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X3D Open Web3D Standard Launched

New-Generation X3D Open Web3D Standard Launched With Leading Browser-Company Support

State-Of-The-Art Successor to VRML Enables Compact Browsers and Extensible Functionality

Backed by blaxxun, Nexternet, OpenWorlds, ParallelGraphics and Web3D Consortium

Orinda, California, USA. August 7, 2001.

The Web3D Consortium today announced the launch of the X3D open standard as a new-generation successor to VRML to bring rich and compelling 3D graphics to the Web for a wide variety of applications and devices. X3D ("Extensible 3D") is an extensible standard that has been developed by the Web3D Consortium with the strong backing of a number of leading browser companies including blaxxun, Nexternet, OpenWorlds and ParallelGraphics. First demonstrations of commercial X3D browsers will be shown at the SIGGRAPH 2001 exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center, from August 14-16 at the Web3D Consortium booth #2029, with first product shipments expected by the end of 2001.

X3D is being developed under the Web3D Consortium's standardization process that provides full and open access to the specification for interested companies and eventual submission to the International Standards Organization for ratification to provide long-term stability for Web3D content and applications.

The X3D standard enables new opportunities for the creation and deployment of visually rich 3D graphics, including small, lightweight web clients with advanced 3D capabilities, and the integration of high-performance 3D into broadcast and embedded devices. X3D satisfies these demanding applications by adopting an advanced componentized architecture that enables extremely compact 3D clients. These clients can be extended with plug-in components to create standardized profiles with the functionality to meet the demands of sophisticated vertical applications. One of the first X3D profiles to be demonstrated at Siggraph will include the "VRML 97" profile that provides complete compatibility with existing VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) content.

The Web3D Consortium is working very closely with the MPEG-4 group, and the X3D standard is intended to form the core of MPEG-4's ongoing 3D integration activities. The Consortium is also working with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to tightly integrate X3D with other XML languages for the Web. The X3D standardization work includes an extension registry to be maintained by the Web3D Consortium that will enable any company to rapidly innovate within a standards framework and ship extensions to X3D at any time -- but also to encourage and enable multiple companies to agree on common extensions to guarantee widespread content interoperability. Further details on X3D and how interested companies may get involved can be found at

"By forming the 3D profile of MPEG-4, X3D has already allied with a stronger market force than VRML ever had. blaxxun strongly supports X3D as it provides a consistent graphics platform between Web and broadcast applications, becoming the lingua franca of Web3D," stated Franz Buchenberger, CEO of blaxxun.

"X3D's extensibility is a powerful mechanism for rapid innovation within a unique standards framework for multi-vendor interoperability. We expect new X3D plug-ins to be available on a quarterly basis to provide truly state-of-the-art support for a broad range of applications from multiple browser vendors -- a significant advantage over many proprietary technologies which focus on one vertical segment," said Connell Gallagher, CEO of ParallelGraphics.

"Open standards are an opportunity for companies to influence and forge the technology that is the foundation of their business while providing the stability, longevity and multiple vendor support that many applications and customers demand. OpenWorlds has been a major contributor to X3D as we believe in the power of cutting-edge 3D technology that can also bring consistency to the broader industry and be a significant influence on related standards such as MPEG and XML," commented Rick Nelson, CEO of OpenWorlds.

"X3D not only provides the latest rendering and Web3D functionality in a compact form, but through the VRML 97 profile this new standard also preserves our customers' investment in the significant amount of VRML content that is in active use today. This powerful mix of forward-looking technology that does not abandon our VRML heritage has convinced Nexternet to invest significant resources into aggressively supporting X3D," observed Neal Park, CEO of Nexternet.

"The Consortium is committed to synergistically combine the commercial needs of browser companies with the equally important needs of the 3D authoring community. Working with complementary standards organizations such as W3C also presents many rich new opportunities," said Don Brutzman, X3D chair, Naval Postgraduate School.

"The Web3D Consortium exists to leverage open standards to grow the Web3D market. We encourage and invite any company developing 3D browser software to discover how participating in the standards process, and helping to drive the direction and development of X3D, can increase business opportunities and momentum," stated Neil Trevett, senior vice president of 3Dlabs and president of the Web3D Consortium.

Company Profiles

blaxxun interactive is the global technology leader for Community and Virtual Worlds software enabling highly interactive solutions for entertainment and business on the Internet. [See:]

Nexternet is focused on developing Web3D technology and core elements for 3D killer applications. The company's products include the Pivoron family of Web3D technologies including X3D, Multi-User, MPEG, Media and Service Solutions. [See:]

OpenWorlds Inc. provides the technology for building intelligent, interactive Web 3D applications, and the consulting services to bring concepts to reality. OpenWorlds AppKit produces applications that are scalable from laptops to kiosks to fully immersive VR environments. [See:]

ParallelGraphics is a leading developer of integrated rich media 3D technologies for the Web and wireless device-based markets. The company provides complete turnkey 3D solutions and interactive 3D products to a range of multinational clients and end users in the areas of online learning and training, e-commerce and entertainment amongst others. [See:]

Web3D Consortium

The Web3D Consortium is the only non-profit organization with a mandate to develop and promote open standards to enable 3D Web and broadcast applications. The Consortium is comprised of many leading corporations and educational institutions including 3Dlabs, ATI Technologies, blaxxun, Naval Postgraduate School, Nexternet, OpenWorlds, ParallelGraphics, Sony Electronics, US Army STRICOM, and SGDL Systems. There are also over 75 individual Professional Members contributing their expertise to Consortium activities. Web3D Consortium members provide technical and marketing expertise for the continued evolution of open 3D standards while gaining early access to ongoing technology and commercial opportunities. More information on VRML, the Consortium's ongoing X3D and VRML standards activities and Consortium membership is available at

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See "VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) and X3D."

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