3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 86: Cult3D Automates Interactivity
Lesson 86 - Cult3D Automates Interactivity - Part 1
I spent a fascinating morning with the people at Cycore, the developers of Cult3D and a firm to watch in the fast developing Web 3D scene.
Cycore is actually a Swedish company, but it has operations in the United States and Canada, and Jim Madden heads up the U.S. office in Silicon Valley. In addition to Cult3D, Cycore also markets a package of plug-ins to Adobe After Effects, under the name Cult Effects. But my interest was, of course, in their Web 3D initiative.
In the emerging Web 3D world, each player makes up its own rules, and I've learned that a company's business plan is just as important as it's technology. Cycore's plan is premised on a free player application and a free authoring application. Revenue is generated by license fees from customers using Cult3D files on their Web sites. Viewers who visit sites with Cult content are invited, in the standard way, to download and install the plug-in player application. Thus Cult3D is operating in direct competition with MetaStream, Superscape and other firms who seek to establish a broad installed base for their viewers. Jim Madden spoke of a company commitment to distribute an astronomical number of Cult3D viewers this year, but all of Cycore's competitors have similar goals.
If Cycore's business plan is similar to other companies in this respect, it is strikingly different in many others. For example, Cycore's focus is on providing the authoring and delivery technologies, and not on providing 3D Web development services (as both Superscape and MetaStream are doing). Jim spoke of a company vision in which the entire process of 3D development from modeling through final Web delivery would be made as simple and automated as possible. This certainly is a worthwhile goal because all aspects of interactive 3D graphics are new and challenging to the current Web development world. I don't know when this day will arrive, but Cult3D's current authoring tools are designed to ease the process of creating interactivity and animation using 3D models developed in standard packages.
Because the authoring package--Cult3D Designer--is available for free from www.cult3d.com, interested developers can explore the program and its possibilities without commitment. But once you decide to use any 3D content you so create on a Web site, the check arrives for your free lunch. The licensing fee structure is very interesting because it reveals so much of Cycore's vision of the commercial role of Web 3D, at least in the immediate future.
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Created: Feb. 14, 2000
Revised: Feb. 14, 2000