Re: More questions.

Lew Hitchner (
Mon, 5 Dec 1994 23:32:40 -0800

>> Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 10:39:23 -0800
>> From: (Al Globus)
>> To:
>> CC:,
>> Subject: Re: More questions.
>> .vrml is 4 characters, incompatible with DOS, .wrl doesn't sound like
>> .vrml, so how about .vr? There is no law that says there must be 3
>> letters in a dos file extension (c language files are .c by convention).
>> 'Dot VR files' kinda has a ring to it, also to a user a .vr is more
>> obviously 'virtual reality'.
>> A note, vrml is really a 3D specification language with URLs thrown in.
>> It doesn't have much to do with VR. In fact, people who do real
>> VR with Silicon Graphics machines don't usually use Open Inventor, they
>> use Performer --- another SGI product designed for speed -- or roll their
>> own So why don't
>> we quit pretending that VRML really says anything about immersion,
>> admit that what it really describes is 3D graphics, and name the
>> thing appropriately? wrl is fine.
>> Al Globus, CSC
>> NASA Ames Research Center

I second Al's opinion. The consensus in research and popular journal
publications, even among the hyped-up media, is that a 'Virtual Reality
application' MUST include Interaction, and in it's 'true' form also
should include Immersion, though there are many commercial,
non-immersive, desktop VR software systems. That doesn't require
high-end SGI's to qualify, either. Even the lowest-end, inexpensive
desktop VR systems capable of running on a bare bones Windows 386 PC
system support some form of interaction. The VRML proprosal is, in my
opinion, essentially an Open Inventor Viewer with extensions to handle
WWW hypertext-like links -- nothing much VRish about that since it
supports neither interaction nor immersion. I think in choosing the
file naming extension, the emphasis should be focused more on 3D and on
markup language (ml) to be consistent with common usage among WWW
terminology. Also, since HTML file names aren't restricted by DOS's 3
character file extension limit, why should VRML (which should probably
be renamed to remove the VR)? I think .3dml would be more appropriate.

Lew Hitchner
Virtual Reality and Visual Simulation Consultant
Mountain View, CA
Voice: 415-964-9425
FAX: 800-825-7689 (USA)
FAX: 510-472-6951 (international)