The World’s Biggest WebGL Site – For Now

Now that Sony has released the PS4, the truth can be told. The user interface to the PlayStation Store, the Music and Video Applications, and a good chunk of the user overall user experience is running in a browser, written in WebGL. As the PS4 rolls out in the coming months, I believe it will represent the world’s largest WebGL site. At least, until Google cuts all their maps users over to the new version.

Kudos to my pal Don Olmstead for his great work!

WebGL around the net, 14 November 2013

Welcome to the New Age! Eyes in the sky, pyramid power, and some serious browser love lead this week’s WebGL roundup.

  • Firefox now lets you debug your shaders using a WebGL live shader editor that has been added to the dev tools in version 27. Wow!
  • For the touch screen-averse (or just haters of all even-numbered Microsoft releases) IE11 has made it to Windows 7. It features WebGL and comes with a ported version of Hover, a capture-the-flag-style DirectX game that originally shipped with Windows 95.
  • Ever have the feeling you’re being watched? Eyes is a fun piece from interactive agency Goodby Silverstein.
  • Boston-based Logan Engstrom has created a prototyped tile-based pyramid editor. Simple and fun.

WebGL around the net, 7 November 2013

This week in WebGL: fun with physics, mobile game portals, 3D digital art exhibits and… w t f?

  • Peter Lüders (of PL4N3S WORLD fame) has created a simple fighter game demo and editor that uses his port of the Bullet physics engine to JavaScript,  bullet.js.
  • The always-creative Ivan Kuckir has “made a web for mobile games” at . It has very simple design, so it can be easily controlled with touch input. The first 6 games are WebGL games. Here is Ivan’s video of the “tablet experience” – using the Nexus 7.
  • Kuckir has also created a utility, 3D Tool, for display and very simple rendering of 3D models: drag and drop any 3D file into the browser window, and after you find the right angle and choose an environment map, you just press Render and wait until your image is pretty enough.
  • Andrew Benson has created Plastic Yet Still In-Between, an intriguing WebGL-based digital art exhibit, for The Wrong – A Digital Art Biennale ( Andrew also pointed out another cool WebGL-based exhibit created for the same show, Giselle Zatonyl’s Three.js-driven pavilion.
  • 2D drawing library Pixi.js now features realtime webGL filters… beautiful.
  • Apparently Microsoft still has some work to do on IE11 WebGL. Nikolaus GebhardtAmbiera founder and developer of CopperLicht3D, tries it out and compares graphics and performance to Chrome at
  • A nice million particle simulation by Robert Oram via Chrome Experiments
  • Not WebGL – just yet – but this may be of relevance soon: Amazon launched new GPU instances for high performance 3D in the cloud. Anyone up for prototyping a server-side WebGL rendering or “cloud gaming” service?
  • Don’t have the WebGLs? Brandon Jones can help you figure out why in this blog post
  • Finally, from the WTF department… apparently hardware giant AMD has decided to go its own way with 3D graphics, creating a totally new API dubbed Mantle, for creating high-performance games on desktops that rival console performance. This, while Steam is pushing forward on the Steam Box, their new console offering featuring SteamOS – an operating system with God knows what under the hood. Last week it seemed like HTML5 and WebGL were poised to be the open graphics foundation for everything from desktop to tablets to consoles; this week… not so much. But time will tell.

WebGL around the net, 31 October 2013

Trick or Treat? Cool new tools and more in our All Hallows’ Eve edition of WebGL around the net.

  • Stealth No More: Goo Technologies decloaks to launch Goo Create, a browser-based tool for easy creation of WebGL games and 3D applications.
  • Leeds-based Lawrie Cape has created Rompola, a 3d sketchpad application. Rompola features a dead-simple line drawing tool that lets you create rotatable 3D shapes and apply effects. WARNING: addicting.
  • Wanaplan your house? Create the plan of your house or apartment with ease in Wanaplan’s 2D editor and enjoy the result in 3D!
  • Design your own ring in 3D.
  • Helmut Emmelmann has just released an early version of taccgl, an open source JavaScript library for mapping HTML elements as textures on WebGL 3D objects. It can draw integrated scenes that display and animate HTML elements and 3D objects with depth buffering, lighting, and shadows.
  • Paris-based BLIQ has just released SpaceRun 3D II - an awesome space racer game with beautiful graphics, great sound design and fun game play.

WebGL around the net, 17 Oct 2013

Topping this week’s headlines: a new 3D engine, and plugging WebGL into the newest hardware.

  • Long-time fans of the Flash-based 3D engine Away3D will be delighted to know that it has been ported to Typescript and uses WebGL for rendering. Plugin-free 3D just got a turbo-boost with this fantastic library.
  • Want to immersive yourself in your WebGL? Now you can, using Oculus Bridge, an application that connects the Oculus Rift head-tracking display to WebGL-based applications using web sockets.
  • You can also get your hands into the act using Leap Motion. Code junkie/data maven/script kiddie Theo Armour makes things a little easier with his Leap + Three.js Boilerplate.
  • If you run Windows and want to get a jump on WebGL 2.0 features, Chrome Canary now uses Direct3D 11 (via ANGLE) to render, and it also features multiple render targets. via Brandon Jones
  • This awesome 3D piano player demo allows you to control a Three.js-rendered piano in real time using your keyboard. Game of Thrones fans will get an extra treat when they hit play. Best theme music EVER!
  • Real-time messaging company LightStreamer has developed a demo of its technology for use in multiplayer WebGL gaming.
  • Got data? 3D charting package  incharts3D is now in live beta.

