VRML consortium broadens horizons

The VRML Consortium, which focuses on 3D Web technologies that use the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), is looking to expand its charter to include all 3D technologies, the organisation announced at the Siggraph '98 conference in Florida recently.

In moving beyond VRML, the consortium will embrace technologies such as content streaming, binary file compression, integration of Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Dynamic HTML (DHTML), and sample source code implementations.

The charter proposal has been approved by the 50-member consortium's board of directors and is pending member ratification in August. After member approval, the VRML Consortium will officially change its name to reflect the increased scope of the organisation, officials said.

"The expanded charter builds on the fundamental vision that created the VRML Consortium," said Neil Trevett, president of the VRML Consortium, in a statement. "Our doors are now open to provide a united forum where Consortium members can spread the adoption of 3D on the Web through cooperation, not conflict."

Meanwhile, Microsoft moved ahead with its new, Windows-centric 3-D multimedia technology, code named Chrome and now dubbed Chromeffects.

On August 17, Microsoft will make available for download the first SDK for Chromeffects, which is expected to ship in 1999. With Chromeffects, Microsoft hopes to let developers add multimedia features to HTML by exposing DirectX to HTML authors.

The SDK will include a library of image and 3D effects, as well as tools and add-ins from third parties such as Live Picture, MetaCreations, and Zapa Digital Arts.