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May 15, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:35pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Getting ever closer, Hewlett-Packard Co and Microsoft Corp are betting new high-speed, cross-platform visualization software called DirectModel combined with Redmond’s DirectX APIs will help them topple Silicon Graphics Inc from its position as the leading supplier of three-dimensional graphics systems. DirectModel, which will ship as part of HP-UX and NT system software developer kits initially – and with other Unixes later – is claimed to enable developers to render large amounts of visual data at speeds 100 faster than times current performance levels. HP says developers will be able to create prototypes of very complicated products in a fraction of the time it takes now. Moreover because Microsoft Corp will integrate DirectModel into its DirectX APIs for creating internet content and services – and HP has licensed DirectX for inclusion in HP-UX – it means collaborative modeling and prototyping can be done across platforms and across the internet. It is also cross-application. Fourteen of the leading CAD/CAM ISVs say they will incorporate DirectModel APIs – there’s no library as such – into their applications. Theoretically it will enable a company to see all of its product parts which may be stored in several different application formats, from multiple platforms, all at the same time. DirectModel will enable a computer to process and display only that data which is necessary to get the job done, the companies say. HP co-developed DirectModel with 3D software specialist Engineering Animation Inc, of Ames, Iowa, in 12 months. HP paid the company a one-off development fee and has licensed DirectModel back to it. DirectModel will be implemented upon other 3D graphics APIs including OpenGL, Direct3D, StarBase and others. It will be optimized to work with other DirectX components. Microsoft will put its VRML2 browser on top of DirectModel to make large VRML viewing possible, it says. ISV support includes AutoDesk, Parametric, SDRC, Template Graphics, Computervision and Sens8.

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