Monday, September 21st, 2009

WebGL available in Firefox Nightly

Category: 3D, Firefox

We mentioned that WebGL had landed in WebKit source, when it joined Firefox.

Vladimir Vuki?evi? of Mozilla has posted on how it shows up in a nightly instead of just source (which requires a compiler flag etc.

This is incredibly exciting, as Jon Tirsen said:

Your next 3D shooter will sport a nice “Your browser is not supported please install Chrome, Safari or Firefox.” (Re: WebGL.)

Hopefully IE gets there too of course (Opera is in the group so we should see something there too).

Here is Vlad:

Along with the Firefox implementation, a WebGL implementation landed in WebKit fairly recently.  All of these implementations are going to have some interoperability issues for the next little while, as the spec is still in flux and we’re tracking it at different rates, but will hopefully start to stabilize over the next few months.

If you’d like to experiment with WebGL with a trunk nightly build (starting from Friday, September 18th), all you have to do is flip a pref: load about:config, search for “webgl“, and double-click “webgl.enabled_for_all_sites” to change the value from false to true.  You’ll currently have the most luck on MacOS X machines or Windows machines with up-to-date OpenGL drivers.

We still have some ways to go, as there are issues in shader security and portability, not to mention figuring out what to do on platforms where OpenGL is not available.  (The latter is an interesting problem; we’re trying to ensure that the API can be implementable on top of a non-GL native 3D API, such as Direct3D, so that might be one option.)  But progress is being quickly made.

When paired with high-performance JavaScript, such as what we’ve seen come from both Firefox and other browsers, should allow for some exciting fully 3D-enabled web applications.  We’ll have some simple demos linked for you soon, both here and on Mark’s blog.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 5:03 am

4.4 rating from 38 votes


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I am looking forward to games and other stuff that is currently owned by Flash being done directly in canvas and js but, for that to happen, don’t we need a way to lock down our code so that giving yourself a million lives is a bit trickier than just pushing “up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-Open Firebug”?

Comment by okonomiyaki3000 — September 21, 2009

Great news, now let’s see how long Opera is going to stay behind.

@okonomiyaki3000: Javascript can take care of that with closures.

Comment by Jadet — September 21, 2009

O3D is in every way possible better than this.

Comment by Darkimmortal — September 21, 2009

@Darkimmortal: nah, O3D requires a plugin

Comment by Jadet — September 21, 2009

Is there any demo page to see this “in real life” and inspect the code ?

Comment by jblanche — September 21, 2009

okonomiyaki3000, Who cares if people cheat? From a developer’s perspective, it’s meaningless; from a social perspective, people will just stop playing with them.

Comment by eyelidlessness — September 21, 2009

It’s not quite that easy with multiplayer games.

Comment by spongeh — September 21, 2009

God. Tirsen is going to get so much *love* tonight. Keke

Comment by aussieajax — September 21, 2009

I find all this rather interesting.
As much as I’d like to see an MMO built using WebGL, it almost pains me thinking of how much processing must be done to accomplish such a task using JavaScript.

In other aspects, this could be a great movement as 3D displays are becoming more mainstream.

Comment by ShawnK — September 23, 2009

I agree with Jadet, I think O3D is better than this.

Comment by Autohandel — January 6, 2010

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