In the olden days — when VRML was still very new and unknown, before anything much had been done with it — there were some true believers. One of the first of those was my friend Dave Blackburn.
In LA, Dave was very much at the epicenter of the VR community, working to promote both technology and the network of creatives working with the technology. Dave was always at every LA event I went to, with all his energy, enthusiasm, and keen insights.
Dave helped us a lot, when it really mattered. So it came as a bit of a shock when I learned that he had passed away on Friday. He’s already very much missed.
Here’s a brief reflection from Peter Rothman in H+ about Dave’s life & work.
On Friday 27 May 1994, at the First International Conference on the World Wide Web, at CERN, just outside Geneva, I presented the paper “Cyberspace” – co-authored with Tony Parisi. This is the first paper to introduce the concepts of 3D on the Web – and, specifically, VRML.
As part of the ‘Advanced Topics’ portion of the WWW1 program, we were shoe-horned in with folks who were connecting the Web to things (IoT anyone?), and to the television, and to 3D worlds.
Such as this rather infamous Red Herring cover from May 1996…
I’ve been adding bits and bytes of history as I come across them here: jch.com/jch/vrml. I’ll be migrating the stuff that still seem relevant to vrml20.org
And you thought we’d gone away…
This is the famed ‘Cyberbanana’, the very first model rendered in VRML. We had somehow acquired the banana as a .3DS model file, and the library we were using (Rendermorphics’ Reality Lab – shout out to Servan and Kate!) imported 3DS files directly. We had the model, so we used it. Again and again and again, in every demo for the next six months.