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Web3D Symposium 2001, Paderborn Germany . Special Report by N. Polys.

First-hand, nth space

We hadn’t been to Paderborn since 1999’s Symposium when the news of Platinum’s layoff of the Cosmo team was the buzz.At that time, despite all the great work being shown and the exciting technologies being demo-d, the community’s optimism was seriously deflated by the news that one of the seminal VRML product lines (Cosmo Worlds, Cosmo FX, Cosmo Player which was born out of SGI) was axed. A lot has happened since then: other VRML players have appeared and improved, other proprietary Web3D formats have proliferated, and the dot-com bubble of over-valuation and over-expenditure has burst. So it was with great curiousity that the VirtuWorlds’ team arrived at this year’s Symposium to check out the scene- the survivors and the success stories...

Hosted by c-lab, Sponsored by ACM, Siggraph, and the Web3D Consortium, the conference was again held at the Heinz-Nixsdorf Museum: a futuristic complex boasting the world’s largest computer museum.This, combined with the history of the town, makes pastoral Paderborn a place of paradox.As a walled city with 5 springs in a fertile valley 1.5 hours East of Cologne, Paderborn was a strategic center for King Charlemagne’s European campaign - he met here with the Pope to christen the Holy Roman Empire in the late 8th century. The architecture of the inner town is typical old-German, and the Cathedral and Rathaus can easily bring one’s mind back to centuries of old.

As with any conference, some of the highlights are getting to meet your colleagues from Working Groups and Mailing lists face to face.We have found that both formal and informal events gave us time to discuss and envision our future work and collaboration. The gathering was already looking pretty good on Sunday evening when we met some other Web3Ders at the Youth Hostel and then at the Ibis Hotel and kicked off the week with a hearty sampling of the local beers…


Structured Design of Virtual Environments and 3D Components
This was a very interesting workshop from our point of view as a number of companies who build Web3D applications discussed and presented their production workflows and philosophies. The bottom line was that pre-meditated, modular design is worth the time outlay in the beginning since built components (models, interactive behaviours) can be re-used and re-configured for custom or later projects.Through this process, companies can build Intellectual Property and company value through their work by producing libraries of Web3D interactivity and content… praise PROTOs! more here!

Educational Applications
The tag team workshop bringing together 6 groups who are pushing the frontiers of learning with their software and applications:

  • Piet Kommers: Imagination through Virtuality for in-depth Learning
  • Aaron Bergstrom and John Bauer: Implementing Virtual Environments for Education and Research at NDSU
  • Ed Sims: Web-based, Interactive Characters for Education and Training
  • Nigel W. John, and Mark Riding: Bringing Web3D Tools to Surgical Procedures Education
  • S.Chakaveh, D.Skaley & U.Zlender: 3D Web Visualisation for E-Learning
  • Tomaz Amon: Biology Education and Web3D in Secondary and Primary Schools 

See the workshop page for more details and links!

VRML200x Node Proposals
This workshop brought together international experts in realtime 3D to formalize suggestions and initiate dialog on some of the new capabilities that could become part of VRML200x (VRML200x is the in-house name for the next version of the VRML ISO standard): nodes concerning complex Appearance, Shadows, camera behaviors, herds & flocks, and database programming access were presented. These proposals will be reviewed and integrated by the Web3D Consortium Specification team.
Bryan Housel of OpenWorlds, Don Brutzman of NPS, Thomas Volk of Blaxxun, Krzysztof Walczak of Poznan University of Economics, Paul Isaacs of Eyematic Interfaces Inc. more here!


See the Rich Media Synopsis!
The Participant's Press Release is here!




1.5 Mg pdf file of the course notes is available from here!

High-Quality 3D Models
Informatics and graphics scientists from the Max Plank Institute and others showed their process for acquiring geometry and appearance information a controlled and efficient manner. Algorithms and techniques of laser scanning, point cloud form fitting, negative space continuity in geometry, lighting and optics, texture acquisition and registration, reflectance properties, mesh processing and smoothing were shown. more here!

Networked Multi-user 3D protocol: new build available here!

An exciting full day mix with hands-on demonstrations and discussions of X3D Tagsets, DTDs, Schema, content, authoring tools, XSLT translations, Scene Authoring Interface (SAI), profiles, componentization, conformance suite, and the XJ3D open-source browser.  Development has been fast and furious with all deliverables over 90% completed.  A new beta Software Development Kit (SDK) chock-full-o-tools, content, and source was released and is available at

Presenters: Don Brutzman, Naval Postgraduate School, X3D Chair; Joe Williams,; Alan Hudson, Yumetech, Source Group Chair; Justin Couch, Author and Java Hacker; Rick Goldberg, Sun Microsystems Java3D; Paul Diefenbach and Bryan Housel, OpenWorlds. more here!

