3DXplorer V4 Live – Multiuser 3D worlds with Avatars and User-Generated Content!

Well the big news this month is that 3DXplorer V4 has been released and is live at www.3dxplorer.com.

With V4 now any 3D world can now be “avatar enabled” allowing multiple visitors to explore and interact in real-time with avatars on any computer and browser.  So 3DXplorer is now multiuser, one of the remaining key features we have been working hard to get out the door.

Virtual Benaroya Hall with Avatars

Virtual Benaroya Hall with Avatars

Visitors are now able to define their “universal avatar” once and enter any virtual world, 3D web site or casual game with the same avatar or personality.

AVW Headquarters with Avatar

AVW Headquarters with Avatar

An integrated avatar configurator allows visitors to choose their avatar’s sex, face, hair, clothes and accessories such as hats or glasses.

3DXplorer Avatar Configurator

3DXplorer Avatar Configurator

Avatars support a variety of animated actions, moods and interactions with other avatars, including walking, running, head shakes for yes and no, handshakes, hugs, laughing, yawning, dancing and more. Text chat along with integrated Skype calling is also supported.

 

In addition to choosing to enable avatars, you can limit the number of avatars that may enter a world, as well as protecting worlds with a password. New avatars can be created with a free avatar creation kit that includes guidelines for new avatars, as well as 3ds Max models of standard avatar skeletons.

You can check out the 3DXplorer V4 demonstration video here.

Examples of 3D virtual worlds created in 3DXplorer that are avatar-enabled can be visited at the following links: 

Seattle’s Benaroya Hall

Association of Virtual Worlds

Avalonn Picasso museum

Note that the first is the virtual Benaroya Hall mentioned in a previous blog post, and the second is the virtual Headquarters of the Association of Virtual Worlds whose Executive Director Dave Elchoness had the following to say:

“3DXplorer V4 just took a giant leap forward with its multiuser environment and support for live, custom avatars.  Now any web site can include an interactive 3D world, like a corporate web site staffed by company greeters who can answer questions or show off realistic 3D products, and all you do is click a link. It’s because of this accessibility that the Association of Virtual Worlds selected 3Dxplorer V4 for its virtual headquarters.” 

All you have to do to create your own avatar is to sign up at www.3DXplorer.com  in the upper left “Get a 3D Avatar” section.  Also, if you already have a 3DXplorer world, sign in to the “Build Your Own 3D World” section at the upper right, and edit your world to enable avatars.  And of course, to create a new 3D world, just sign up for free.

This brings up a question I have gotten from time to time.  Why have two logins?  Well, while many businesses or individuals will do both – create avatars and 3D worlds – it won’t always be the case.  In fact, we believe it will be commonplace for many users to simply want to create an avatar to visit existing 3D worlds without having to set up an account to allow them to create their own worlds. It is similar tro the difference between an end user and a developer.  Of course, it’s easy to do both, we just wanted it to be drop dead simple to create an avatar with minimal information required from the user.  To create an avatar, all you need to do is pick a name for your avatar and choose a password.  No other info is required, although there are fields for optional information like an email address so we can send you updates and announcements , Skype ID for integrated Skype calls and so on. 

3DXplorer V4 also extends support for user-generated content using commonly available design and modeling tools by adding the ability to import 3D data in the popular COLLADA format. Modeling tools supporting COLLADA include Maya, 3ds Max, LightWave 3D, Softimage|XSI; Houdini; MeshLab, SketchUp, Blender and others. COLLADA is also Google Earth’s native format, and it’s supported by Google SketchUp and the Google 3D Warehouse providing access to a huge amount of existing 3D models such as buildings, furniture, vehicles, etc.

For instance, here is an example I quickly did myself, and if I can do it anyone can.  I downloaded a model of the Sydney Opera House that was modeled in SketchUp and uploaded to the 3D Warehouse here.

