REDMOND, Wash., and CAMPBELL, Calif., April 22, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. and ParaGraph International Inc. today announced they plan to jointly develop a 3-D virtual reality (VR) service, currently code-named “Magic Resort,” for MSN
, The Microsoft Network.
Members of MSN visiting Magic Resort will travel virtually to a three-dimensional space, organized like an amusement park, where – initially – they will be transported to Paris and Moscow’s Red Square. The Magic Resort service will combine leading-edge 3-D VR networking and digital ink technologies with exciting and meaningful content, giving users a dynamic and rich view of the world. The core of Magic Resort will be a number of visually rich 3-D scenes, developed in VRML 2.0, a new standard for transmitting 3-D VR worlds over the Internet.
Virtual travelers can choose their online persona, or avatar; navigate through different scenes populated with various avatar types, such as humans and cartoons; go sightseeing; and meet other visitors. An important feature of Magic Resort will be the avatars’ ability to interact with the world and other avatars by means of “animation zones.” Within these zones, characters can shift their animated behaviors depending on the location and situation, adding an unexpected and dynamic freshness to the experience.
“Magic Resort is designed to simulate the experience of world travelers with a camera in hand,” said Stepan Pachikov, CEO and chairman of ParaGraph. “This project is a stage in our strategy to create a virtual time machine, in which anybody can visit any city of the world, while at the same time experimenting with his or her identity and behavior.”
“We were very impressed with ParaGraph’s virtual time machine vision,” said Tom Firman, director of technology for MSN. “We are delighted that MSN will be the primary platform for the realization of this exciting cultural and educational project. Magic Resort continues to build on our philosophy of creating the best online experience for members of MSN.”
Magic Resort will integrate a wide range of ParaGraph technologies, including ParaGraph’s multiuser server, authoring tools and digital ink. Users will be able to customize their avatars to give them unique personalities. Digital ink will let visitors communicate through shared whiteboards and give street artists the ability to work on the avenues of virtual Paris.
About ParaGraph International
Founded in 1989, ParaGraph International Inc. is a leader in the development of Internet virtual reality (IVR) and Internet digital ink (IDI) software technologies and products that enable millions of home pages to have 3-D and multiuser communications in a variety of formats. ParaGraph brought to market the first VRML 1.0 and VRML 2.0 authoring tools for the PC (Virtual Home Space Builder 1.0 and 2.0). ParaGraph’s engineers have taken a leadership role in the development of all three critical IVR standards and standards proposals, including VRML 2.0, VRML avatars (“Living World”) and the VRML binary file format. ParaGraph’s patented compression and recognition technologies enable efficient multiuser implementations of digital ink over the Internet. ParaGraph’s team of 100 world-class scientists, engineers and digital artists is located in the Silicon Valley and Moscow. ParaGraph’s corporate customers include many of the world’s most respected corporations such as Apple Computer Inc., Disney Online, Corel, IBM Corp., Microsoft, Mitsubishi, People World and others.
For more information on ParaGraph International and its products, contact the company at 1688 Dell Ave., Campbell, CA 95008, (408) 364-7700, or visit its Web site: (http://www.paragraph.com/) .
About The Microsoft Network
MSN is the third largest online service worldwide, offering compelling services, entertainment and communications on the Internet. MSN also provides hundreds of special-interest bulletin boards and such high-quality services and Web shows as the Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia
™travel service, Star Trek: Continuum® , Slate
online magazine, the CarPoint
™online automotive service, Microsoft® Investor online investing service, and up-to-date news and information from MSNBC News. The MSN home page can be reached at (http://www.MSN.com/) . Details on how to obtain a CD with a free one-month unlimited trial on MSN are available by calling (800) FREE-MSN (373-3676).
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, MSN, Encarta, Expedia, Slate and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Star Trek: Continuum is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures.
ParaGraph is a registered trademark of ParaGraph International Inc.
The Microsoft Network is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC