Visual navigation possibilities with GopherVR for Macintosh and Unix

Jill Foster <> Tue, 04 April 1995 16:40 UTC

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From: Jill Foster <>
Subject: Visual navigation possibilities with GopherVR for Macintosh and Unix
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I know many of you have moved to WWW - but gopher and WWW keep
leap-frogging each other. This announcement of GopherVR for Macintosh and
Unix *enables* possibilities for visual navigation through the information
space. There was a guy from BT at last year's user support workshop that
talked about the BT (British Telecom for the non-UK members) research
dept's work on visual navigation as an alternative method of displaying
relationships between information.

Sorry for the cross-posting - just trying to get some discussion going
here. Anyone on these (quiet :-( ) lists working in this sort of area?
Would be good to see some examples of what is possible.

-- Jill

>Date: Thu, 30 Mar 1995 18:11:12 -0600
>From: The Gopher Team <>
>Subject: GopherVR for Macintosh and Unix
>Announcing alpha-test releases
>of Internet GopherVR for Macintosh and Unix
>Announcing GopherVR
>At GopherCON '94 we talked about using 3D scenes as a user
>interface metaphor for navigating the Internet and visualizing
>relationships and clustering of documents. Early (alpha test)
>releases of Macintosh and Unix Gopher clients that display 3D
>scenes are now available via gopher and anonymous ftp from
>Although not yet complete, in this release you can browse gopher
>directories by driving around Gopherspace, navigate between gopher
>servers by driving through a series of 3D scenes, open items by
>clicking on them, get overviews of the neighborhood you are in,
>and view meta-information about items.
>Because this is an alpha-test release, we are still working on
>the software and will be doing frequent bugfix releases. Use it
>at your own risk, and please send us bug reports and comments.
>We are doing an early release of this software because we have
>found this to be the best way of quickly shaking out bugs and
>feature sets.
>To keep up to date on the bugfix releases of GopherVR, subscribe
>to gopher-news by e-mailing a subscribe request to:
>Major new releases are announced on gopher-announce. Subscribe
>by sending e-mail to:
>Why a 3D user interface to Gopher?
>Gopher has an explicit organization and structure which is
>external to the content of the documents, so it is straightforward
>to map a 3D virtual world interface onto the existing gopher
>servers. Since the Gopher+ protocol also has provisions for open
>ended extensions and meta-information that resides external to the
>content of documents, it is also easy for servers to give 3D-savvy
>clients the 3D spatial coordinates and orientation of objects in a
>gopher directory. This means that we can both synthesize 3D scenes
>from existing non-3D-savvy Gopher servers, and take advanatge of
>new 3D-savvy servers without reworking the contents of the
>documents published in Gopher.
>Virtual world interfaces give us a powerful data visualization
>tool. GopherVR makes it possible to display clustering of documents
>which is not feasible on either a menu or a flat page. Combining
>GopherVR with servers that catagorize and cluster collections of
>documents will make it possible to visualize complex retationships
>within collections. To be effective, moving about the 3D scene must
>be fast and fluid, and GopherVR has been optimized for quick
>navigationn within the scene without hardware Z-buffer.
>What comes after this release?
>With later versions of this software you will be able to define
>3D icons for objects in Gopherspace, and server administrators
>will be able to specify placement of objects in 3D scenes.
>In addition, there will be more user navigation features for
>browsing within the 3D scenes.
>TurboGopherVR 2.1a1 is a sneak-preview (alpha-test) release
>of an Internet Gopher client that combines a point and click
>browser interface to the Internet with a 3D virtual-world
>interface. Essentially, this is a superset of the current
>release version of TurboGopher (version 2.0) with 3D
>TurboGopherVR 2.1a1 requires a PowerPC Macintosh running
>System 7 or better. System 7.5.1 is reccommended since this
>version of the system software includes a much improved
>floating point math library. A version for 68K Macs is also
>under construction but is not yet available.
>To get the software, gopher to and follow
>the path /gopher/Macintosh-TurboGopher/TurboGopherVR. This
>brings you to the directory holding the current version of the
>You can also use these URLs to get to the same directory:
>    <URL:GOPHER://
>    TurboGopher/TurboGopherVR>
>    <URL:FTP://
>    TurboGopher/TurboGopherVR/>
>GopherVR 0.1 is an alpha-test release of an X-window Gopher client.
>GopherVR for Unix is curently available for SUN Sparc, SGI, and
>IBM AIX RS-6000 platforms. At this time, only binaries are available
>since we expect frequent changes to the source. To run the software,
>you will need a color monitor. We have tested the software on
>SUN    SunOS 4.1.3 with MIT X11R5 distribution
>SGI    IRIX 5.3 with SGI's X-windows distribution
>IBM    AIX 3.2.5 with IBM's X-windows distribution
>To get the software, gopher to and follow
>the path /gopher/Unix/GopherVR. This brings you to the directory
>holding the current version of the software.
>You can also use these URLs to get to the same directory:
>    <URL:GOPHER://>
>    <URL:FTP://>
>GopherVR binaries will be available for HP-UX and DEC OSF soon.
>This is an alpha test release. We wouldn't reccomend
>distributing this to every user in your organization yet, since
>  1.) There are a lot more features that will be added in
>      the near future
>  2.) There are certainly going to be bugs.
>If you find a bug, please report it to us by sending an e-mail
>decribing your computer, the version of the operating system and
>how you caused the bug to occur. If you have ideas for features we'd
>love to hear about it. Send your bug reports and comments to:
>     <>du>.
>        Internet Gopher Team / mongoose & iguana squad
>        TurboGopherVR 2.1.a1
>        Unix GopherVR 0.1
>        March 30, 1995
>        See you at GopherCON '95 !
>        For information on GopherCON '95 see:
>        <URL:GOPHER://>