8.0439 WAXWEB: Interactive Cinema on WWW (1/231)
Elaine Brennan (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 4 Apr 1995 00:41:56 EDT
Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 8, No. 0439. Tuesday, 4 Apr 1995.
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 14:24:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: John Merritt Unsworth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: WAXWEB 2.0: INTERACTIVE 3D CINEMA ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB (fwd)
From: email@example.com (David Blair)
Subject: WAXWEB 2.0: INTERACTIVE 3D CINEMA ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB
********** FOR RELEASE ON APRIL 3, 1995 *************
WAXWEB 2.0: INTERACTIVE 3D CINEMA ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB
CONTACT: DAVID BLAIR
WAXWEB 2.0, THE FIRST INTERACTIVE FEATURE FILM ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB,
IMPLEMENTS A DYNAMIC VERSION OF VRML, THE NEW GRAPHICS INDUSTRY STANDARD
FOR VIRTUAL REALITY ON THE INTERNET, TO DELIVER REALTIME 3D NARRATIVE
"VISUALIZATION" OVER THE EXISTING INTERNET BACKBONE.
The WWW address for Waxweb 2.0 is http://bug.village.virginia.edu With a
VRML browser: http://bug.village.virginia.edu/vrml
WHAT IS WAXWEB 2.0?
Created by DAVID BLAIR, Waxweb 2.0 is:
The first interactive, intercommunicative FEATURE FILM on the WORLD WIDE
WEB (Variety, 2.16.95).
The first NETWORK-DISTRIBUTED narrative to offer REAL-TIME 3-D NAVIGATION
through a story.
The first LARGE-SCALE, DYNAMIC implementation of the VIRTUAL REALITY
MODELING LANGUAGE (VRML), the 3-D METAFILE format for the INTERNET endorsed
TODAY (4.3.94) by Silicon Graphics, TGS, Netscape, Digital, NEC, and many
others. Waxweb is a project of the Brown University Graphics Laboratory,
headed by Andries VanDam, with Tom Meyer serving as the technical director
of the project.
Based on David Blair's electronic feature film "WAX or the discovery of
television among the bees" (85:00, 1991, distributed by FIRST RUN
FEATURES), Waxweb is the LARGEST hypermedia narrative document on the World
Wide Web. "WAX" itself was the first feature film sent over the Internet
("Historic First", Markoff, NYTimes, 4.93).
In May, Waxweb 2.0 will become a CROSS-PLATFORM, NETWORK SYNCHRONIZED
CD-ROM available from First Run Features. Available for Mac/Windows/Unix,
it will run as a standalone on non-networked computers, and in
synchronization with the Web site, for those who wish to publicly ADD TO
Waxweb 2.0 Online contains: 3000 Web pages with approx. 25,000 hyperlinks;
85 minutes of digital video (the entire feature film); 5000 color stills;
soundtrack in English, French, German, Japanese. Plus: MORE THAN 250 3-D
VRML SCENES, FILLED WITH THOUSANDS OF HYPERLINKED PARTS. Every part of
every object in the virtual world is an active button, triggering access to
other 3D scenes, to the movie, to pictures, or to hypertext.
WAXWEB IS DYNAMIC: Network users of Waxweb 2.0 can add to the narrative
with their own immediate, publicly visible hypermedia: hypertext, pictures,
audio, video, and hyperlinked VRML. In addition, all VRML objects in the
network Waxweb database have their attached hyperlinks changed ON THE FLY,
dependent on user interaction. In the near future, custom scenes
dynamically recombining internal and user-added objects will allow the
synthetic creation of a DYNAMIC, 3-D INTERSTORY on the network.
WHAT IS THE VIRTUAL REALITY MODELING LANGUAGE?
VRML 1.0 (VIRTUAL REALITY MODELING LANGUAGE, 10.94) was the result of a
grassroots, Internet-wide effort, initiated by Mark Pesce, to define the
standard for a 3-D metafile format which would allow DISTRIBUTED VIRTUAL
REALITY over the existing Internet.
VRML allows users of World-Wide Web browsers to view and interact with
computer generated 3D models, scenes and virtual "worlds". The most
distinctive attribute of VRML is that 3-D VRML objects can have hyperlinks
attached to their different parts. Users can move around 3-D VRML scenes,
clicking objects or parts of objects, to either "travel" to new 3-D scenes,
or load other types of data (from hypertext to video) into their World Wide
Web browser (e.g Netscape, Mosaic).
ENDORSEMENT for VRML as the 3D graphics metafile standard for the Internet
was announced TODAY (4.3.94) by Silicon Graphics, Netscape, Digital,
Template Graphics (TGS), NEC, and many other companies. Viewers based upon
the established 3D graphics standards OpenGL and Open Inventor will be
available in 30 days from TGS for the SGI, Sun, IBM, Windows 3.1,and
Windows NT systems, with support for Apple and HP 9000 platforms by summer.
