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Society/business Center for Information Technology Research and Innovation Support Virtual Reality and Visualisation Virtual Reality and 3D-visualisation

An introduction to VRMLview

The programming of Virtual Reality (VR) applications from scratch using software libraries like OpenGL or OpenSceneGraph requires often a lot of expertise and time.

For most applications there is an easier way: create your 3D scene in an application program like 3DSMax or VTK and export it to a generic file format.

Then, use a general-purpose viewer such as VRMLview to view your scene in VR.

VRML97 is an excellent file format for use with VR, as it has many interesting capabilities for creating interactive VR applications, such as:

  • keyframe animation
  • sensors
  • sound
  • scripting

VRMLview is available at the visualisation cluster of the HPC&V Reality Centre, for use on the Reality Cube and Reality Theatre. There is also a stand-alone Linux version for testing your VR-application on a desktop pc. This Linux version is available on request.


VRMLview has been used for many of the projects at HPC/V. These include:

Technical details

VRMLview is programmed in C using OpenGL. It has options such as frustrum culling, back face culling, triangle strips, display lists etc. to obtain optimal performance. When running in the Reality Cube, the Wanda can be used for navigation and user interaction. Of the 55 node types defined in VRML97, 51 are currently supported by VRMLview.

More in-depth information about VRMLview is given here.

Last modified:10 July 2018 09.45 a.m.