Sorry about the delay…

Hi all,

Sorry about the delay in getting the roundup out this week. I just coughed up the penultimate chapter of my new WebGL book. One more to go! FYI the due date is looking like early January 2014. Stay tuned; you’ll know before anyone else does.

I’ll get back to the regularly schedule weekly news as soon as I recover.

WebGL around the net, 1 Oct 2013

The week in WebGL: classic games, training courses, and an anatomy lesson.

  • Microsoft is bringing a classic DirectX game back with WebGL. It just announced that it ported Hover! to HTML5 and WebGL.
  • SOLD OUT! My course, Programming 3D Applications in HTML5 and WebGL, a one-day training session at this fall’s HTML5 developer conference in San Francisco, has filled up. But GOOD NEWS: the organizers have opened up a second session. Go to the web site and register today!
  • Videep Mishraa, aka theMaxScriptGuy, is at it again. Here is a C#-based program to convert OBJ to Three.js JSON without using Python command line.
  • CL3VER just released an absolutely gorgeous WebGL presentation demonstrating the anatomy of the human foot, created using their development tools.
  • KineMan is another anatomy piece that focuses on realistic human skeletal joint motions, by adding scientifically-derived joint kinematics (axes and motion ranges) to 3D bone geometry.
  • Also on Chrome Experiments this week, an experiment with spherical harmonic distortion to create an organic shape.

WebGL around the net, 24 Sep 2013

New this week: tools, apps, movie trailers… and the first release of WebGL 2.0!

  • Last week the Khronos Group released the first editor’s draft of the WebGL 2.0 Specification. WebGL 2.0 will bring the standard up to the capabilities of OpenGL ES 3.0, including the promotion of several widely-used WebGL extensions such as multiple render targets. It is very early in the WebGL 2.0 process, so it will be a while until the features make it into a browser near you. Still… this is very exciting news!
  • If you don’t speak spec, don’t worry: in this blog posting, WebGL homie Brandon Jones explains WebGL 2.0 in plain English… or words to that effect.
  • CloudParty has been hard at work on their no-download online virtual world, having recently released new features including procedural skies in WebGL.
  • Analytical Graphics, Inc. used the WebGL-based Cesium 3D engine and glTF assets to simulate Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft mission to the International Space Station. The mission ran live through last weekend… check it out and run through the timeline to see the path of the craft, and the integration of glTF into a simulation application.
  • WebGL game engines continue to gain steam, as Ambiera released updates to its CopperCube authoring system and CopperLicht engine, and Artillery released Project Atlas, an RTS built on the Artillery Platform.
  • Videep Mishraa, senior developer at IOMEDIA, has developed an early version of an exporter from 3ds Max to various WebGL-friendly JSON formats. He started with a version that exported to the JSON featured in Lesson 14 but quickly moved to a Three.js version. It is early in its development but very promising… if you’re a MaxScript jock maybe you can pitch in on the project.
  • Just launched on Chrome Experiments, this real-time walkthrough of the St Jean Cathedral in Lyon France using radiosity rendering was originally built in O3D and ported to WebGL last year.
  • Code junkie Theo Armour continues to power through integrating Leap Motion and WebGL; here are his latest lessons learned.
  • This just in: Xbox One will support HTML5. Does that mean WebGL too? We will definitely look into this further…
  • And finally… WebGL goes Hollywood in this awesome interactive movie trailer for the new space thriller Gravity.

WebGL around the net, 17 Sep 2013

It’s not just for 3D anymore! This week in WebGL features video processing, video interface, and timeline visualization.

  • The Google Data Arts team has cranked out another interesting video processing showcase, this time for Arcade Fire’s “virtual projection” piece Just a Reflektor. Use your mouse or connect a mobile device to control a variety of filters on top of the video. For the story behind the technology, check out
  • Goo Technologies is moving beyond gaming to innovate in user interface with their new Video Sphere Google Experiment. beware?!
  • BEEDOCS, developer of multimedia timeline tool Timeline3D, has released a beautiful demo of Next-Generation Timelines in WebGL, accompanied by a thoughtful blog piece that explores the tradeoffs between building a web-based timeline in Flash, CSS Animations, and WebGL.
  • Fraunhofer IGD, long-time pioneer of X3D interactive graphics, has released version 1.5 of X3DOM, an X3D library written in WebGL. This version features general performance improvements, an improved experimental binary geometry loader, an experimental BVH refiner node with dynamic LOD, and new X3D component plugins for CAD and extended 3D geometry.
  • If you are going to be in New York City next week, try to pop by the NYC WebGL Meetup. They are also looking for presenters for the session.
  • Planning to go to next month’s HTML5 Developer Conference in San Francisco? Then you should attend my sessions – a one-hour session on Developing Web Graphics with WebGL, and a full-day training course featuring material from my newest book, Programming 3D Applications in HTML and WebGL.

WebGL around the net, 10 Sep 2013

Our Back to School edition features Extreme R&D (Research and Data)!

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