[ODE] XML Formats

Justin Couch justin at vlc.com.au
Tue Feb 6 14:34:03 MST 2007

Dave Grundgeiger wrote:
> Jon Watte wrote:
>> different -- for example, being solely industry focused, without 
>> necessarily worrying about repeatability 10 years down the line.
> What do you mean by that last sentence?

One of the biggest issues facing industry is the longevity of data. NASA 
has thousands of reels of tapes of data from the Apollo missions that 
they have never even looked at. Unfortunately all that data is lost 
because the hardware to read them no longer exists, and even if it did, 
nobody knows the format of the data on those tapes. In the case of the 
space shuttle, of the parts they have CAD drawings for (drawings, not 
computer models), many can't be looked at or found any more. There's 
countless examples of this out there in industry.

The aims of the X3D spec is to solve that long-term storage and 
retrieval of 3D information. It's an open standard (no patents either) 
that exists within the ISO system. We have many examples of models that 
were written more than 10 years ago (VRML 2 started in 96) still running 
in today's software. We expect that stuff written today will be still 
readable and playable in 20-30 years from now.

Collada, as a format focussed on the gaming industry doesn't need to 
worry about that longevity. A game engine is out of date in 3 years. In 
addition, most of the data used in that game engine won't be recycled 
into the next generation because the technology advances extremely 
rapidly. Think on the level what games supported just 3 years ago - 
Shaders were barely even common. What's done in shaders now will be 
old-hat in 2 years time. The shaders are an implicit piece of the 
model's geometry (even more so once Geometry Shaders become common 
place). Content just isn't portable, nor is it desirable to reuse. 
That's why Collada really doesn't care about longevity of data, because 
that industry does not care about it either.

Justin Couch                         http://www.vlc.com.au/~justin/
Java Architect & Bit Twiddler              http://www.yumetech.com/
3D Java Graphics Information                    http://www.j3d.org/
"Look through the lens, and the light breaks down into many lights.
  Turn it or move it, and a new set of arrangements appears... is it
  a single light or many lights, lights that one must know how to
  distinguish, recognise and appreciate? Is it one light with many
  frames or one frame for many lights?"      -Subcomandante Marcos

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