The Multi-Platinum Music Project, Enigma, Has Their French Fan Website Use 3DXplorer!

Enigma is an international multi-platinum music project who has a wide fan-base and an active Online following.  Enigma’s French fan Website, French Enigma Forum, has recently selected 3DXplorer to create their own immersive Online 3D social space (click to launch).

Enigma originally formed in Germany and released their first album in 1990.  They have since relocated to Ibiza, Spain and have released a total of seven albums.  Many of Enigma’s songs have been featured in popular television shows and movies.  Their latest album, “Seven Lives, Many Faces” was released in September of 2008 and produced nearly a half million Online listens in just two days.

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The French fan Website, French Enigma Forum, has been live for two years and was created by Benjamin Fleurent (popularly known as, “Buzz”).  Buzz decided that 3DXplorer would be the right match for his latest Online project… the creation of an immersive Online 3D space where fans could gather, interact and celebrate the site’s second anniversary.  3DXplorer is browser-based, easy to develop and does not require users to install plug-ins or client downloads.  Buzz was able to create their Online 3D social space in less than a few hours, like most 3DXplorer users.

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This is exciting news for Enigma and the French Enigma Forum as they now have an engaging and personal environment for their Online fan community to meet and socialize.  The news is also exciting for 3DXplorer, as exposure to this particular international community moves the technology further forward.

When you visit the French Enigma Forum 3D social space take note of the very special real-time effects and capabilities :

  • Video links that launch Enigma clips (click the wall-mounted flat screen)
  • Highly reflective textures (especially noticeable on the stools in the bar/lounge area)
  • The background musical ambiance

All of this is available for free.  Any Webmaster can create their own lobby or space for Online gatherings and events.  The spaces can be customized to suit any type of business, association or group.

Enjoy it!

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Oracle’s Acquisition of Sun Microsystems is a Giant Step Forward for Java!

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has signaled that once the $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems is completed, he’ll push aggressively for broader use of Java software — by challenging Google and Microsoft, among others, in developing programs for netbooks, mobile devices and office productivity.

Ellison stated, “I think you’ll see lots and lots of Java devices, some coming from our friends at Google, but I don’t see why some of the devices shouldn’t come from Sun-Oracle,” he said. “There will be computers fundamentally based on Java and JavaFX, devices based on Java and JavaFX, not only from Google but also from Sun.”  Ellison even mentioned he wants to use Sun’s JavaFX Web development tools to beef up OpenOffice, a set of programs developed to rival Microsoft’s Office franchise.

3DXplorer, being Java-based and currently the only immersive and interactive 3D Online development platform which is browser-based and plug-in-less, will have significantly more development applications and an even broader market reach.  As a true enterprise software company, Oracle and its acquisition, is a giant step forward for Java.  3DXplorer developers and users will be in an ideal position to benefit greatly from this push for broader Java use!

3D in a Browser ? Oh really ?

Last week, at the GDC in San Francisco, the Khronos group announced an initiative to bring accelerated 3D graphics to the web. At Altadyn, we have been long time believers of web 3D through a browser, since the company’s inception in 2002, so we were curious what is new in this initiative, as were some of 3DXplorer users. This short Q/A list helps better positioning this news.

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Is this a new web 3D platform ? No it’s not a platform comparable to 3DXplorer , OpenSim or other platforms, as it’s missing many components of a platform; It’s missing the 3D engine to start with.

What is this initiative promoting ? Before promoting anything, with this initiative, Khronos, Mozilla and to some extent Google, have joined those who believe that 3D on the web will be within a browser, and without any download. To do so, they are promoting several technologies: 1) OpenGL as a graphics library for accelerating animations and rendering on any computer. 2) Javascript, as an open, light, portable, web language for programming. 3) Mozilla’s browser (Firefox) and other products.

What is it exactly ? The proposed spec is a light wrapper on top of OpenGL ES 2.0, with some changes to support some JavaScript pleasantries.

What problem does it solves? It will enable web developers, mainly game developers, to develop browser-based games which will use hardware accelerator boards.

Which companies or technologies is this announcement aiming at ? Microsoft and Adobe are the clear targets. (explains why Google endorsed it). Without a seamless 3D accelerator with Open GL, game developers may be attracted by either DirectX and other Microsoft environments, or the proprietary flash language from Adobe, both becoming less interesting than the universal Javascript and the powerful Open GL

Conclusion: This vision is very similar and close to our vision at Altadyn, the one which is leading 3DXplorer’s road map. As you know, already since early 2008, we have actually delivered a web3D platform which is using OpenGL, programmable in Javascript, and executable within a browser (Mozilla’s browser, but also other competitive browser, actually any browser). So we have a kind of “déjà vu” impression, but still delighted to see that this trend is strengthened and to notice that more organizations are working on more adoptions of browser-based, plug-in-less, web3D platforms.

Browser-based and plug-in-less: 2 different levels of accessibility in web3D.

Web3D has made huge progress recently in terms of accessibility! Just a few years ago, the only available 3D Internet applications were games and a few virtual worlds like Second Life, that require installation of “thick” software components, each with their own proprietary user interfaces.

The power of the web no longer has to be proven. The web architecture has become one of the strongest standards in the history of technology, together with the underlying IP infrastructure architecture which has been so open and robust that it enabled the integration of  other networks like voice, and now mobile networks. Reasons for the strength of the web standard are its openness, its thinness, its simplicity, and the hyperlink concept enabling navigation.

This is why web3D developers are looking for open, thin, simple 3D spaces that can be hyperlinked to each other and customized with standard web tools such as html, javascript and PHP, and consequently are looking for browser-based technologies to satisfy these criteria.

In the past few months several browser-based technologies have been either newly introduced or repackaged from older technologies. This is good progress, as it standardizes the user interface, but it’s not enough, especially if the technology still requires the user to download and install proprietary software, which can sometimes be 50MB or more. In most cases, for more advanced tools and applications, the installation of an Active-X control is required. Some installation processes are presented particularly well, and for a standalone Windows user with Internet Explorer the installation process can be smooth, however, the reality is that the proprietary software (i.e., plug-in) has been installed on the computer for good! This type of installation is a problem in most business environments where it is common for IT managers in mid-size or large corporations to prevent the installation of software from external sources for obvious reasons (i.e., security, reliability, quality. etc.). Thus, since offices cannot access 3D worlds and applications based on technologies that require the installation of proprietary software, they do not satisfy the need for widespread accessibility that is a requirement for much wider adoption of web3D. Moreover, Active-X plug-ins do not support Mac or Linux machines whose market shares are growing every day.

Browser based technologies are to be considered in two categories:


* Those requiring installation of a plug-in, with the following issues:
    o Difficulty installing in a corporate environment due to IT policies and firewall incompatibilities
    o Rarely cross-platform
    o Need for the end-user’s action for regular update of the application
    o Less market penetration due to the end-user’s lack of trust to unknown plug-ins
Those thin “plug-in-less” technologies enabling web-native applications that are fully compliant with standard web navigation. These technologies are necessarily based on one of the following underlying web technologies:
    o Flash: not offering any immersive walkthrough possibility
    o Silverlight: seems promising, although likely not ready for prime time for quite a while, as well as not being multi-platform
    o Java: The only viable technology available , enabling plug-in-less web3D

3DXplorer is one of the rare technologies from this last category that is available today, offering immersive 3D worlds, web sites and applications all in a browser-based and plug-in-less environment, enabling web3D in the exact same architecture as the web itself.

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