What is VRML

2 Introduction to VRML


2.1 What is VRML?

VRML stands for Virtual Reality Modeling Language. VRML is a file format for describing and representing 3D objects and worlds. Virtual reality is associated with the use of "data gloves" or visualization devices that are supposed to enable real immersion in this world. VRML does not allow this form of representation; rather, the representation is limited to the minimum that is necessary for 3D modeling. In this sense, modeling is perhaps a bit misleading for a description language. However, VRML also contains elements that go far beyond a mere description of a three-dimensional world.
So what exactly is VRML:
VRML is a simple language for describing common elements of 3D applications: light sources, viewpoints, geometry, animation, fog, material properties, surfaces.
VRML is the 3D counterpart to HTML [2]. Like HTML, VRML enables websites to be created easily, but in three dimensions. As with two-dimensional websites, creation and use are platform-independent. In contrast to HTML, VRML enables much more extensive interaction by the user / viewer [1]. The design options far exceed those of traditional page, text and image-oriented presentation.

Like HTML, VRML forms a superset of the most important multimedia types and combines them into a whole [3]. Virtual reality enables the integration of three-dimensional representations, two-dimensional representations, text and various multimedia formats (sounds, video sequences) into a uniform model. VRML can make use of existing standards. This has a decisive advantage: There are already corresponding libraries and tools for creating and editing these external formats. As with a website, so-called anchors can be set in a world, which integrate objects in other formats into the virtual world. Examples are JPEG, MPEG, GIF for the design of surfaces, WAV and MIDI for the integration of sounds [1]. A detailed description of these options can be found in Chapter 3.
What is the difference between VRML and HTML in terms of integration? HTML also uses the formats mentioned and offers an integrating platform. As a rule, however, videos or audio sources cannot be displayed synchronously with the rest of the document. For other file types, an external program must be started in order to be able to output the corresponding format. In a VRML world, on the other hand, it is possible to control the output of media via so-called sensors and thus fit it seamlessly into the scene. VRML continues to provide standard support for various types.