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3.1.1 Enhanced Static Worlds

Ground and sky backdrops can be added for greater perceived realism and effects such as fog will be made available to permit the gradual hazing of distance or presence of mist in a low-lying valley or early-morning field. The addition of an elevation grid as a means of representing topography looks to be the most universally useful extension in more seamlessly linking the digital elevation models (DEMs) of the GIS package to VRML models. Here the use of a rectangular grid of varying heights replaces the existing topographic data model of irregular points linked by polygons. The grid is more compact and will enable browsers to optimise levels of detail based upon distance automatically, i.e. less detail will be available to you the further away you are from a specific location, and the speed of the browser. One of the most interesting developments in terms of the exploration of complex social landscapes is the addition of sound, as both point and directional sound nodes have been added to the new specifications. All of these additions and enhancements will also be combined within a new simplified scene graph structure, resulting in much easier optimisation and parsing of VRML documents.


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