WebGL around the net, 18 Feb 2010

Some more framework news today, but also something useful for all WebGL developers:

  • Chromium developer Gregg Tavares has put a really useful-looking debugging wrapper up on the Khronos site, with solid documentation in the Wiki. The problem it solves is that when a call to a WebGL context triggers an error, the only way you can detect it is to call gl.getError and look at the result. It would be a pain to check that after every call, so in general you don’t — which means that if a GL call fails, often you won’t see any kind of error message. The module wraps around the WebGL context, intercepts your calls to it, and does the check for you when they return before control is returned to your code. In its default configuration, it dumps all errors to your JavaScript console, but you can also add your own error function to throw an exception of some kind. I’m debating adding this to all of the tutorials here, it sounds really useful; my only concern would be how it would impact performance, but I suspect it’s not enough to be an issue for tutorials and experimental apps.
  • Marco Di Benedetto’s been adding new demos for his SpiderGL framework; particularly fun is the Streaming LoD Terrain, which loads a low-resolution terrain map and then progressively loads more detail as needed (rather like Google Earth), but the shadow mapping example is fun too (particularly if you happen to be planning a WebGL lesson about shadows ;-) There are also SpiderGL forums — all quiet now, but I’m sure that will change.
  • Lindsay Kay’s SceneJS has been progressing by leaps and bounds; since I last gave an update on it back in January, he’s added bounding nodes (which tell the library about the spacial boundaries of a subtree of the scene graph), parameterised assets (so that you can import a subtree and modify certain parameters), some pretty heavy-duty memory management stuff (“[m]y mission is to have SceneJS never run out of memory”), customisable logging, and better error handling. All of this should be in version 0.7.0, and he’s also hoping to add frustum culling (avoiding asking WebGL to draw things that aren’t on the screen), keyboard and mouse handling, and picking. If all that gets in there, it should be a fantastic release!
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One Response to “WebGL around the net, 18 Feb 2010”

  1. I’m not sure exactly why but this site is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

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