X3D version 4.0 Development

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X3D version 4.0 Development efforts are considering potentially major additions to the baseline X3D architecture.

  • Summary slides here: [1]
  • Major technology under consideration: HTML5, Declarative 3D, X3DOM
  • Major technology under consideration: Augmented Reality Continuum (ARC)
  • Relaxing prior design constraints can enable a broader new basis for X3D integration
  • Normalizing interaction semantics with HTML5 might further open up X3D for Web authors

Please contact us if you think additional technologies need to be considered. X3D futures planning is currently a Web3D Consortium member-only activity.

Backwards and forward compatibility

  • A major benefit of using the X3D standard is full backwards compatibility with prior VRML97 and X3D content
  • X3D version 3.4 Development is proceeding in parallel to enable continued evolution of the current X3D architecture
  • Our goal is to maximize, but not necessarily require, backwards compatibility in version 4.0
    • A great majority of X3D nodes and features are likely achievable without change
    • Some X3D features may require import/export conversion for compatibility (event model reconciliation, ROUTEs and sensors perhaps)
    • A few features might be refactored, deprecated or obsoleted (none yet identified)

The comprehensive forward compatibility of VRML97 and X3D with later-developed X3D versions shows that careful anticipatory design is achievable.

Open questions

  • Are ARC abstract design and X3D AR proposals sufficiently mature to enable integration with HTML5/Declarative 3D/X3DOM issues?
  • Are the previously X3D Layer/Layering components compatible with HTML5 overlay model? Are they still needed, perhaps for multiscreen or CAVE support?
  • Mashup and interoperability support: is anything else needed for broader use with the Web? YouTube etc.


  • Active development of X3D and X3DOM content is tracking HTML 5 capabilities now
  • We participate, contribute, and follow the schedule of the W3C Community Group for Declarative 3D