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Cellphones Handhelds Technology (Apple) Technology

COLLADA Contest Winners From Siggraph 2009 31

An anonymous reader writes "COLLADA — the group creating open 3D data standards — announced their latest contest winners at Siggraph 2009. Ordinarily this wouldn't interest me, but the grand prize winner, NaviCAD, really did submit something rather interesting — an iPhone app that lets you explore Google 3D Warehouse models. Of course there's the pinching for zooming in/out, but it also uses the motion sensor to control the view. If you are walking around the inside or outside of a building, as you look around in the real world the view on the iPhone displays the corresponding view."
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COLLADA Contest Winners From Siggraph 2009

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  • Boring. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Sunday August 16, 2009 @06:17PM (#29086623)

    Ordinarily this wouldn't interest me, but the grand prize winner, NaviCAD, really did submit something rather interesting â" an iPhone app

    WTF? This has to be the least interesting thing related to Siggraph ever. I'm sure they did a good job designing it for the platform, but it's just a fucking model viewer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by eulernet ( 1132389 )

      I totally agree.
      Not possessing an iPhone, I don't see the point of such an application (I have seen tons of 3D viewers on so much platforms).

      BTW, their application is not free (sold on AppStore), and they'll probably license it to Apple.

      The second prize seems a lot more impressive: []

      Shouldn't these prizes reward people that don't write commercial applications ?

    • by mapuche ( 41699 )

      WTF? This has to be the least interesting thing related to Siggraph ever. I'm sure they did a good job designing it for the platform, but it's just a fucking model viewer.

      iPhone is the coolest thing these days. This year almost every technical paper at SIGGRAPH had an iPhone application to show an inplementation of the idea.

    • Re:Boring. (Score:5, Informative)

      by UnanimousCoward ( 9841 ) on Monday August 17, 2009 @01:47AM (#29088785) Homepage Journal

      Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers of this app.

      I tried to submit a story on our app to /. pointing out some of the technical challenges on developing a complex-model 3D app on the iPhone thinking that this angle would be appreciated by the /. crowd, but it wasn't accepted. When I saw this submission come out, I have no doubt that comments would be critical with respect to the contest.

      The main challenges included the fixed memory footprint and the relatively slow processor (all of us iPhone developers dream of performance equal to that of the simulator). Perhaps we will try and submit a technical article to the likes of Ars Technica and see how that's received.

      Yes it's just a [insert your choice of bad word here] model viewer, but like other technologies, we threw spaghetti against the wall just to showcase possibilities for the platform. We have several 'practical' applications in the works that probably won't merit an accepted submission here :-)

  • performance (Score:2, Interesting)

    by edxwelch ( 600979 )

    I wonder how well that performs? Collada is rather bulky because it is designed as an intermediate format. You would normally convert it into a more steamlined binary format before actually using it in an app.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Collada is a bit bulky. But it kind of has to be that way achieve the design goal of being a lossless intermediate format. It really can describe just about anything 3d.

      However, apps like this one only use a small subset Collada. And performance isn't that much of an issue; the convenience of xml leads to interesting things like the <NetworkLink> element in kml, which can actually increase performance by loading models on demand from the server based on the view.

      So'd use a binary format in

      • I agree about the documentation. Kronos seems to be underfunded IMHO and only improve collada at a slow pace. I don't know why some of those big ass companys (apple, nvidia, etc) throw some resources their way.

        • Or you could write an API or two :). FCollada and Sony's thing are all that's out there. If we all shared the DOM APIs we're writing for our own apps, maybe something more intuitive (for everyday tasks) could come out of it. Most of us are using only a subset of the standard, and we don't need the expressiveness that something like Unreal needs. I wonder what Google's using for Sketchup and GE...

          In fairness to the Collada docs, it is a gigantic project. The thing can describe anything, and the standard now

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Disclaimer: I'm one of the developers for this app.

        Parsing the XML on the iPhone platform does take some time. In an update (waiting for approval from Apple), we will be serializing the model on the client so at least on second viewing, the model loads much faster. In a later update, we may do the serialization on the server and just serve up the serialized model to the client.

        • Awesome! Congratulations.

          Thanks for the info. I was surprised by your experience at first; but I just realized that I probably overestimate the raw computing power of iPhone-type devices, and I didn't think about the diversity and complexity of models on 3D Warehouse.

          Visualization is so beautiful. Interesting time to be a developer.

        • Can't they off load string processing on to something more suited, i.e. the GPU, only going through a specialized microcode, Unisys B5000 style.
    • it doesn't ahve to download the entire collada file to view it, i haven't looked into it, but i assume the conversion is done on the server end and a smaller binary format is sent to the phone for viewing?
      • The other developer here: in the current version, the client gets the data from google 3dwh and builds the gl model on the phone. We probably use >80% of the collada data in the google impl. The greater opportunity for time and space saving is in the texture scaling to iPhone appropriate sizes. Next release, we'll move that (and the XML parse while we're at it) to the server.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you walk around the inside ot the outside of the building you can see the building?

    In other news, a new iPhone App that lets you hear the sound of the engine whilst driving your car.

  • Kronos Group is the consortium in charge of Collada and other 3D standards, not Collada.

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