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Tip of the Day
Language: DHTML
Expertise: Beginner
Mar 25, 1997

Is there a preferred VRML browser?

Question:
Is there a VRML browser most users prefer? If so, why?

Answer:
Well, if you're Microsoft, then you may think that World View browser from Intervista Software is the best VRML browser (licensed it as part of Internet Studio). The browser was designed by Tony Parisi, one of the founders of VRML, and implements the entire VRML 1.0 specification.

If you want to participate in a particular environment, you will need the appropriate browser for that environment: a VRML+ browser to move around in Alphaworld, a WebFX, WorldView or VRScout browser to enjoy Wax World or any Virtual Home Space Builder site, a VisNet viewer to experience a SuperVRML Superscape location or any special browser, as specified at the entrance to a site. Generally these browsers are used as helpers or plug-ins to Web browsers such as Mosaic, Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer.

If the speed of rendering is important to you, because you like to travel fast in fly mode, or play interactive games, VisNet with its proprietary rendering engine may be best for you, or perhaps VRScout -- designed with multi-user play in mind.

You may be constrained by the platform you are using and what is available. The following list covers some of the leaders in the already extensive field, where to obtain more information, the platform it runs on and pricing information. Later updates will include ALL the browsers currently available.

Browser: Liquid Reality
Created by: Dimension X
Runs with: Netscape 2.0 or HotJava
Platform: File extensions: yes, Java
Price: beta version is free
Website: www.dimensionx.com

Browser: VRML Add-In
Created by: Microsoft
Runs with: Internet Explorer
Platform: Windows 95
File extensions: no
Price: beta version is free
Render engine: Reality Lab
Website: www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/iedl.htm

Browser: VisNet Viewer
Created by: Superscape Inc.
Runs with: Netscape 2.0
Platform: Windows
File extensions: yes, SuperVRML
Price: free
Render engine: proprietary
Website: www.superscape.com

Browser: VR Scout
Created by: Chaco Communications
Runs with: Netscape 2.0
Platform: Windows
File extensions: yes, VHSB's .mus
Price: free to evaluate, after 30 days you pay $49
Render engine: Intel's 3D-R
Website: www.chaco.com

Browser: WebFX
Created by: Paper Inc.
Runs with: Internet Explorer as well as Netscape 2.0
Platform: Windows
File extensions: yes, VHSB's .mus
Price: currently a free beta version, but some time in the first quarter of 96 it will cost $49.99
Render engine: RenderWare
Website: www.paperinc.com

Browser: Whurlwind
Created by: Apple
Runs with: stand-alone
Platform: Power Mac
File extensions: yes, QDMF
Price: free
Render engine: QD3D
Website: product.info.apple.com/qs3d/Panel/page1_3_1.html

Browser: Equinox
Created by: North Plains Inc.
Runs with: standalone & Netscape Navigator (available as a plug-in soon.)
Platform: Power Mac
File extensions: yes, QDMF
Price: free alpha, and beta in February 96, a commercial version ( $59.95) is promised in March.
Render engine: QD3D
Website: www.ipsystems.com/nps/

Browser: World View
Created by: Intervista Software
Runs with: standalone or Netscape helper
Platform: Windows
File extensions: yes, VHSB's .mus
Price: free or buy the fully supported version for $49.95
Render engine: Reality Lab
Website: www.intervista.com

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