Microsoft to Contribute VRML 2.0 Reference Implementations To VRML Consortium

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 28, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it intends to contribute two VRML 2.0 reference implementations to the newly formed VRML Consortium, the industry consortium chartered with maintaining the virtual reality modeling language (VRML) specification. The reference implementations consist of the core source code of two Microsoft® VRML 2.0 viewers: a C++ implementation based on Intervista Software Inc.’s WorldView
and a Java
implementation based on Dimension X’s Liquid Reality
. Both viewers are standard VRML 2.0 implementations that precisely conform to the VRML 2.0 specification.

“Microsoft supports the VRML Consortium and its efforts to maintain an open-standard VRML implementation,”
said Brad Chase, vice president, Internet client and collaboration division at Microsoft.
“We hope that this contribution will help provide an industrywide solution for the community of developers creating 3-D interactive content for the Internet using C++ or Java.”

By providing standard reference implementations, Microsoft will help eliminate a risk common to any new specification – fragmentation through inconsistent implementations. Microsoft support for a standard, agreed-upon implementation of VRML will help ensure that end users will be able to view and interact with dynamic and high-quality 3-D content on any Web site using any VRML-enabled Web browser.

Benefits will accrue to the VRML community in several ways:

  • Developers gain access to standard reference implementations on which they can base their VRML 2.0 applications, enabling faster code development with fewer implementation problems.

  • Content creators targeting VRML 2.0 environments can innovate freely, confident that users can view their content with any VRML 2.0 browser.

  • Users of Microsoft Internet Explorer will benefit from richer 3-D content through the combination of VRML 2.0, ActiveX
    and DirectX

  • Online publishers of 3-D environments, such as interactive advertisers, will have a broader target audience through a standard VRML 2.0 implementation.

VRML 2.0 is a modeling language for creating and viewing high-quality 3-D content on the Internet. VRML content is proliferating on the World Wide Web in virtual chat worlds, virtual neighborhoods and online shopping malls. VRML proponents envision a vast community of 3-D environments with rich social interaction and immersive sensory experiences. Microsoft Internet Explorer brings users a step closer to that vision through native technologies such as the DirectX set of APIs, which provides 3-D hardware acceleration, 3-D sound and support for alternative user interfaces such as virtual reality headgear.

Praise From VRML Proponents for Contribution Members of the VRML community have praised Microsoft’s contribution to the VRML Consortium:

  • Mark Pesce, author, co-inventor of VRML and Internet visionary: “Microsoft’s action – unprecedented in the history of the VRML community – suddenly opens the door to a new era in VRML standards. Under the guidance of the VRML Consortium, this donation of many man-years of work will become a fertile base for the future success of VRML. The company’s unquestionable commitment to the values of the VRML community deserve strong praise from everyone involved in it.”

  • Tony Parisi, president and chief technical officer, Intervista Software: “This type of gesture is exactly what the VRML community needs at this time. Conformance across VRML 2.0 browsers will stimulate the development of new and exciting 3-D environments for end users.”

  • Karl Jacob, CEO, Dimension X: “Microsoft offers developers high-quality source code based on our leading Java and VRML 2.0 solution, the Liquid Reality platform. It’s a cross-platform solution that takes VRML to a new level.”

  • Andy van Dam, graphics author, consultant and professor of computer science at Brown University:
    Everyone benefits from Microsoft’s contribution to the VRML consortium. It’s another step toward the rich interactive 3-D worlds that we all envision.”

Support for Open Standards

“The future of the Internet will depend on our ability as an industry to maintain shared, open standards,”
said Kate Seekings, VRML program manager at Microsoft.
“At Microsoft, we plan to do our part to maintain these standards and provide a more compelling online experience for users of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, ActiveX and DirectX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

WorldView is a trademark of Intervista Software Inc.

Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems Inc.

Liquid Reality is a trademark of Dimension X.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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