History Of Vrml Essay Research Paper HistoryVRML

History Of Vrml Essay, Research Paper


VRML was conceived in the spring of 1994 at the first annual World Wide Web Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Tim Berners-Lee and Dave Raggett organized a Birds-of-a-Feather (BOF) session to discuss Virtual Reality interfaces to the World Wide Web. Several BOF attendees described projects already underway to build three dimensional graphical visualization tools which inter-operate with the Web. Attendees agreed on the need for these tools to have a common language for specifying 3D world description and WWW hyper-links — an analog of HTML for virtual reality. The term Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) was coined, and the group resolved to begin specification work after the conference. The word ‘Markup’ was later changed to ‘Modeling’ to reflect the graphical nature of VRML.

Shortly after the Geneva BOF session, the www-vrml mailing list was created to discuss the development of a specification for the first version of VRML. The response to the list invitation was overwhelming: within a week, there were over a thousand members. After an initial settling-in period, list moderator Mark Pesce of Labyrinth Group announced his intention to have a draft version of the specification ready by the WWW Fall 1994 conference, a mere five months away. There was general agreement on the list that, while this schedule was aggressive, it was achievable provided that the requirements for the first version were not too ambitious and that VRML could be adapted from an existing solution. The list quickly agreed upon a set of requirements for the first version, and began a search for technologies which could be adapted to fit the needs of VRML.

The search for existing technologies turned up a several worthwhile candidates. After much deliberation the list came to a consensus: the Open Inventor ASCII File Format from Silicon Graphics, Inc. The Inventor File Format supports complete descriptions of 3D worlds with polygonally rendered objects, lighting, materials, ambient properties and realism effects. A subset of the Inventor File Format, with extensions to support networking, forms the basis of VRML. Gavin Bell of Silicon Graphics has adapted the Inventor File Format for VRML, with design input from the mailing list. SGI has publicly stated that the file format is available for use in the open market, and have contributed a file format parser into the public domain to bootstrap VRML viewer development.

This is a clarified version of the 1.0 specification. No features have been added or changed from the original 1.0 version of the spec. This is a ‘bug-fix’ release of the spec, correcting misspellings, vague wording and misleading examples, and adding wording to better define the semantics of VRML.


[2] BELL, G.; PARISI, A.; PESCE, M. The Virtual Reality Modeling Language, Version 1.0C Specification, 1996. http://www.vrml.org/VRML1.0/vrml10c.html


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