Lateral Visions 3D Web Technology - FAQ
What part are you selling?
Initially, our ability to make 3D Websites for clients. Then, licenses for other developers to use premium features on their websites. Later still, support, tools and potentially advertising.
Why no avatars?
Lateral Visions 3D Web is not a virtual world. Seeing your own avatar is unnecessary, and often undesirable; for example, when viewing an online art gallery, you do not want your avatar standing in front of the paintings obscuring your view.
We will be adding support for avatars, and it will be up to individual 3D websites to decide whether they want or need to support them. For example, it will be possible to build a virtual world just like those currently available, but instead of a standalone 'island universe', it will be a 3D website accessed by Url and able to connect to other Web content.
Even for 3D websites concerned with multi-user communication or collaboration, avatars are not an essential feature. For example, a live virtual seminar can be conducted with a video feed of the presenter, allowing for much greater communication of facial expression and body language than is possible with an avatar.
Is 3D navigation really better than 2D?
We believe it is in many cases. 3D is great for multitasking and browsing: for example, for getting an overview of a lot of content, while still being able to seamlessly drill down into the details of that content. Note that we do not expect (or want) to do away with 2D content or html or 2D interfaces; rather we seek to embed those into a richer, more engaging 3D version of the Web.
Have you addressed accessibility? How will this content be accessible?
First, its worth noting that for some users, rich 3D content will likely be more accessible than traditional Web pages (for example, those with learning disabilities will likely find a rich, visual presentation more accessible than a text-based one). Users with physical disabilities will be able to virtually visit locations that they would be unable to access physically.
Some of the remaining accessibility work will fall to website developers; for example in providing subtitles with text versions of audio content. In addition, we do also expect to provide some platform-level support for technologies like xml-feeds for screen readers.
What about inappropriate or dangerous content on the 3D Web?
As with all communication technologies, it is likely that adult, offensive or inappropriate content will arise on the 3D Web. As the 3D Web grows in popularity, we will bring in features such as parental controls to provide the same level of safety as is available with 2D Web browsers.
What about security?
We take security very seriously and have worked to ensure the software is secure for users, and not open to attack from malicious third parties.
How do you handle software updates?
All users automatically run the latest version of the software whenever they use the 3D Web Technology. This process is fast and secure, and means that all users are always up to date. Developers never need to worry about users having outdated or incompatible versions. Lateral Visions continuously releases new features as they are developed, so 3D Web developers can always take advantage of the latest technologies and functionality.
Presumably this isn't standard HTML, and you have an SDK for web developers to use?
How do developers link their websites together through the portals?
To link worlds with World Portals, simply create a WorldPortal object in the script code, and give the Url of the target 3D website.
How will you get people to install the plugin?
We have made the plugin install process as easy, safe and painless as possible, but this remains a challenge. Ultimately, if people want 3D Web content enough, they will install the plugin.
How open is the platform compared to the World Wide Web?
The software itself is not (yet) open source, but the way the software works with existing Web protocols is exactly like the existing Web, and very open.
How is it different from X3D/VRML/Canvas3D?
VRML and X3D are attempts to define a 3D media format to allow 3D content to be embedded in a Web page. They do not support any of the unique Web integration features of Lateral Visions Technology such as an embedded 2D browser or World Portals. Canvas3D (and also Google's O3D) is an attempt to do something a bit more Web-like and flexible, but it is likely to take five to ten years to come to fruition, and still does not have the unique features of Lateral Visions technology.
Is it possible to track user actions?
It is up to a 3D website to do this if required. For example, a 3D online retail website could record the items that catch users attention by tracking where users look and move in the 3D world. The technology itself does not do this.
How do I configure a server to host a 3D website?
Simply host the files on the server. You may need to enable some custom MIME types depending on the content in your 3D website: typically, you will just need to enable .lua script files as: 'application/x-lua' If you have used free functionality in the Basic Package, that is all you will need to do. However, if you have used premium functionality, you will also need to obtain a valid license file from Lateral Visions for your 3D website.