[NPL] Fluid3D
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[NPL] Fluid3D

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FLUID3D FROM OZ.COM DELIVERS BROADCAST-QUALITY
STREAMING 3D ANIMATION OVER THE INTERNET
WITH REALNETWORKS REALPLAYER G2

3D Web Animation Can Be Created in the Most Popular 3D Authoring Tools;
Fluid3D Player to be Distributed through RealSystem G2

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - December 8, 1998 - OZ.COM (formerly OZ Interactive), a
pioneering provider of visual and interactive real-time communication
products, today announced Fluid3D(TM) -- a visual communications system for
the development and deployment of broadcast-quality, streaming 3D animation
across the Internet. Fluid3D is integrated with RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK)
RealPlayer(TM) G2 and is the first new media type that enables streaming
broadcast of 3D computer animation over the Web within RealPlayer.

Professional digital artists and publishers can now deliver real-time 3D
animation to millions of RealPlayer-enabled Websurfers at connection speeds
as low as 28.8 Kbps -- with the quality and performance typically
associated with high-end professional broadcasting. Installing Fluid3D
support into the standard (free) version of the G2 player requires only a
small, one-time download (350 Kb) that can be installed and used
immediately, without restarting the computer or browser.

Breaking the Bandwidth Barrier for Web 3D

To-date, the delivery of 3D animation over the Web has been severely
limited by the 'Watch and Wait' phenomenon associated with previous Web 3D
technologies, where viewers must first download a segment in its entirety
before playback can commence. Fluid3D eliminates this step entirely by
incorporating a revolutionary compression scheme for animation data that is
optimized for streaming delivery over low-bandwidth connections. Combined
with SMIL-based media type synchronization provided by RealSystem G2,
long-form 3D animation with perfectly synchronized RealAudio is now a
reality.

"With Fluid3D, OZ has created a broadcast animation system that brings the
creativity and technical wizardry of professional 3D animators to Web
audiences for the first time," said Skuli Mogensen, CEO of OZ.COM. "Digital
artists and publishers can now truly consider the Internet an effective
medium for computer animated content. Through our agreement with
RealNetworks, animators also have the best option for getting their content
seen by the 38 million registered users of RealPlayer."

3D Content Creation Using Existing Tools

Unlike other products that require digital artists to learn new tools for
the creation of Web content, Fluid3D enables professional animators to use
industry-standard 3D authoring tools. This effectively shortens the
production path and leverages existing digital content that can now be
easily re-purposed for the Internet. Fluid3D allows digital artists to
create content using Kinetix 3D Studio MAX(R), the popular authoring tool
for real-time games such as Tombraider, and Avid SOFTIMAGE|3D(TM), used to
create visual effects in recent Hollywood blockbusters such as Titanic,
Starship Troopers, and Jurassic Park. Support for other leading authoring
tools and formats will follow in the coming weeks. Fluid3D Content
Exporters enable 3D animation created in these applications to be saved
directly to Fluid3D's binary file format, which is optimized for streaming
delivery. Support for the conversion of VRML 2.0 models as well as NewTek
LightWave 3D(TM) and Alias/Wavefront Maya(TM) formats are currently in
development.

Fluid3D Extends RealSystem G2

The relationship between OZ.COM and RealNetworks has resulted in the
seamless integration of OZ' Fluid3D broadcast animation system with
RealSystem G2. Today, RealPlayer is used by an estimated 38 million people
and RealNetworks streaming media solutions deliver over 85% of all
streaming media content on the Internet. "Fluid 3D support is a wonderful
addition for RealPlayer G2 because it gives users an opportunity to
experience rich 3D animation online " said Len Jordan, senior vice
president, Media Systems, RealNetworks, Inc. "Once people witness the
caliber of content Fluid3D and RealPlayer G2 enable on the Internet, we
believe streaming 3D animation will be poised for tremendous success.
Fluid3D delivers high-quality 3D animation with ease of creation - this is
a real win for our customers and for 3D on the Net."

Unique Compression Technology Enables Protection of Intellectual Property
OZ' Anim-X(TM) CODEC, a unique and proprietary technology for the
compression and optimization of animation data for real-time delivery over
IP networks, is the key enabling technology in Fluid3D. It allows rich
animation to be streamed over low-bandwidth connections, requiring less
than 4 kilobits per second to deliver a complex animated digital scene over
the Internet. With 33.6 kbps connections or higher, multiple characters and
objects can be animated simultaneously due to the high compression ratio of
the Anim-X CODEC.

