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3D DIRECT • February 26, 2001

Word to Your Motherboard

by Abby Albrecht

A New Cult

Cycore announced the release of Cult3D v5.2, its product visualization technology. Major developments in version 5.2 of Cult3D include Tooltips and Cult Objects (.co). Tooltips gives designers the ability to display text over 3D objects, providing instructions to users on how to manipulate and interact with the objects they are viewing. Cult Objects enables developers to import and merge separate .co files into other .co files, so that 3D environments with multiple objects (.co) can be broken down into separate files—resulting in smaller file sizes and faster downloads. Other new features of Cult3D 5.2 include communication between a Cult3D object and JavaScript in the surrounding Web page. Developers can now use familiar web user interface elements such as buttons and list boxes to control the appearance and behavior of Cult3D objects. Similarly, Cult3D objects can be configured to trigger JavaScript events when certain parts of an object are clicked by the user. Another feature is 70KB size reduction of the Cult3D Viewer, ensuring faster download for users. The ability to load and merge external resources such as bitmaps or sound files while viewing a Cult3D object through Java is another of its features.

A Magical New Class

Side Effects Software revealed a new "Waterfall" training course ($300) for March, 2001. This course will take students through the setup and render of a complete waterfall scene. The topics covered include integration of still imagery, compositing, particle systems, modeling, materials, and rendering. The goal of this class is to use several of the Side Effects Software Houdini editors in conjunction with each other. Students must first take a free Houdini introductory workshop and have a working knowledge of Houdini.

The introductory workshop is a guide to understanding the Houdini interface, including essential tips, shortcuts, and keyboard techniques. This class includes an introduction to the Object, SOP, Material, Composite, and Output editors.

Making Contact

Blaxxun interactive introduced its new 3D client, blaxxun Contact v5.0. The free browser/plug-in enables the visualization of 3D objects as well as navigation in 3D virtual worlds. The new version of blaxxun Contact allows drag and drop movement for objects in virtual worlds as well as the ability to import objects into the 3D world. Surface effects like reflection or metallic surfaces have also been improved. Now with particle systems; fog, snow, and rain can be produced. Layering techniques allow explanation features with pointers, which can be directed independently from the object that is being demonstrated. The same technology can be used to create an instrument panel for a flight simulator. During installation, existing components are recognized, so only new components are downloaded. The new client gives 3D Web site designers additional ways to define navigation and types of movement. For Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT.

Immersing in the Web

Immersion Corp., announced the release of several new software tools including Immersion Studio v4.0. Immersion Studio v4.0 allows developers to conceive, design, and implement touch sensations that correspond to onscreen events within their Web pages and software programs. Version 4.0 adds advanced support for sound synchronization and new tactile feedback mouse products such as the Logitech iFeel Mouse and iFeel MouseMan.

Other new software tool releases include: a clip art effects library, loaded with hundreds of unique tactile sensations for touch-enabled mice, joysticks, wheels and gamepads; a Visual Basic tutorial that allows developers to add Immersion TouchSense technology to their Microsoft Visual Basic applications using the Immersion Web ActiveX Control; a Macromedia Shockwave kit for Web pages that use Macromedia Shockwave; and a Macromedia Dreamweaver extension suite to implement tactile feedback effects into Web pages. Immersion's TouchSense Developer Toolkit is currently available at no charge on Immersion's Web site.

Abby Albrecht is the Web editor for 3Dgate. She's been listening to "Ice, Ice Baby." She needs help. You can reach her at [email protected].