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Web3D RoundUp: Looking Backwards and Forwards

Vol.34 No.2 May 2000
ACM SIGGRAPH


Virtual Show Hostess - Sunny



Tae-Ha Park
VirtualDigm Inc.


Introduction

Virtual Show Hostess - Sunny will be located at the home page of Cyber City (a local information service in Korea). Sunny will appear in the left side of the panoramic view, explaining the current area, shops, the cafeteria and so on. Users can listen to her and navigate the panoramic view, getting a good feel for what the place is really like. In addition, Sunny can act as a dancer to teach young people in a new way, a private secretary for personal duties or a cyber-storyteller for children. And of course, she can help people to buy something via e-commerce on the site.

The target audience for the technology is, basically, anybody who is using the Internet.

Technology

We tried initially to keep the model data for Sunny under 800 polygons, and eventually we trimmed that down to under 750 polygons. Her mapping source file is 128x128 pixels in size. We are currently using Java 3D (Shout3D) for showing her, but intend making our own player soon. Because Sunny has to be shown in the page without any interruption to the user, it is very important that there is no web browser plug-in to download - this is why we chose to utilize Java 3D.

Animation and audio synchronization were of prime importance. Because Sunny explains and talks to the user, we needed to acquire some digital voice data, compress and convert it and synchronize it with her actions. First, we recorded a woman’s voice and converted it to a .WAV data file. No special recording device or recording studio were required - we simply used our own PC and a microphone. Next we compressed the audio and then converted it to the .AU data format for using with Shout3D. Most importantly, we created some scripts in Java 3D that are able to check if her voice data has been downloaded completely or not. If so, Sunny can start to move and speak. Otherwise, the user is presented with a simplified box object animation while they wait for the download to complete.

Using these processes, we were able to keep Sunny’s total data size to below 150KB, including the 3D data, mapping source and audio file. For the future, we plan to stream the animation and audio data.

For the time-being, VR input devices and interfaces have yet to reach acceptance and become compatible with the Internet. Until this time, we think that a character or virtual person can help those not aware of 3D interfaces, or who become easily lost in a virtual 3D world.

To see more, check www.vdigm.com/~shupel/cybercity/k_live/index.html

Tae-Ha Park
Web3D Team Director
VirtualDigm Inc.

www.vdigm.com
www.vrweb.net


The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.