Fluid3D also utilizes a highly compressed binary format for storing the
geometry and textures needed to render 3D in real-time on a PC. This
proprietary file format incorporates unique compression technology that
delivers approximately seven times the compression of GZIP, the most common
compression method used for 3D data on the Internet today. Factoring both
the compressed geometry format and textures, typical Fluid3D content is
approximately 50-75% smaller than identical content delivered in existing
3D file formats.

This combination of a highly efficient animation CODEC with a closed binary
file format affords unique protection for content publishers. By keeping
animation data on the server, where it is streamed as needed, and by
storing the 3D content on the viewer's system in a binary format that
cannot be easily altered or manipulated - Fluid3D effectively protects
publishers' copyright-protected content and intellectual property from
inappropriate or illegal use.

Fluid3D Specifications & System Overview

The Fluid3D system consists of three distinct components for the playback,
delivery, and authoring of 3D Web animation:

Fluid3D for RealPlayer G2: Free client-side renderer that adds real-time
3D functionality to RealPlayer G2. The Fluid3D player also supports
Direct3D(R) and OpenGL(R) for accelerated performance on systems with 3D
graphics acceleration.

Fluid3D for RealServerG2: A server-side plug-in for RealServer G2 that
adds support for streaming 3D and is licensed on the basis of simultaneous
users supported.

Fluid3D Content Exporters: Free content exporter plug-in that allows
animators to use their preferred authoring environment for the creation of
Fluid3D segments. The exporter is currently available for use with 3D
Studio MAX and SOFTIMAGE|3D.

High-Performance Animation

A state-of-the-art engine developed by OZ, which operates as a real-time
animation layer on top of Direct3D Immediate Mode or OpenGL, offers support
for the following features:

Textures and Materials:

Constant, Lambert and Phong materials with full color

Faceted/Smooth

Textured Materials

Translucent Material

Lights:

Ambient, point lights, spotlights and directional light

Position color and intensity can be fully animated

F-curves:

Spline, linear and constant key frames

Unified broken key slopes

Support of extrapolated/looped curves

Geometry/Vertex animation:

Shape animation (weighted, linear, additive and average)

Cluster animation

Supported Platforms

Fluid3D for RealPlayer G2 will be initially available for the Windows
95/98/NT 4.0 operating systems, with support for the Mac(R) OS to follow in
Q1 99. Fluid3D for RealServer G2 is available for Windows NT 4.0, with
support for Solaris(R) and other flavors of UNIX(R) in development. Fluid
3D for 3D Studio MAX is available for Windows 95/98/NT4.0. Fluid3D for
SOFTIMAGE|3D is available for NT 4.0, and IRIX(TM).

Availability and Pricing

The beta version of Fluid3D for RealPlayer G2 will be available online from
RealNetworks at www.real.com by early January of 1999. Fluid3D for
RealServer G2, and Fluid3D Content Exporters for 3D Studio MAX and
SOFTIMAGE|3D will be available directly from OZ at www.oz.com. Beta
versions of content exporters are available at no charge to registered
members of the Fluid3D Developers Program. Pricing of Fluid3D for
RealServer G2 will be made available at final release.

About OZ.COM

OZ.COM, founded in 1990 as OZ Interactive, Inc., is recognized worldwide as
a pioneer in the advancement and development of visual and interactive
real-time communications products and solutions. Building on years of
technical expertise in the convergence of animation, 3D graphics, real-time
communications and the Internet, the OZ team has developed advanced
solutions that enable unique 3D and interactive real-time experiences for
markets such as telecommunications, distance learning and interactive
entertainment, using standard PCs connected to the Internet. Leading
companies worldwide utilizing OZ products and solutions include Intel
Corp., RealNetworks, Ericsson, and Helsinki Telephone Corp.
OZ.COM Contacts:

Kirsten Andersen
Horizon Communications
408-969-4888 ext. 107
ekirsten@horizonpr.com
www.horizonpr.com

Joanne Khoo
OZ.COM
415-536-0500 ext. 517
joanne@oz.com
www.oz.com

 
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