A Software Architecture for Interactive Multiuser Visualisation

J. Marsh. A Software Architecture For Interactive Multiuser Visualisation. PhD thesis, The University of Manchester, 2002.

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Abstract

Distributed applications have insurmountable limitations caused by the latency inherent in computer networks. These problems are particularly challenging in the area of multiuser three-dimensional visualisation applications and virtual environments (VEs).

This thesis argues that such difficulties cannot be overcome by improvements in hardware alone, and instead develops a novel distributed application model that guides the development of effective multiuser applications by explicitly taking into account the role played by the network, and the nature of the user’s interaction.

In addition to their network problems, contemporary virtual reality (VR) systems are also characterised by limited support for describing rich and consistent behaviour. This results in applications that are inflexible, unnecessarily complex, and difficult to reuse. A software architecture, Deva, is presented that uses a novel aggregation mechanism to support highly dynamic and reusable behaviour.

A number of substantial applications built using the system are used to demonstrate its effectiveness. The experience of building these large and complex systems is subsequently used to inform a revised architecture that further expands the range of applications that the system is able to support.

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