One of these days I'll get back to making VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) virtual worlds either for legitimate work or for the sheer euphoria of creating simulated worlds. A year ago, the obvious choice was Pesce's VRML; currently, I'd recommend VRML Handbook, written by staff members of Silicon Graphics who clearly know whereof they speak.
From the Back Cover
A Complete, Practical Guide for VRML 2.0 World Builders Version 2.0 of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language allows world designers to create interactive animated 3D virtual worlds. The VRML 2.0 Handbook guides readers through the development of such a world, using a VRML reconstruction of the Aztec city Tenochtitlan. This guide offers practical, platform-independent tips and examples from the experts at Silicon Graphics, Inc., leaders in formulating and developing VRML. Detailed examples and diagrams provide a solid foundation in VRML 2.0 for a wide range of content creators, from artists and designers with little programming background to seasoned computer experts with modest graphics skills.
With VRML 2.0, you can create robots and people that walk and run, dogs that bark, and gurgling streams. You can design objects that react to user actions, such as doors that open when clicked. You can include sensors that respond when the user approaches a certain area--triggering an alarm, for instance, or starting an animation. This handbook explains how to use all of VRML 2.0's features, including:
- movies and 3D sounds
- visual effects such as fog and scenic panoramas with mountains, plains, or cityscapes
- collision detection, which prevents users from walking through walls
- sensors that keep track of the passage of time and respond to user actions such as clicking an object or moving to a certain location
- interpolators, which make it easy to include key-frame animation in your worlds
- a prototyping feature that allows you to package objects you create and let other world authors use and modify them.