<%image(20071124-church.jpg|853|494|600K polygon model of church ruins produced by a laser-scan of the archaeological site.)%>

A few years ago, the Japanese NICT had given us a 76MB laser-scanned model of a church ruin, with the challenge of bringing it into Croquet without bringing the system to its knees. Josh worked with David Smith to use vertex buffers on the graphics card, instead of uploading the mesh for each frame. We also had to manually defeat picking/falling and such. But we go it.

The other night I was watching a science program on television where they were talking about such archaeological models. I wondered how the church would do in today’s commercial Forums. All 600,000 polygons ran beautifully and quite fast.

I had some trouble getting the 10MB onto our company’s conventional Virtual Private Network, but no problems at all transferring between secure Internet forums. David has recently worked out how to keep such immutable mesh data outside the Croquet island, so that it is shared and reused between collaborations. The result is nice tight islands that you can join quickly. Typically on the order of half a megabyte for our collaborative workspaces.

It was gratifying to just see something cool on television, and tell my kids, “Hey, we can do that!” And then have it all just work.

About Stearns

Howard Stearns works at High Fidelity, Inc., creating the metaverse. Mr. Stearns has a quarter century experience in systems engineering, applications consulting, and management of advanced software technologies. He was the technical lead of University of Wisconsin's Croquet project, an ambitious project convened by computing pioneer Alan Kay to transform collaboration through 3D graphics and real-time, persistent shared spaces. The CAD integration products Mr. Stearns created for expert system pioneer ICAD set the market standard through IPO and acquisition by Oracle. The embedded systems he wrote helped transform the industrial diamond market. In the early 2000s, Mr. Stearns was named Technology Strategist for Curl, the only startup founded by WWW pioneer Tim Berners-Lee. An expert on programming languages and operating systems, Mr. Stearns created the Eclipse commercial Common Lisp programming implementation. Mr. Stearns has two degrees from M.I.T., and has directed family businesses in early childhood education and publishing.

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