3D Groove Games (partially found online games; 1998-2009)
|3D Groove's logo.|
3D Groove was a 3D game engine that was active between 1998 and 2009, with it's peak occurring in the early to mid-2000s. Many 3D Groove games were lost when 3D Groove's site shut down in 2009.
The 3D Groove engine was created by the company The 3D Groove Alliance, Inc. While the 3D Groove Alliance developed their own original games, their main focus was to develop games to advertise various toys, movies, and cartoons. 3D Groove's Advergames would be developed at the request of a company for one of it's brands, such as Radio Shack, At&T, Intel, Pringles, etc.
These games could be played online with a web browser plugin, but often there was a more fully featured version of the same game which could be purchased and played offline. The games were licensed royalty-free and non-exclusively, and the game would need to be removed after the license expired.
3D Groove came in the different forms (3D Groove SX and 3D Groove GX). Similar to Java, 3D Groove games could be built to be played on the desktop/in a browser as a standalone GRV file using 3D Groove GX, or with Macromedia/Adobe Director to make a Shockwave Player DIR/DXR/DCR file containing a GRV file as a cast member (which required 3D Groove Xtra to be installed) using 3D Groove SX.
Both versions of 3D Groove in turn used the 3D Game Machine C/C++ game development framework (3DGM for short) from Virtually Unlimited Corp. In September 2001, 3D Groove bought the source code for 3DGM. Most of the 3D models in 3D Groove games use the 3DGM Model File format, which has a .3GM extension and is similar to the common 3DS model file format but with more functionality added to it, including the ability to use quads - or faces with any amount of vertices - instead of just triangles.
In 1995, before 3D Groove existed, programmer Jules Urbach worked at DesignFusion and helped to code the game Real Pool, a basic 3D pool game for the Mac intended to rival the Virtual Pool series. The game was published through MacSoft, and got a Windows port in 1998, which was published through GT Interactive (which would later become Infogrames) shortly before the 3D Groove Alliance was established.
The 3D Groove Alliance was established July 6, 1998. Mr. Urbach was the company's co-founder, with entrepreneur Chris Kantrowitz and programmer Peter Laufenberg, who did much of the C++ code for the 3D Groove web browser plugin. Other notable names involved with 3D Groove are Patrick Thiel from Pepworks.com (animator,) Ben Encarcion (artist,) Nick Kang (developer,) Jed Whedon and Rene Winkler (music and sound design) and Jamie and Simon Edis from Ezone.com (artist and programmer, respectively, who used 3D Groove for their web games.)
The assets used in Real Pool were recycled to make a web demo version, becoming the first use of the 3D Groove engine. Intended to promote the full game, the web version of Real Pool used 3D Groove SX and was published on Shockwave.com, becoming their first 3D game, where it got between 5-6 million plays according to Laufenberg. The game made over four million dollars in total sales according to Vice President of Marketing for Infogrames Paul Rinde. It was later recycled again into an advergame for Jack Daniels.
The 3D Groove Alliance then developed a game called SkyDive! which was released by Electronic Arts on June 30, 1999 with their Gonzo Games label. It received mostly negative reviews.
On March 8, 2000, Shockwave.com announced a partnership with 3D Groove Alliance to develop new games. One of these was Tank Wars, a game where you drive around the city playing as a tank destroying other tanks. It was released in Spring 2000 and got over 1.5 million plays per month.
From January 2001 to August 2003, Joseph Varet was 3D Groove's CEO.
On February 6, 2001, kpe and the 3D Groove Alliance announced a partnership. The first title they released under this partnership was Otto's Killer Carvin Snowboard for NickArcade.
On July 18, 2001, RealNetworks announced a distribution agreement with the 3D Groove Alliance for their RealArcade platform.
In February 2002, 3D Groove made a sequel to Real Pool called Real Pool 2, which became the first game to use the new 3D Groove GX engine version.
In early 2004, Peter Laufenburg left the 3D Groove Alliance.
In April 2004, 3D Groove marketed a new Battle of the Planets game to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary.
Copyrighted 2007, Transformers Battle Universe for the Net Jet controller was also made in the 3D Groove GX engine.
In early 2009, 3D Groove's site shut down, causing a lot of their games to be lost.
The exact reason 3D Groove no longer exists is unknown, although one blog post on A Tree Falling in the Forest about Jules Urbach, who worked on 3D Groove, wrote that he was "kind of screwed" by certain people in 3D Groove Alliance. The 3D Groove Alliance rebranded as OTOY, which is still around today, but has moved in a different direction, instead focusing on their OctaneRender engine used to create photorealistic graphics from within 3D modelling tools such as Maya, and do not acknowledge the existence of 3D Groove or its games.
Availability of Games
No 3D Groove games are currently available for purchase. However, several are still available to play thanks to various means, such as archive.org or people uploading a game that was on their computer. A list of games that are lost and found can be viewed below.
