Category : Printer + Display Graphics
Archive   : DEMO4.ZIP
Filename : FIGURE.DOC

Output of file : FIGURE.DOC contained in archive : DEMO4.ZIP
Figure File Format
Version 2.00 -- June, 1992
Written by Bernie Roehl

The REND386 package now supports "figures" -- multi-segmented, hierarchical
entities that are useful for animation and certain types of VR applications.

A figure is composed of a tree of "segments", each of which has a translation
and rotation relative to its parent segment.

Each figure has a "root" segment, with no parent; from this root segment other
segments descend, and from them still others descend, and so on.

For example, a human figure may have its pelvis as its root segment.
Its children are the chest and the two upper-leg segments. The upper legs
each have one child segment, a lower leg. The chest has three children -- the
head, and two upper arm segments. Each upper arm segment has a single child,
the lower arm segment. One could continue this to include hands, feet, fingers,
toes, and so on.

The syntax of a figure file is simple, and very C-like. It consists of a series
of segments, each of which is a root segment. Each of these root segments can
possess a set of attributes, as well as child segments. Each segment is bounded
by braces. Attributes are arbitrary text strings ending in a semicolon.

The attribute list is open-ended and extensible; programs that read figure files
should ignore any attributes they don't recognize.

An example will make all this clearer.

comment = a human body;
name = pelvis; comment = this is the name of the root segment;
name = chest;
{ name = left upper arm; { name = left lower arm; }}
{ name = right upper arm; { name = right lower arm; }}
{ name = head; }
name = left upper leg; { name = right lower leg; }
name = right upper leg; { name = right lower leg; }

In general, attributes are of the form "keyword = value;", though this is not
a requirement. The attributes used above are "name" and "comment". Note that
no program ever has to recognize a comment attribute, since by defintion
comments should be ignored.

The attributes currently defined are as follows:

name = somestring;
pos = x,y,z;
rot = x,y,z;
plgfile = filename scale x,y,z shift X,Y,Z sort type map filename;
segnum = someinteger;

The "pos" is the x,y,z displacement of the origin of this segment relative to
the parent's coordinate system. The "rot" is the rotation of this segment
relative to the parent. For root objects (which have no parent) these values
are the absolute location and rotation of the entire figure in world

The "plgfile" gives the name of a .plg file containing a geometric
representation of the segment. Note that the figure file format does NOT
depend on .plg files; the reason the syntax is "plgfile = " rather than just
"file =" is because a segment may have a large number of different
representations and an application can choose whichever one they like.

The "scale", "shift", "sort" and "map" values are all optional, but in order
to specify any of them you must specify all the preceeding ones (i.e. you
cannot simply omit the scale parameter). The "scale" values represent the
amount by which the object should be scaled along each of its axes when it's
loaded. The shift value is the amount by which to shift the object's origin
at load time. The "sort" value is the type of depth-sorting to use for this
segment's representation (default is zero). The "map" value is the name of
a file containing a list of unsigned values that are to be used in color
remapping this segment. If the top bit of a color value is set in a plg file,
the bottom fifteen bits are used as an index into this map.

The difference between "shift" and "pos" is important. The "shift" value is
used to shift an object relative to its "native" origin, while the "pos" value
is the amount by which the new origin should be displaced from the parent
node's origin.

For example, suppose you want to represent the head of a human figure with a
cube. The cube may, in the .plg file, be defined with its (0,0,0) point at
one corner. Clearly, this origin is inconvenient for the head, since if the
origin is centered over the neck of the figure then the head will be displaced
to one side.

Alternatively, the cube might be defined with its (0,0,0) point
at its geometric center. However, this is also impractical; your head
should not rotate freely about its center. If it does, stop reading this
document immediately and seek medical attention.

What you to do is shift the cube so that its origin lies below the center
of the cube, where your "neck joint" is. That's what the "shift" value
in the "plgfile" attribute specifies.

Important note: objects rotate about their [0,0,0] point as loaded.

The "pos" attribute specifies where this neck joint is in relation to the
origin of the chest segment. If your chest were longer vertically, then the
"pos" attribute of the head segment should be increased in the Y direction
(for example).

The "segnum" attribute associates a simple integer value with a segment,
which can subsequently be used to refer to the segment when manipulating
it. (See the documentation on set_readseg_seglist() in the current version
of the devel.doc file).

The "minx", "maxx", "miny", "maxy", "minz" and "maxz" values specifiy the
limits on translational movement for the segment relative to its parent;
if these values are not specified, then there are no limits. Similarly
the "minrx" and other "minr?" values are used to specify rotational limits
in degrees. The translation limits are long (32-bit) signed integers, the
rotation limits are floating-point numbers.

Note that a figure file can in fact contain a series of segments; each of
these is a root segment, so a figure file can in effect store a complete
scene description (excluding lights and "cameras", though conceivably these
could be added to the specification with little or no difficulty).

Comments on possible extensions to the figure file specification are welcomed;
in particular, if you define new attributes please register them through us,
to avoid future incompatabilities.

You can contact me [email protected] or via the rend386 mailing list.
To subscribe to the list, send mail to [email protected] and
I'll be happy to add you.

--Bernie Roehl

  3 Responses to “Category : Printer + Display Graphics
Archive   : DEMO4.ZIP
Filename : FIGURE.DOC

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: