June 13th, 2013
This week in WebGL features compelling visualization, innovative rendering, and kick-ass physics!
- BBC News is trying out WebGL as a new “3D Interactive” format for stories. Here is a visualization of a Dornier bomber (WWII German aircraft), apparently the last of its kind to be salvaged.
- OpenStreetMap viewers seem to be all the rage these days. The enigmatic F4 Group recently released a nice one based on WebGL: http://map.f4-group.com/
- Also based on OSM is Theo Armour’s latest Jaanga hacksperiment, the oSome Globe. Lots of detail in there!
- In building an earthquake visualization, Maran Emil decided to take globe rendering into his own hands to save CPU cycles.
- iChemLabs has added text label support to their HTML5 scientific visualization toolkit ChemDoodle Web Components. Their MolGrabber 3D demo shows off the feature nicely.
- Pivoting for No Good Reason: London-based Ilmari Heikkinen has created PoemYou!, a gorgeous user interface with hexagonal cylinders, stash boxes, power-ups and all kinds of visual goodies. It’s not actually WebGL, just CSS3 transforms. But really nice. His blog posting on the project contains a rant about 3D and web devs that I’m inclined to agree with: “browser devs aren’t very interested in being 3D engine devs” #duh
- At the Resonate 2013 art and technology conference, Marcin Ignak gave an outstanding talk, Data Art with WebGL, featuring WebGL visualizations written in the Plask framework. The good stuff kicks in around 6:00 into the video. But – watch it all!
- Pixels 3D, a new Chrome Experiment, renders 3D shapes with particles. It can use the GPU to accelerate particle rendering with floating point textures (via the OES_texture_float extension).
- Another Chrome Experiment, Cubeslam, is an addicting Pong-like game that shows off WebGL, Web Audio and WebRTC.
- AlteredQualia has added another great demo to his prodigious portfolio, this time a really nice ammo.js-based physics simulation featuring WebGL and Web Workers.
- Leap forward: Jerome Etienne plays around with Leap Motion. I’m sure we’re going to see some fun experiments coming out soon.
- Finally, if you’re planning to be in New York City in July, you might want to go to the HugeInc Meetup on July 20, Dissecting WebGL.
June 8th, 2013
[Apologies - posted a few days late as I'm a road trip-- TP]
WebGL: now featuring mind control and telekinesis. Really! Also SceneJS 3.0 hits the street, real-time video and photo effects and editing, and crazy-cool data visualization.
- In this video, Verold CTO Ross McKegney shows how to control Three.js with your mind! Using Verold Studio and Daniel Luxemburg’s node-thinkgear module, Ross created a demo scene controlled by a Neurosky brainwave sensor.
- Here’s another wild input demo, this time using a LeapMotion to control WebGL with a wave of your hand. Short on narrative, but I guess it’s self-explanatory.
- Lindsay Kay has released the long-awaited version 3.0 of SceneJS. This release is a 70% rewrite with a few more bells and whistles, and features auto-recovery from WebGL context lost (no need to handle it in app code).
- Ukrainian team Pics.io (pronounced “pixie-oh”) announced plans to build a browser-based photo editing application in WebGL. Adobe beware!
- Seriously.js is a real-time, node-based video compositor for the web inspired by professional software such as After Effects and Nuke. via Theo Armour
- Making WebGL Dance – an amazing slide show by Steven Wittens, featuring live WebGL illustrations of key graphics concepts.
- Speaking of great illustration, Aki Rodic’s blog, Daily Routines – 1099 days of my life visualized in WebGL, now has a really cool WebGL interface. via three.js reddit
- Visualization provocateur and guerrilla web dev Theo Armour has posted a rant about why Three.js and jQuery were never meant to be together, backed up with code.
May 30th, 2013
Console games and MMORPGS highlight this week’s WebGL developments… also: an anatomy lesson!
- WebGL console gaming? You heard me. Developer Jarrod Overson posted this Youtube Video of WebGL Running on OUYA. OUYA is the new Android-based $99 gaming console, designed by Yves Behar (of One Laptop Per Child and August fame). The demo is powered by Ludei’s CocoonJS platform for accelerating HTML5 and WebGL for mobile games. #gamechanger!
- Developer bubblebean just released an alpha demo of their MMORPG Urban Galaxy Online. You can connect with Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, pick your spaceship and start playing. I was impressed by the beautiful 3D rendering and excellent visual and sound design. This is definitely pushing the envelope on look and feel of HTML5 gaming! I couldn’t get very far in it but I suspect that’s because they’re still bringing it to life. reported by webgl.com
- Another space-based MMORPG entry, Langenium, features a more retro look. Definitely lower production value than Urban Galaxy, but the development is being done out in the open, so this one gets grass-roots style points. I wish them luck on getting this out the door soon.
- Brandon Jones gives us a really informative anatomy lesson on how Chrome’s move to the Blink engine will affect WebGL performance. Warning: assumes some OOP and C++ish knowledge…
- WebGL is getting a lot of mainstream love these days! It was heavily featured at this week’s O’Reilly Fluent Conference, including Brendan Eich’s Keynote and a session by yours truly. Here’s a copy of the slides from my talk.
- Check out Corona Perspectives, a site created by the beer maker featuring sleek and novel WebGL visualization of pro tennis matches from ATP World Tour.
- threefitti? Nice urban visualization of graffiti around Zurich. Go to http://graff.jouda.cc/, click on Zurich, then click on one of the highlighted areas to launch a 3D walkthrough of a city district with actually graffiti mapped onto the building walls.
- Want to make your own planet? Try out this cool tool at PlanetMaker. via three.js reddit
- ViziCities creators Rob Hawkes and Peter Smart did another nice ViziCities presentation from at Front-Trends 2013.
- In his blog Computional Contemplations, Lee Stemkoski ponders animated noise shaders in three.js.
- Denver-based consultant Mark Harris has started a series of experiments on an open source game development platform, gamepad_101. Feedback welcome.
May 24th, 2013
In WebGL this week: perspectives, projections and IE WebGL inching closer to reality.
- Code Junkie Theo Armour offers his reactions to last week’s WebGL Meetup. A thoughtful piece from a guy who’s forgotten more 3D CAD than most of us will ever know in our lifetimes.
- With no detectable irony, Brandon Jones ponders whether one day Microsoft will be WebGL’s biggest supporter.
- And why not? WebGL support in IE seems to be inching closer to reality, with this teaser video released on Microsoft Vine. “HTML5?! What’s next? WebGL?!?!?”
- WebGL and Security?! Security software company F-Secure can now visualize world wide malware attacks detected by its software: check out the F-Secure Globe #nowthatsirony
- Goo Technologies has released another great Goo Engine game called Pearl Boy. Gorgeous!
- Not just another sandbox game: Håkon Erichsen has released an early version of Skycraft. reported by webgl.com
- Cesium, the WebGL virtual globe and map engine, has a new demos page showcasing apps built with Cesium. http://cesium.agi.com/demos.html
- Greg Beatty used Cesium with WebGL and HTML5 video to integrate GPS ski track data with helmet-cam videos taken on a ski trip to Salt Lake City, UT.
- Here are some great JSModeler demos by Viktor Kovacs: a prototype Lego Builder and a Robotic Arm simulation.
- numb3r23 has created a couple of nice WebGL experiments, including a new take on an old arcade favorite, and explorations with vertex displacement shaders.
- Ádám (last name not known) asked me to tell you about his interactive WebGL Detector. The site tries to detect WebGL and if it’s not there, takes you through a wizard showing you how to set it up.
- In courseware, Real-Time Rendering guru Eric Haines has completed part 2 of his Udacity Interactive 3D Graphics course. Also check out Digital Media Universe’s Virtual Programming School course WebGL Game Programming for Beginners.
- The Web3D 2013 Conference has released the program for its June conference in San Sebastian, Spain – featured speakers include Mr. Doob.
May 16th, 2013
Content tools, data visualization, new WebGL engines and several great how-to articles and videos highlight this week’s goings-on.
- At a rollicking San Francisco WebGL Meetup last night, we saw demonstrations of new tools and formats by yours truly, Remi Arnaud of AMD, Aleksandar Rodic of Google, Iker Zugaza of Ludei and Robin Willis from Sunglass.io. Long story short, the content pipeline is still rickety but we are seeing signs of moving in the right direction. Pretty soon we’ll have reliable professional-grade content pipeline tools that anyone can use to create WebGL apps…
- In-browser modeling tool 3DTin just hit 100,000 users! Congratulations. blog.3dtin.com/2013/05/10/100000-users-and-beyond/
- Rehabs.com has developed a compelling and beautiful visualization that illustrates the staggering costs associated with the international drug economy. This is data visualization at its best: numbers brought to life – and the point brought home – with imagery that anyone can understand and appreciate.
- Got vectors? You know that WebGL ain’t just for 3D… so check out the awesome new 2D drawing API Two.js.
- Unigine has added support for Oculus Rift & WebGL http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTM2MjQ
- Team RadMars has created another sweet Ludum Dare game called Tessitron. I can’t stop playing this one! (reported by webgl.com)
- Erik L posted Get Red, a Chrome Experiment game that is oddly fun… and a bit exasperating!
- Just when you think everything has been done with Conway’s Game of Life, Rye Terrell shows us the algorithm running in a point cloud.
- Gamedev.net just published an article on how to build a Multiplayer Pong Game with Go language, WebSockets and WebGL.
- It looks like WebGL is at least on Adobe’s radar. Here is Andrew Phelps’ case study in creating game engines in both WebGL and Stage3D from the Adobe Max 2013 conference.
- In his excellent onGameStartUS talk, Vikram Subramanian demonstrates how he extended Ejecta to support WebGL for mobile iOS development.
May 9th, 2013
HUGE developments in the world of WebGL this week: open source game engines, live HTML rendered in 3D, and browser-based cloud rendering to name a few.
- Topping the news: Turbulenz announced that they have open sourced their game engine. A high quality, royalty free and open source game engine could be a real game-changer. Check out the announcement on their blog at http://news.turbulenz.com/post/49430669886/turbulenz-engine-goes-open-source.
- Almost as ground-breaking as a free game engine would be a way to seamlessly blend HTML page elements into a 3D scene. I didn’t think it was possible, but Jerome Etienne seems to have figured out how to do it.
- I’ve made no secret of my skepticism about cloud gaming, so I approach this next news item with some reserve. Mozilla and OTOY announced ORBX.js, a browser-based cloud rendering system that streams high-end applications to low-end devices through the browser. CNET says it’s about to revolutionize computing, but I’m not ready to trade in my Macbook Air for a $200 tablet. Still… this effort seems like the best one yet to unlock legacy OS applications for use all on devices. #reservingjudgment
- There has been very positive reaction to Runescape 3 going HTML5, the latest of which is this article. This may be the WebGL sleeper story of the year… the first highly successful MMO built on web technology.
- Peter Lüders (@Pl4n3) released a new game demo up now PL4N3s World… excellent!
- Want to get your graffiti on without running afoul of the law? You can, by visiting Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo Texas. But if you can’t make it there in person, try Xavier Bourry’s interactive version in WebGL.
- Solar system models are always a fun demonstration of 3D. This very nice Chrome Experiment called ScalePlanets, written by Kevin M. Gill, allows you to interactively view planets based on size, mass and density.
- Zephyros Anemos has written an in-depth terrain engine demo and case study called Project Windstorm.
- Stumped trying to figure out how view your Maya models in a web page? Sam Wirch has written a how-to for a basic art path from Maya via OBJ.
Large-scale worlds, both real and virtual, top the week’s headlines.
- ViziCities brings real-world cities to life using Big Data and WebGL. Check out the Slideshare about the project at http://www.slideshare.net/robhawkes/bringing-cities-to-life-using-big-data-webgl and sign up for the beta list.
- Virtual worlds are back? The folks from Cloud Party are creating a HTML5 and WebGL-based large-scale world with in-browser building tools. (The official press release is here.) The company is backed by SecondLife alum and co-founder Cory Ondrejka. Maybe this time, the idea will take off… maybe.
- Leave it to the Scandinavians to combine the best of graphics and dance music! Simo Santavirta just released version 2 of APEXvj, a mind-numbing WebGL music visualiser. http://www.apexvj.com/kaksi/player?s=89129737
- I stumbled over this awesome slide deck posted by effects hacker extraordinaire Felix Woitzel… “all standalone sketches, mostly boilerplate for the shader pipeline.”
- Theo Armour is at it again, visualizing anything stored in bits. This time it’s an update to FGx Globe, an app that visualizes FlightGear users’ online flight simulator status around the globe.
