Java 3D Installation
Windows

Java 3D 1.5.1 (Manual Method):

Do not use the AMD64 distribution unless you have WinXP 64 bit (just having an Athlon 64 CPU is not sufficient).

Unzip from the distribution (Download from here: https://java3d.dev.java.net/binary-builds.html) and make sure these files are installed into your JRE at these locations:

bin:

lib\ext:

These files also need to be in your JDK for development work - the proper place is in the jdk\jre\bin and jdk\jre\lib\ext)

For most IDEs it appears easiest to just include the Java 3D jar files in each project that will use Java 3D.

JDeveloper: In project properties; Libraries; Add Jar/Directory; navigate to a copy of the Java 3D .jar files and add them as libraries for the project. Also recommended is to make the source available by Project Properties; Libraries; J2SE Version "Change"; highlight the Source Path and click "Add Entry" and navigate to a copy of the Java 3D source zip (j3d-1_5_1-src.zip).


Java 3D 1.5.0:

The installer will automatically install these in your JRE (user).

bin:

lib\ext:

These files also need to be in your JDK for development work - the proper place is in the jdk\jre\bin and jdk\jre\lib\ext) - Most IDEs it appears easiest to just include the Java 3D jar files in each project that will use Java 3D.


May 2001 Update: The installer (for Java3D 1.2.1) is broken on WinME with Java 1.3.1. It's also broken on 1.4 Beta.

November 2000 Update - With Java 3D 1.2.1 beta 1, Sun has fixed the Java 3D installer so that it now installs into both the JRE and JDK (thus rendering these instructions obsolete). The new installer is very nice and displays where it is going to install, giving you an option to select a different JRE. You should still uninstall any previous Java 3D before installing a new version of Java 3D.

If you are using WinNT try "java -version" you should get something like:
  java version "1.3.0"
  Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.3.0-C)
  Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.3.0-C, mixed mode)
If not you probably are running the Microsoft VM (which will not run Java 3D)

Simple Version

Users:
1) Install JRE 1.3.0
2) Install Java 3D 1.2 RT (OpenGL)

Step 1 should install the Java 1.3 runtime in a directory (default) of:
C:\Program Files\JavaSoft\Jre\1.3\
Step 2 currently requires manually changing the default install directory to:
C:\Program Files\JavaSoft\Jre\1.3\

Developers:
1) Install JDK 1.3.0
2) Install Java 3D 1.2 SDK (OpenGL)
3) Install Java 3D 1.2 RT (OpenGL)

Step 1 will install the JDK
Step 2 will install Java 3D into the SDK
Step 3 currently requires manually changing the default install directory to:
C:\Program Files\JavaSoft\Jre\1.3\
 If step three is not done when you try to run an applet you’ll typically see “Applet XYZ notinited” in Netscape’s status bar.
 

Files needed

Users:
JRE 1.3.0 - “j2re1_3_0-win.exe
Java 3D 1.2 RT - “java3d-1_2-win-opengl-rt.exe

Developers:
JDK 1.3.0 - "j2sdk1_3_0-win.exe"
Java 3D 1.2 SDK - “java3d-1_2_win-opengl_sdk.exe
Java 3D 1.2 RT - “java3d-1_2-win-opengl-rt.exe

Theory
("Why a simple installation confuses experienced developers")

User's have it easy... they have a Java runtime, a simple straightforward install.  Software developers on the other hand are faced with two runtime environments - the SDK and the JRE.  Inside our IDE's our applications and applets function nicely from the SDK (or IDE virtual machine).  However once we exit to the command line or try to run an applet from a browser a different environment is used, the "JRE".  So if we don't install extensions (like Java 3D) into both environments we start seeing cryptic error messages!  And Sun's install routines barely make you aware that you have a JRE and the Java 3D SDK install doesn't bother to warn you that it didn't install into the JRE also.

So as a software developer you can either follow the above installation procedure or you can manually place the necessary files in all needed locations (both SDK and JRE).  For Java 3D there are six files involved:

    J3D.dll
    j3daudio.dll

    j3daudio.jar
    j3dcore.jar
    j3dutils.jar
    vecmath.jar

The two dll files need to be in your "bin" directory (default = C:\Program Files\JavaSoft\Jre\1.3\bin\).
The four jar files need to be in your library extension directory (default =C:\Program Files\JavaSoft\Jre\1.3\lib\ext\).

How to know which JVM your system is going to use

The Java being used by your browser is the same as the Java being used on the command line. Your browser uses the JVM listed at the registry entry

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Runtime Environment\$CurrentVersion$\JavaHome

where $CurrentVersion$ is

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Runtime Environment\CurrentVersion

This is where the Java 3D installer will install Java 3D by default.