This is a Hindu influenced world of temples made of design information I found on the web and in some cases, textured from photos. I have tried as best as I can within my limited understanding to honor the Hindu religion of which I am a sincere admirer. Not having been born Hindu, I cannot be Hindu but I can love the light I see in the faces of the devotees. Ekam sat. It centers around the goddess Saraswati because she is the goddess of learning and of music, both the central themes of my life. I am always her student and doubt I shall ever become more, but that is quite enough.
This world was created because of a woman I met many years ago who practiced her faith with deep devotion giving me a painful but very necessary mirror when my world view and my faith were being stripped away and reborn in her luminous eyes.
To Mrs. Singh: This is to repay your kindness to me and and to honor your unfathomable beauty born of your love of God. The light within you both enlightens me and gives me joy to this day and those that follow. Namaste, Alka ji. Shukriya.
I’ve applied several animation and sensor techniques to make this more fun to move around in. There are also poems attached but you’ll have to find them. The rule of thumb is to click on things that move. Over time, I will hide more cookies.
Turn on your speakers or put on your headphones. The world is an experiment in animation and sound to progress toward what I call an “immersive album”. Real-time 3D spatialized sound combined with real time 3D visuals provides unique ways to combine motion and sound sources such that the music mixes depending on settings and one’s location in the world, or the objects one is near. I am just scratching the surface of this new unique art form. For this world, I used samples of Hindu musicians for reasons of theme and because raga-based music is very suitable for this application given its basis in scalar constructions (ragas are scales) over Western-influenced harmonic construction. Think loops if you must, but really, it is a matter of how distance and motion combine to create ambient sound in virtual space just as it does in meatspace. For download bandwidth reasons, these are 22khz mono samples and not very long. Because 3D sound is spatialized, stereo is redundant.
If you want to visit The River of Life, you need a VRML97 conformant browser. I use BS Contact. You can download a Contact browser at http://www.blaxxun.com. I suggest version 6.1 or higher. Since I will later convert this world from VRML97 to X3D format, the new version of the VRML language, you may want the Bit Management beta version of Contact (7.n). Note that it displays an irritating floating logo that will try to take you to their site if you click on it, and is otherwise a nuisance. But free is free.
Once you have the browser, I highly suggest you go to the VRMLWorld site and download River of Life into the lobby function of that chat server. It is great fun to tour one of these worlds with friends in multi-user mode as can be provided by Rick Kimball’s ABNet software. This link will take you there.
I will register this world there soon and I encourage other VRML builders to do the same so that we can create a true metaverse that is open to both authors and the public without paying rent. I never liked rental property. It builds no equity for the tenant. Besides, the VRMLers invented virtual reality on the web and ought to get a bit more boo for it. The press only notices big investments so Linden Labs gets a lot of press these days, but VRML looks better and it is free to develop. I suggest we pick up the prize.
Some notes for the newbie to VRML:
This has been a long haul project. I’ve been working on it on and off for ten years. I’ve received an enormous amount of help in the last few weeks from the VRML community that always pulls together and helps out when a new world is being released. Many many thanks! You are still the best online bunch of crazies and artists on the web. Inside the world, there is a WorldInfo node that gives propers as due. Other artists have been leaving samples up for people to use for a decade now and I’ve incorporated and adapted some of these. That beautiful sun is Paul Hoffman’s work from our IrishSpace project. Chakor and Chakori are Robert St. John’s Dove from his Temple of Love project that was released as a sample with the V-realm Builder editor (sadly no longer available).
To build this world, I used the V-Realm Builder, Professional File Editor and the demo of Internet Space Builder from ParallelGraphics. These are old tools but they do a good job when one knows the language.
I hope you enjoy The River of Life. It is purely art for art’s sake which is fun for fun’s sake. As my mentor in VRML, Paul Hoffman used to tell us, “keep on wrl’ing”.