Modeling programs for Activeworlds

Which 3d programs can we use ? On Wikipedia you will find a nice overview .

Not all 3d programs are suitable for Activeworlds, some are outdated , some are too advanced , or are made for other purposes (eg. AutoCad).

Truespace (freeware)

This modeling program was especially focused on Activeworlds : the file extension of the models is .cob and can be used directly in Activeworlds. The program has been made by, which has been taken over in 2007 by Microsoft, but unfortunately they had decided to stop the development of the software, and the program had been offered as freeware, until in july 2012 , when the website of Caligari has gone offline. Now you can't download the program anymore for this site, you will have to search elsewhere on the web for the download of this program. Truespace is still a popular program, and it still used by a lot of modelers in Activeworlds.

Version 3.2 Is the most popular version , you will find a lot of tutorials for the use in Activeworlds
Versie 5.2 Is an improved version , and with this version you can also make avatars
Versie 7.6 This was the last version that has been released , and is rather complex , you can find some tutorial videos on Youtube.

A disadvantages of Truespace is the use of textures upon organic objects. You could solve this by importing into Accutrans and there export to a modeling program which can do this better. Although you can use the .cob extension directly in Activeworlds, mostly the model is exported to Accutrans, where the file is converted into .rwx and where you can add some improvements on the object and also resize it .

Wings3d (freeware)

Wings3d is an open source program, so it is freeware. The program is simple in use. Although the program is open source, there have been few new updates the last few years, which have made the program less popular . The models in Wings3d can be saved with the extension .obj. This extension .obj is of Wavefront, and is a file extension which is supported by several modeling programs, and also in Accutrans, where you can convert into .rwx. But you can also export directly into .rwx , without needing to export to Accutrans first. And you can also export with file extension .x , which can also be used in Activeworlds.

Models which you have made with Truespace in .cob, can be converted with Accutrans into .obj. , and can be imported in Wings3d for further improvements. The disadvantage of Wings3d is that you can't do any animations .

Blender (freeware)

Blender is also open source and so it's freeware. Blender has a lot of version updates, and is also very popular, so you will also find a lot of tutorials and videos on the web. You can export the models into Accutrans, but there is also a program to export blender objects directly into .rwx. This has been explained in one of the AW Newsletters: . However it hasn't been popular yet , because it was applied only on 1 version of Blender. Another avantage of Blender is that you can do animations and make avatars. A disadvantage of Blender is that it is very complex, and that there are barely any tutorials for the use in Activeworlds of it.

Renderware (freeware)

Renderware modeler : this is the initial program to make models with the extension .rwx . The program itself is outdated, and the website doesn't exist anymore. But however, you can make a model in .rwx without needing a real 3d program : you just need a simple text editor : notepad, which you will find on every computer and save with extension .rwx. The disadvantage is that you don't have a graphic presentation, you can't see the model itself : you only can see text lines with commands and numbers, and it is rather programming. However , in the help menu of the Activeworlds program , you will find the Renderware commands.

But there are quite a lot of websites with tutorials about how to use Renderware. And Renderware is also freeware, and remains popular. Renderware however is rather used to make adaptations to an existing model : first you make your model with a modeling program, and then you open the file in Notepad, and the modeling work is limited to adding some commands, which is often easier than modeling.

Sketchup (payware + freeware)

This is a program of Google, Google Sketchup has been used to make Google Earth. You will also find a large database of freeware models which you can download and import into the Sketchup program. There is also a freeware Sketchup program , but you cannot export the models in the file extension you want.. This is only possible with the Pro-version and it's rather expensive ( 495$), but you can also download a free trial version of the Pro-version.

The big avantage is that the program is simple to use, and you will find good tutorials. The disadvantage is that the program is rather suitable for modeling buildings , and not for making organic objects like fruit or animals, for instance , the sphere doesn't exist as a primitive. Sketchup can import AutoCad files. With the Pro-version, you can export into .obj (wavefront) and import in Accutrans. However , the database models are difficult to export : most of the textures need to be renamed, and a lot of surfaces are grouped , there are layers, and also often shadows, which you don't need in Activeworlds. So it is easier to make a model yourself in Sketchup instead of choosing a database model : just make for every surface (layer) its own texture (or colour), and in Accutrans you only need to add the right textures. Or you can import the .obj file into Wings3d and then convert into .rwx.

Besides the extension .skp , the freeware version of Sketchup also uses the extension .cda (Collada), Collada can be imported into Blender or into Wings3d, but of course , then you still need to exported it from there.

3D Studio Max (payware)

3Ds Max is one of the most popular modeling programs, you will find a lot of models on the web with extension .3ds. It is however an expensive program (3495$ on the website of Autodesk)

FreeCAD (freeware)

FreeCAD is rather for technic drawing. FreeCAD is opensource and freeware.

Art of Illusion (freeware)

Open Source (freeware ) modeling program , the extension .obj (wavefront) can be used for importing or exporting.

Jpatch (freeware)

Open source (freeware ) modeling program , files can be exported into .obj (wavefront) and imported in Accutrans

Vue Pioneer (Vue d'esprit) (payware + freeware)

With this program you can make landscapes and skyboxes , but also models, there is also a freeware version which you can download : Vue Pioneer on the website

Maya (payware)

This is also a popular modeling program , but very expensive . (3495$)

AutoCAD (payware)

AutoCAD is rather for technic drawing. AutoCAD is payware.

Lightwave3d (payware)

This program is also payware (895$) on the website /

Strata3d (betalend)

This program is also payware (1600$) and looks like the Adobe-products

3dCrafter (Canvas3d) (payware+freeware)

This program can import a lot of file extensions (also .rwx .cob and .x) , but with the freeware version you can only export to extension .pov . For more possibilities, you pay either 35$ or 70$. There exists a program PoseRay ( where you can import the pov file and export into .obj (wavefront) , you could try this out , and look if this works, then you don't need to use a payware version .

Poser (payware)

With this program you can also make avatars . The program is payware (250$/500$) . On the website of Alterlinks you will find a (payware)package in order to use Poser files..

Conversion programs


On the website you will find the program , and you will find a large number of tutorials. You can import and export into various file extensions, and also into .rwx for use in Activeworlds. Accutrans is a more then a 3d-file conversion program : you can retexture your models, apply double-sided texturing, resize the object, prelight the object, make a sign or pict object, and make avatars and sequences. You can also reduce the number of faces (cut down verts and faces). In fact it can be considered as a modelling program.

Kerkythea (freeware)

On the website you can download the freeware program . You can import from Blender, Sketchup and 3dsMax (support of .obj and .3ds). This way you can export with .obj , and importeren this Wings3d , where you can export into .rwx. So in this way you can use .3ds objects on the web without needing to buy 3dsmax. There is also a forum for Kerkythea.

Cobdump3 (freeware)

With this program you can convert .cob-bestanden (Truespace) into .rwx-files , so no need for Accutrans .

Polytrans (payware)

On the website you will find Polytrans , but it"s too expensive for applications in Activeworlds.

Programs for skyboxes

Bryce (freeware)

This is not really a 3d-modeling program, but is used for making skyboxes, which are also used in Activeworlds . On the website of you can download a free version of Bryce.

Terragen (freeware)

Also this program is used to make landscapes and skyboxes and can be used in Activeworlds. On the website you can download a free version with some limitations (see website).