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A Market First from VREAM -- Immersive Virtual Reality Hits the World Wide Web! VREAM Announces a Fully Interactive 3D Web Browser.

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 31, 1995--Two technologies came together last week at Mecklermedia's VRWorld '95 conference as Chicago-based VREAM(R) brought immersive virtual reality to the World Wide Web with the announcement of WIRL (Web Interactive Reality Layer), a fully interactive 3D Web browser. The WIRL browser is an implementation of the company's ground-breaking, Windows(TM)-based virtual reality technology that is specifically targeted for allowing Web users to experience virtual reality across the Internet. VREAM is the first company to introduce and publicly demonstrate fully immersive virtual reality on the Web. WIRL browser technology will be compatible with popular Web programs such as Enhanced Mosaic and NetScape. WIRL worlds can be created using VRCreator, VREAM's virtual reality creation software product, now available in beta form. Web users will soon be able to "take a WIRL on the Web." VREAM anticipates that production releases of the WIRL browser and creation software will be available later this year, running initially under Microsoft Windows, Windows NT and Windows 95.

Conference Attendees Traverse Virtual Worlds on the Web in Real Time

At the conference, attendees donned head mounted displays, fully equipped with 3D trackers, and cruised around a series of three-dimensional virtual environments, each of which was resident on its own Web site. The first point of entry after entering the virtual world was a futuristic WIRL Space Station in outer space. From this space hub, participants could fly into virtual planets to transport themselves to virtual worlds residing on other Web sites. Some of the more interesting destinations included a virtual Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and a virtual space swamp. All of the virtual worlds were fully textured to give a photorealistic effect and were fully immersive -- for example, within the virtual Wrigley Field participants could physically look up and see the crowd in the stands and physically look down and see the grass of the outfield.

WIRL Embraces Existing Standards but also Offers New Functionality

The concept of experiencing 3D environments on the Web is not new. A standard approach for defining such 3D environments, called VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) has been embraced by a number of companies, most notably Silicon Graphics. VREAM's WIRL technology fully supports VRML, but also offers interactive functionality that extends beyond the current VRML 1.0 specifications. To provide this functionality, VREAM uses its VST (VREAMScript Text) language, which is used in VREAM's virtual reality creation software products, both in its currently shipping Virtual Reality Development System and its soon-to-be-released VRCreator products. Because it is a high-level, platform-independent, and very compact language VREAMScript is perfectly suited to allow complex virtual worlds to be quickly transmitted across the Internet.

"Web surfing is about to enter a whole new dimension," said VREAM president Edward R. LaHood. "Our VREAMScript allows you to do some very powerful things. For example, you can pick up a cube that has video playing on all six sides and throw it against a wall in a virtual room. The cube can have weight and elasticity associated with it so that it bounces off the walls, and you can actually catch it with your virtual hand. That's just one example of VREAM's interactivity and its support for complex logical cause and effect relationships. We are very excited about this technology, and plan on making it available on a large scale through licensing and other arrangements."

Key WIRL Features: Windows Capabilities, Device Support, and Rendering Power

WIRL will initially be released for Windows, Windows NT and Windows 95. WIRL will support the use of Windows features such as Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) and Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), allowing users to create real-time data and control links between WIRL and other Windows applications. VREAM will also fully support the Windows Media Control Interface (MCI), allowing its users to easily incorporate multimedia components such as sound and video into a virtual reality Web world.

Importantly, WIRL users can experience "desktop virtual reality" using a standard PC, monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Alternatively, WIRL technology users can take advantage of high-end interface devices, including head-mounted displays, 3D tracking systems, 3D mice, gloves and 3D ball controllers, to achieve "immersive virtual reality" on the Web.

In addition, WIRL uses the Microsoft Reality Lab rendering engine. VREAM wraps its virtual reality functionality around the low-level rendering technology of Reality Lab. WIRL offers real-time Gouraud and Phong shading, real-time Z buffering, texture wrapping, multiple lights sources, 8-bit, 16-bit and 24-bit color support and support for high resolution Super VGA graphics modes. The software runs at levels approaching 120K polygons per second on a standard SVGA Pentium 90 MHz.

WIRL Authoring Software Builds on Existing VREAM Virtual Reality Creation Software

VRCreator, VREAM's virtual reality creation software, will generate VST and VRML files and will therefore provide the core development environment for initial releases of WIRL worlds. The graphical user interface contains all of the elements needed to create fully interactive, textured, virtual reality worlds or applications running under Windows without programming. Users create virtual world content by drawing and texturing the objects that comprise the virtual world in 3D space. Users can also use included 3D "clip" models and textures to place pre-made objects into the virtual world. The software also supports the direct import of 3D Studio files, including colors and textures, .DXF files, and other 3D file formats. Attributes, such as sound, motion, penetrability, throwability, weight and elasticity, and complex interactive cause and effect relationships, such as the ability to grab a cord to turn on a light, can be assigned to objects to create the interactive components of the 3D world. VREAM intends to make VRCreator, its WIRL authoring software, accessible to all through its ease of use and affordable pricing.

For more information, contact Ken Gaebler, VREAM, Inc, 2568 N. Clark St #250, Chicago, IL 60614, (312) 477-0425. -0-

VREAM is a registered trademark of VREAM, Inc., and VRCreator is a trademark of VREAM, Inc. All other marks are properties of their respective owners.

CONTACT: VREAM, Inc., Chicago

Ken Gaebler, 312/477-0425
COPYRIGHT 1995 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 31, 1995
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