Learning VRML, Some Sources

Dateline: 12/9/98

So you're dying to create your own VRML worlds right! It's really not that difficult. Even I can do it, on occasion :-)

There are a whole bunch of ways to learn VRML. Of course keep in mind that no matter how you obtain VRML information there is no substitute for rolling up your virtual sleeves and creating some yourself. Probably the two best ways of getting started are to find some good books and some good on-line tutorials. These are not the only ways, there are also some terrific on-line courses and there is even a good beginners video tape, but more about those later.

Let's start with books. Right here at Ye Ole' Mining Co. VRML Bookstore, you can buy lots of books by linking right on over to Amazon.com. While all of the books listed have strengths and weaknesses let's cut to the chase and name a couple of good ones. For beginners, probably the best overall book to get started is The VRML 2.0 Handbook : Building Moving Worlds on the Web by Jed Hartman, Josie Wernecke. Also good for beginners but with more of a reference flavor the Vrml 2.0 Sourcebook by Andrea L. Ames, David R. Nadeau, John L. Moreland, is a must have. Finally the VRML Bible is The Annotated Vrml 2.0 Reference Manual by Rikk Carey, Gavin Bell goes into the nitty gritty of the entire standard.

For on-line tutorials there are a ton of em. The question is which ones to use. The Mother-of-all-VRML-tutorial-lists is right here developed in cooperation with the VRML Content Development Working Group. It's got pretty much everything but alas, there is too much. So I suggest starting with, Dave Nadeau, John Moreland, and Mike Heck's Introduction to VRML 2.0. It's a thorough well organized presentation of VRML used at SIGGRAPH. Another great tutorial is the "Lighthouse" tutorial with lots of interactive VRML. There are also several specialize tutorials on such topics as audio, textures and using Java and JavaScript.

Finally you cat get into VRML via a couple of on-line courses and a video tape. Leonard Daly teaches an on-line course at Digital University called an "Introduction to VRML, " it's a 4 week course and a terrific intro. There's another on-line VRML course offered through ZDU (taught by yours truly) and a videotape from ShareViews Video Tutor. The video is kinda cool for people completely new to VRML and other 3D cyberspace stuff. It goes through basic ideas of VRML, world building tools, multi-user possibilities and more. Well that's a smattering of the best resources and remember if you build it they will come.

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