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March 8, 1996

'Moving Worlds' Virtual Reality
For Web Wins Apple's Support

Apple Computer has agreed to contribute its 3D metafile format to "Moving Worlds," an initiative by Silicon Graphics and Netscape Communications to bring animated three-dimensional graphics to the Internet.

The announcement takes software companies a major step forward in the development of the next generation of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language, or VRML, which will produce three-dimensional graphics and multimedia for any computer that is linked to the Internet, regardless of which operating system it is using

On Feb. 12, Silicon Graphics, a leading developer of virtual reality technologies for high-performance commercial applications, and Netscape, the top developer of Internet publishing and browsing software, announced that 56 major software and entertainment companies, including Adobe Systems, Asymetrix, Autodesk, Computer Associates, Creative Labs, EDS, IBM, MetaTools, SEGA of America and Sony Corporation, had agreed to support Moving Worlds as the next-generation standard for VRML.

VRML is a highly compact code that can be transported efficiently over even low-bandwidth Internet connections, like 14.4 kilobits-per-second modems. Apple's metafile technology will, in effect provide VRML code with a binary "wrapper" that will allow virtual reality data to be "streamed" -- that is, transmitted over narrow bandwidths in real time instead of requiring a user to first download the data and then open it with a reader.

Moving Worlds has been developed collaboratively under an initiative led by Silicon Graphics. The process has resulted in an open, cross-platform architecture, meaning that the data it produces can be viewed on computers ranging from lowly PC's to high-end graphics workstations.

Apple's 3D metafile technology is a good fit, in that it is also a cross-platform file format that supports Unix and Windows as well as Macintosh.

Netscape also announced that the 3D metafile format would be implemented in its Live3D software platform, which extends Netscape's Navigator Web browser to employ VRML data to produce interactive 3-D spaces with text, images, animation, sound, music, and video.

Related Sites
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An Overview of the Moving Worlds Proposal. Parts of this are technical in nature, but it offers samples and demonstrations that help explain the technology.
The QuickDraw 3D Home Page. QuickDraw 3D is Apple's foundation for 3D graphics.

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