HTML 4 For Dummies - Bonus Chapters

VRML


 

VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) is a tool for creating three-dimensional graphical worlds. This programming language is fairly complex; however, most VRML programmers use GUI modeling tools to create their worlds and let the tool write the ugly VRML code automatically.

VRML worlds enable visitors to navigate through them by walking or flying around. They can explore in, around, above, below, and often through objects in VRML space. A VRML world can be anything from a single boxy room with text “hanging” on the walls to fully rendered planets with interactive multimedia behind every turn.

Creating a VRML world is still quite taxing -- meaning it takes a lot of powerful hardware, a high-end video card, and a large communications pipeline for a VRML world of reasonable size to be brought from design to final completion.

Many online sites have used VRML to spice up their content, but it’s still a bit dull in our opinion. Waiting 30 minutes for a 5MB VRML file to download only to see a blocky room with distorted pictures and funky colored wallpaper is not our idea of a good time. You still have to wait a few years before VRML reaches the quality and excitement presented in science-fiction novels and movies.

Web Icon If you want to learn more about VRML and gain an understanding of the tools and equipment involved, visit the VRML Repository at www.sdsc.edu/vrml/.

After you create a VRML world, you don’t need a lot of high-end hardware to distribute it to your users; just a regular Web server with the right MIME extensions defined. The viewers of your site must have a VRML-enabled browser and a 256-color graphics display to gain entry into your virtual world.

Web Icon For complete details on VRML, including the technical specs, the latest specification details, and sample sites, visit www.vrml.org.

We discuss VRML in a bit more detail in the companion book MORE HTML For Dummies. We’ve also written a couple of other books on VRML, including The 60 Minute Guide to VRML from IDG Books Worldwide.

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