WebGL around the net, 31 March 2011

Unfortunately I’ve not been able to put together a roundup this week. So next week’s one will have to be twice as good to compensate ;-)

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11 Responses to “WebGL around the net, 31 March 2011”

  1. Stephen says:

    Well I was sad I had no programs to play with so I’ll help everyone else by sharing a little test I made the other day.


  2. Zach says:


    I would like to start learning WebGL and I have a question. Should I start with your tutorials on WebGL in general? Or, should I pick a framework based on my needs? I think learning about WebGL would give me more a foundation, and then I could pick up some of those frameworks a little easier. Kind of like learning JavaScript before jQuery.


  3. Stephen says:

    Initially I was very excited about webgl
    In fact, I even got a website, with a view to becoming a player in this game
    see http://www.coolgl.com

    However. I now think that javascript just aint up to the job

    the more I program in it, the more certain I am, that javascript is the weak leak, its going to prevent the widespread adoption of webgl.

    well, thats just my opinion. This is a great site, the best on the internet for webgl. But, the barrier to massive adoption of webgl, is javascript.

    Any thoughts? Prove me wrong, I would like to be wrong, But
    I just cant see heavy computer stuff written in javascript

  4. giles says:

    @Stephen #1 — thanks! I’ll put it in this week’s.

    @Zach — yup, if you’re not in a rush to get a specific project done, I’d recommend taking a look at the tutorials and then trying out the frameworks.

    @Stephen 2 — Thanks for the compliments :-) I think you’re both right and wrong. You’re wrong because it is possible to write useful 3D stuff in WebGL, especially if you put as much as possible into the shaders, so I don’t think that will prevent widespread adoption. It’s better than the non-GPU alternatives. However, you’re right that it’s always going to be slower than (say) C++-based 3D apps, so high-end games are unlikely to be moving over any time soon.

  5. Julio says:

    Hi Giles,

    I have a few noobie questions.

    1. Is WebGL one 3D library or is it now the canvas itself? I’m confused xD
    2. In canse WebGL and the canvas element are different things. Is it possible to write complex 3D code without the WebGL? I mean, working only with the canvas tag in HTML5?
    3. Are there C-based 3D libraries out there? if yes, why aren’t they being developed since they “could” be faster or better than the javascript-based ones?

    Sry if my questions are too stupid xD

  6. @Stephen 2

    In our experience at Autodesk, performance depends a great deal on the engine you use. We have found that 03D and GLGE are pretty good in regards to performance. But it’s important to find a good balance with other aspects too… you may not want to use an engine if development on it looks like it may stagnate, for instance.

    ***shameless self promo*** If you want a good list of WebGL engines, take a peek on my blog: http://ffwd.typepad.com/blog/2011/04/webgl-what-flavor-is-your-engine.html ***end promo***


  7. giles says:


    1. WebGL is a JavaScript API that allows you to draw hardware-accelerated graphics inside a canvas.
    2. Yes, but you’d have to do a lot more work, and because it wouldn’t be hardware-accelerated, it would be much slower.
    3. There are many C-based 3D APIs, OpenGL and DirectX are the most important. However, they won’t work in the browser because people don’t want web pages to be able to execute C code on their computers — it would be a serious security risk.

    @Tony — thanks for the link, that’s a useful list!

  8. Jarav says:

    Just wondering seeing the comments above. Since javascript is the bottleneck( for now) and Flash(as3) and java are faster for applets, wouldn’t it be possible to have a hidden flash element(swf) that can do all the non-shader calculations( for example the matrix calculations) and pass it on ( through flash- javascript communication) to the canvas/shader stuff ? But, i guess, flash 11 is going to allow that natively.

  9. DK_wu says:

    I’m a Chinese boy.I like 3D development.Also in reference to the moderator document.But there are many places don’t understand.My English is not good.Please take help!thank you!

  10. hatspencer says:

    @Stephen 1

    I’ve made use of your collision detection in my free kick game. It’s far from finished. Sometimes the sphere just goes thru the plane, can you help me with this?


  11. giles says:

    @Jarav — interesting idea, but you’d have to consider the overhead of communications from Flash/Java to JS — it might be larger than the gain.

    @DK_wu — could you be more specific?

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