Virtual Worlds and the 3D Web – Time for Convergence?

  • Hussein BakriEmail author
  • Colin Allison
  • Alan Miller
  • Iain Oliver
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 621)


Multi-User Virtual Worlds (MUVW) such as Open Wonderland and OpenSim have proved to be fruitful platforms for innovative educational practice. However, when compared with the way educational activities have flourished through the use of the constantly evolving WWW, MUVW learning environments remain a relatively obscure niche. Since the advent and promise of Second Life, there has been no critical mass reached and no movement towards standardisation. Concomitantly, the 3D Web has emerged as a recognisable if loosely defined concept. With the advent of technologies such as WebGL and a plethora of plug-in 3D viewers for web browsers, the question arises: will MUVWs converge with the 3D Web? If so, can existing educational content be migrated to the 3D Web for mass dissemination? The paper contributes a survey of 3D Web and MUVW terms, concepts, technologies and projects, illustrating their similarities, their value for education and discusses the likelihood of convergence. The survey is complemented by a cultural heritage case study of Unity 3D support for the deployment of virtual worlds in web browsers using two different approaches.


3D web Web-Based Virtual World Multi-User Virtual World HTTP/2 VRML X3D X3DOM Webgl HTML-5 O3D Oak3d Unity 3D 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hussein Bakri
    • 1
    Email author
  • Colin Allison
    • 1
  • Alan Miller
    • 1
  • Iain Oliver
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

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