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Web3D RoundUp: Looking Backwards and Forwards

Vol.34 No.2 May 2000
ACM SIGGRAPH


Why Participate in the Web3D RoundUP?



Claudia Cavallar
UMA Holding







I remember my first Web3D RoundUP very vividly. VRML98, in Monterey, was my first time at a CG conference, and my first time presenting anything. I spent the whole evening in absolute terror. Ours was the next-to-last slot and everybody else presenting was just so brilliant that we thought ‘how dare we…!’

Anyway - we dared. We were showing a huge science encyclopedia in 3D with a special interface we had developed. One minute into the presentation I’m sweating (notes are strictly forbidden and rehearsals are for wimps, remember?) Two minutes into the demo I realize people are standing on top of the tables and frantically squeezing their frogs (the gizmos to ‘voice’ your approval). We made it - the audience loved it. The rest of the time was just so thrilling - it took us an hour to leave the auditorium and reach the bar. People would congratulate us, offer advice, praise, criticism, suggestions, compare notes.

Since then, we’ve taken part in most of the Web3D RoundUPs - showing very diverse projects. We started with schafft:wissen - a scientific universe, and people seemed to love the spatial interface we developed. To access the entries in this interactive encyclopedia you swim across a sea of interconnected, molecule-like structures that unfold to reveal their content and contract to explain the connections between scientific disciplines.

These structures were the groundwork for NAMEisBOND, a 3D search engine that uses tree-like structures to assist users in making a query, and then organizes the results in a spatial grid. These are visually stunning as well as revealing a lot about the nature of your information catch. We also showed commercial applications – one such example concerns an apartment building here in Vienna, where you can visit the 30th floor on-line without having to wait for the builders to finish!

As a company working with 3D for the web (either as content developer or as a technology company), you just cannot afford to miss being at the Web3D RoundUPs for a number of reasons. First: the whole format is a riot. Where else are you given hilarious gadgets to voice your assent and dissent, and, even better, where else can you shoot down presenters with a nerf gun!

The whole setup spurs presenters to new heights of conciseness. Which is the next reason why the RoundUP is unique: it has one of the best time-to-information-gain-ratios ever. All you ever wished to know about a project, a product, an application is delivered to you in three minutes.

Another reason to take part in the Web3D RoundUP is the audience, which is fantastic. The people attending know what they see, they think while watching and are always willing to give their five cents: so, presenting is a very efficient way for making interesting contacts and getting valuable feedback from professionals. Some of the best people I worked with I met through a Web3D RoundUP presentation.

But the most important reason, the very raison d’ętre of the Web3D RoundUP, is the enormous degree of talent and capability you encounter (courtesy of the rather picky jury). If I were a talent scout needing a quick shakedown of what is happening and what will be possible, that would be the place to start looking.

For all these reasons, we always try to squeeze the Web3D RoundUP into our production schedules. This year we’re planning to take a couple of projects that will be absolutely fresh; meaning so new we’re working like mad to get them ready: new real estate applications that we believe will take interactive 3D to new levels and open up very interesting perspectives for marketing in that sector. We also have new developments for the NAMEisBOND search engine to show. Modest as we are, we’re also taking on the navigation/interaction issue from new angles. So watch out!

Claudia Cavallar
Chief Creative Officer
UMA Holding
Breitegasse 3/2
a-1070 Vienna
Austria

Tel: +43-1-526-29-67
Fax: +43-1-526-29-67-11



The copyright of articles and images printed remains with the author unless otherwise indicated.