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Chapter 11. JAVA 3D OVERVIEW > Java and Java 3D

Java and Java 3D

Java 3D is an extension to Java, layered on top of Java, as Figure 11-1 illustrates. More specifically, Java 3D is a standard extension to the Java 2 platform, which is the most current version of Java now available. Java 2 was unveiled to the public in December of 1998, at the same time that Java 3D was officially released. (Java 2 was originally known as Java 1.2, as "Java 2 vs. Java 1.2" explains, and so you'll often see references to Java 1.2 when reading about Java 3D.) Because of the 3D capabilities that Java 3D delivers as a standard Java extension, Java 3D is actually considered part of a large family of multimedia extensions (see "Java Media APIs," later in this chapter).

Java Programming Required

Although you don't need to be an expert in Java to customize existing Java 3D programs, you should, at the very least, be comfortable with the basics of Java programming. Unlike VRML, which is a relatively simple language to learn, Java 3D is inherently more complicated. Because it is so tightly coupled with Java, Java 3D requires a fundamental knowledge of Java programming from the get-go.


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