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March 27, 1996

SUPERSCAPE LAUNCHES VISNET 3D BROWSER

By CBR Staff Writer

Superscape VR Plc is hoping to liven up World Wide Web pages and make navigation more intuitive, with the launch of its VisNet three-dimensional virtual reality Web browser (CI No 2,860). VisNet is a plug-in to a standard Web browser, which enables users to view three-dimensional Web pages and worlds created with Superscape’s VRT authoring tools. It is currently available only for Netscape Communications Corp’s Navigator, but Superscape says this is because Netscape is so far the only company to have published its plug-in interface. Superscape says it will plug into Microsoft Corp’s Explorer and others as soon as the interfaces are published. VisNet currently views only worlds created using Superscape’s VRT, but the company says it plans to support new Internet standards as they evolve, such as VRML 2.0 virtual reality modeling language when it is ready. Superscape is giving Visnet away free, but hopes to make its money from sales of its authoring software. The company is about to announce a raft of deals with companies that are taking VRT to create their own virtual reality Web Pages. Northern Telecom Ltd and Intel Corp already have Superscape virtual worlds up on the Web and Superscape says many other companies have signed up to do the same. With Visnet, users will be able to visit Superscape’s Supercity Web site. Ordinary Web page text is displayed on the left of the screen and the Supercity virtual town square appears on the right. Using a navigation tool bar, users can walk through the town square and enter buildings, while associated text on the other side of the screen scrolls up and down. One of the town’s buildings is a gallery, in which examples of virtual worlds and applications can be viewed. These include a technical support example, where the user is taken through installing a graphics board into a personal computer. The clock on the town’s clock tower displays actual time, and is taken from the user’s personal computer clock, as opposed to the main server. Supercity demonstrates many of the features available to VRT Web site authors, including photo-realistic textures, background lighting options, and the ability to drop out into C programming if required. Visnet is available now and can be downloaded from Superscape’s home page on the Internet at https://www.superscape.com.

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