WebGL around the net, 18 March 2015

GDC, GTC and 3D city planning lead this week’s WebGL stories.

  • CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: WebGL artists, the call for submissions to the 3D Web Fest is open. Deadline to submit is April 8th (project doesn’t need to be done till late April). Don’t delay; submit today!
  • Stockholm-based Agency9’s Johan Göransson and team just released support for iOS and Android for a streaming WebGL 3DMaps and City Planner. A 100% plugin- and app- free 3D city planner!
  • Version 3 of CL3VER is out of beta and in general release, with GPU-based real time light maps and other great features.
  • CopperLicht, an open source engine for WebGL, has just released Version 1.9 of the runtime.
  • The Blend4Web team just posted a video to YouTube describing their work on Capri – purportedly the largest WebGL project ever!?
  • Missed the WebGL Meetup at GDC? Now you can check out the video.
  • Also from GDC, Neil Trevett talks about Vulkan and the latest in graphics from Khronos… possibly a peek at the future of WebGL?
  • Can’t make it to the NVIDIA GPU technology conference? Here are the slides from my VR presentation and update on glTF and the WebGL art pipeline.

WebGL around the net, 03 March 2015

This week in WebGL: GDC Day One, and put some GLAM into your games!

GDC Report

  • At their GDC booth, Mozilla is providing an early look at WebGL 2, the next significant upgrade featuring higher precision in fragment shaders, multiple render targets, geometry instancing and more.
  • Also at GDC, Unity Technologies announced that all Unity 5 Pro features are now FREE for small developers ($<100k revenues), including WebGL support! The Gamasutra coverage highlights the licensing changes, and here is a great Mozilla blog piece on the WebGL export feature.
  • UPDATE More Mozilla… the browser company announced Oculus Rex, a 100% WebVR experience created in partnership with Aerys and created using the Minko Engine.
  • UPDATE Mixamo’s web store user interface now uses WebGL to render character and animation previews, courtesy of Verold. No more Unity plugin!
  • Sketchfab has kicked it up a notch by adding physically based rendering to their online viewer.
  • In their grand tradition of misspelled deity names, the Khronos Group announced their newest major API: Vulkan. Vulkan (previously code-named glNext) provides high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs used in a wide variety of devices. Let’s hope we see these features in WebGL someday. Live long and prosper!
  • Developer Neal Shyam has built the first GLAM-based game, based on code from the Bubble Pop demo.  I am humbled and flattered! Maybe we’ll see more of these soon…

And in other news…

  • Check out this awesome playcanvas-based skiing game, based on the awe-inspiring video experience from last year promoting Philips Ambilight.
  • webglreport.com now reports WebGL 2 values – thanks to Ed Mackey.
  • Russophiles: Sergey Kolosov has now translated ALL of the WebGL lessons into Russian.

WebGL around the net, 18 February 2015

This week’s WebGL roundup features Web VR cinema, visualizing flights around the globe, and… DEATH TO ALL PLUGINS!

  • Virtual Reality video innovators EleVR recently changed their web video player licensing terms to use the Mozilla Public License (MPL), much less restrictive than GPL. Good job team! Check out the code at their Github repo.
  • Callum Prentice, Second Life developer and WebGL trailblazer, does it again with Flight Stream, an awesome visualization of worldwide flight data. The piece currently uses archived information  from Open Flights but Callum hopes to use live info in a future version.
  • Google’s decision to remove support for NPAPI, the interface for building native code plugins, was no doubt helped along by all the great advances in HTML5 over the years, including of course WebGL. Now that Google will be retiring plugins like Google Earth, this opens the way for all-WebGL open tools to take their place. Lots of developers are moving to plugin-free Cesium to do exactly that. Check out the Cesium blog for tutorials and early success stories.
  • WebGL toolkmaker CL3VER has announced that version 3.0 of their tool will be releasing on March 11. The new version includes a streamlined workflow and powerful new rendering features like real-time light maps. Nice!

WebGL around the net, 05 February 2015

This week in WebGL: chemistry, architecture, and Browse Wikipedia in 3D!

