Thursday, September 29, 2005

VRML and The Numbers

The deal for authors of content on open source software should be that the content is open. Trust works better than technology.

If the programmers accept this deal, I don't see why the content authors believe they have to get a better deal.

But it keeps VRML from being adopted by the $ content paid for by employers that pay the salaries of engineers for 3D content. CAD. So far, no one has invested the $ into a VRML project that it takes to assemble and maintain a team to create a very compelling VRML-based game for online or single-download play.

Worlds, yes.

Look at the price difference though: say $35 to $40 to belong to a chat site, vs $35 to $40 to download a single copy of a game. Downloading worlds is having the band come to play for you instead of buying their records except they come for pennies a gig and someone else has to own the club. So while online worlds are where much of the best VRML content is, cost per gig has to increase to pay the band and the bar.

Or the teams that build both have to sell both. Gigs and games. This takes serious chops and serious chops earn serious money.

If someone with serious shekels to bet wants to make a bet, funding a team to build an open format online game with all of the secondary add-in sales is even money tonight. Maybe better. VRML has numbers and technology. By the way, when I say VRML, I mean X3D too. The differences are mostly in the minds of the browser makers. They are for the most part, the same thing.

Except X3D has encryption and some other baubles, but encryption stands out.

Lack of encryption denies some vendors access to markets that can buy far more copies of software and services. While computer scientists know that anything you can compile, I can decompile, it is nonetheless believed it constrains theft to only those smart enough to pull it off.

Sorta true. It gets rid of the bleachers.

When I saw the first diskcracker in the 80s that started with "Ho Ho Ho! A pirate's life for me..." I gave up on encryption. If it's cool, they'll get it. If it's not, who cares. If they get busted for stealing the Bewitched movie, they are dorks-for-bucks anyway.

Who cares?

If they are stealing to learn, that is a different story. That is a compliment. Encryption slows those who can be slowed, but the players hungry for it get it anyway. Might as well smile and accept the compliment.

It comes down to the variables you believe you can trade-on with your partners. I want to make money from content, but I will make content anyway. Copyright is good enough. My songs are in mpgs and wavs. Anyone with a speaker wire can copy that; so tell me what good those are except to stop another musician from learning my licks and he can do that by listening? Or buy my midis, but all that is saving you is typing time. If you want them, we can talk.

How exactly does encryption help me? Nada. Copyright is good enough.

So it comes down to how you pick the variables you trade on.

This blog is a part of an email response to a Google survey Viveka Wiley did. It showed that VRML use is growing. Other entries to the 3D market such as Adobe's new PDF 3D are entering the market, but VRML by dint of history and community has grown fourfold in the last year. 3D interest is increasing. Why? It's generational. Dominance isn't the issue. PDF coexists with HTML. it is an issue of who gets good numbers, not who is the last browser standing.

I believe VRML gets good numbers because of the variables selected as it emerged. They shape it. They are deep parts of the networks of selected variables now. In the genes.

1. PDF with 3D is a done deal. What you use it for and who chooses to use it remain to be seen. I note only that so far, the success of 3D has not been a function of its format but of the difficulty of authoring in the medium and imaginative use of it for one-off downloads. PDF is still a slow loader for anything complex or deep. Hardware happens, but it floats all boats. It comes down to content and reach just as it did for Flash.

2. VRML's numbers such as they are are increasing because VRML has been adopted by research universities who understand the rationale of the choice to keep VRML open:

Students can afford it.

Students are still young enough and loose enough to want openness in their relationships. What loves them, they love. Mathematics departments get it. Archaeology departments get it. Navy scientists get it. As long as the code is open, people are learning it. As long as people are learning it, it is alive. Life is learning; VRML's choice of variables chooses education.

Don't need no stinkin' badges.

3. A tipping point in 3D on the Web is approaching. The frequency of new entries into 3D plus the history of VRML in creating 3D presence on the web are coupling to the entry of younger 3D-proficient users onto the web. The first generation of native 3D users has begun to arrive in increasing numbers.

Pick up your prize. If you pick up mine, send me an email. If you pick up something I was paid to do, it will be encrypted and that makes it the problem of it's owner. Not mine.

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