep the polygon budget of the avatar in bounds. The other members in the Community will like you much better if your avatar downloads fast and does not bring their machines to a halt because it is too complex.
If you build one that you think is worth sharing in the avatar den, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will contact you, take a look at your avatar and if we like it we will include it in the avatar den.
Please include the urls to the body parts you built and a short name for the parts in the email. The avatar den also allows to include single body parts only. Thus if you want to share a nice head or a nice pair of shoes, contact us as well.
We really encourage you to contact us and share avatars in the avatar den. We believe in VRML and want to enhance its future by sharing as much cool content on the net as possible. We will credit you with the creation of the parts if we showcase them in the avatar den.
Additionally the avatar den offers the possibility of combining different body parts in order to create completely new and amazing avatars. Somebody built nice pants, you build a fashionable jacket, that makes a really well dressed avatar.
Having 15 inlines for the body parts can be slow, take a look here for the code of the avatar with the geometry pasted directly into the geometry.
Save one of the files to disk, install it to your server, replace the urls of the inlined geometry in the joint model with urls to your geometry or edit the geometry pasted into the geometry and you can view your avatar.
Using this file as an avatar in a blaxxun multi-user world would mean that every member that encounters your avatar has to separately download the 15 inlined body parts. This would result in 15 costly http requests, therefore it is better in this case to cut and paste the geometry of the body parts directly into the joint model.
See here for a version of the avatar not using inlines.
The example above uses the Joint and the Segment PROTO for its joints and body parts. When the avatar is loaded into a VRML multi-user world, those PROTOS have to be instantiated. In a dynamic multi-user world with many people moving around, coming or going, avatars constantly have to be added to or deleted from the VRML world.
It turns out that instantiation of PROTOS is a costly operation, therefore we recommend to use basic VRML Transform nodes for the joints and segments in case the avatar is to be used in a multi-user world.
See here for a version of the avatar that uses Transform nodes instead of PROTOS for its joints and body parts.
Save that file to disk, install it to your server, and you can use your avatar with Contact.
Please do not use the joint model inlining the body parts or using the Segment or Joint PROTOS, if you want to use your avatar in blaxxun's multi-user worlds.
The animations defined in the avatar can be used as gestures in Contact. Gestures are shared events in blaxxun's multi-user communities. Therefore other members of the community will see your avatar performing the animations once you trigger them from inside Contact.
blaxxun Contact also supports the Walk animation for avatars moving through multi-user worlds. Other members of the community will see your avatar walk, when you move it through the world.
If you feel like improving those animations in your avatars you can do so by editing the arena and the Proto files you saved. But please, if you intend to use your avatar in multi-user worlds with Contact, keep the animations reasonably simple.
Again, if you feel you have come up with really cool animations and want to share them in the avatar den, contact us, if we like them, we will include them.
Also different animation sets could be made selectable in the avatar den.
Right now the avatar den deals only with humanoid avatars. One way to go forward would be to build a joint model, animations and body parts for other kinds of avatars. Animals, spiders, cars, airplanes, .... Let us know what ideas you have.
Peter Graf, December 1997.