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WRL files are an extension of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) format . VRML file types enable browser plugins to display virtual reality environments. The term VRML is often referred to as “worlds” or vrml world file - which is also what WRL actually stands for.
WRL files help browsers render 3d polygons with details such as vertices, edges, surface colors, mapped textures, light, and reflection mapping.
Developers can use the VRML file format to associate URLs with specific graphical components. When a user clicks on a specific component, the browser can fetch another page, or trigger something like an animation, sound, or lighting.
Here’s a short list of WRL file compatible programs:
As we described earlier, VRML helps translate 3D objects and image sequences into language that websites can understand and interpret. This helps enable interactive web experiences, where users can view, move, and rotate objects around to get an accurate picture of how they might render in real life.
VRML files have helped enable things like the growth of virtual reality in real estate, among a host of other real-world applications.
Architects and designers can create a virtual world representation of their buildings, envision where mechanical components will go and adjust for variances - without having to scrap and redraw blueprints.
In addition, prospective buyers and renters no longer have to visit the physical premises. They can view the property on their phones in full 3D format, helping them make a decision faster.
You might assume that VRML is a new web language, but it was actually proposed back in 1994 during the first World Wide Web conference.
The first application that used VRML was released on the Netscape browser as a 3D plugin in 1995. VRML was proposed to be a standard web language, similar to how HTML powered the early versions of the web.
The idea was to use VRML in order to promote a future of virtual reality websites. Unfortunately, the development of VRML stagnated due to slow dial-up internet speeds which couldn’t load VRML plugins fast enough as well as underpowered computers that lacked high-end graphics processors.
VRML never quite took off the way it was originally envisioned. However, it has found applicability and popularity in niche areas such as data exchange in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) programs.