WebGL around the net, 9 March 2011

One day early this week, as I’m off to Atlanta for PyCon tomorrow (let me know on Twitter if you’re there and want to meet up).

  • Tom Beddard aka subblue is well known for his amazing 3D fractals, and has now released a (eagerly-awaited) WebGL page where you can view them. This is a fantastic site, highly recommended.
  • Missed this one last week — FastKat GL from Omoid, a very addictive PhiloGL game. Doesn’t work on Chrome stable, but it’s fine on Minefield and Chromium nightly.
  • Very interesting: a WebGL interface for driving an open source 3D printer.
  • Not to be outdone by Chrome Experiments, Mozilla have released the WebGL-heavy Web o’ Wonder — some cool stuff, I particularly like Ilmari Heikkinen and Patric King’s Remixing Reality (though it sadly seems to be Minefield-only) [UPDATE it works on Chrome too now, thanks to Paul for the heads-up]. Some more AR demos from Ilmari are here, well worth checking out (and they work on Chrome)
  • On the subject of Chrome Experiments, check out this brain viewer from D. Ginsburg and R. Pienaar
  • A Sierpinski Pyramid by Ed Mackey — click the buttons to add or remove levels of recursion.
  • This PhiloGL demo, showing color histograms for the Shrek 2 trailer in realtime, is well worth a look if you’ve not seen it already.
  • Mozilla has JavaScript support for reading device accelerometers, so with some surprisingly simple code Andor Salga’s managed to create an XB Pointstream page that (for devices that have them) tilts when you tilt your laptop! He’s also been working on exporting point cloud data from Blender, which looks useful.
  • A three.js particle demo from Andy Brummer, with some particularly nice patterns.
  • Some fun demos here, including a mind-twisting trefoil knot. Stephen, the author, also points out that recently WebGL stopped working in the Chrome canary build. In general I’d recommend that if you’re developing WebGL you should still use a Chromium nightly build or Minefield. Testing on Chrome stable might also make sense. However, the various non-stable channels of Chrome are very much subject to change, so it’s probably best not to rely on them.
  • A week or so back, the Chrome team warned people that old graphics drivers and WebGL don’t mix well; the Benoit Jacobs from Mozilla gave the same warning this week.
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5 Responses to “WebGL around the net, 9 March 2011”

  1. Paul says:

    The “Remixing Reality” demo should work on Chrome (we run into some issues, but it should be fixed now).

  2. giles says:

    Hey Paul — yup, confirmed that — thanks! I’ll update the post.

  3. Alvaro says:

    [Please note I'm a bit sarcastic here]. I have the impression that WebGL implementations, after improving greatly in late 2010 finally have been applying bugs and performance drops or anything to make our experience worse.

    After some nice and smooth graphics in 2010 on even old drivers and OSes now they say you either upgrade or are banned. Why did it work fine in december with the same old stuff and not now? Why does Chrome blacklist all Windows XP users (it worked fine on XP previously)? OK I think they now only ban certain GPUs or drivers.

    Also, what about performance? In November or December our complex shaders compiled almost instantly, even with Angle. Now those shaders (even in up-to-date PCs) take ages to compile (to link actually), eat hundreds of MBs, if they compile at all. What did they do to Angle in the last couple months? It seems it now wants to unroll everything (seemingly more than necessary) even if the hardware supports true loops. In Firefox that’s avoided by going native OpenGL, but not always works. The recent fractal.io demo for instance takes like half a minute to compile on Angle (FF or Chrome), but is a moment on true GL. And shaders with deeper loops will just fail on Angle after a long time (“unable to unroll loop”), shaders that worked fine a few months ago.

    Ready for prime time? I wish so. But can production applications be released telling all users it may not work for them, or that they must upgrade their GPU, OS or drivers?

  4. Benoit Jacob says:

    Alvaro: have you filed a bug against ANGLE?
    http://code.google.com/p/angleproject/issues/list

  5. oos says:

    I think the three.js particle demo is (again) 2d canvas ;)

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