The course, Authoring Compelling and Efficient VRML97 Worlds teaches the nitty-gritty on VRML.





If you have the Cosmo Player, Click here to see the VRML world.

Get the Cosmo player here.













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Does Your Browser Speak Vermil?


Although theme parks and industrial applications will always rely on high-bandwidth platforms, VR for the rest of us will in all likelihood be written in VRML97 (pronounced "vermil" 97), a.k.a. VRML 2.0 or ISO VRML. This virtual reality modeling language, the 3D equivalent of hypertext markup language (HTML), was written by a committee of industry software creators, many of whom work at Silicon Graphics and Sony.

The first major authoring product on the market based on the new standard is Cosmo Worlds 2.0, by Silicon Graphics. Its free browser plug-in is called Cosmo Player. "The good news is there are 23-24 million copies of Cosmo Player out there in the field," says David Story, one of its creators and a collaborator on the VRML 2.0 standard.

"You can make compelling content with this VRML language already," Story says. "You don't have to wait for something new. You don't have to learn a lot of programming languages." Also, the file sizes for simple VRML spaces are so tiny, they take up no more room than a still picture, about 12 to 15 Kb. He thinks that will revolutionize banner ads on the Web.

Asked to look five years into the future, Story predicts VRML97 may have a great impact on the presentation of trend data. "People have a very hard time perceiving trends," he says. So while we can already picture housing prices across different geographical areas as a 2D graph, we need 3D to show how that relationship is changing across time. "I think that will in fact become quite ubiquitous, whether it's VRML or some other technology," he says.

Whatever happens, it seems safe to say that the trend for VR of all flavors is definitely upward.

Modeling | Rendering | Animation | Interaction | Virtual Reality | Synthetic Actors