VR in Flatland

Flatland is one of the first Virtual Reality apps that enabled you to compose scenes in your browser. In 1997 the brilliant Michael Powers devised a way to change HTML to 3DML and, viola, you had 3D on your browser page.

I came across Flatland in 1999. It instantly amazed me and I began building. Surprisingly, 3DML exists to this day. It is still possible to see the “Spots”, the name given to our worlds, that we built. A tiny stand-a-lone app of about 1 mb can be downloaded to view them. I’ll get more into that further down.

Here are some pictures from two of the Spots I built. If you would like to actually travel through them, I’ll give you the instructions below the pics. VR, then, was no way as easily accessible as it is today.

The T House

Garage and Elevator

This second set is of scenes in The Matrix, my favorite movie of all time. If you travel down the Hallway, and are very clever, you can see every one. There are keys involved, and if you’d like to find them, I’d start in the Stockrooms. Listen for the sounds to find which rooms are open. Oh, and another clue, when you start down the main Hallway go to your left.

The Portal

The Courtyard

Desert of the Real

The White Space

The Abandoned Hotel

The Cells

The Stockroom

The Other Stockroom

The Teahouse

The Architect’s Chamber

So, if you would like to actually visit these worlds you will have to download the Flatland plugin. It is really small (for this day and age) so it won’t take up much space. Make a note of where you downloaded it, open the zip file, and click on the .exe file. It will begin installing.

A window will open with the spinning Flatland icon. You have to insert these urls in the address bar, click enter, and the building blocks will begin to download to your machine. Once they are all downloaded the world will open. You do not have to add the HTTP to the url. Rover, our affectionate term for the program handling the building, will insert it for you.

The T-House


The Matrix Portal


I must say, you may run into a few problems while viewing. No one has actually done anything with the program since the stand-a-lone app was built in 2017. I noticed there’s a mouse drift, but that can be stopped by right clicking your mouse. Here’s some helpful advice from the Flatland site about moving around:

Movement is controlled key presses by default. You use W to move forward, S to move backward, A to turn left, D to turn right and Spacebar to jump. You also can use the mouse to look in all directions. The direction you are looking is the direction you will move when you press W to move forward.

I hope you don’t have too many problems. If you do, hit me up on Discord, or email me at kira @ kirascurro.com. Enjoy!!