[opensource] A couple of ideas for projects

Steven James Samuel Stapleton stapleton at mps.ohio-state.edu
Tue May 2 05:26:11 EDT 2006

> I think that instead of a 3D file browser which would be of questionable
> usability, making Filelight (http://www.methylblue.com/filelight/) draw
> using OpenGL, where the disk pieces appear to have depth (ie draw a
> shadow under it), and spin around when you click, etc.

Yeah, but a lot of that can be done in 2d with icons too. With moder 
systems, putting it in 3d might speed thigns up though, but wouldn't add a 
lot of "wow that's different", this is for "wow, that's _different_ AND 
useful" factor. Maybe not quite as useful due to speed issues, but still 

As an example, Diablo 2 was done in 3d, but I never got more of a 3d feel 
than Dibalo 1, which was sprite and tile, because 1 use good quality 
sprites/tiles. That is of course, if I'm reading your suggestion right, and 
not misunderstanding part.

>> What if you made the desktop itself - behind the windows - 3d.  Say you
>> make it a room that you can interact with.  Pick your furniture, "walk"
>> around, put things in drawers and closets, etc.  Have windows that show
>> the current weather and time of day outside, dynamic lighting inside the
>> room.  Or even a house where you can go from room to room on your
>> desktop.  Or maybe you want your desktop to be outdoors so you can
>> pretend you're hiking the whole time you're at work.  Or SCUBA diving
>> even!  "Jim, where's that TPS report?"  "Oh, I put it in the treasure
>> chest."
> I've actually thought about this kind of interaction quite a bit, and
> the problem is that the fundamental way we interact with most
> information is in a 2D fashion (at least the ones we use on a PC).
> Writing a letter, creating a table, writing source code, and browsing
> the web are all fundamentally 2D things, without a very clear way to
> extrude them into 3D.

That's the nice thing about the default setup for TDFSB, it's organized in a 
2D fashion, but you can move through the plane of organization from any 
starting angle you like, so it's got a "natural" feel to it. To me, 
navigating my filesystem with it felt like walking down the corridors of a 
nice, well layed out building. All the files were lined up in neat, 
alphabetically ordered rows. We could setup a similar style browser in XGI 
too, or make it more customisable, so that it could do the rows, or some 
expandable environment pre-configured by the user(s).

While many of the tasks are 2D, they would be opened in their normal apps, 
through the normal window manager, so there would be no need to try and mapp 
the interface to being 3D.

Really, one could do the same thing if were were to start with XGI also.

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