Superscape VR Plc plans to broaden the scope of its virtual reality software to run on both Unix workstations and games stations. Chief executive Dr John Chiplin feels the company already has the market for virtual reality on the personal computer sewn up: four out of every five serious virtual reality packages running on a […]
Superscape VR Plc plans to broaden the scope of its virtual reality software to run on both Unix workstations and games stations. Chief executive Dr John Chiplin feels the company already has the market for virtual reality on the personal computer sewn up: four out of every five serious virtual reality packages running on a personal computer use Superscape and it is now time to broaden our market, he said. Chiplin said the company was considering a number of Unix-based workstations and would probably kick off with Silicon Graphics Inc although the first releases would not be ready until next year. Our current product range costs around ú4,000 but future low-end products will be priced around ú1,000 with high-end products around ú50,000, he said. Superscape also plans to expand the market for its products. When I joined the company roughly nine months ago, 50% of our business was in the UK, it is now roughly 20% to 25% and I plan to get it down to 10% by the end of next year, he said. Additional worldwide distribution agreements together with deals to pre-load its Visualiser run-time environment with personal computer manufacturers’ machines are seen as the key means to achieve this, he said. Chiplin said a further 10 to 20 global distribution agreements would be signed by year end as would a Gateway 2,000 Inc-type deal (CI No 2,699) which was more global in its nature. In the meantime the company is concentrating on enhancing its existing software. It has announced the latest version of its virtual reality authoring tool, VRT 4. The Windows-based package now runs under Windows95 as well as Windows NT and Windows 3.1. It support VRML, the Virtual Reality Modelling Language, which is heralded as the new standard for creating three-dimensional objects on the World Wide Web. However, Chiplin said VRML lacked the functionality to create sophisticated virtual reality applications so the company had bundled its own tools with the new release to play both sides of the street. VRT v4 also has a new data converter that will convert file formats into the VRT format. It also support GIF, JPG, BMP, TIF, TGA and DXF file formats. This gives developers the ability to create mock-ups in our design environment and then export files to computer-aided design package to add detail, said Richard Peers, product manager. The latest version also has Developer device drivers to enable it to be hooked up with head-sets. Superscape has also added Adam and Eve to its Clip Art library. Currently, the virtual humans only walk, run and climb stairs, but Chiplin said the firm was now developing an editing module to to expand their range of movements. VRT v4 will ship at the end of this month starting at ú4,000. The software developers kit, which includes the device drivers, will cost ú6,000. Networks v4, a network management software which the company claims supports up to 25 networked personal computers on most PC-based networks will cost ú3,000.