A meta-authoring tool for specifying behaviour in virtual reality environments
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 94-99).
In this dissertation, we explore methods for empowering non-programmers with the ability to develop their own virtual environment applications. We explored some of the existing systems to determine what methodologies have already been successfully (or unsuccessfully) applied in the fields of virtual environment systems, authoring tools, and graphical user interfaces. From these methodologies we describe an ideal virtual environment authoring system with which comparisons may be drawn to evaluate existing systems. This ideal system represents a tool ideal in its ability to allow users of differing levels of skill to rapidly create virtual environment applications of any sophistication. Creating such a single, generic authoring tool for every different kind of application is, practically, an impossible task - more so if the authors are non-programmers. A more realistic solution to the problem would be to think of every environment as having a particular context such as a virtual museum or gallery. Creating authoring tools specific to these types of environment contexts greatly reduces the problem. We have therefore produced a progressive meta-authoring system that allows both novice and advanced users to create useful virtual reality applications, allowing the smooth migration of novice users to becoming more experienced. We believe that our system overcomes problems in architecture and support for novice users that can be found in many other authoring systems for virtual environments.