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 Part Two: An Evaluation of VRML Modelling Tools previouscontentsstartnext

3. Evaluation Methodology

3.1 Evaluation Criteria

When evaluating each modelling application, the following features were considered:

File import and export capabilities.
Can the software load or save worlds in VRML 1.0, VRML 2.0, gzip compressed VRML (.wrl.gz .wrz) or in any other commonly used 3D formats, such as 3D Studio (.3ds) or AutoCAD (.dxf)?

The user interface.
Does the application supports multiple viewport windows, real-time shading or context-sensitive help? How easy is it to create a scene or assign properties to it? Can the GUI be customised?

Modelling features.
Can the user create objects from primitive shapes such as spheres, cones or boxes? Is it possible to define and edit individual polygons or surfaces? Does the modeller include Boolean operations?

File formats.
Which file formats does the application support for texture images, movies and audio?

Supported VRML 2.0 nodes.
Can the user add URL anchors to objects, use inlines or create objects using Billboard, ElevationGrid and Text nodes? Can worlds contain multiple light sources and viewpoints? Does the application also support Background, Fog, LOD (level-of-detail) and Sound nodes?

Does the modeller support VRML 2.0 animation and object behaviours? Can they be created with a key-frame editor or with JavaScript?

Does the software package include example objects, materials or textures?

System Requirements.
Which computer platforms is the software available for? Does it utilize any hardware accelerated graphics capabilities.

Note that the report uses the price of the software quoted on the company's web site in U.S. dollars, at the time of the evaluation. This value will be subject to change and/or discounts and is included simply to illustrate the relative prices of the different products.

3.2 Testing Procedure

Once the selected modelling package had been downloaded from its internet site (the URLs are included in each product summary in Section 4), and installed on the Windows95 testing platform, it was evaluated against the criteria set out above. To test the accuracy of any generated VRML files, the CosmoPlayer browser plugin was used to view the files.


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