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VRML

Virtual Reality Markup Language, or VRML, has many things in common with HTML. It is a platform- and browser-independent language that supports many types of media, including sound, graphics, text animation, video, and interactivity. You can build and edit VRML with a basic text editor. Unlike HTML, which presents data on a two-dimensional page, VRML presents all this data in the framework of a three-dimensional space, complete with geometry, lights, and textures, viewed through the eye of a virtual camera.

There are other differences. VRML requires a browser plug-in and a fast machine (preferably with 3-D acceleration) to render complex scenes on the fly. Simple 3-D scenes are fairly compact in general, but complex VRML sites can be very large and require careful file-optimization techniques to make things work well over slow connections. Although the basic techniques of HTML design borrow heavily from standard 2-D graphic design and resemble old-fashioned typesetting more than anything, VRML is decidedly 3-D, and interactive VRML sites—or sites that have animation and a lot of interesting effects—require a fair amount of programming as well.


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