The Virtual Reality Modeling Language


Version 2.0, ISO/IEC WD #14772

August 4, 1996


The Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) is a file format for describing 3D interactive worlds and objects. It may be used in conjunction with the World Wide Web. It may be used to create three-dimensional representations of complex scenes such as illustrations, product definition and virtual reality presentations.

 Design Criteria

VRML has been designed to fulfill the following requirements:

Make it possible to develop application generators and editors, as well as to import data from other industrial formats.
Provide all information necessary for implementation and address a complete feature set for wide industry acceptance.
The ability to use elements of VRML in combination and thus allow re-usability.
The ability to add new elements.
Capable of implementation on a wide range of systems.
Multi-user potential
Should not preclude the implementation of multi-user environments.
The elements of VRML should be independent of each other, or any dependencies should be structured and well defined.
The elements should be designed with the emphasis on interactive performance on a variety of computing platforms.
The elements of VRML should be designed for infinitely large compositions.
Standard practice
Only those elements that reflect existing practice, that are necessary to support existing practice, or that are necessary to support proposed standards should be standardized.
An element should have a well-defined interface and a simply stated unconditional purpose. Multipurpose elements and side effects should be avoided.

 Characteristics of VRML

VRML is capable of representing static and animated objects and it can have hyperlinks to other media such as sound, movies, and image. Interpreters (browsers) for VRML are widely available for many different platforms as well as authoring tools for the creation VRML files.

VRML supports an extensibility model that allows new objects to be defined and a registration process to allow application communities to develop interoperable extensions to the base standard. There is a mapping between VRML elements and commonly used 3D application programmer interface (API) features.

 Conventions used in the specification

Field names are in italics. File format and api are in bold, fixed-spacing.
New terms are in italics.

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