First Avatar

I started programming the avatar display. The image shows my test avatar on a test scene.

The test scene uses the scene graph module.

The avatar is already animated. An animation module decodes the old animation format and the animated GIF files and feeds images to the avatar display.

There is no web browser in the background, yet (the background is my Visual Studio). The avatar does not enter a real chat room. This is still a test. The overlay is created by a test function. The test function creates the avatar, assigns an animation, etc. The reason is, that I can develop the display quicker, more reliable, and without network connection. I do not have to open a browser and enter a chat room. The test just pretends that there is a browser and an avatar.

Later, when the avatar display works, then it will be connected to a browser and operated by a real chat room.

Scene Graph

I have been working on a 2D Scene Graph module. The scene graph will be used to show all graphics of avatar and virtual items on top of the web page.

The image to the right shows a test screen with all graphical elements.

What is the scene graph good for? There are 2 different ways to paint graphics and text: one is the old style of painting when the operating system asks the progam to re-paint a part of the screen. In the more modern style, the program defines how the graphics looks like and the scene graph paints it automatically.

We know this modern painting model from HTML, where we define what a web page contains and then the web browser paints it. If we change the HTML DOM, then the browser adapts the display to the new DOM automatically. The same model is used in 3D, where programs define a scene with lots of triangles and then let the graphics card display it.

Our scene graph has an additional feature. It can be scripted by other modules.

As you know, in the Open Virtual World client, everything is s module DLL. Third party developers can add modules easily without changing the core program. Developers can modify how the program works and what it does. Messages from and to the OVW scene graph can be intercepted by other modules. The modules can change messages, add messages and delete parts. They can manipulate the graphics of the avatar display They can add and change elements. They can paint new objects and change the style of text before it is painted on the screen.

OVW graphics is open to scripting by third party modules. This enables add-ons like WoW add-ons, which add all sorts of functionality. At the beginning, this is not a big thing for end users. But when module developers use the feature, then users can choose from a great variety of additional functions.

The scene graph has a minimal set of functions. But it has enough to display avatars on web pages. Previously, I implemented the avatar animation module. Now, everything is ready for the final piece:

I am about to start programming the avatar display.