Web3D RoundUp: Looking Backwards and Forwards

Vol.34 No.2 May 2000

DeepWave – Music Visualization

Shane Carroll

Figure 1: Castle Courtyard - explore a medieval narrative.

Figure 2: Theatre - interactive characters on a surreal stage.

Figure 3: Kaleidoscope - dynamic texture mapping.

DeepWave provides immersive and interactive three-dimensional virtual environments that react to music. A stand-alone browser application, it functions as an interface between the popular freeware audio player Nullsoft Winamp and the freeware VRML browser Blaxxun Contact.

Created by Michael Wagner as part of the Geometrek product line, DeepWave takes advantage of the real-time aspect of VRML by allowing access to data in the audio, (e.g. spectrum analysis, mediaTime and volume). This data can be used to control the value of any exposed Field in a VRML node.

DeepWave is aimed at anyone who uses the Internet to access or deliver audio. The application comes with a loader program that launches Winamp for the DeepWave session. You can also run DeepWave as a regular Winamp visualization plug-in. The DeepWave interface features pull-down menus for loading local and remote files, pointers to recent files, links to sample 3D content included in the download and help files. The interface also allows custom skins.

Creating content for DeepWave requires only an understanding of VRML97 and the inclusion of a few small external “protos” (EXTERNPROTOs). Content can be general or created for a specific piece of audio. DeepWave is well suited for the delivery of interactive narrative that goes beyond the traditional music video. The audio can be in any format supported by Winamp. Although the audio output isn’t spatialized inside the VRML environment, channel volume can be dynamically panned left or right depending on the user’s position in the environment.

We presented an alpha version of DeepWave at the Web3D RoundUP. The RoundUP was very exciting, and a bit tricky. Although installing our demo and testing it locally went smoothly, we ought to have rehearsed on the house system because that would have revealed that the house system audio was mono. One third of our live presentation was intended to demonstrate a spatialized streaming radio station - oops! Even so, the exposure was great and generated a lot of discussion and site visits.

There are some other products on the market similar in nature to DeepWave, but they use a proprietary format, require a specially installed toolkit and don’t allow the same navigational freedom found in VRML scenes. Geometrek is working on a beta release of DeepWave and ultimate plans include adding the functionality of DeepMatrix, our multiuser product.

For more information and download, visit

Shane Carroll

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