« webMathematica 1.0 MathML Update | Main | Were-here real-soon »

Whatever happened to VRML?

On my bookshelf, next to outdated software manuals and an Italian/English dictionary, sit two books on VRML. They haven't been opened in years, but I can still remember the first time I hand coded a VRML file and saw my creation rendered in a plug-in for my browser. Geeky exhilaration!

While I was distracted by some other now-extinct-web-tech, VRML suddenly disappeared. Where did it go? Parallel graphics still produces VRML tools, and the wed3D consortium seems to be working on X3D.

Yes, there are powerful 3D modeling tools available. But it was a liberating feeling to go right into the code, change one character, and alter a world. And nodes! Ahhhh

Any other VRML fans out there?


Hi, I used to track VRML pretty closely, but there were two problems:
-- few in the audience had any VRML player
-- of those, the range in VRML implementations limited you to the simplest stuff

(There were lots of features that one VRML plugin supported and another didn't... it was like the early browser wars.)

Right now Shockwave has a very good 3D implementation and very high consumer viewership, but I think all the talk about 3D on the web may have left a bitter taste for many...?

I like VRML and have used it within the last year. At the University of Virginia, I used to create 3D objects in 3D Studio Max and then export them as VRML (.wrl) files. A Java programmer then incorporated those VRML files into 3D lab scenes and experiments in Java3D. I used the Cortona VRML client (from ParallelGraphics) to view the files in the browser and make sure they look good before passing them on to the Java programmer.