About THL > Help > THL Home Resources > THL Home Help > Help with Three-Dimensional Objects
The use of three-dimensional objects on the Web remains, unfortunately, without adequate support or standardization. An older technology to allow for interactive three-dimensional content was the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), which has now been replaced largely by a new standard that grew out of it referred to as X3D. One of the biggest drawbacks to either is that support for their use does not come automatically in browsers, but rather has to be added in via special plugins. These plugins are free and easy to install, but unfortunately many users don't want to take the time to do. In addition, as VRML has become replaced by X3D, the older plugins have worked increasingly erratic with new versions of the various browsers, and you have to be concerned with the type of browser, version of browser, type of operating system, and version of operating system. Finally, the precise nature of controls and functions varies, so instructions are specific to which plugin you are using. See below for details on various plugins and browsers.
Our main three-dimensional project is an immersive reconstruction of Meru Nyingpa Monastery in Lhasa. This fully interactive virtual model of the complex allows visitors to explore the spaces of Meru Nyingpa. Links inside the monastery rooms and spaces provide detailed information and visual media of each space, while audio samples taken from the actual site provide a sense of the sounds of the community inhabiting these spaces.
If the frame on the left does not load the entrance to the monastery (give it some time if you have a slow connection - this is a whole monastery!), you probably need to install a viewer - see below for links. One you are at the entrance to the monastery, you may "walk" through the grounds, enter the main temple, even go upstairs and examine the rooms. Click on the blue wheels that appear in different rooms or areas to see pictures and video taken at Meru Nyingpa, as well as short textual descriptions of the corresponding room or area.
Cortona worked great in previous versions of Firefox, but with Firefox 3.0 it caused any pages with VRMLs to crash the entire browser. Octaga 2. 3 and 2.2 both crash Firefox as well. At this point Firefox itself seems defective and we can only recommend not using Firefox 3.0 for viewing VRMLs.
In contrast to Firefox, IE works great with Cortona and Octaga's most recent versions.
We recommend FreeWRL for use on a Mac.
http://cic.nist.gov/vrml/vbdetect.html is a great survey of all the various plugins and players that can be used with VRMLs and X3D three-dimensional objects. We have not at present tested all of these plugins and players, and would be happy to hear of users' experiences with them.
|BS Contact J*||A||X||X||X||X||X||X||http://www.bitmanagement.com/products/bs_contact_j.en.html|
Types: P-plugin, S-standalone program, T-toolkit, A-applet (* - Purchasing a license removes the product logo)
- Cosmo Player
VRML and X3D Plugins:
- BS Contact
- Flux Player
- Free WRL
- Octaga Player
- Open VRML
There are also many programs which are stand alone programs that can play VRMLs and/or X3Ds without browsers or plugins:
- InstantPlayer (Multi-platform)
- Octaga Player (Windows, Linux)
- Flux Player (Windows, toolkit)
- BS Contact (Windows)
- SwirlX3D (Windows)
- Xj3D (Multi-platform, toolkit)
- FreeWRL (Linux, Mac)
- OpenVRML (Linux, Mac, toolkit)
- Java 3D VRML Loader (Toolkit)
- Orbisnap (Multi-platform)
- Demotride (Windows)
- Deep View (Windows)
- Myriad 3D Reader (Windows)
- Alteros 3D (Windows)
- Heilan X3D Browser (Windows, Linux, toolkit)
- Carina (Multi-platform)
- VRMLView (Windows, Linux)
- SimVRML (Mac)
- MobiX3D (PDA)
- X3D Tool Kit (Toolkit)
- Open ActiveWrl (Toolkit)
- CyberX3D (Toolkit)
- BS Contact J* (Applet)
- Vivaty Player (formerly Flux Player)
- blaxxun Contact
- Pivoron Player
- RTI 3D Model Viewer
Version: As of August 18, 2008, 2.3 was the version of the new beta player, and 2.2 ws still the only official release.
This is the the most current of the plugins, and is actively supporting newer X3d technologies, while maintaining backwards compatibility with VMRL models.
Please notice that the automated installation often does not work, in which case the same page offers a manual download for installation. Cortona is no longer an active project and only supports VRML.
Though it is not technically supported on newer platforms, many users prefer the Cosmo Player. It seems to work fine on Windows 2000 and XP as well as Mac OS9. Cortona is no longer an active project and only supports VRML.
This is an open source VRML and X3D browser for Mac OSX and Linux.