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FAQ 4 - Product demonstrations in 3d using ROOMS (discussion)

This is taken from an email response to Paul L. who asked if ROOMS can be used for business/product presentations/demonstrations (as detailed below). My thanks to Paul for letting me reproduce it here.

From the email (original questions in red):

I present a reply to your question in two parts:
(i) General Discussion
(ii) Detailed Comments

Since the release of the ZoomTopic version of ROOMS 3d Desktops, you may want to try this out as a spectacular alternative to PowerPoint.


General Discussion
==================

The software will let you create interconnecting rooms and populate those rooms with meaningful objects and can launch programs like notepad when you double click on objects. You have control over the appearance of the rooms (walls, floor, ceiling) and you can have doors (sliding or swing or any other) between rooms.

Currently the "library" of objects and textures is limited and is being built up on the back of fortnightly new world creation. ROOMS includes a simple tool for creating 3d shapes (the Stencil editor+Extruder). Some shapes are more amenable to this stencil treatment than others.

Adding new rooms is done via a wizard (described in F1 help). You right click on a wall to add a room on the far side of that wall. Launch the wizard, specify new wall length, height and number for the new room, the new room is created and a gap is made in the wall you clicked on, for access.

ROOMS tries to make these tasks easy, but it must be said that you will need a flair for this sort of thing to produce a "world" for professional looking presentations which will be compared, in the minds of an audience, to the easy and simple slickness of Power Point, or Flash.

Also, you should not pick up ROOMS and immediately expect to create a presentable world to say, a five day, deadline. You would need to try it out and experiment to assess the possibilities before planning to use it in anger. You may find it easy and natural to use, or it may just not "click" for you.

ROOMS worlds do not compile down to self contained exe files. You choose worlds from saved world files (you can double click on them from explorer to launch them).

ROOMS is designed with an API (with an SDK in mind) which could be used for creating separate Windowed exes for this sort of thing. But the SDK has not yet been productised.

Detailed Comments
=================

I would like to provide software product demonstrators with the ability to easily create a series of inter-connecting rooms which could represent different departments in a company. This should not necessitate learning a complex 3d program
ROOMS is driven by wizards. Simple things are done simply (like add a room and drag-drop an icon from Explorer). You can drill down for more complex tasks, like creating shapes and generating commands.

The rooms should, if possible be capable of accepting 3d objects, from a central library, which might be desks, or filing cabinets.
Shapes are stored in files, one shape per file. You browse for them. Shapes are delivered from the Web site with the worlds which use them, or from time to time we may issue a "set" e.g. like chess pieces. Or you can create your own. Imports from other shape formats (like VRML or LWO) are not currently supported.

It should be possible to hang pictures on the wall. Pictures should be user defined graphics which are hot spots, launching exe files of the designers choice.
Yes. ROOMS can do this. Currently BMP format is supported. Also, because ROOMS (currently) imposes a global resolution on all imported images high resolution images would need to be constructed from several smaller panels (otherwise image quality is lost).

The user should be able to create other hot spots as desired. i.e. they might click on a bookcase which launches a text file
Yes. The property wizard can assign target files, programs or internet addresses to any object (except walls, floors, and ceilings).

The room itself should be capable of being launched from an exe file, or similar,
A ROOMS world is stored as a .rwq file. Double clicking on a .rwq file will start ROOMS for that world. However if ROOMS is already running the request is ignored. You can automatically load a new world while ROOMS is running by double clicking an icon within ROOMS if the icon has been given an "EVAC" LOAD command as part of its advanced behaviour.

and should run in both 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 formats.
ROOMS runs on these (and other) formats.

It should be possible to create a user choice of internal finishes to the room
You can use the Room wizard when a room is created or the Property wizard once a room has been created to change wall, floor and ceiling textures. You can use your own scanned or photographed textures, although you will probably need to manipulate them using a (freeware) program like IrfanView to crop them and get light, shade and colour tone looking right for the room.

If it was possible, in some way, to introduce the idea of opening doors, then this would be a bonus
When you add a new room the wizard lets you create a door between rooms automatically, if you wish (else there is a gap). The wizard lets you choose between doors which slide up or down or left or right when you collide with them or click on them. In fact, you can change all these behaviours and could have a door swing open when, say, you click on a button-like object to the left of the door. If you want to do more complicated things you just have to drill down further into the innards (e.g. see F1 help for the Property Wizard, section on advanced behaviour).

 

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