GopherVR and VRweb announcement

Jill Foster <> Thu, 27 April 1995 16:57 UTC

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From: Jill Foster <>
Subject: GopherVR and VRweb announcement
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An interesting venture between the gopher people, NCSA and the Hyper-G folk
(from Tech. Uni of Graz Austria). It uses the "Virtual Reality Modeling
Language (VRML), which  is a non-proprietary,platform-independent file
format for 3D graphics on the Internet, based on Silicon Graphics' Open
Inventor file format".

Read on if you are interested.

-- Jill

>Date: Wed, 26 Apr 1995 14:02:48 -0500
>From: "Mark P. McCahill" <>
>Reply-To: "Mark P. McCahill" <>
>Subject: GopherVR and VRweb announcement
>The University of Minnesota Gopher development team has been working on
>GopherVR, a 3D interface to Gopher. VRML is an emerging standard for defining
>Internet-aware 3D scenes (scenes with objects that have references to items on
>gopher, http, ftp, or other Internet servers).
>>From the Gopher perspective, VRML could be thought of as a new document type
>which describes a scene. Since Gopher already accomodates a wide variety
>of document types, it makes sence to support VRML as another kind of item that
>you can view with a GopherVR client (or other next-generation internet
>browsers). If you have already seen GopherVR, you know that we have been
>developing 3D scenes which are fast to navigate and render to represent a
>Gopher hierarchy. By combining a fast-to-navigate structured 3D information
>space (such as that found in GopherVR) with a variety of documents types
>(including VRML), we hope to provide the best of both worlds. So... we are
>working with the Hyper-G development group at IICM and the NCSA folks to
>develop VRML browsers and incorporate VRML scenes into Gopherspace.
>Below is the official announcement:
>GRAZ, Austria (26th April 1995) - IICM, home of Hyper-G, NCSA, home of
>Mosaic, and the University of Minnesota, home of Gopher, today jointly
>announced the development of VRweb, a new three-dimensional Internet
>browser based on the emerging VRML standard for 3D objects on the
>World-Wide Web.
>The Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), is a non-proprietary,
>platform-independent file format for 3D graphics on the Internet,
>based on Silicon Graphics' Open Inventor file format. The three
>cooperating institutions endorse the VRML standardisation process and
>support efforts to make VRML applications widely available.
>The VRweb viewer is based on the Harmony 3D Scene Viewer for Hyper-G
>and is designed to work in concert with popular World-Wide Web
>browsers, such as Mosaic and Netscape, as well as Hyper-G and Gopher
>clients. It allows users to interactively explore 3D models of
>objects, virtual worlds, and complex 3D visualisations and follow
>hyperlinks embedded in them. In conjunction with the Harmony client
>for Hyper-G, VRweb also supports interactive hyperlink creation in 3D
>VRweb will be made available in source code form (copyrighted, but
>free for non-commercial use), complementing forthcoming commercial
>VRML browsers and providing a platform for research and experiment. A
>first release of VRweb is scheduled for June 1995 for UNIX platforms
>and shortly thereafter for Windows NT.
>IICM, NCSA, and the University of Minnesota, all non-profit
>organisations with considerable experience of Internet information
>systems, make natural partners. The VRweb VRML browser is the first
>joint project between the three institutions.
>The Institute for Information Processing and Computer Supported New
>Media (IICM), part of Graz University of Technology, Austria, is home
>to Hyper-G, a multi-protocol (WWW, Gopher, Hyper-G) Internet
>information system, which integrates hyperlinking, hierarchical
>structuring, sophisticated search, and information management
>facilities into a single, tightly-coupled environment. Hyper-G has
>supported 3D models and navigational facilities for several years.
>The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), a unit of
>the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is dedicated to
>advancing leading-edge technologies in information and high
>performance computing and communications in academia and industry. The
>center receives major funding to support its research from the
>National Science Foundation, the Advanced Research Projects Agency,
>NASA, corporate partners, the State of Illinois, and the University of
>Illinois. NCSA is developer of the popular Mosaic Internet browser and
>the most widely used WWW server, NCSA httpd.
>The University of Minnesota is the home of Internet Gopher, a distributed
>document search and retrieval system which combines structured navigation
>and full text searches. The Gopher team recently released Unix and Macintosh
>GopherVR clients to provide a 3D interface to existing Gopher servers. The
>GopherVR interface represents collections of documents as 3D scenes to make
>it easy to visualize relationships between the documents. VRML is a natural
>extension to GopherVR since VRML scenes can be treated as another type of
>document in a Gopher hierarchy.
>Mark P. McCahill                                 gopherspace engineer
>                     University of Minnesota
>612 625 1300                                       612 625 6817 (fax)