  • iChemLabs just released ChemDoodle Web Components 7, which includes a number of WebGL features, most notably Pipe and Plank models, exponential fogging and support for high DPI devices such as the Apple Retina display. Go to http://www.ichemlabs.com/1899
  • WebGL and architecture have always seemed like a perfect fit. This week we have a couple of notable pieces: Cruciform is a study in architecture visualization with beautiful high resolution rendering and postprocessing. At the other end of the rendering spectrum, but equally inspiring, is Felix Faire’s Sanctum “an architectural sketch that became an online space of peace and contemplation.” Sublime.
  • WikiGalaxy is an amazing experiment in visualizing our expanding universe of information, a.k.a. Wikipedia, in 3D!
  • Developers may be interested in stackgl,  open software ecosystem for WebGL, built on top Browserify and NPM. This looks really promising.
  • Cloud-based platform maker CL3VER is making great strides with their 3D authoring solution. Check out this awesome 3D Nespresso machine created with their tool – it’s beautifully rendered, loads really fast and features a nicely designed UI. The company also won a Best in Show silver medal at Autodesk University’s 2014 awards. Congrats!
  • You must experience DRAGONFISH, the latest from creative coder demigod and Leap Motion guru Isaac Cohen (@cabbibo) What is it? I’m not really sure… but with Isaac, it’s never boring!
  • Kirill Edelman has released a voxel sprite extension for Three.js called PixelBox. You can grab the source code on Github.
  • Fans of ApexVJ will want to see the latest demo. As always, awesome work Simo!
  • Russophones: the WebGL Lessons are being translated into Russian. Check out this page for the first ten lessons! http://webgl-lessons.blogspot.ru/p/blog-page_26.html
  • Londoners, it’s time for another WebGL evening of networking and talks. This one features WebGL’s own Ken Russell, coming across the pond for a visit! The workshop will be held Thursday, February 12, 2015, 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. For more details and RSVP, go to http://www.meetup.com/WebGL-Workshop-London/events/219803097/
  • Friend of the show, glTF designer and Cesium architect Patrick Cozzi has published tips for artists who want to create glTF content.
  • VR and Markup FTW! If you haven’t already, have a look at Ben Nolan’s SceneVR, an XML language for creating virtual reality content. Also, here’s a Kickstarter update from our successful campaign over the holidays. My startup Third Eye delivered our first project goal, with tags for adding Cardboard VR support to your GLAM application. Check out glamjs.org, the new VR demo and updated site design.

2014: The Year in Review

A year ago, at a biggest-ever, record-breaking HTML5 Meetup in San Francisco all about WebGL, I predicted we were a tipping point; I think I was right. Let’s take a look at 2014, a banner year for 3D on the web!

A Year of Great Content

John Cale and Liam Young’s City of Drones brought together experiments in music and architecture; Isaac Cohen continued to blow minds with visualizations like Weird Kids and WebbyGoogle’s A Spacecraft for All chronicled the 36-year journey of the ISEE-3 space probe; and SKAZKA showed us an alternate world created by The Mill and powered by Goo.

A Year of Killer Apps

In 2014, WebGL made its mark– an indelible impression– on advertising, e-commerce, music, news and engineering.

A Year of Pro Tools

Goo, Verold, Turbulenz and PlayCanvas all made great strides with their WebGL engines and development environments. PlayCanvas even release their code as open source! Meanwhile, Epic Games and Unity3D both announced Emscripten-based support for WebGL in their awesome game engines.

A Year of Gaming

WebGL is definitely up to the challenge of creating high-quality MMOs. Oort Online and Adventure Box are both making steady progress; Urban Galaxy Online actually launched and it’s awesome; and Artillery continues to grind away at its first title, ATLAS.

A Year of Virtual Reality

The Oculus-Facebook deal upstaged everything that happened with WebGL in 2014, but it’s ok: VR and Web are two great tastes that go great together! There are now builds of Mozilla and Chromium that support Web VR APIs to full-screen render and head-track for Oculus Rift; and for the DIYVR-inclined, Google Cardboard support doesn’t even require a new browser, just side-by-side rendering and device orientation tracking, which you can just drop in using pre-built Three.js objects.

A Year of Ubiquity

And last, but certainly not least: with support now in iOS8, WebGL is EVERYWHERE: every computer, phone and tablet on the planet. We have arrived.

Here’s to a great 2014, and looking forward to 2015 and WebGL 2!

WebGL around the net, 11 December 2014

Voxels, physically based rendering and DIYVR in a smorgasbord of WebGL this week.

  • Adventure Box has released a tech preview of their astounding voxel-based sandbox game. We’re talking tens of millions of voxels; really impressive.
  • PlayCanvas has announced that they will soon be releasing physically-based rendering in their engine and tools. In the meantime, here is a preview featuring Star-Lord. Stunning!
  • Now you can browse the over one million photos of Earth taken from space from the International Space Station, over four hundred kilometers above Earth, in a 3D WebGL interface. Created by Callum Prentice, Second Life developer during the day since 2004 ● Enthusiastic WebGL hacker in the evenings.
  • Solar system in your pocket: developer Tim Samshuijzen has created an AR/VR solar system for Google Cardboard that uses the webcam, WebGL, Three.js Cardboard rendering and device orientation. DIYVR FTW!
  • The Plus360Degrees Car Visualizer is now fully mobile enabled! Point your mobile browser at http://carvisualizer.plus360degrees.com/threejs/. Works better on tablets… the big screen layout is nicer than on a phone.