I then was able to import that into 3DXplorer using the online studio:

Sydney Opera House Imported into 3DXplorer with COLLADA

Sydney Opera House Imported into 3DXplorer with COLLADA

And now here I am in 3DXplorer with the newly imported opera House, checking it out from the front and from the side (note that you can click on the thumbnails to get large views):

Opera House in 3DXplorer

Opera House in 3DXplorer

And here I am inside the Opera House looking out at the front:

Opera House From Inside

Opera House From Inside

Now granted for the inside view one needs to model the inside, but you get the idea. Now check this out; here I am in the Opera House with my avatar meeting with another avatar:

Opera House with Avatars

Opera House with Avatars

Hey why not visit it yourself. It’s here: 3DXplorer Sydney Opera House Virtual World. (don’t be surprised; I have disabled the collision detection for a quick exploration there.)

Now I did all this in less than an hour.  I found the SketchUp model, imported it into 3DXplorer, imbedded it in our web site and visited it with avatar and interacted with others — and I am not technical whiz.  Imagine that hundreds of thousands of models of buildings, structures, and so on, real, from the past or complete imaginary, modeled in SketchUp, Revit, AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Maya, whatever, with new ones being created every day that are accessible to anyone on the web with a persistent universal avatar by just clicking a link.  And better, they can be visited by multiple people at a time that can interact, chat, talk via Skype and so on.  This is cool.

COLLADA support extends 3DXplorer’s ability to import 3D data in industry standard formats, including the 3DS format supported by Autodesk’s 3ds Max, along with a variety of other applications such as AutoCAD, Revit, Rhino, and many others. An API is also provided enabling custom development of 3D web applications including casual games, collaborative tools, CAD/PLM environments, online meetings, product configurators, eLearning, and many others.

In the words of Nate Randall, Founder of RCE Universe: “This is revolutionary. 3DXplorer lets you create your own world, your own city, your own room, your own items all of which are now easily accessible by everyone who has access to a computer and the Internet. And now with V4 it’s fully multiuser with your own avatars…without a download, and it’s seamless!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

You can read the full press release here which includes a number of great quotes from industry analysts and experts.

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Virtual Benaroya – Replicating Famous Places as 3D Worlds


In July we announced the creation of a 3D virtual version of the Benaroya Hall in Seattle, home of the Seattle symphony. It’s now possible for anyone to simply click a link to visit most spaces of the Hall in full immersive 3D, walking down the corridors, up staircases, and exploring rooms, all in real-time.

Three rooms in the Benaroya Hall can be visited at the following links:

Grand Lobby

Entry Way

Founders’ Room

Benaroya Location in Downtown Seattle

Benaroya Location in Downtown Seattle

If you haven’t been to the Benaroya, it’s a beautiful concert hall right in the middle of the city at the corner of 3rd and University, a few minutes’ walk from the historic Pike Place Market opened in 1907 where you can catch fishmongers slinging whole salmon fresh off the boat.

Opened in September 1998, the design of Benaroya Hall houses two performing halls in a complex that is integrated into downtown Seattle. Occupying an entire city block at the center of the city, the development celebrates the role of performance events while maintaining the continuity of commercial life and providing a much-needed public space, in the form of a terraced garden. Including Seattle Symphony events, Benaroya Hall hosts hundreds of public and private events, conferences and shows such as the Casual Games Association’s “Casual Connect Seattle” conference. In fact, the rooms above were created for the Casual Games Association in conjunction with their Casual Connect Seattle 2008 conference held in July.

Benaroya Location in Downtown Seattle

Benaroya Location in Downtown Seattle

You can also learn more about the Benaroya from their web site here.

The virtual Benaroya Hall is a great example of how web3D can be used to enable people located anywhere in the world to experience an environment in full 3D.  Whether the place actually exists, as in this case, or used to exist such as an ancient monument like the Roman Forum in Rome, or will exist in the future, as in the case of planned construction by an architect or a home builder, or it is completely imaginary, like a social virtual world, a 3D casual game, a company’s web site, it can be visited and explored interactively.

For a concert hall like the Benaroya, it’s easy to see how 3DXplorer can be used to promote upcoming events such as concerts or conferences, creating impressions and emotions that just wouldn’t be possible with a 2D medium like a photo. This is just the beginning of an open and widely accessible 3D virtual universe, populated with both real and imaginary spaces, and to visit all you do is click a link.

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