It is not just HyperText,
And it is more than HyperMedia.
Technology gives us HyperMultiMedia.

What VRML adds to HTML.

How amazing me putting these two terms next to each other with the idea that either is stable enough to make a comparison worthwhile. Now, when I point my browser at a www address it can open either .htm or .wrl content (and several other types but I am just considering the basics). Surfing through these great choices, I find HTML is expanding to include more interactive and 3D effects, and VRML is expanding to encompass more than geometries and lighting. But I must try to pin this down a little better so that I might make some progress.
When I am using the term HTML, I am using the idea of the hyperlink as applied to the concept of the common hypertext or hypermedia link.
When I am using the term VRML, I am using the idea of the hyperlink as applied to the concept of the VRML Viewpoint.

So, having no problem with these terms, let us look at the most important difference between HTML and VRML.


Navigation in the HTML information space is 2D, that is two dimensional.
A hyperlink leads to another node on the same plane.
The HTML space is often visualized as having more than simple x and y coordinates, but to the user, the access remains 2D.
I may be stretching it, but only one HTML node is revealed at any one time. Rather than the interacter moving to the information node, the HTML information space transforms itself so that the node moves to the interacter.

In the VRML 3D space, like in the real world, the information nodes remain at relative locations and the interacter navigates or tranforms the viewpoint to the node.
Multiple nodes can be revealed simultaneously.
The user moves from one viewpoint to another either by voluntarily traversing the intervening space in a continious path, or by moving in a preprogrammed jaunt from one viewpoint to another. This ability to move continiously from one node to another or to use the ability to "jaunt", (a term I am associating with some old sci-fi story that I would like to find again having a main character named McQueen), is the concept separating what I am calling HTML from what I am calling VRML.

The further realization that VRML navigation also includes the ability to perform a basic HTML hyperlink completes the standard feature set. I think these enrichments are important because understanding these three basic VRML navigation methods is essential to defining an approach to developing and organizing content.

Geometry, Textures, Lighting, Viewpoint

So far I must use these as the big four of VRML. The order may not be important, depending upon your resources and the application, each of these four elements must be considered in sufficient detail.

You must define and position the geometry of each feature in the project.
In this step the "physical" features of the environment are designed and positioned.

You must specify the characteristics of textures applied to the geometry.
This is where you decide how the surface texture will appear to the viewer.

You must design appropriate lighting for the textured geometries.
Now adjust the type, position, and intensity of the lights to achieve the desired visual effects.

You get to choose recommended viewpoints from which the interactor can view the lighted, textured geometries.
Although the user can move freely within the environment, and exit at will, you do have the opportunity to define a starting and any number of recommended viewpoints.

What does HyperMultiMedia mean to the way your application presents the user interface?

Let's discuss your application so I can show you how this HyperMultiMedia concept will add to its success.

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Technical and Promotional HyperMultiMedia

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