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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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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360 degree images with three.js

A full wrap-around photographic background goes a long way, turning a few goofy primitives floating in space into an immersive virtual world.

This is just my Dancing Donut exercise of a few weeks back, with the addition of a photograph. Though, how the photograph is structured – and how it is added – is quite different from what you might experience adding a photograph to a flat web page. Continue reading “360 degree images with three.js”

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Is web-based Virtual Reality entering the Mainstream?

It is now February 2016. There have been little hints and clues that the 3D Web – or, at least a web containing a significant number of virtual worlds – web-based virtual reality – could finally be near. That’s what inspired me to start this site – to learn the modern tools and ideas of 3D on the web – and write about them here.

I’ve asked myself “Is web-based Virtual Reality entering the Mainstream?” many times over the years. In the ’90’s, I learned and played with VRML, which, as everyone who used it at the time hoped, would be the way the web would grow from being a zillion interlinked “page” things to being a zillion interlinked virtual worlds.

Well, that didn’t happen. VRML died. Java3d looked like it might Continue reading “Is web-based Virtual Reality entering the Mainstream?”

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Virtual World Behavior

Not long ago, I set up a Minecraft Realm for my kids, their friends, and myself to putter around in. Fun for them – fun and educational for me. And it was here that I really started to get an appreciation for the crossover between peoples’ real-world behaviour, and their virtual world behaviour.

It is known that there are parallels between how people behave in a virtual world, and how they behave in the real world. It’s been many years since I first heard of big retailers testing out floor plans and display units by setting them up in a virtual world, and analyzing peoples’ virtual world behavior to glean insights into what would be effective in the real world. I’ve heard of many other examples since. Continue reading “Virtual World Behavior”

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How to work with old VRML files

So how then to bring those old VRML files back into the fold? I have many old VRML “worlds” that I wrote for Cosmo Player back in the ’90s. It would be great if I could open those old files in one of the new technologies.

VRML stands for “Virtual Reality Modeling Language”. According to Wikipedia, VRML “is a standard file format for representing 3-dimensional (3D) interactive vector graphics, designed particularly with the World Wide Web in mind. It has been superseded by X3D.”

Not only has it been superseded by X3D, it’s pretty much obsolete on the web. Boutiquey web players exist – and the format is used for Continue reading “How to work with old VRML files”

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Loading VRML into three.js, Revisited

In an earlier post, I did an experiment where I tried to load some of my antique VRML files into three.js, so that they could be experienced in a browser without the long-defunct Cosmo Player. The experiment concluded that loading directly is not going to be an effective way to resurrect those virtual worlds.

What I’m trying now is a good deal more Goldbergian, but from what I’ve seen so far, it just might work. First, we import Continue reading “Loading VRML into three.js, Revisited”

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Before I download Blender

Content and code. At least from my experience, working on the web means wrangling content and code to achieve a worthwhile user experience. When working with the flat web, the basic types of content are text, graphics, and audio/video. In a 3D environment, there are also models and worlds. The obvious choice of an application to use for creating or editing content for the 3D web in this day and age is something called “Blender”.

Many years ago, I tried out a program called 3DSmax. (It has gone by the official names 3D Studio Max, 3dsmax, and 3ds Max, so I’ll admit my “spelling” of the product name is not official.) Continue reading “Before I download Blender”

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Loading VRML into three.js

There’s a couple of VRML worlds in my old collection that would be of great interest to the same communities today, that they were originally created for back in the late ’90s.

There is a javascript library called VRMLLoader.js. The idea is that you can load a VRML world, also known as a .wrl file into your runtime and display it with OpenGL using three.js.

How exciting. I have a whole pile of old .wrl files from back in the day. People with Cosmo Player used to visit them, explore them, and have a good time. I haven’t seen any of them in action for a decade. It would be awesome if I could get them to work using VRMLLoader.js, I could embed them here to show off, and I could re-invent my old site with content people could see. Continue reading “Loading VRML into three.js”

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Meeting my daughter in a virtual world

And that was it. We’d met. I’d met my first person in a virtual world. And it was my daughter, who just happens to be a bit of an expert in just that type of virtual world.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting my daughter in a virtual world. This was the first consequence of what I describe in my previous post – setting up a Minecraft Realm.

A couple of things I dabbled in back in the ’90s were virtual worlds, and using servers to connect web users together in real time. I certainly imagined that a time would come when those two things would go hand-in-hand – a 3D world where people can interact, from separate locations, in real time, in virtual space. Continue reading “Meeting my daughter in a virtual world”

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