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3D Tourbus by Bob Crispen

Welcome to my first column for the VirtuPortal.

Beginnings like this make me reminisce about other beginnings, old friends, and times gone by. For instance, I remember the golden days of youth when there was a web page at NCSA called "What's new on the Web". You young whippersnappers won't believe this, but I could visit all the new Web pages on that list before my second cup of coffee in the morning. It wasn't a question then of what Web sites were good and what sites were bad -- it was just inspiring to see the new things people were putting out there. Not long after I started reading the daily list at NCSA, the daily list started to grow. I had to stop visiting all the sites and just go to the ones whose subjects interested me. A couple of months later, visiting all the sites I was interested in began to take up my whole morning, and I was falling behind. And before a few more months had gone by, it was impossible to keep up with new Web sites even in a single technical specialty.

3D on the Web is well on its way down that path. There are so many VRML worlds out there, to name just one kind of 3D on the Web, that visiting them all is out of the question. So what I hope this column for Virtuportal will do is to let you know about the best Web 3D out there. I'm following in the footsteps of my famous son Patrick, who along with Bob Rankin has a twice-weekly email list called Tourbus that reviews some of the best Web sites.
What do the blaxxun and Shout  have in common? First, they "just work" (to quote Shout's trademarked slogan). No plugins, no installation, and fast delivery. Second, they both started off as VRML worlds. If you've been building a VRML world, rest assured it won't go to waste. And last and far from least, blaxxun and Shout are both working with the Web3D Consortium to use those technologies to form X3D, the next generation of 3D on the Web. Other companies working on X3D are DRaW, Lucid Objectivity, and Sony. There isn't enough space to go into why this is all very cool and what's going to be in the spec, but in a very short time you'll see the results of their work.

It's worth emphasizing that the blaxxun and Shout demos are just demos of their particular technologies. Comparisons are meaningless at this stage.

That's it for this time. If you know about a spectacular 3D web site I ought to know about let me know. Email me at, and if it meets my criteria (you'll find out about them next time) I'll put you on our list of Trailblazers. See you soon! 

Copyright © 2000 by Bob Crispen, all rights reserved
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