Tatsuro Sano,Yoshio Nakatani,Akira Sugimoto
IESL, MITSUBISHI Electric Corporation, 8-1-1, 661-8661, Japan
Recently, high-quality 3D graphics are relatively inexpensive, so there are many attempts to visualize information of very large systems by using 3D graphics. Although a 3D graphical user interface (3D-GUI) system usually costs more to develop than a 2D graphical user interface (2D-GUI) system. To solve this problem, some programming libraries for constructing 3D-GUIs have been developed ( Strauss and Carey 1992, Wernecke 1994). However, for developers to use these libraries to construct 3D-GUIs, they need to understand the many kinds of Application Programming Interfaces (API) of these 3D graphic libraries. It requires much work for developers to write many lines of source code required for 3D-GUIs.
We have previously proposed a 2D-GUI construction method (,,the GUI Constructing & Customizing Method (GCM)") to help programmers develop 2D-GUIs very easily. This method has been used in actual fields, such as plant supervisory control systems ( Kitamura and Sugimoto 1995). In this paper, to help the programmers develop 3D-GUIs very easily, we propose an effective method for constructing 3D-GUIs semi-automatically by applying GCM -- we call this 3D-GUI construction method ,the 3D Generating & Customizing Method (3D-GCM)". In addition, we show the advantage of 3D-GCM through human experiments comparing 2D-GUIs with 3D-GUis, both of which are generated with our method.
In the original GCM, there are two main steps to generate a 2D-GUI. First, a default 2D-GUI is automatically generated from the data and functions which are included in the application program (AP). Second, the default 2D-GUI is customized interactively on line, and the final 2D-GUI is constructed.
Our proposed 3D-GCM follows the same model as the original GCM. The 3D-GCM also takes two steps to construct a 3D-GUI. First, a default 3D-GUI is generated from an existing 2D-GUI. Second, the default 3D-GUI is customized interactively on line, and the final 3D-GUI is generated. In this method, the relations between the 3D-GUI and the AP data in display and control are the same as the relations between 2D-GUI and the AP data. Therefore, the developer does not have to define the relations between the 3D-GUI and the AP