Advanced Features of Cortona VRML client
Covered Advanced Appearance nodes for texturing techniques, combining  ParallelGraphics 3D technologies with HTML, JavaScript and large databases, and VRML automation and external app control.  We look forward to this coursework being published online soon!  Presenter:  Gavin Divilly, Parallel Graphics


Simulation: MATLAB and VRML

Connecting virtual worlds to a technical computing / simulation environment (MATLAB and Simulink).  Excellent Application!!!  See their presentation here.  Presenters: Jan Danek, and Jiri Dluhos



The Trade Show / Exhibition ran from Tuesday through Thursday and a good variety of international companies participated. We will publish a complete listing soon, but some notable booths included OpenWorlds showing the power of their open system: really nice quality bump-maps, shadows, reflection maps, smoke and flame nodes, Shout3D showing their hardware accellerated applets now version 2.0, GOMID who has built a new cross-platform browser -iconnector -that runs HTML, VRML, and H-Anim, Humusoft who integrated the powerful engineering softwares of MATLAB and SIMULINK with VRML visualization, GeoNova who had some very compelling continuous level-of-detail terrain visualizations, SGDL Systems whose light, volumetric 3D description format looked amazing, and of course VirtuWorlds’ 3DeZine who showed their new site design, 3D navigation interface, and held ‘Fireside Chats’ with notable companies’ representatives.

In the relaxed atmosphere of our booth, we held ‘Fireside Chats’ next to the warming heat of a simulated fireplace (Christmas lights in a box), we got some time to chat with the likes of Eric Anschutz & Paul Isaacs (Eyematic Interfaces & shout interactive), Neil Trevett (3Dlabs & Web3D Consortium), Sara Larsson (Cycore), and Paul Diefenbach (OpenWorlds). We will publish these interesting interviews with more detail and include our other virtual guests Holger Grahn & Marc Kaufmann (blaxxun) and Connell Gallagher (ParallelGraphics)!

e-Commerce Tracks

Web3D Consortium Commercial Track
This track highlighted commercial applications of Web3D by giving companies a half hour to present and pitch their products and/or services. Some big names presented here including Sun and SONY. At SONY’s presentation, we got see some video footage showing the capabilities of their Blendo project: the layered integration of 3D and rich media for broadband entertainment applications. Presenters: Sun Microsystems, SONY, Parallel Graphics, SGDL Systems Inc., Open Worlds, VirtuWorlds, Geometrek Inc., GOMID.

VirtuWorlds showed the continued development of The 3DeZine and announced their upcoming web destination: The Web3D Exchange. The mission of the Web3DExchange is to collect and connect the Web3D industry and community into one comprehensive and easy-to-use resource network. At the Web3DExchange, graphics designers, developers, project managers, and IT professionals will find the right combination of products, prices, and information needed to get the job done.

The Web3D Exchange aggregates and facilitates transactions between the buyers and sellers of Web3D media assets, Web3D software, hardware, and Web3D application service companies who develop Web3D projects using that specialized media and software. This vertical integration presents new and significant business opportunities for current and future players in this space. In order to leverage the current grassroots user base, this marketplace will also include individual 3D professionals, artists, and hobbyists united by their passion for real-time 3D graphics. Companies and individuals interested should contact: Timothy Martin, CEO VirtuWorlds LLC

German e-Commerce Day

Kicked off with an address from the German Minister of Finance, this day-long session hosted a series of interesting German companies and firms involved in the Web3D Industry.Illuminating presentations and pitches!
Presenters: 2000cities, Cycore, Interactive Software Solutions GmbH, iTEConsult GmbH, Janet GmbH, myview technologies, VirtualArt, GeoNova, Lunatic, T-Nova, Virtools more here

Web3D RoundUp

See Claudia Kool's report here!




The Role of Java in 3D eCommerce: Marc Kaufmann; blaxxun, Eric Anschutz; shout interactive, Michael Kaufman; Sun Microsystems, Gavin Divilly; ParallelGraphics

Alternative gaming paradigms: redefining the design, theory, and gaming in online games: Linda Vigdor; Whoola, Inc., Kathleen Ruiz; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Margarete Jahrmann; Austria


Published in the Proceedings of the Web3D 2001 Symposium by ACM. See the Titles and Authors here!


Back stateside with the internal clocks reset, we are invigorated and innervated for the adventures of the coming months.  Seeing everyone face to face is a real synergy, and we packed it all in, making progress ‘on’ and ‘off’ the clock!  Thanks everyone!

Striking about the Symposium this year was a dedicated, talented, and optimistic attendance concerned with substance rather than hype: the frontier of Deep Media applications and technology is expanding as more stable and capable real-time 3D environments are developed… when the market reaches critical mass, its going to find a new universe of robust visualization solutions. 

See our collection of Photos!

See Tim's Letter from the Editor for more from Paderborn!

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So we’ll see you here for continued online news and coverage and then at SIGGRAPH in LA this summer.  Web3D 2002 will be held in Pheonix, Arizona… ahhh, the dream of reasonable weather in February!


all the best

und vielen dank!



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