3D Groove Games (partially lost online games; 1998-2009)

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Header 01 install.png

3D Groove's logo.

Status: Partially Lost

3D Groove was a 3D game engine that was active between 1998 and 2009, with its peak occurring in the early to mid-2000s. Many 3D Groove games were lost when 3D Groove's site went down in 2009.

The 3D Groove engine was created by the company The Groove Alliance. While The 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 its 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.[1]


3D Groove games could be built to be played on the desktop or in a browser. At first, there was 3D Groove SX, which allowed developers with the Director to create a Shockwave Movie (with a filetype of DCR) with a 3D Groove game. In 2002, 3D Groove GX was introduced, and it allowed for the creation of 3D Groove games without the need for Director. With 3D Groove GX, developers would use the private SDK provided by The Groove Alliance to create Groove World Files (with a filetype of GRV.)

Both versions of 3D Groove, in turn, used the 3D Game Machine development framework (3DGM for short) from Virtually Unlimited Corp. In September 2001, 3D Groove bought the source code for 3DGM.[2] 3D Groove games may make use of the 3DGM Model File format (with a file type of 3GM) and are similar to the standard 3DS Model File format but with greater functionality. For example, the ability to use quads - or faces with any amount of vertices - instead of only triangles, was included.


In 1995, before 3D Groove existed, programmer Jules Urbach worked at DigitalFusion 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 by MacSoft and got a Windows port in 1998, which was published through GT Interactive (which would later become Infogrames) shortly before the Groove Alliance was established.

The Groove Alliance was established on July 6th, 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. It was 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 Groove Alliance then developed a game called SkyDive! which was released by Electronic Arts on June 30th, 1999, with their Gonzo Games label. It received mostly negative reviews.[3] Shockwave.com announced a partnership with 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.[4][5]

From January 2001 to August 2003, Joseph Varet became 3D Groove's CEO.

Kpe and the Groove Alliance announced a partnership. The first title they released under this partnership was Otto's Killer Carvin Snowboard for NickArcade.[6] RealNetworks announced a distribution agreement with the Groove Alliance for their RealArcade platform.[7] 3D Groove also made a sequel to Real Pool called Real Pool 2, which became the first game to use the new 3D Groove GX engine version.[8]

By March 2002, the 3D Groove engine had been downloaded 40 million times.[9] In early 2004, Peter Laufenburg left the Groove Alliance.

3D Groove marketed a new Battle of the Planets game to celebrate the show's 25th anniversary. 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 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. Jules Urbach's explanation for 3D Groove's sunset is that he wanted to shift his full attention to OTOY's bigger goals which involved GPU rendering, as explained in a Twitter reply. He also added that a half dozen people from Groove still work at OTOY as of writing.[10]

One blog post on A Tree Falling in the Forest about Jules Urbach, who worked at 3D Groove, wrote that he was "kind of screwed" by certain people in Groove Alliance.[11] When asked on the Ezone Discord server what happened to 3D Groove as a company, Ezone responded that "all [they] know is that Jules got ripped off in some way by the CEO." However, these stories don't coincide with OTOY's official response.

Availability of Games and Download

The 3D Groove games are for the most part 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. Many games were also given out directly by Simon Edis from Ezone. A list of games that are currently lost and found can be viewed below. A MEGA Folder of the currently found 3D Groove games is available here for download.

Groove Alliance Original Titles

# Game Title Status
1 3D Marble Demo Found
2 9MM: Beer Bottle Shootout Found
3 AlienX Found
4 Death From Above Found
5 High Roller Partially Found[12][13]
6 Nothin' But Net Found
7 Outpost X Demo Found
8 Piscean Found
9 Real Pool Found
10 Real Pool 2 Found
11 Showdown: The gunfighting game Found
12 SkyDive! Found
13 SkyRacer: Impulse Found
14 Star Battalion Lost
15 Tank Wars Found
16 Tank Wars Multiplayer Lost[14]

Groove Alliance Advergames

# Game Title Status
1 3D Groove Bose Game Lost[15]
2 Cisco Broadband Game Lost
3 Code Red Nothin' But Net Lost
4 Disc Dogger Lost[16]
5 Eight Legged Freaks Found
6 FedEx USA Express Lost[17]
7 Intel's Showdown: The gunfighting game Lost
8 Jack Daniel's Real Pool Lost
9 M&M'S: Yellow Takes Tokyo Found
10 Pedal to the Metal Found
11 SkyRacer: Impulse Found
12 Michelob Golf Lost[18]
13 Mountain Dew Skateboarding Lost
14 Nesquik: Chocolate Mountain Challenge Found
15 Pringles Pony Express Found
16 Super Spud Boxing Found
17 RC Stunt Machine Showdown Found
18 SEMIs ChipsOnTour Lost
19 Volvo Cross-Country Challenge Found
20 Unlimited Challenge 2 Found

