downtown – digital city concepts

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Visualisierung einer „digitalen Stadt“: Wie sieht es aus, wenn Daten wohnen?

Konzept von Walter Schärer und Rolf Mainberger.
Abschlussarbeit des Nachdiplomstudiums Computer Aided Architectural Design CAAD an der ETH Zürich von Oktober 1996, Professur von Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmitt.

Umsetzung mit VRML und Javascript auf einem Onyx-Rechner von Silicon Graphics mit Reality Engine2 Grafikkarte.

Preisgekrönt mit dem Gran Premio der Stadt Locarno anlässlich des „Video Art Festivals“. Zweiter Preis bei der „Cyberworld“ in Bern, dem Vorläufer der „Internet Expo“.

Video taped off of an interactive sequence while 3D navigating through the cyberspace. Bump up the volume!

downtown-flyer von Walter Schärer und Rolf Mainberger

From our website from 1996:

What is downtown?
downtown is a future system of virtual cities on the Internet. As a three-dimensional interface it enables access to a worldwide net of digital cities as they come into being around the world.

What does downtown provide?
downtown offers intelligent navigational aids in the form of virtual, digital cities. Government, businesses and private people are enabled to present themselves in cyberspace and to introduce their services and products.

How is downtown created?
As architects we develop threedimensional corporate design and concepts. For the practical development of this innovative system we are looking for future-oriented sponsors and partners as well as interested providers.

downtown – the Globe as Interface

Globe as Interface to Virtual WorldThe Interface to the digital city – the Globe.

Digital cities are a virtual reflection of real cities or townships. Downtown combines these systems in an intelligent and logical way. A virtual globe is a convenient interface to all existing and developing digital cities around the world. At any spot on the earth the available data can be accessed and zoomed into.

downtown – digital cities in Switzerland

Visualization of Switzerland and selected cities with according data amount visualized as heightDigital cities and their data volumes.

Within individual states these sites are interconnected by a network of links. Their properties and positions are determined by the community-boundaries and further factors such as the number of frequentations.

 

downtown – cyberport

the cyberport - a virtual junction in virtual space.The cyberport – a virtual junction in virtual space.

At the cross-roads lie the cyberports, they enable travel to all the digital cities of the globe. Directly connected to them is the according city. The cyberport is analog to an airport, the point of connection for cybercoordinates spread worldwide. Different terminals lead to regional, national, continental and interkontinental sites in the net.

downtown – functional structure

The digital city and its functional structures.The digital city and its functional structures.

The city itself is oriented towards a centre. From here thematic axis with according color coding spread out into space in all directions.

downtown – city centre

the city centre and its thematic zones.The city centre and its thematic zones.

Along these zones diverse virtual sites are provided that can be rented by interested providers and adapted to the requirements of the tenent.

downtown – business presentations

The innovative Internet presentation of a service-provider.The innovative Internet presentation of the web service-provider 3way.

Within this volume the tenent can set up his individual internet-representation.

downtown – reserved sites

Reserved sites for future-oriented companies and institutions.Reserved sites for future-oriented companies and institutions.

It is still possible to reserve sites close to the centre. The wireframe representation shows all available sites. Solid volumes represent reserved sites, finished sites with their individual services and information are recognised by the three-dimensional company logo of the owner.

downtown – sponsors

Develop your cyberspace corporate design!Develop your cyberspace corporate design!

Sponsors of downtown recieve the best sites and additional attractive advertising opportunities, such as the presence of their company logo at important intersections in the system and the inclusion of advertising posters on the different transportation means of the city.
As cyberspace councelors we translate your ideas into brand architectural concepts.

‚downtown‘ is Walter Schaerer’s and Rolf Mainberger’s 3D visualization concept from October 1996, i.e. pre SecondLife and pre Google Earth ;-)

After we presented the allegedly newly invented concept to around 20 friends, two of them independently from each other came up and announced they had already seen this…

We insisted that it wasn’t possible since we had sifted through the web for similar concepts (in 1996 you could be almost sure to have ’searched‘ the web) and there was no comparable thing around.

But they both also insisted and told us to read this book Snowcrash by Neal Stevenson.

The first thing I did after the bookseller handed me over the book with a wink and a ‚have fun!‘ was to check for the images our friends had alluded to. To my dismay there were no images at all! Only after reading the book it dawned on me that reading this awesome science fiction had triggered the very images that we had created in our virtual world. And of course, I couldn’t agree more with what I was reading ;-)

Virtual Reality Update 29.10.2017

Während eines Besuchs der Zürcher Ausstellung „Grafik 17“ treffe ich im Virtual Reality Bereich 3D- und Compositing Artist Claudio Antonelli von fottergraph.is

Claudio Antonelli am NukeX 3D-Modeller an der "Grafik 17" in Zürich

Claudio Antonelli am NukeX 3D-Modeller

Im Gespräch mit Claudio versuche ich mich im Kurzverfahren um 11 Jahre 3D-Entwicklung aufzudatieren.

Mein Fazit: Die Rechner kosten noch einen Bruchteil von damals, die 3D-Brillen sind eher klobiger und schwerer als unsere damaligen CrystalEyes, die Konzepte für VR sind aber noch nicht weiter gediehen.

In der Virtual Reality gibt es offensichtlich keine Gravitation, keine Klimagrenzen, keine Baubehörden. Aber trotzdem ist noch kein überzeugendes Konzept greifbar, das die Bevölkerung in Scharen in den Cyberspace drängen lässt.

Wir hatten damals allein schon mit der Navigation in 3D unsere liebe Mühe. Mit der Zeit lernten wir, die Navigationselemente vor die Kamera hinzuanimieren, damit sich die Besucher nicht verloren. Das scheint jetzt gelöst, indem man physische Controller in der Hand hält und diese immer im virtuellen Blickfeld bleiben.

Googles Tilt Brush ermöglicht auf diese Weise beispielsweise intuitive 3D-Lichtmalereien.

Aber ansonsten wirkt die 3D-Welt selber immer noch gespenstisch verlassen und unwirtlich.

Die Modellierwerkzeuge ähneln immer noch stark denen aus dem letzten Jahrtausend. Statt CosmoWorld heissen sie jetzt z.B. NukeX und bieten wie damals einen Node-Graph, 3D-Modeller und ein Vorschaufenster.

Andere Tools wie Sculptor hiessen schon damals so ;-)

NukeX 3D-Modeller Screenshot

NukeX 3D-Modeller für VR Szenen

Cosmo World VRML 3D-Modeller Screenshot

Cosmo World VRML 3D-Modeller von 1996

Für die Umsetzung von Virtual Reality Projekten arbeitet Claudio mit dem Frontend-Spezialisten Pascal Achermann von frontend-nerds.ch zusammen.

Auch das scheint gleich geblieben zu sein: Für erfolgreiche Projekte braucht es ein dynamisches, interdisziplinäres Team…

Immerhin soll es eine 3D Spiderman Simulation geben, die die neuen Möglichkeiten gut ausreizt?

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Walter Schärer bloggt über neuste Internet-Trends im Online Marketing, Social Media, Blogs, Web Analytics, SEO, Mobile und so.

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