- Yane Frenski just released ThreeGraphs, an experimental charting package that uses Three.js. ThreeGraphics is easy to use and features really nice graphics.
- John Robinson’s HTML programming blog features a nifty vertex shader-based WebGL Sand Toy.
April 25th, 2013
This week in WebGL features courseware, space exploration, artificial life, big data, and… view your code in 3D???
- Eric Haines of Autodesk (and Real-Time Rendering fame) has created an introductory Interactive 3D Graphics Udacity Course featuring WebGL and Three.js.
- Here is a must-read Mozilla Hacks piece on WebGL Concepts, written by Mozilla WebGL guru Benoit Jacob.
- Congratulations to the folks from Cesium for taking 2nd place in the local judging of the NASA International Space Apps Challenge! Read about their WebGL-based entry at http://cesium.agi.com/2013/04/23/Cesium-at-International-Space-Apps-Challenge/.
- Dan Bagnell from the Cesium also team posted an informative piece on robust polyline rendering with WebGL.
- Not one but two bits of A-life fun: Crunchpp, an artificial life game submitted as a contest entry for Eric Haines’ course, and a nifty experiment in video processing using a WebGL shader version of Conway’s Game of Life.
- Chris Broadfoot from Google Maps Developer Relations demonstrates visualizing massive geotemporal data– a week of Uber car routes through San Francisco– using Google Maps, WebGL and the CanvasLayer library in Maps Shortcuts: Large Data Geotemporal Visualisations with WebGL.
- The folks from Ludei, who recently announced WebGL support for their mobile game development system, have released a WebGL Demo application for Google Play to whet android developers’ appetites. Looks tasty!
- Jeroen & Monique of AtMind are working on a real-time ray tracer. Still experimental, but very promising.
- Matthew Wagerfield and Tobias van Schneider have written a Flat Surface Shader that can run in WebGL, Canvas or SVG.
- Ever wanted to see your code in 3D? Well, now you can, with maybe the coolest developer tool ever: traceGL!
- Want to see more code+3D? Jerome Etienne of Learning Three.js showed his live toy of the day: the particle code for a smoke puff, with the puff itself dancing on the page. Is this the start of a trend…?
- If you are planning to be in New York City in early June, here is your chance to meet the Sketchfab team at the NYC WebGL Meetup.
April 22nd, 2013
Hi all, just a quick note to let you know that we’re going through a few pain points in the transition to a new server. The site was down this morning for a bit; now we are back up. I will be doing my best to keep on top of this as I teach myself Ubuntu admin…
April 18th, 2013
Not much “news” per se this week (no formal announcements), but there has been a lot of interesting activity, including new applications, tools, demos, articles and how-to’s.
- This one’s from a few weeks back, but significant news: RuneScape 3 was built with HTML5 and WebGL!
- I was pretty impressed with PhotoGL, a WebGL image editing program created by Sean Kent, built with Three.js and Backbone.js. PhotoGL is just getting going, but it’s off to a great start– looks polished and professional.
- Sublime Text users might want to check out the WebGL Shader Validator for Sublime, now supporting both ST2 and ST3. Thanks to creator Paul Lewis for the tip.
- Instant VJ uses HTML5 video, WebRTC and WebGL to create a live VJ performance tool. Turn up the feedback!
- Websockets Duckshoot is a new Chrome Experiment demonstrating a novel game concept combining of WebGL, Websockets, ad banners, QR codes… and a mobile device as your game controller.
- The folks at Fantasy Interactive have created a sparkling version of their logo using WebGL and the sparks.js library.
- Felix Wotzel shared a great WebGL Playground sketch – just another take on “McCabeism.” (Um, whatever that is.)
- More science-y stuff that’s beyond my ken: Syntopia just posted a new Shadertoy sketch called “Menger Journey.”
- “Bro-grammer” Guillaume Gouchon of Orange Labs UK presented a talk on using Three.js and Node.js to create a 3D realtime strategy game engine at Google Mobile and Gaming Awesome.
- Jerome Etienne of Learning Three.js created a nice video tutorial on the basics of Debugging with Chrome’s Canvas Inspection.
- Webmaestro explores basic collision detection using Three.js, one of a series of articles on Three.js development.
- Adobe evangelist Renaun Erickson published a thoughtful article attempting to assess the market reach of WebGL.