Wonderland, Croquet, and the Queen of Hearts

David Faught dave_faught at yahoo.com
Sat May 14 14:43:14 UTC 2005

There is no reason to chop off Balloon3D's Wonderland head in the face
of the "impending Croquet explosion".  Although Wonderland does not
have the collaboration aspect of Croquet, it is still a very capable
and cool 3D environment.  One of my biggest peeves with the CURRENT
Jasmine Croquet is that there is no clear functioning GUI choice for
developing new tools.  This is the source of a lot of frustration for
me.  I have reached that point in my life where I have had a full load
of experience with bits and bytes.  I want power tools!  oouurh,
oouurh, oouurh (think Tim Allen).

Just trying to create content for Croquet is a challenge, and it is
often necessary to resort to outside tools.  One (of several) of the
coolest things about Wonderland is the Pooh drawing, which is a port of
Takeo Igarashi's Teddy program.  If you have never tried this, you're
missing out on some big fun!  It is simple to use and quite powerful.

Unfortunately, there is a bug at the Squeak 3.6 level that Croquet is
based on that prevents the Wonderland Pooh drawing from working
properly.  This was fixed later in the Squeak 3.6 cycle, so to try it
out, you might want to start with a Squeak 3.7 or 3.8 "full" image.

>From the Squeak main screen, go to "The Worlds of Squeak" project and
then the "Squeak in 3D" project.  Then bring up the Morphic halo
(alt-click in Windows) for the camera object, which is the main view of
Wonderland.  On the right side in the center of the halo is a black
icon on a white background that looks a little like a teddy bear. click
this icon and it allows you to draw 1 stroke in 2D on the camera view. 
When you finish the stroke, it will inflate the figure you drew and put
it in the 3D world.  If you then bring up the halo for that new Sketch
object and pick the pen icon in the center, you can paint directly on
the 3D object.  If you learn about the other controls for moving and
animating objects in Wonderland, you will see some of the real power of
this 3D environment.

Although Pooh objects (now called Popout objects) are possible in
Croquet in the TPainter tool, only a part of the interface is present,
and so the whole process is hindered.  With the current lack of a clear
GUI choice within the Croquet environment, the missing part of the
interface, that of being able to select an object and repaint its
surface texture directly and interactively in 3D, cannot be done.

But wait!  I already have that capability in Wonderland.  If only it
were possible to export Wonderland objects to a well known file format,
such as VRML or OBJ or ASE or MDL, etc.  That introduces some
interesting possibilities!

Speaking of which, Croquet lacks this feature as well.  Why not make
object import AND export available for the purpose of exchanging the
objects with other tools?  Having only object import functions
available is a rather self-centered view, and lacks the sense of
cooperative utility that truly good tools have.  Someday far in the
future, without the ability to export its content to a well known
format, even all of Croquet's eventual cool content will wither and die
away because it cannot be carried forward to whatever the next great
thing is.

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