Well here we are the last installment for 1997. What's happened with VRML this year? Some companies like Paragraph merged with Silicon Graphics. Intervista formed an alliance with Microsoft. VRML became an official International standard. Floops showed that good humor and technical excellence can still co-exist. Dilbert and the games of hollyworlds brought mass market figures like Xena and Spawn to three-dimensionality. Ubiquitous browsers are almost, the key word is almost, a reality.
<Crystal Ball Mode ON>
The release of Windows 98 WITH a VRML browser included will be the single most important contribution to the ubiquity of VRML. Inclusion with the new Microsoft version of the operating system which occupies 95% of the desktops is a major accomplishment for the VRML community AND a tremendous push for VRML acceptance.
<Crystal Ball Mode OFF>
VRML up until this time is NOT a mass market popular success. It's success is still unquestionably an unknown. However, the inclusion with Windows 98 and the continued production of excellent worlds spurred on by contests like BUZZ.wrl and the VRML consortium help instigate an ever increasing body of truly wonderful and amazing worlds. This coming year we can look forward to the 30 minute VRML spectacular VRML Dream will not only bring Shakespeare to cyberspace it moves VRML one step close to a medium that is suitable for large scale full feature productions. These are productions which people can advertise in, buy subscriptions to, and build business upon.
Quite simply 1998 should be the year VRML truly takes off. All the pieces are in place. The standard is approved, and the browsers are built. All that's left is the main ingredient, imagination, and that's left to you.
Happy New Years!