Patrick Cozzi, friend of Learning WebGL, lead Cesium engineer and glTF collaborator, also teaches (as if he’s not busy enough!). He asked us to share his student’s end-of-term projects:

Crowdfunding Update

Dear readers,

The DIYVR Kickstarter campaign by DODOcase and Third Eye ends in less than two days. We hit the target in the first four days but we would like to raise more. Please consider supporting DIYVR, and help keep Virtual Reality open source and free for the future!

We’ll see you later in the week with our regular roundup…


WebGL around the net, 4 December 2014

This week in WebGL: professional development work flows.

  • Autodesk has released its View and Data API in beta. The software adds 2D and 3D viewing functionality to web apps using REST and JavaScript APIs, making it easier to create applications that can view, zoom and interact with 2D and 3D models in over 60 model formats… all browser-based and WebGL of course. Details can be found at https://developer.autodesk.com/. There is a even a Virtual Reality demo (though Autodesk lead Cyrille Fauvel warns that it’s not stable yet)!
  • Rayscribe is a new 3D work flow tool – a unifying cloud based environment to manage life-cycle of WebGL applications. The team is working on adding the ability to develop domain specific content creation tools using same set of core services. There is also a gallery of samples under development.
  • ZOMG! If you remember about a year back, we reported on the development of Urban Galaxy Online, a WebGL-based, sci-fi themed MMO. Back then it just looked pretty and had promise. Now this thing is off the hook! Start playing now (no download, wink wink!) at https://www.urbangalaxyonline.com/.
  • Check out this Sim City-like 3D city builder created with Three.js and the Sea3D format.
  • Cesium’s Patrick Cozzi has released some new WebGL profiling tips. My fave is the one about boosting frame rate above 60fps!
  • Developer John Davis has created a really nice demo of a Harken Pyramid, based on generative algorithms and Perlin Noise. The demo uses Google Dart and Raymond Hulha’s ChronosGL library.
  • Here is a stunning real-time raytracing demo plus marching cubes. Note that it requires some WebGL extensions to run.
  • ♫ Just hear those sleigh bells jingling ♪… the countdown to Norad’s Santa Tracker has begun! As always, the tracker is powered by CesiumJS.

WebGL around the net, 25 November 2014

[Posting early due to the short week here in the colonies... -Ed]

New music interfaces and 3D components top this week’s WebGL developments.

  • New York/Moscow-based agency 4Real has created a wonderful interactive front end to Teengirl Fantasy’s EP Thermal. Is this the future of digital music interfaces?
  • Verold developed a spiffy 3D product walkthrough of the Amazon Echo, based on new components coming out in the next release. 3D components FTW!
  • CL3VER announced an Autodesk Revit Exporter that exports a 3D model with its geometry, hierarchy, materials and textures into the CL3VER editor with a single click.
  • Frinlet http://frinlet.com/ is developer Ryan Collin’s “dream game” that he has been working on for a while. It is an adventure game that he is developing it out in the open and he’d love your feedback on it.
  • Check out http://webgl.nu/, a new WebGL indie games portal. Simple, clean design. If you have a WebGL game you want to share, post it there!
  • Kickstarter Reminder: don’t forget to back, and spread the word, about these great WebGL Kickstarters! DIYVR by DODOcase and Tony Parisi (me), ApexVJ TURBO by Simo Santavirta , and Synth by Stephen Belovarich. There’s still time!

WebGL around the net, 20 November 2014

This week in WebGL: the latest MMO, Tesla gear, and… pest control?!

  • Microsoft’s John Shewchuck talks about building a massively-multiplayer game Age of Ascents on WebGL and Azure.
  • Verold Studio was used to create a 3D visualization for Tesla’s new antenna system created by components manufacture Premo, presented at the Electronica 2014 trade show.
  • Canadian retailer Pest No Problem is using WebGL to power their online store. WebGL: kills bugs dead!
  • In this great MSDN article, learn how to program collisions and physics in Babylon.js and oimo.js
  • Londoners: the next FREE London WebGL Workshop will be on Tuesday, December 16, 2014. Christmas comes to Babylon Three (an Introduction to Babylon.js and Three.js)! More info at http://www.meetup.com/WebGL-Workshop-London/events/218697727/
  • Kickstarter reminder: don’t forget to back, and spread the word, about these great WebGL Kickstarters! DIYVR by DODOcase and Tony Parisi (me), ApexVJ TURBO by Simo Santavirta, and Synth by Stephen Belovarich.
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