The year 2000, "1999" (Prince) was just getting out of my head, the Y2K bug didn't end the world, the bubble had burst, and I set out to search myself and discover what profession in life I would enjoy to do to the point where "I would never work a day in my life cause I love what I do". I picked the top rated things I liked (video games), was good at since a little guy (scene building and design), and valued (education and proactive change) and combined them somehow with the help of a SnowCrash into a new profession of wanting to build virtual immersive environments that were structured to different learning styles.
After doing some research in this field, I discovered a community of developers and visionaries that were actively participating in the advancement of the 2D Internet into an evolved multi-user interactive 3D universe. This 3D universe or Metaverse of content as diverse and vast as the web created by its users using open source and open standard technologies. Basically free tools that could work with proprietary software to create whatever the mind could conceive for others to experience. The group directing this evolution of web3D technology was the Web3D Consortium. Made up of federal, academic, corporate, and professional entities this group is developing and using this technology to achieve advancements in mankind that are still thought by the public to be things of the future. These were the die-hards, even after the tech bubble popped, that would stick it out to together to see and push the inevitable future of the Internet. How great to get involved in something that is fun to me that will change the world and can be used to improve many different areas of daily life.
I am a firm believer in, "I can do something well", but never as good as we can!" So I decided that I would not only join this group but find other students that saw this vision of a 3D universe and would love to be involved in its development in the numerous different fields and areas that would make it possible. After 8 years and now 20 countries I have visited so far, I have personally found and talked with several hundreds of students and professionals that would love to use their 3D modeling, programming, and other computer related skills in the development of virtual reality applications and the immersive web.
Everything from 3D immersive video games, e-commerce, L.E.T. (learning, education, and training) applications, military/medical simulations, immersive interactive porn, you name it, I have heard it. Only problem is for these guys there is no easy way to get into the industry. Where are the schools that teach it? Find one, walk into a school and ask for their virtual reality gaming/simulation degree or interactive 3D web development classes. Even today's gaming and simulation class you see advertised come no where close to immersive virtual reality. Different institutions offer a course or some courses on web3D (X3D/VRML), but not to the level of a full degree and most not in under-grad programs.
In 2003 at SIGGRAPH, along with 3 other great guys and students of the tech (Tedd R, David W, and Brandon R), the then president of the consortium, in-front of all Web3D Consortium members recognized our efforts and the consortium as a whole pledged support to helping the industry's students. I can say that we were a huge catalyst in the initial development of a industry recognized student sector. It was after this that we started the organization Web3DStudents.
Web3DStudents is for students of web3D and related technologies to come together to share, learn, develop, and grow the immersive 3D web. We are of all skill levels, ages, and disciplines. We are 3D modelers, programmers, artists, academic students, hobbyists, newbies, professionals, fans, and more. We have worked together and developed projects and applications for educators in this country and other, built applications and demos for companies, as well as a growing list of other content.
In 2005, I was appointed by the BoD of the Web3D Consortium to be student liaison, and since we have worked on developing curriculum for web3D interested students (big thanks to Nicholas Polys), various student projects, and introduced web3D and its authoring tools into schools both here and in other countries. Thanks to all the supporters and sponsors to our cause. Without you all contributing your time, resources, and support, we would never have helped all those we have.
So for those interested in contributing your skills to have fun, learn, collaborate, get started in a new industry, help newbies, expand your own knowledge, and grow the 3D web, we welcome you. Why stop learning when you enjoy the subject? We are revamping our site but look forward to see it up soon. Of course one can find us thru our Facebook Group and other web2.0 channels, or definitely see us in the 3D web!