3D Groove Alliance Original Titles
- 9MM: Beer Bottle Shootout - Found
- Alien X - Found
- Death From Above - Found
- Impulse Skyracer - Found
- Nothin' But Net - Found
- Piscean - Found
- Real Pool - Found
- Real Pool 2 - Found
- Showdown: The gunfighting game - Found
- SkyDive! - Found
- Tank Wars - Found
3D Groove Alliance Advergames
- 3D Groove FedEx Game - Existence Unconfirmed
- 3D Groove Skittles Bowling Game - Existence Unconfirmed
- At&T's High Roller - Lost
- At&T's Unlimited Challenge/AT&T's Unlimited Challenge 2 - Lost
- Eight Legged Freaks - Found
- Intel's Showdown: The gunfighting game - Unknown
- Jack Daniels Real Pool - Lost
- Jeep Disk Dodger - Existence Unconfirmed
- M&M's: Yellow Takes Tokyo - Lost
- Mazda: Skyracer Impulse - Unknown
- Mountain Dew Skateboarding - Lost
- Nesquik: Chocolate Mountain Challenge - Found
- Pringles Pony Express - Lost
- Pringles: Super Spud Boxing - Found
- Radio Shack: RC Stunt Machine Showdown - Lost
- Powerpuff Girls: Showdown in the Sky - Found
- Toonami: Trapped in Hyperspace - Lost
- American Dragon: Robot Pandemonium - Found
- Dunk Tank - Lost
- JetiXtreme - Lost
- Johnny Kapahala: Island Grind - Lost
- Kim Possible: Middleton Mayhem - Lost
- Oban Star Racers: Great Race - Lost
- Tarzan's Jungle Rescue - Lost
- Yin Yang Yo: The Dangerous Comic Book of Dread - Lost
3D Groove games developed by Ezone.com
- Farmer Giblet's Turkey Farm (Turkey 3D!) - Found
- Lenny Loosejocks Boardin' - Found
- Lenny Loosejocks in Snow Worries! - Found
- Penguin Racers - Found
- Santa Goes Buttboardin' 3D - Found
- Super Mega Big Trucks - Arena - Found
- Space Wombat - Found
3D Groove Games developed for Nickelodeon or Nick Jr.
- All Grown Up Crazy Karts - Found
- Adventures of Bleeposaurus - Found
- Adventures of Bleeposaurus - Dragonfire - Found
- Blues Clues: Joe's 3D Scavenger Hunt - Found
- Danny Phantom Ghost Sweep - Found
- Dora the Explorer 3-D Backpack Adventure - Found
- Dora the Explorer 3D Driving Adventure - Found
- Dora The Explorer 3-D Pyramid Adventure - Found
- Dora 3D Soccer - Found
- Diego's Rescue Adventure 3-D - Found
- Fairly OddParents Information Stupor Highway - Found
- Jimmy Neutron: Gotta Blast! Rocket Race - Lost
- Jimmy Neutron: Rescue Jet Fusion - Found
- Jimmy Neutron Space Blast - Found
- Otto's Killer Carvin Snowboard - Found
- Rocket Power Big Air Mountain - Found
- SpongeBob SquarePants 3D Movie Game - Found
- SpongeBob SquarePants Pinball Panic - Found
- SpongeBob SquarePants Saves the Krusty Krab - Found
- Hey, Arnold! Runaway Bus - Found
- Wild Thornberrys Movie Chopper Chase - Found
- Animenace: Operation Phantom - Partially Found (Missing Level 4-6)
- Baby Knight - Found
- Battle of the Planets: Zoltar's Revenge - Found
- Bio Boxing 3D - Found
- Cyobreed (Unreleased) - Unknown
- Leo's Great Day 2 - Found
Some early 3D Groove demos were created by Roddenberry.com as tech demos to show the capability of the 3D Groove engine.
- OTOY Battle Space - Found
Games running on 3D Groove that were on NetJet.
- Transformers Battle Universe - Lost
The title screen for SpongeBob SquarePants Saves the Krusty Krab.
- Link to a MEGA folder containing some found 3D Groove content, including games and Shockwave xtras. All games are for Windows unless otherwise specified.
- The 3D Groove Alliance's business model.
- Information about 3D Game Machine.
- Information on SkyDive!
- Information on Shockwave.com's partnership with 3D Groove Alliance.
- Information on kpe's partnership with 3D Groove Alliance.
- Information on RealNetworks distribution agreement with 3D Groove Alliance.
- Statistics and information about Real Pool.
- Joseph Varet's LinkedIn suggesting there was a FedEx advergame in the 3D Groove engine. No title is given.
- A blog post on A Tree Falling in the Forest about Jules Urbach who was involved with 3D Groove.
- Statistic about the game Tank Wars.