[thelist] Whatever happened to VRML?

John Dowdell jdowdell at macromedia.com
Mon Mar 12 18:13:57 CST 2001

At 2:23 PM 3/10/1, Naju V wrote:
>  what's the current state of 3D Animation in webpages?

A little difficult at the moment, but there's great promise in the near-term.

Defining a file format is one thing, but getting predictable rendering out
there in the world is another issue entirely....

This spring the Shockwave Player will be adding an auto-update for realtime
3D rendering. The interactivity will be contained within the same engine,
avoiding browser dependencies such as the Java-based EAI.

There are a few single-object renderers out there, such as Viewpoint (aka
MetaStream), and Pulse's characters... VRML proper has often been used more
for navigating an environment... for me, one of the hot areas is in
realtime visualization of a data feed, such as the realtime soccer game
presentations where you can move the camera about to examine a play from
different angles, or where a feed of stock prices can drive model heights
in realtime.

Unlike 2D visualization, in a 3D system you can define the rules for
rendering and then pump data in... there's a separation of data and
presentation which is very cool. Realtime 3D data-driven visualization
hasn't been available before, because of the problem of competing VRML
viewers and the dependencies on various browsers for interactivity. A
predictable and widely-distributed interactive rendering engine promises to
make all the difference.

Anyway, I don't mean to sound evangelical here... just keep an eye out for
the Shockwave 3D announcements... it's very close, and people are
anticipating it to be the big breakthrough in this field.


John Dowdell, Macromedia Tech Support, San Francisco CA US
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