Web 3D Games Summary
I ran a panel on Monday at the Game Developers Conference on “Web 3D Games”. The morning was a Shockwave 3D tutorial and the afternoon was a panel where other speakers added information on four other technologies: Wild Tangent, VirTools, 3D Groove and Java 3D.
It was very interesting to compare them all. We came to some conclusions. First, that these were the 5 technologies used for 3D games on the Web, and there are no other legitimate technologies. There might be some eventually, but right now any others are too young or just don’t offer the features needed. The other main conclusion was that 3D games on the Web will blossom when they merge with multiplayer game ideas. But these multiplayer ideas won’t look anything like what we already have today — it will be something new.
I came to my own conclusion as well. It was that Shockwave 3D is the only viable 3D platform for Web creation, for the most part. Both Wild Tangent and Groove work well for those companies, but you pretty much have to be a close partner with those companies to use them — both from a business standpoint and a technology support standpoint. VirTools is nice, but expensive, and they only are doing the Web-based thing as a side project, not their main thrust. Java is almost like an academic experiment, although it is from Sun, the only large company in the mix. That aside, Groove has the most potential to innovate, as the developers are very active and interested in getting as much into Groove as quickly as possible. Ironically, with Shockwave 3D as the clear winner in my mind, I also have to say that it is the only tool not being aggressively developed at the moment. All of the other tools are moving forward quickly while Shockwave 3D development really needs to be kick-started.