texture styles orientation guide tips,tricks more blocks actions sprites popups lighting sound linking orientation textures navigation mulitilevels body tag head tag starting welcome


Posting spots to the Web
Be sure and read the section on Putting it on the Web. You may need to do a little bit of configuring for people to be able to see your spots.

Using TextPad
The best text editor that we have found for editing 3DML files is a shareware application called TextPad. TextPad has several features that make it ideal for 3DML, including line numbers and a Block Select mode that allows you to select blocks of text regardless of line breaks. You can download TextPad at http://www.textpad.com.

3DML clip libraries for Textpad Once you have installed TextPad, you can turn on the line numbering feature under the View menu. This is very useful when correcting errors, as error messages usually tell you the line number where the error occured. You will find the Block Select Mode under the Configure menu. With this feature turned on, you can select and move or edit columns of your 3DML map. TextPad also has very good search and replace tools. You'll find these under the Search menu.

We have also created 3DML Clip Libraries for TextPad. These will provide the tag syntax of each tag in 3DML, which you can then edit in your 3DML file. You don't have to remember all the syntax! You can download the clip libraries for TextPad 3.x hereor for TextPad 4.x hereAfter the download is complete, double click on the file cliplib.exe. This is a self-extracting archive that will install the libraries in TextPad's User folder. Check the accompanying readme file for instructions on how to use the clip libraries.

Embedding in HTML
Often, there are good reasons to provide 2D information along with your 3D spots. In addition to POPUPs, spots can be easily incorporated into HTML pages with the <EMBED> tag:

<TITLE>My First Spot!</TITLE>

<EMBED TYPE="model/vnd.flatland.3dml"

This code would display firstspot.3dml in an HTML document. If a user doesn't have Rover, they will be prompted to go to the download page. The <EMBED> tag can be used to put spots inside html frames or tables as well.

File Size
Just as with regular HTML pages, the file size of 3DML files themselves are very small, and easily downloadable. It's the images and sounds that are much larger and can make for lengthy download times. Rover ships with all of the default textures already installed, so if you use all default textures in your spot, then the entire thing is just a very small text file. Ultimately, you will always just have to weigh the need for speedy download with the need for custom textures. To shorten download times, make sure your image files are properly prepared for Web delivery. When possible, use smaller textures that can be tiled, rather than large images. 3DML currently only supports .wav files for sounds, which are generally rather large. So sound should be used rather sparingly. Short looped sounds are much preferred to longer sounds.

Interesting Shapes
Don't pass up the flexibility that the ORIENT parameter affords in creating interesting shapes! All of the blocks have up to 16 different orientation possiblities. Experiment with flipping blocks upside down and putting them together in different combinations to make unexpected structures.

3DML fully supports gif89 images, meaning transparency and animation are available to you as design tools. Transparency can be used very effectively in spots, but you should be aware that using too much transparency can adversely affect the performance of Rover. The best places to use transparency are on SPRITEs and POPUPs, because they are only 1 polygon. When you put transparent textures on 3D blocks, Rover has to keep track of transparency on many polygons at once, which can tax performance. If it seems that your spot is running slowly, try cutting down on the amount of transparency used in the spot, and see if that helps performance.

Variations in Performance
We are all used to dealing with the wide disparity between different bandwidth conections to the Internet. A highly graphic site with several sounds may not be a big deal on a T1 line, but it can be tedious on a 14.4kbps modem. Like all other web media, this is true for 3DML as well. With 3DML spots, processor speed is also a consideration. Just because you built your spot on a top-of-the-line Pentium 400 doesn't mean that everyone who looks at it is going to get the same blinding performance out of it. As a general rule, users who don't have at least a Pentium 166 may have some trouble navigating 3DML spots.

As independent newcomers to the Web, Flatland relies on the grassroots enthusiasm of every Builder on the web exploring with 3DML and the Rover. If you've enjoyed exploring 3D on the Web with Rover, or built your own 3D spot using 3DML, help spread the word! One way to help other folks know about how easy 3D on the Web can be is to put a "Download Rover" or "Powered by 3DML" button on your site. To do so, you can simply cut and paste the following html text, or click on either (or both!) of these buttons below, and your browser will let you save the image. You can then add it to your web site any way you prefer.

To add a Powered by 3DML button to your site, you can cut and paste the following HTML into your web page:

<A HREF="http://www.flatland.com"><img src="http://www.flatland.com/imgz/buttons/powered_by_3DML.gif" border="0" alt="Powered by 3DML!" height="30" width="90"></a>

To add a Download Flatland Rover button to your site, you can cut and paste the following HTML into your web page:

<A HREF="http://www.flatland.com/download/"><img src="http://www.flatland.com/imgz/buttons/download_button.gif" border="0" alt="Download Flatland Rover Now!" height="30" width="90"></a>

Here are the buttons without links to simply download the images:

Download Flatland Rover for free and explore 3D on the Web! Powered by 3DMl!

Congratulations! You've now completed the 3DML tutorial. If you have any questions, please, please visit the Flatland Forums.

texture styles orientation guide tips,tricks more blocks actions sprites popups lighting sound linking orientation textures navigation mulitilevels body tag head tag starting welcome

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