Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology - Features
Display high quality 3D content in a standard Web browser
Lateral Visions 3D Web technology supports standard 2D and 3D formats so designers can use their preferred tools to create the highest quality visuals. Supported visual features:
- Real-time reflections including gloss mapping and fresnel
- Particle effects
- Advanced lighting including light mapping
- Detail textures
More visual features and formats are added as development continues.
Integrated 2D browser
Uniquely, Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology contains a fully featured 2D Web browser that can display any Web page interactively on any surface in the 3D world. Any Web page, including Adobe Flash content, can be viewed and interacted with within the 3D world itself.
This unique 2D browser allows very close integration between 2D and 3D Web content; an incredibly powerful feature unavailable in any other technology platform. This feature is a game changer for both 3D and the Web, and makes many new techniques possible; for example:
- Use a 3D website as an engaging, interactive frontend to display and interact with existing 2D or rich media content
- Provide User Interfaces in the 3D world using web pages; for example, open a small, custom web page on the body of a car to edit its color
- Browse the Web inside a 3D world: open multiple browser windows in 3D and view them all at once or zoom in to view each in detail
- Show video content live in a 3D world using Flash video (or using websites like YouTube or Google Video)
- As with all Web pages, video content can be interactively displayed on a virtual movie screen, computer display or even straight onto the walls or floor
- Show interactive maps from any mapping website, such as Google Maps or Bing Maps For example, a 3D website for a property can display an interactive Web map as a poster on the wall.
Another unique feature is the World Portal: a '3D hyperlink' providing a connection from one 3D website to another. It is possible to see through, and then move through, from the current 3D website into another, even though the other may be on any Web server anywhere around the world. This unique feature allows 3D websites to link to each other, connecting seamlessly together into a '3D Web'. No other technology has the ability to link 3D websites together in this way, so no other technology can give rise to the 3D Web.
Lateral Visions' World Portals are extremely flexible; for example, in future, they can support linking into other 3D platforms such as virtual worlds or VRML or X3D content. Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology is uniquely placed to link all online 3D content together, into the '3D Web'.
Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology browses 3D content direct from standard Web servers using the Web-standard HTTP protocol. Because of this, no special server software is needed, and any standard Web server can be used to host a 3D website. This is in contrast to all virtual world software, which requires complex proprietary server software, and in fact often will only work using the virtual worlds' owners' own servers.
Again uniquely, because Lateral Visions technology uses standard Web approaches, aspects like privacy, security and access control work in the same way in 3D as they do in 2D. For example, HTTPS can be used to authenticate the validity of 3D Web content, and login procedures can be used to restrict user access to specific 3D content.
3D websites are referred to using an Url (Web address), just the same as 2D websites. This extends to the usage of anchors. On a 2D Web page, an anchor defines a particular location within the page that can be linked via a simple extension to the Url. Similarly, Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology supports the use of anchors within a 3D website. In the 3D case, the anchor defines a location in 3D space, which can then be accessed through the same kind of Url extension.
Previous attempts to bring 3D to the Web have typically had very poor usability; they have been burdened with over sensitive and unintuitive controls, clunky interfaces, and a lack of flexibility. Lateral Visions has made it a strong priority to address this, because 3D technology will never become an integrated part of the World Wide Web until it is easy, satisfying and above all efficient to use.
In contrast to virtual worlds, Lateral Visions 3D Web is not designed as a simulation of physical reality. 3D websites are part of the World Wide Web communication medium, not a simulation of the real world. It is unnecessary to restrict users by applying real-world physical laws to them. For example, in Lateral Visions 3D Web, users can quickly zoom in to view content even if it is far away. In another example, a virtual meeting room can have multiple virtual meetings going on at the same time without interfering with each other, even though this would be impossible in a real meeting room.
Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology accesses content (including 3D content) dynamically as it is needed, displaying it as soon as it is ready. Hence, when visiting a 3D website, there are no loading progress bars to wait for; users can immediately start interacting with the website.
Because Lateral Visions 3D Web is structured as part of the World Wide Web, the same approaches to dynamic content can be used. For example, server side software using PHP or .Net can dynamically generate 3D Web content; for example to provide a customised version of a 3D website for a logged-in user.
Equally, the script code that describes the 3D website can also manage, load or create 3D content dynamically in the browser, somewhat like the 'AJAX' approach used on 2D Web pages.
Although Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology is already available and in use, more functionality is being developed. An immediate requirement is to have versions for the Apple OSX and Linux platforms. A suite of simple, intuitive visual tools is also under priority development, to enable third-party developers to independently create 3D websites without needing to write script code.