This document is a supplement to
Editing for Clear Communication
Copyright 1996-1999,
Thom Lieb


No portion may be reused without the author's permission.

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Further Reading:
Planet 9 Studios

Web 3D Consortium

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Editing for the Web

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality — the sense of three-dimensional space through which a visitor can move — has begun showing up on the Web. Netscape Navigator 3.0 was the first browser to offer built-in support for Live3D, and QuickTime now supports virtual reality movies.

So far, VR sites are mostly a curiosity, but that's changing. For example, VR lets you explore the Great Pyramid, something impossible in real life. (The Quicktime VR plug-in is required.) Someday, virtual reality might be used to let Web visitors tour museums, battlefields and crime scenes, explore distant planets, and undertake other activities we can't even imagine.

On the commercial side, sharperimage.com is using a 3D Shockwave plug-in, which lets a visitor rotate a product 360 degrees, as well as interact with a product (such as "pressing" buttons to hear selected sounds or "switching on" a product to see how it actually works).

Don't expect VR to sweept the Web anytime soon, though. Chuck Carter, a creator of the CD-ROM hit game Myst, says virtual reality is "a technology that's a long way from becoming useful for everyday applications." He adds, "It's still too slow, and there's too little detail."

But that will undoubtedly change — and as it does, you can tune in here for the latest updates.

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