Responsive VR – Virtual Reality that responds to any device.

Whether websites work in laptops but not phones – or whether VR works with goggles but not without – the solution then and the solution now, is to make web content that responds to whatever the heck hardware is being used to experience it.

Boris Smus is a man who understands the motivation behind “reponsive” web content, and responsive VR. From smus.com:

VR on the web threatens to cleave the web platform in twain, like mobile did before it. The solution then and the solution now is Responsive Web Design, which websites to scale well for all form factors. Similarly, for VR to succeed on the web, we need to figure out how to make VR experiences that work both in any VR headset, and also without a VR headset at all.

This speaks so eloquently to some points I was trying to make in my post VRmageddon. “Cleave the web platform in twain” is a polite way of describing what some call “the device apocalypse”. And he’s right – whether websites work in laptops but not phones – or whether VR works with goggles but not without – the solution then and the solution now, is to make web content that responds to whatever the heck hardware is being used to experience it.

a photo of a VR Goggles setup, waiting to be set up.
Anyone tries to tell you you need to set up one of these to view their content – just walk away.

Mr. Smus doesn’t just talk the talk – he delivers the goods.

Now, I’ve been wondering about something called WebVR for a little while now. I tried some demos a few weeks back – but they did not work. I needed goggles, or a plugin – essentially, the stuff I was looking at was unable to respond to my hardware. So I just walked away.

WebVR Boilerplate – Responsive VR

Mr. Smus has been working on something called the “WebVR Boilerplate” – it’s really just some clever files that give anyone a starting point to harness WebVR in a way that will respond to whatever hardware one may be trying to view the content with. In other words, Responsive VR.

WebVR boilerplate is a new starting point for building responsive web VR experiences that work on popular VR headsets and degrace gracefully on other platforms.

I could quote this guy all day.

Responsive web design promises content which automatically adapts to your viewing environment by using fluid layouts, flexible images, proportional grids; a cocktail of modern web technologies. Similarly, WebVR experiences need to work even without VR hardware. This has two obvious advantages:

  1. The vast majority of people that don’t have VR hardware can still get a feeling for the experience.
  2. Even if you have VR gear, donning it is a pain. This preview lets you quickly evaluate whether or not wearing is worth the hassle.

I’d seen WebVR as a technology some time ago. But when I found demos on the web, they all seemed to suggest that I’d need some goggles, or to install some plugins, if I wanted to check it out. So, as I say above, I just walked away.

Screencap of my first visit to Beloola, a social virtual reality website.
(I’m the girl in the leather jacket)

But now, mere weeks down the road (the page I’m citing here with Boris’ solution is less that 5 weeks old) I’m seeing WebVR stuff that responds to my hardware all over the place. Demos. Bigger things, like Beloola. I have stubbornly refused to install any plugins. I want to see how these things look to Joe Web Surfer. And, if a technology harps a Joe with an error message about how he’s got the wrong setup – that’s a technology I’m not looking to explore.



Thanks to the work of people like Boris Smus and the folks at Beloola – I’m gonna dive into WebVR.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someone

Author: Pete

Editor-in-Chief, Lead Software Developer and Artistic Director @ 3dspace.com

One thought on “Responsive VR – Virtual Reality that responds to any device.”

Comments are closed.