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Chapter 10. QuickTime VR and VRML

Chapter 10. QuickTime VR and VRML

Virtual reality (VR) is a much-admired but seldom-achieved state of affairs that puts mind-controlled avatars in control of super-realistic, imaginary worlds. Although it's great stuff for novels and movies, in truth, virtual reality is many years from being a truly immersive experience that even remotely resembles anything realistic. Today, even on million-dollar multiprocessing workstations, free of the limitations of bandwidth or terrestrial-priced graphics processing engines, VR operates within very narrow boundaries of believable realism.

Still, VR is cool technology within its limitations, even on desktop computers. Two very different, but complementary, VR technologies are both well suited to Web delivery. Apple's QuickTime VR (QTVR) and a competing technology, Reality Studio (from Live Picture) are the basis of what I call photo VR—virtual reality based on photographs or images that imitate the perspective distortion of photography. A completely different form of VR, which I refer to as 3DVR, is based on 3-D models and scenery and uses real-time rendering to allow users to move their point of view in the scene. Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) is the key technology used for 3DVR on the Web.


  

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