Lifeforms Archive

Nik (
Thu, 19 Dec 1996 00:35:46 -0800

>A while back you (i think it was you) wrote something about starting a
>Lifeforms Archive.
>I have been thinking of this and wonder if we could reopen a discussion
>about it.
>I am very interested in finding out more about your ideas are and how it
>could organized.


I was just thinking of setting up a submission form/search form for lifeforms
files in a relational db. The submittors would submit their files and some
descriptive info about the model file.

"The blackbook" has top priority over the next couple weeks - but this
archive is a very simple thing to set up. The main thing i would need is:

1. some feedback on what fields should be included in the description
(e.g. distribution permission, relevant info for the modeler, original author
e-mail, format (i.e pc/mac/?) - what? - i don't use lifeforms so feedback
from those who do is tres important.

2. some lifeform files to see the best way to download (i.e. http, ftp, gopher
what - but this would almost certainly be ftp for files and http for any
gif89 lifeform animations)

3. are these model files more than pc/mac platform specific? if so, a
"netscape style" "select your operationing system" download might be best
if there is more than just pc/mac files or powermac files aren't compatible
with older mac files/
if NT format is different from windows etc.

4. Finally, once set up - i need someone to maintain the archive.
Basically, before inputing into the db this program would place the file
info in a temporary db and have a human look over the submission for
mistakes/additions and then correct/delete or ask for a resubmission.
This involves mostly taking a quick look then hitting OK or not before its
put into the final archive. This is mainly so that drunk kids don't
corrupt the archive and that submissions are characterized well enough so
that they can be found easily once submitted.

Coming up with good fields to characterize the files is the hardest part
and where i need the most input before starting.

The archiver could basically do what they see fit with the site - and i can
set it up so that maintainance of the site can be done thru mostly the web,
w/ some
ftp or e-mail. Since its dynamically driven its much lower maintainance
than most web sites - mainly going thru new submissions every once in a
while and coming up with the inital design layout of the site. Since the
content of the site is updated dynamically the design never need be
changed/ or it could be -
but that would be for asthethic and not content reasons.

Also, the lifeforms people told me "On our long list of things to do is to
provide GIF89 format right from Life Forms so it will be easy to add
movement to communicating on the web."

When lifeforms can do this it would still be difficult for me to automate
the production of a gif89 - but i can include this in the submission - so
that the
models can be viewed prior to downloading or without lifeforms software.
the archiver could chose to produce gif89 from previous submissions as they
saw fit.

So if u were interested in setting up Lisa's dance/choreography model
archive we
can do this once the blackbook is up - say sometime in January.

Also this archive could include other formats (e.g. 3D studio, lightwave
3D, etc.) - in fact, i like the spirit of lifeforms very much but their
simply can't do some things that some of the more high end packages can and
so their software is much better used in conjunction with other packages.

In fact, the lifeforms people e-mailed me with an agreement to this view:

"As you noticed, we are developing plug-ins to work with other
software packages. We really need to work on the perception
that we are "competing" with these other packages when in fact
we are very complementary (some more than others, of course)."

So it really should be a 3D dance/choreography model archive. Even though it
may consist primarily of lifeforms stuff.

BTW, i'm designing the blackbook so that experts in sub-fields of dance
can write to its cgi-bin to dynamically/generate maintain "hot lists" with
their own reviews perspectives - so a Lisa's 3D modeling links could also be
part of the archive.

take care,


also, i'm taking a grant writing class next quarter so if we do this i'd
like to hit up these some 3-D model software comapnies for comps of their
packages and maybe some hardware for myself and the archiver in exchange for
promoting their tools to the dance world.


the dnc project