February 13, 1998
(Monterey, California) Sony Corporation today announced the development of prototype software based on the 'Living Worlds' proposal. It plans to demonstrate the software during the VRML98 conference held at the Doubletree Hotel in Monterey, California from February 16-19, 1998.
The new software allows users of different Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) browsers to connect to Sony's Community Place Bureau multi-user server system. Once connected, users appear as 3-D animated creatures called 'avatars' that can interact using avatar animation, text-based chat, and shared-object functions.
The prototype is based on the industry proposed "Living Worlds" specifications for VRML-based multi-user systems. Sony is an active member of the Living Worlds Working Group, an industry association supported by more than 30 companies, and a major proponent for international standardization of VRML software.
Sony produces and sells Community Place VRML browser and server software for building multi-user virtual worlds on the Internet. It designed its Living Worlds software to work with any browser supporting both Java and VRML97- the ISO standard for VRML.
The demonstration will feature two PCs- one using Sony's Community Place browser and another using Intervista Software Inc.'s WorldView 2.1 browser- through a server running Sony's Community Place Bureau server software.
Sony chose WorldView, one of the most popular VRML compliant browsers, to ensure seamless, real-time, multi-user interaction. WorldView is interoperable with Sony's Community Place PR2 VRML browser. It can support Sony's Community Place Bureau multi-user server by using the Living Worlds prototype software.
"WorldView has played a critical role in the development of standards-based, networked interactive 3D," said Tony Parisi, CEO of Intervista Software. "We are extremely pleased Sony has chosen to work with WorldView to enhance social computing over the Internet, and will continue to work closely with Sony to drive the adoption of Living Worlds."
Akikazu Takeuchi, president of Sony's Platform Software Development Center, said, "The development of Living Worlds will benefit everyone. It will standardize the authoring process for 3-D multi-user worlds on ISO-standard VRML compliant browsers. We expect it to become a foundation on which other Internet-based, interactive 3-D entertainment and platform software applications will be built."
This event marks the first successful application of technology based on the Living Worlds proposal. Sony plans not only to further develop the technology and make it a standard feature in its Community Place software, but also to press for the industrywide acceptance of the Living Worlds proposal.