Netscape Communications has announced support of the VRML standard and
outlined plans to integrate the new VRML products from Silicon Graphics and
TGS into the upcoming release of Netscape 1.1. Viewers based on
Rendermorphics from Microsoft will be also available from the Community
Community within 30 days.
VRML ON WAXWEB 2.0
Users can enter the 3-D VRML world from a great many places in the 2D
text/picture WAXWEB 2.0 WWW document, which is served from the Institute
for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia.
Text links or picture buttons on the flat page can take the reader to a 3-D
scene. Once "in" the VRML world, users press 3D hyperlinks to travel
through that world, or to automatically change the page on their electronic
"book" (the Web browser), or even cause a part of the feature-length movie
This is the "third" interface to Waxweb, which is meant to be readable
(hypertext), visual (all 5000 pictures are buttons, allowing visual
navigation), and flyable (VRML).
HOW WAXWEB 2.0 IS UNIQUE:
Waxweb is an Internet-based, distributed, interactive and
intercommunicative 3-D narrative environment.
Waxweb uses MOO technology to dynamically serve hyperlinked 3D VRML
objects/scenes. What's a MOO? MOO's are network-based tools for computer
supported collaborative work (and play), which allow realtime
intercommunication in an multi-room virtual space, as well as the sharing
of network information resources... they are text-based virtual realities.
By combining VRML with MOO technology on the WORLD WIDE WEB, WAXWEB 2.0
allows 3D narrative content to be shared, examined, added to, and
Waxweb's implementation of dynamic VRML gives it the ability to efficiently
serve VRML from the MOO, and dynamically auto-assemble objects/scenes and
auto-insert hyperlinks (URL's) dependent on user interaction. This allows
flexibility in the use of the existing large 3D database, and in addition
will let users easily add to that 3D world.
WAXWEB 2.0: TOWARDS A PRACTICAL, GLOBALLY DISTRIBUTED, INTERCOMMUNICATIVE,
SCALABLE, FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT HYPER-NARRATIVE SERVER
The facts: on Feb. 18th, Digicash was implemented in the MOO (Waxweb is the
first Digicash MOO). On the same day Waxweb also became a Sesame server,
capable of handling Ubique's Web client for the Sun platform (and soon PC),
the first publicly available system for realtime chat through a Web client.
Media mirroring has also been established with Sunsite at UNC, and
Internationale Stadt in Berlin. Visitors to Waxweb from Germany receive
text, VRML, and control information from the Waxweb server in Virginia, but
are pointed to Internationale Stadt for pictures, audio, and video. These
three experimental implementations point to a practical, globally
distributed, intercommunicative, scalable hyper-narrative server, based on
an open system, and capable of being financially self-sufficient.
David Blair is an electronic cinemamaker based in New York City. He is
currently at work on a second feature, set in the US and Japan. He is the
author of both the film and the WWW versions of Wax.
Tom Meyer is a virtual reality specialist in the Brown University Graphics
Laboratory. He has written the MOO/WWW/VRML code.
Suzanne Hader has provided coding for much of the user interface, and also
contributed some graphic elements. Dave Klaphaak has assisted Tom and
Suzanne. Florence Ormezzano executed many of the 3-D models for the film
version of WAX. Anna Youseffi digitized the stills and MPEG video. Melynda
Barnhardt executed some linking and checking for the hypertext.
Additional written material in a separate section of Waxweb has been
contributed by invited authors.
Waxweb is an official project of the Brown Graphics Lab, headed by Andries
VanDam. Waxweb has been made possible by networked associate fellow status
generously extended to the members of the Waxweb project by IATH, the
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of
Virginia, headed by John Unsworth. Waxweb has received partial funding from
the New York State Council for the Arts, with both finishing fund and
distribution grants, the latter administered by the Experimental Television
Center, Owego, NY.
WAXWEB 2.0 IS UNIQUE BECAUSE:
First Film Multicast on the Internet (NYTimes)
First Feature-Length Interactive Film on the World Wide Web (Variety)
First Large Scale Implementation of VRML
First Dynamic VRML server (WWW/VRML/MOO )
First Web-Synchronized Cross-Platform CDROM
First Large Scale WWW/MOO server
First Digicash MOO
First Internet Videoserver Project to utilize Media Mirroring
(additional information available on all the above)
QUOTE from David Blair:
"VRML is the beginning of a public virtual reality cinema... one that
leverages existing content and distribution to bring VR across an open
system to the entire world. It is extraordinarily exciting to work in this
now generally-accepted, and soon-to-be extended standard... one that links
top and bottom-end computers, 3-D and 2-D data, and scalable connectivity,
clearly pointing to our practical future as media-multicasters thriving in
an international network 3-space."
Waxweb 2.0 is an experiment toward the production of David Blair's second
electronic feature (now in pre-production)
********** FOR RELEASE ON APRIL 3, 1995 *************
regular access: http://bug.village.virginia.edu
VRML (3D) access: http://bug.village.virginia.edu/vrml
MOO access: telnet to: bug.village.virginia.edu 7777