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3D Shockwave? James Khazar gives us details

July 25, 2000
by the DOUG staff

At SIGGRAPH today, Macromedia and Intel announced "joint development efforts to bring Intel's Internet 3D Graphics software technology to the Macromedia ® ShockwaveTM Player." This has huge implications for Shockwave developers, so we contacted James Khazar, Macromedia's Director Developer Relations guru to try to get more info on what's going on. It's apparent that Macromedia is being very careful about exactly what is being disclosed, but it's not too hard to read between the lines. Judge for yourself.

DOUG: What are Intel and Macromedia announcing?
JK: Intel and Macromedia have teamed up to bring pervasive, high quality 3D technology to the web. Today we are announcing our commitment to work together.

DOUG: When do you expect to have products in the market based on this collaboration?
JK: It is too early to disclose those details.

DOUG: Will this technology be cross platform?
JK: Yes

DOUG: Is this the next version of Director?
JK: Our announcements at this point are purely about our commitment to work with Intel, how we plan to bring 3D to the web with the Shockwave player. We are not yet prepared to talk about future versions of Director.

DOUG: Shockwave content is only made with Director right?
JK: Yes.

DOUG: When is the next version of Director?
JK: We as a company never make pre-announcements for plans about future products. With Director, subsequent versions typically come out every 12-15 months; we just released Director 8 in March of 2000. Customers are having great success with the current version.

DOUG: Are you announcing a new Shockwave Player?
JK: We are announcing new functionality that will soon be possible within the Shockwave Player.

DOUG: How did you make the demos you're showing at SIGGRAPH this year if this 3D technology isn't the next version of Director?
JK: The 3D demo's were built with an alpha version of new Macromedia technology. Today we are not at liberty to discuss the authoring tool.

DOUG: How will the everyday user get the player to see the 3D content?
JK: Shockwave Player has an installed base of over 137 million users, we have fantastic partnerships with distributors, the player is included with operating systems on new computers, and we offer free distribution for intranets and CD ROMS. Shockwave Player users will have immediate access to 3D through Shockwave's auto-update feature.

DOUG: Do you have support from the leaders in the 3D space?
JK: Yes. Leaders such as SoftImage, Discreet, Alias and NxView are all behind us.

DOUG: What is the Intel Web 3D Engine with Adaptive 3D Geometry?
JK: Intel's Web 3D Engine Software provides developers with an extensible platform to create and deliver scalable 3D content to the web. This new technology utilizes Adaptive 3D Geometry, a set of algorithms designed to deliver scalable, high performance 3D content to the web. It was developed by the Intel Architecture Labs.

DOUG: How is Intel Web 3D Engine technology geared for the Internet?
JK: Web 3D Engine technology incorporates Intel developed Adaptive 3D Geometry Technologies, like Multi-resolution mesh, Subdivision Surfaces, and advanced streaming and compression technologies, which allows for delivery of compelling 3D content on the Internet-even through narrow-bandwidth connections.

DOUG: What makes Intel's Web 3D Engine better than current 3D technologies on the Web?
JK: We feel that Intel Web 3D Engine technology is a great "total package" 3D rendering engine that, when integrated with Shockwave, will deliver interactive, compelling, bandwidth friendly content to a majority of web users. · Enable more realistic shopping experiences and the most immersive interactive web entertainment. Shockwave 3D integrates interactive 3D elements with text, graphics, vectors, video and audio. · Deliver compelling interactive 3D with small compressed files giving web users immediate 3D experiences for the best in commerce and web based entertainment. · Macromedia Shockwave's vast reach and the Intel 3D technology enable a whole new generation of online services for all web users.

DOUG: Will developers be able to create 3D content using Intel's Web 3D Engine technology?
JK: Intel Web 3D Engine technology is a playback and rendering technology that will be integrated into Shockwave. We are not yet at liberty to discuss the authoring component for Intel Web 3D Engine technology, but there will be authoring tools available for content creators.

DOUG: Is this software optimized for SSE or SSE 2? MMX?
JK: Yes. It is optimized for all those instructions.

DOUG: What optimizations were made for those instructions? Will this be better on a Pentium 4 processor?
JK: Intel Web 3D Engine will take advantage of the latest graphics enhancing instruction sets included on Intel's latest processors. The adaptive 3D geometry technology will also allow content to scale up to the available processing power - the more powerful the processor, the richer the content.

DOUG: What software rendering technology will be used?
JK: Intel Web 3D Engine technology in Shockwave will support Direct X 5.x and 7.x, and OpenGL.

DOUG: How does the software work? What are the key features?
JK: Intel Web 3D Engine technology software resides on the client and renders 3D content or interactive applications that have been downloaded or are streamed in. The Intel Web 3D Engine technology, which is the native 3D playback technology, utilizes Adaptive 3D Geometry -- advanced scalability technologies (Multi Resolution Mesh, Subdivision Surfaces), rendering technologies (Non Photo Realistic Rendering, texture, lighting, etc.), behavior technologies (particle systems, physics, etc.), and bandwidth reduction technologies (Bones Animation, Advanced Streaming & Compression) to deliver to the end-user compelling, fully interactive Web 3D content.

DOUG: You say this software is scalable. What do you mean by that? Will I see a difference on the screen when I use a high end PC vs. a low end system?
JK: One of the key features of Intel Web 3D Engine is it's adaptive 3d geometry technology, which includes Multi-Resolution Mesh technology (MRM). MRM allows for the delivery of 3D content that can adjust resolution on the client based on whatever parameters the developers decide to use (i.e. processor speed, frame rate, distance, etc.). MRM enables developers to deliver content that will scale to a large range of processor speeds - so content can play on slower machines, but will increase in resolution as the CPU speed increases. Intel Internet 3D Graphics technology also uses subdivision surfaces which allows for the deliver of more simplified geometry across the wire that is then scaled up on the client - providing bandwidth scalability and delivering smooth 3D graphics even through narrow-bandwidth connections.

DOUG: Do you need a broadband connection to get good 3D quality? Can I get good 3D from A 56K modem?
JK: No, you do not need a broadband connection to get good 3D quality. Because of the bandwidth-friendly features of our technology, it is possible to get good 3D from a 56K modem.

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