NavigationInfo
What is it?
The NavigationInfo node describes physical characterics of the browser and the scene. This node specifies to the viewer/browser what type of navigation to use, how fast the navigation will be, if a headlight is on, the size parameters of an avatar, and the users visibility limit. For more details about this node, check out the VRML 2.0 Spec.


Create the scene and add Cameras

1) First create a scene with all the objects and materials that are needed. To the right, we have created a simple world for you to use as an example.

2) Next it is a good idea to add at least one 'Camera' which will be a 'Viewpoint' in the VRML file, but the file will still work without Viewpoints. NOTE: The more Viewpoints the better in VRML files. The different browsers have various navigation abilities and restraints, therefore the Viewpoints are the one consistent way the user can view the file.

3) To add a Camera, go to the Creation panel/press the 'Camera' button and Choose 'Target' as the Object Type.

4) With your mouse, drag the Camera in the 'Top' viewport and stretch it out.

5) To view what the Camera is seeing, go to the Perspective viewport and press 'c' on the keyboard. And there you are from the Cameras point of view.

6) The Camera is easy to adjust with the Move and Rotate buttons, so test them out.

7) Also it is good to name your Cameras. The Camera name is what the user sees in the VRML browser as the name of the Viewpoint. Otherwise it will default to Camera01, Camera02 etc. Which is pretty boring, if you have a great viewpoint to show off.

8) Viewpoints help tell a story in the VRML file, because you can lead the viewer to ideal viewing points of the model which they might not otherwise explore.


How to implement a NavigationInfo into a MAX file:

9) Now move on to implement a NavigationInfo node. Go to the 'Creation' panel and choose 'Helpers' Under 'Helpers' use the pull down the menu and choose VRML 2.0. Then choose Object Type 'NavInfo'.

10) Then go to your scene and drag the mouse anywhere. You will see an icon that signals to you that you have placed the NavigationInfo node.

11) Then specify what Type of navigation and movement you want in the scene. MAX offers the list of: WALK, EXAMINE, FLY, NONE. As of this writing VRML browsers only support WALK and EXAMINE viewers. Test them out in an exported file to see which suits your scene the best.

12) The Headlight places a directional light in the direction the user is looking. Unless there are other lights in the scene, make sure you check the box for the Headlight--or else you will see nothing in the browser window.

13) Experiment with the navigation Speed--which is how fast the user travels through the scene. The default speed is a bit slow so a higher speed will help the file, ex. speed=5.

14) You can specify the user's Visibility Limit--the furthest distance a user can see. Objects will not be visible after this point. To see everything in the scene set the Visibility Limit to zero.

15) You can also specifiy the user's dimensions with the Avatar parameters (avatarSize). The avatarSize gives physical dimensions in the world which relate mostly to Collision Detection issues.
  • Collision-This is the distance between the user and a piece of geometry, with collision detection applied to it, before collision is detected.
  • Terrain-This is the height to stay above a surface when travelling along a terrain.
  • Step Height-This is the hightest piece of geometry that can be travelled over without colliding.
16) NOTE: All of the above parameters are implemented by default into the .wrl file. So make sure that the settings are how you want them.

17) In the Icon Size box, you can designate a larger or smaller icon size for the NavInfo node---but this is only for the MAX file and has no bearing on the VRML file.

18) Now you have entered all possible information for the 'NavInfo' node. If you need to go back, after leaving the Creation panel, and alter any of the parameters, then go to the 'Modify' panel and adjust.

19) Now you have successfully implemented the NavigationInfo node into your file.

20) To check, go to the 'Selection' menu! NOTE: You can name your NavigationInfo node in the same way as every other object in MAX in the 'Name' field.
How to Export MAX files to VRML:

21) Now skinny on over to 'File' and choose 'Export'. The Exporter knows that you are referring to the file that is open and requests that you name your file.

22) So first choose '.wrl' filetype Then name your file, i.e. 'SuchAndSuch.wrl'

23) Suggestion: Because you might need to go back to the MAX file and adjust part of your world, it is a good idea to keep the filename between to two files the same.
24) Check out a more elaborate sample file that demonstrates the NavigationInfo.


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