FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Joanne Sperans Hartzell
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Thomas Associates, Inc. for Sun:
SUN MICROSYSTEMS ISSUES BETA VERSION OF JAVA 3D PROGRAMMING TOOL FOR FREE
1000s of Developers Already Working with Alpha Code;
Beta Code Is Now Available to Everyone for Free Testing
PALO ALTO, Calif - September 22, 1998 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today
announced that it has made the beta version of its Java 3D (TM) application
programming interface (API) available on the Sun (TM) Website
(sun.com/desktop/java3d) for free download and evaluation to anyone
interested in exploring the new technology. The 3D development tool is
based on open standards and is easy to use, making it an ideal choice for
developers who want to create 3D content and leverage it across multiple
platforms without enduring the steep learning curve of other 3D APIs.
The Java 3D API is a network-centric, scene graph-based API which enables
programmers utilizing the Java (TM) programming language to quickly and
easily add 3D content to their applets and applications. It is also useful
to 3D developers who want to take advantage of the many benefits of
applications development using Java technology.
Sun announced the Java 3D API specification last year at Siggraph 97
(August 5, 1997). Since then, thousands of developers in a wide range of
disciplines from games and educational software to data visualization to
MCAD/MCAE and digital content creation (DCC) have been working with the
alpha version of the API. These developers have provided their feedback to
Sun, which in turn has incorporated the most-requested features into this
beta version of the API.
"Sun is blazing new trails with this powerful, open 3D graphics programming
interface," said Ken Okin, vice president and general manager of the
Workstation Products Group, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Public review of the
early versions of this technology is critical to our development process.
Unlike another proposed new -- and proprietary -- 3D graphics API for which
a specification has not yet even been released, the Java 3D API has been in
developers' hands for almost a year, resulting in some very exciting work."
Nearlife, Inc., a design firm that develops entertaining, interactive
content using cutting-edge technology, used an early version of the Java 3D
API to create its recently unveiled, high-profile Virtual FishTank exhibit
at the Boston Computer Museum.
"Sun worked closely with us throughout our Java 3D implementation, tuning
the API to help us do our work more quickly and easily," said Tinsley
Galyean, Director of Nearlife, Inc. "Sun was very ambitious in the features
and capabilities it incorporated into the Java 3D API, and even with its
robustness, we found it to be quick to learn and easy to use."
Because the Java 3D API is open, anyone can develop and implement to it.
Some of the developers who have already demonstrated projects created with
the Java 3D API include:
**DIVISION Inc. used the Java 3D API to provide viewing tools for large CAD
visualization. The Java 3D API provided rapid viewing and manipulation of
**Facet Decision Systems used the Java 3D API for its Cause&Effect business
intelligence software, which provides complex decision support to analysts
in a range of markets such as forestry, oil and gas, finance and
**Fakespace, Inc. used the Java 3D API to create a virtual environment
demonstration running on its Immersive WorkBench Virtual Model Display. The
demonstration is an interactive visualization that enables the user to
manipulate virtual models as if they are real objects on a tabletop or
workbench. The Java 3D API interacts with Fakespace's VLIB software library
to enable user interaction with stereoscopic visualizations on any
**Out of the Blue Design (OBD) created an exciting application utilizing
Sun's Java 3D API which teaches the English alphabet with humor and drama.
Users view a dancing 3D vowel that flips and flops in virtual space while a
soundtrack makes various vowel sounds, which support the learning message.
Java 3D API Eases the 3D Development Process
The Java 3D API incorporates a high-level, scene-graph model that allows
developers to focus on the objects and the scene composition, freeing the
programmer from complex coding procedures to specify the scene display.
Software companies are no longer forced to have a handful of graphics gurus
dedicated to 3D development work.
In addition, because the Java 3D API was built on the network-centric Java
platform, this 3D programming tool allows users to do high-end 3D
visualization over the network, regardless of the target platform. This
network-centric design is increasingly important as development
environments are becoming more collaborative.
To reduce the impact of potential bottlenecks caused by this more
collaborative work environment, the Java 3D API incorporates geometry
compression. This allows very large 3D models to be rapidly downloaded over
the network for remote viewing and manipulation.
Pricing and Availability
The Java 3D API beta is available now for free download and evaluation. Sun
does not recommend that users build mission-critical applications utilizing
the Java 3D API as yet, since it is beta technology; users should be aware
that if and when Sun releases future versions of the API, those future
versions may contain modifications and changes from this beta release.
Interested parties can download the Java 3D API from this URL:
About Sun Microsystems
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision, "The Network Is The
Computer(TM)", has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc., (NASDAQ: SUNW), to its
position as a leading provider of high-quality hardware, software and
services for establishing enterprise-wide intranets and expanding the power
of the Internet. With more than $9.5 billion in annual revenues, Sun can be
found in more than 150 countries and on the WorldWide Web at http://sun.com.