Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 10th Dec 2005 19:26 UTC
3D News, GL, DirectX 3D has practically taken over video gaming. Lifelike, if not very pleasant, worlds exist aplenty--worlds that most users find easily navigable without any training whatsoever. Is the world of spreadsheets, word processors, and the like just unsuitable for 3D? Is it a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Or is it that we've lacked imagination? John Littler recently talked to Hideya Kawahara about an open source 3D desktop project that he started and that Sun subsequently took under its wing.
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When I first got a mouse (1988) I couldn't figure out what it was for, now I use it continuously. Windows 1.0 didn't overlap windows so I think the initial 2D desktop wasn't so great either. The problem is that you can't imagine new things to do with the hardware.

Some examples of things the 3D hardware can do:
1) GPU generated scalable, antialiased glyphs
2) Mixing of true 3D and 2D apps on the same desktop
3) Use of a depth buffer instead computing all of the overlap in software
4) Hardware compositing
5) Hardware generated highlighting and shadows

The first version of everything new usually mimics the previous generation. The right answer is to get an initial 3D desktop running and then let it evolve for a few years. Only then will we discover the valuable features. My bet is that the final useful form doesn't look like any of the exisiting systems.

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