Cartoon Network

# Game Title Status
1 Showdown in the Sky in 3D Found
2 Toonami: Trapped in Hyperspace Partially Found


# Game Title Status
1 American Dragon Jake Long: Robot Pandemonium Found
2 Dunk Tank Found
3 Hamsterball Bowling Found
4 JetiXtreme 3D Racing Found
5 Johnny Kapahala: Island Grind Found
6 Kim Possible: Middleton Mayhem Found
7 The Great Race of Oban Found
8 Tarzan's Jungle Rescue Found
9 Yin Yang Yo: The Dangerous Comic Book of Dread Found


# Game Title Status
1 Battle of the Planets: Peril of the Praying Mantis Found
2 Farmer Giblet's Turkey Farm (Turkey 3D!) Found
3 Lenny Loosejocks Boardin Found
4 Lenny Loosejocks in Snow Worries! Found
5 Penguin Racers Found
6 Santa Goes Buttboardin' 3D Found
7 Super Mega Big Trucks - Arena Found
8 Space Wombat Found


# Game Title Status
1 All Grown Up Krazy Karts Found
2 Adventures of Bleeposaurus Found
3 Adventures of Bleeposaurus - Dragonfire Found
4 Blue's Clues: Joe's 3-D Scavenger Hunt Found
5 Danny Phantom Ghost Sweep Found
6 Diego's Rescue Adventure 3-D Found
7 Dora's 3-D Soccer Found
8 Dora's The Explorer 3-D Backpack Adventure Found
9 Dora's The Explorer 3-D Driving Adventure Found
10 Dora's The Explorer 3-D Pyramid Adventure Found
11 Fairly Oddparents - Information Stupor Highway Found
12 Hey Arnold! Runaway Bus Found
13 Jimmy Neutron: Gotta Blast! Rocket Race Partially Found
14 Jimmy Neutron: Rescue Jet Fusion Found
15 Jimmy Neutron Space Blast Found
16 Otto's Killer Carvin Snowboard Found
17 Rocket Power Big Air Mountain Found
18 SpongeBob SquarePants 3-D Found
19 SpongeBob SquarePants 3D Pinball Panic Found
20 SpongeBob SquarePants Saves the Krusty Krab Found
21 Wild Thornberrys 3D Chopper Chase Found


# Game Title Status
1 002 Turbo Found
2 Animenace: Operation Phantom Partially Found
3 Architecture Demo Lost[19]
4 Baby Knight Found
5 Battle of the Planets: 3D Battle Racer Found
6 Battle of the Planets: Zoltar's Revenge Found
7 Bio Boxing 3D Found
8 Cyobreed Non-existent[20]
9 Elfsquest Found
10 Leo's Great Day 2 Found
11 Lisasquest 3D Found


# Game Title Status
1 OTOY Battle Space Found
2 Star Trek Online Lost
3 Transformers Battle Universe Found


External Links


  1. The Groove Alliance's business model. Retrieved 21 Dec '16
  2. Information about 3D Game Machine. Retrieved 06 Jan '17
  3. Information on SkyDive!. Retrieved 15 Dec '16
  4. Information on Shockwave.com's partnership with Groove Alliance. Retrieved 28 Nov '16
  5. Statistic about the game Tank Wars. Retrieved 28 Nov '16
  6. Information on kpe's partnership with Groove Alliance. Retrieved 28 Nov '16
  7. Information on RealNetworks distribution agreement with Groove Alliance. Retrieved 28 Nov '16
  8. Statistics and information about Real Pool. Retrieved 28 Nov '16
  9. The 3D Groove engine download statistic. Retrieved 03 Jul '17
  10. Twitter post explaining OTOY's shift in focus. Retrieved 13 Oct '20
  11. A blog post on A Tree Falling in the Forest about Jules Urbach who was involved with 3D Groove. Retrieved 29 Aug '16
  12. Small screenshots of High Roller and Outpost X. Retrieved 10 Oct '18
  13. A brief review of High Roller. Retrieved 24 Oct '18
  14. A capture mentioning Tank Wars Multiplayer existing on e4.com. Retrieved 10 Oct '18
  15. Site on which 3D Groove Bose Game of unknown title, Cisco Broadband Game and SEMIs ChipsOnTour would've been embedded. Retrieved 10 Oct '18
  16. A capture of Disc Dogger's loader which tries to install 3D Groove. The game itself was not caught. Retrieved 10 Oct '18
  17. Joseph Varet's LinkedIn suggesting there was a FedEx advergame in the 3D Groove engine. Retrieved 28 Oct '17
  18. Art of Wei's portfolio mentioning Michelob Golf. Retrieved 10 Oct '18
  19. Page linking to Lisasquest 3D and Architecture Demo made in Groove GX. Retrieved 10 Oct '18
  20. Marc Nail discussing Cyobreed's cancellation. Retrieved 24 Oct '18