Beloola – Social VR

Beloola is social virtual reality on the open web.

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

I kid you not. I saw it. I tried it. WebVR, no plugins. It works. Today, March 7, 2016.

They’ve got everything you’d need to have a social experience in a virtual world. Avatars with moving parts. Pick your clothes and appearance. A bunch of gestures you can control. Many different worlds. Freedom of mobility. And a chat window. Continue reading “Beloola – Social VR”

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Open Standards, Goggle Snobbery, and the Browser Wars

I remember the moment the so-called Browser Wars redefined everything we were doing on the web. It was the Twentieth Century. The web, and browsers, were the most amazing things ever. We didn’t give a darn about “open standards”, and we were creating these awesome Java Applets that could connect to a server, and provide multi-user interaction on the web. Then one day, one of my co-workers came into my office, looking like he’d just been hit by a bus.

“Microsoft has just released its new Java.” he told me.

“Cool.” I said, chewing my bubblegum and turning my attention back to the emacs window on my computer.

“No, it’s not cool.” he retorted. “It’s their OWN version of Java. Real Java won’t work in IE any more.” Continue reading “Open Standards, Goggle Snobbery, and the Browser Wars”

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VRmageddon

VRmageddon – Pronounced “Vee Armageddon“.

A photo of a VR headset, and speculation about the coming VRmageddon
A photo of a VR headset, and speculation about the coming VRmageddon

The term popped into my head as I was reading about VR headsets and the 3D content paradox:

It’s hard, […] to convince people to buy a VR headset if there’s nothing to watch or play on it. And it’s hard to convince developers and producers to make content for a device that nobody owns yet.

“It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem as far as content goes.Continue reading “VRmageddon”

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X3DOM vs. Three.js

Here’s a quick look at X3DOM vs. three.js. Two very different tools, that both do something I’m very interested in – allow you to publish 3D content and virtual worlds on the open web, without a plugin.

I found two good ways to get 3D content (from an ancient VRML file) out of Blender, and out on the open web where anyone with a browser can see them without a plugin. So I’d like to compare X3DOM vs. Three.js.

I loaded a COLLADA file into Three.js:

And I loaded an X3D file with X3DOM:

You can drag your mouse on either of those to move them around. Each button gives you a different motion when you drag. Each example uses each button in a different way. Continue reading “X3DOM vs. Three.js”

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Blender to three.js with COLLADA files

Given this phrase in the Wikipedia definition of COLLADA files – “… for exchanging digital assets among various graphics software applications …” – it should come as no surprise that I found the COLLADA format the most effective for exchanging digital assets between Blender and three.js

One running gag on this blog is my repeated attempts at getting the content in my old VRML files on the open web and rendering in a browser again – and this time, without the use of plugins.

I’ve tried importing old VRML directly into three.js – with somewhat less than satisfactory results. I’ve discovered that those old file load nicely into Blender – and I’ve tried any number of way of exporting them from Blender again, with the hopes of loading those formats into three.js.

collada-bannerFor me, the winner by far, was COLLADA files. Continue reading “Blender to three.js with COLLADA files”

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Virtual Silver Maple Keys

I’ve always loved it when maple keys come showering down from the trees.

So this is what I chose for my first “cross-technology” bit of eye candy. I made a model of a key in Blender. I exported it as a .JSON file, and imported it into three.js. Once there, I created hundreds of it, and wrote some hackey code to make them drift lazily down from the trees right where the camera is pointed. And then I added a 360 degree background image. Continue reading “Virtual Silver Maple Keys”

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Java Applets, 3D and the Demise of Plugins

The computer I’m using today is a refurb – a hot gaming machine from several years ago, with everything re-installed about 15 months ago. I got a nice deal on it from the local computer guy, and it has behaved flawlessly for all that time. And it was only now that I’ve discovered that I don’t even have Java installed in the thing. That’s how important it is, at least in my world, to be able to view content (or use functionality) that’s only available through Java. Which reminds me again – we’ve seen the demise of plugins. Continue reading “Java Applets, 3D and the Demise of Plugins”

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Tool Agnostic – definition and practical limitations

They do say that everything is best in moderation, including moderation itself – perhaps the same applies to being a tool agnostic.

“Tool Agnostic” is a cool, but relatively obscure, term that describes an approach to technology free from prejudice. I just Googled “tool agnostic” definition, and didn’t really wind up with anything. So, that to me smacks of an opportunity to post one and get this party rolling.

Let’s start with the term “agnostic” itself. From Mirriam-Webster, the #2 definition stands without restricting itself to the subject of religion or God:

Full Definition of agnostic […] 2 :  a person who is Continue reading “Tool Agnostic – definition and practical limitations”

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HTML5, the 3D Web, and the Death of Plugins

Hopefully, the world will soon be as hungry to show 3D stuff without a plugin, as the world has been to show rotating banners and videos without Flash. And for all the same reasons. Here’s some thoughts on the agonizingly slow death of plugins.

I spent many years working in Adobe Flash. From fun little flourishes to otherwise flat websites, to full-on interactive educational applications that provided feedback as to what was working educationally and what was not – I really liked Flash. I liked it, even as the Death of Plugins lurked menacingly around the next corner.

Then came the decree – “Flash is Dead”. While it took some people more years than other to accept this – by this point in time it is clear – if you want your stuff to be on the “open web” – you cannot use Flash. If you’re still disinclined to disagree with me on that, here’s Continue reading “HTML5, the 3D Web, and the Death of Plugins”

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