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Learning Sites, Inc.   |   151 Bridges Road   |   Williamstown MA 01267-2232 USA   |   413-458-2828   |   info@learningsites.com   |   www.learningsites.com

Learning Sites FAQs

Technical Information

page updated November 11, 2016

 Will your virtual worlds work on a Mac?

The answer has become less straightforward in recent years. The reason is that there are now many ways for virtual worlds to be built and displayed.

LEARNING SITES virtual ancient worlds created using game engines (e.g., Unity or Unreal) can not only be viewed on Apple computers and PCs, but are also viewable on hand-held devices. Game engine-built worlds can also be output to VR headsets for personalized immersive viewing.

LEARNING SITES virtual worlds coded using HTML 5 (using the WebGL standard) can be viewed natively in any fully enabled HTML 5 browser without special plugins or add-ons, no matter the operating system. Note that different browsers are coming on board with relative compliance to the new HTML 5 standard at different rates; be sure to check your browser first before launching an HTML 5-based virtual world.

Until a several ago, no VRML-based virtual worlds, indeed no true virtual reality re-creations, could run on any Macintosh or Apple computers, due to inherent internal architecture incompatibilities. However, since the advent of OSX and even the more recent Intel-based Apple computers, things have improved slightly. Some of the problem resides with the way Apple computers handle graphics memory, some of the problem lies with the general lack of virtual reality viewers created for the Mac (generally because software programmers do not see any market there). There are very few VRML viewers out there now for Apple computers, It seems Apple no longer has native support for VRML, nor actively seeks developers for VRML viewers (they are moving toward the OpenGL standard as the only way to view embedded virtual worlds). As of 2015, the FreeWRL open source VRML viewer was still available for Apple computers. LEARNING SITES makes no recommendations for nor guarantees about any VRML viewer alternatives. If your computer can emulate or run Windows software, you may have better luck.

Currently, social media virtual worlds (such as SecondLife) or proprietary VR software environments (such as those by EON Reality or Dessault Systemes) are not now used by LEARNING SITES.

Note that Apple QuickTimeVRTM (QTVR) does not present the viewer with a true 3D space that can be navigated freely, as in authentic virtual environments.

 Will your virtual worlds work with Internet Explorer and Firefox?


LEARNING SITES Unity-based, 3D pdf-based, and VRML-based virtual worlds will work with either browser set. However, the final answer relies more upon what computer you have, what operating system you have, and what viewer (if needed) you choose to install. Each of these components will affect how well, if at all, our environments will run. Our HTML 5 / OpenGL worlds will run once the browsers more fully comply with the new standard (Firefox leads in that regard currently).

As discussed above, Apple computers offer more limited options.

 Do I need special equipment?


LEARNING SITES Unity-based, 3D pdf-based, and VRML 2.0-compliant virtual worlds can be viewed directly on your computer's monitor; you do no need any peripheral equipment (such as head mounted displays or data gloves) to appreciate or navigate our virtual ancient worlds.

We are actively converting some of our virtual worlds for viewing using the OculusRiftTM VR headset (and will be expanding to allow worlds to be viewable directly on smartphones; stay tuned for more information on that development). If you have a VR headset and would like to view one of our worlds, please let us know.

Our virtual worlds will also run on a number of third-party VR display units ideal for museums, on-site interpretation centers, or other venues where the visiting public would like to experience the past dynamically and immersively. Contact us and we will be glad to describe those options in more detail. We have experience programming for a number of headset types, magnetic and infrared motion trackers, and video display alternatives.

 Can I use my VR headset to view your virtual reality materials?

Most likely (please see the above discussion).