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Having worked in Virtual Reality development both as an asset provider and coder I knew WebVR was out there but wasn't really interested in it yet. We were struggling through new technology and making it adapt to our existing equipment. At the time... web-driven VR was just a dream or rather a realistic expectation of where VR will branch in the distant future.

Considering I started out as a webmaster and provided art for websites you would think I'd be a little more open-minded on the subject. My plate was full at the time trying to figure out the next work around and coming to grips porting 2D apps and games into VR. I will also admit to not giving much space on white papers to web-driven VR. It took a little more than a firm grasp of the obvious to realize VR will migrate to the web. Just not "now" was my thinking at the time. "Now" wasn't that long ago... a few years back or so... and here we are today with ready to use WebVR. No hardcore expertise required... no opening a browser dev console and entering obscure code.

There it was in the press release. Just download the latest build of Firefox (not the nightly build that required some tinkering) and get after it if you had the proper equipment. That was too good to turn down so that's exactly what I did and to say I was shocked was a bit of an understatement. Sure, it's in its infancy because consumer VR is in barely out of diapers itself but the free VR paint application, A-Painter, was pretty darn good. In fact, as good as the early release of Google's VR paint app. The free shoot/blaster game was fun and better than some I've played off web. It was a great experience just lacking in diverse content as all new platforms do.

webvrdevices.jpg

Besides a VR compatible browser like the latest Firefox you'll need the right equipment. Compatible headsets/HMDs (Head Mounted Displays) listed are Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Daydream, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Cardboard is, of course, the most economical way to get started as your smartphone drives the device.

According to webvr.info:

On some sites, you can just use your computer or phone without a headset. You won't be able to see in 3D or interact as fully in most VR worlds, but you can still look around in 360 degrees.

Also from mozvr.com (Mozilla):

Our mission is to keep the Internet open to innovators, creators, and builders on the web. Virtual Reality is set to change the future of web interaction. The ability for anyone to access and enjoy VR experiences is critical. This is why Mozilla set out to bring virtual reality to web browsers, and why we are enabling WebVR in Firefox.

At its basic level, WebVR is a JavaScript API that allows for the creation of browser-based 3D VR experiences. That is, of course, exciting to those that understand the potential of being "INSIDE" a website or web page instead of viewing it. Immersive web pages and sites will be the norm one day. No longer limited to video or image tours of the Louvre or MOMA you can go inside and with the help of tactile feedback we will be able to touch what we see.

webvr2.jpg

Anyone that has worn an VR headset know it can be a stunning experience. One day that will be our web interaction. I've worked with developing VR driven menu systems that make tedious research something you look forward to. Just imagine stepping into a website and pulling up a VR menu. This is an exciting time for computers. Just as exciting as the development of the PC itself.

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Look for more coverage of WebVr and other Virtual Reality related news and topics at Renderosity Magazine.

WebVR and A-Frame Showcase

WebVR Resources

Basic information: https://webvr.info & https://webvr.rocks

WebVR apps and info

Mozilla, https://mozvr.com

Mozilla VR Blog, https://blog.mozvr.com

A-Frame, https://aframe.io

Doc, https://aframe.io/docs/0.6.0/introduction

VR Game A-Blast, https://aframe.io/a-blast

VR Painter, https://aframe.io/a-painter

VR Showcase, https://airtable.com/embed/shr2Lc7pmlJis02R4/tblZbV2S0W0T5DDth?viewControls=on

WebVR Experiments, https://www.webvrexperiments.com

WebVR Spec, https://w3c.github.io/webvr

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M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.

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