WebVR is Easy with A-Frame

About a week ago, I got my first set of VR goggles. Nothing fancy – it’s the Samsung Gear VR. I explored some of the demos. (great fun!) Some of what I explored was WebVR, which just became available on Gear VR (without the use of “experimental browsers”) a couple of weeks ago – albeit with a “deprecated API”. (which means, an old obsolete version.) Then I took a crack at a tool called A-Frame.

WebVR is easy with A-FrameA-Frame makes WebVR easy. Easy peasy. It reminds me of X3DOM – it’s a “declarative language”, so it drives a lot like HTML5. All of the things you declare when you’re using A-Frame get added to the “DOM” (Document Object Model), so everything in your “world” can be accessed and manipulated just like you would the elements on a plain, old-fashioned web page. Which, really, makes a lot of things easy. Easy peasy.

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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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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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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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