[MUD-Dev] Client platforms for rapid development of experimental worlds

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Thu Apr 18 14:32:16 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


Computers are now quite fast and hardware graphics acceleration is
pretty much standard. What viable platforms are out there for
graphical client development?

Some technology platform requirements:

  A. provide reasonable customization through a programming language
  B. reasonable access to networking streams
  C. easy to implement chat interface
  D. reasonably fast rendering engine / graphics interface
  E. architecture which promotes evolutionary development
  F. sound playing capabilities
  G. desirable: no proprietary installation requirements
  H. desirable: portability

Given these requirements, what are my options? Hopefully somebody on
the list have some suggestions or answers to my questions. I am so
far aware of these options:

1. VRML
-------

This is of course one of the most promising technologies. Although I
am uncertain about whether they browsers let you access networking
streams. My impression is that those that implement multi-user
features use java and vrml. And the chat interface also seem to be
somewhat troublesome. Anyone with some hands-on experience?

2. multi-user clients
---------------------

Blaxxun's Contact 5.1 seem to be one VRML based option, but I have
no idea how it interacts with the server. What kind of protocols are
involved? Is it feasible to write your own server or do you have to
buy a license?

Adobe's Atmosphere is proprietary, but of decent quality and is to
support javascript. It probably meet most requirements to some
extent.  However I haven't seen any documentation of protocols.

3. DOMs and javascript
----------------------

Using the browser DOM is the most portable and perhaps versatile
option, especially with high quality plugins such as Adobe's SVG
implementation. I am however not sure of how to implement the
networking code in a reasonable manner by using ECMAScript
(javascript). Anyone know how to implement a smooth chat interface
in ECMAScript? (assuming HTTP 1.1 persitent connections and a
customized webserver).

4. DOMs and java
----------------

I have no actual experience with this. Does most plugins provide a
java DOM? What are the disadvantages?

5. Pure java
------------

Clearly the most versatile solution, but demanding in terms of
development time and probably not as efficient when it comes to
rendering as VRML/DHTML/SVG solutions.

--
Ola - http://folk.uio.no/olag/





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