Friday, October 9, 2009

The Race to 3D - Keeping up on WebGL and Adobe

Image from
EA/Maxis recently added COLLADA export of Creature designs to their popular game Spore, and they have a Sporepedia where players can see others' creations. Right now, those previews are just as images. With WebGL, they could be fully 3D, even animated.
Staying current with WebGL:
Canvas3D is precursor to WebGL, which was recently added to the Mozilla nightly trunk and will soon be included in a future release of Firefox. Along with the Firefox implementation, a WebGL implementation landed in WebKit fairly recently.

Firefox 3.6 is set for release before the end of this year. It's not a major upgrade, but will tweak the JavaScript engine and upgrade the look of the browser, among other new features. After 3.6, Mozilla will release Firefox 3.7 early next year, with major update Firefox 4.0 due out in the second half of 2010.


C3DL is a JavaScript framework that can load Collada models and perform other high-level tasks. C3DL is being developed by a team at Seneca University using Mozilla's early WebGL prototype.

Motionview is a web based application for making the motion capture cleanup process more efficient. It uses Canvas 3D and C3DL for its 3D viewer.
The Navarra Group needed some help to make this sort of preview for their client Bedlam Games. It found it in Toronto's Seneca College, where an open source project has been seeking ways for 3D content to be viewed in Web browsers without the need for a plug-in.

Researchers and students have been working with Mozilla Corp. on the library and are pleased to see it put to practical use.

“The purpose of the project was to save costs and make it easy,” says Evan Weaver, chair of School of Computer Studies at Seneca. “We had a library to use to draw 3D stick figures.”

Navarra Group's Web application displayed 3D stick figures acting out the motion capture data for Bedlam Games. Producers could pan around and view these stick figures from different angles – an advantage they wouldn't have if the preview was only in 2D.


Seneca is located in the Greater Toronto Area.


What is C3DL?

The Canvas 3D JS Libary (C3DL) is a javascript library that will make it easier to write 3D applications using canvas 3d. It will provide a set of math, scene, and 3d object classes to make the canvas more accessible for developers that want to develop 3D content in browser but do not want to have to deal in depth with the 3D math needed to make it work.


On another front we look at Adobe

The Open Screen Project

So, how can you build a contextual application? The Open Screen Project is a $10 million market development fund offering grants to developers to accelerate the creation of contextual applications. According to Adobe, "The fund is seeking applications in the following focus areas: entertainment, business, social networking, productivity, gaming, travel, multimedia, health, finance, weather, sports, news, education, and more."

Obviously, there's a lot of room for innovation and experimentation. Past funded projects have included real estate mobile applications, virtual pianos, personal media publishers, and a guide to the annual Roskilde music festival. According to Maxim Antinori from Max Media Corp., "The convergence of support for Adobe Flash Player across many platforms, coupled with the improvements in distribution on the mobile platform in particular, make Flash the best choice for developing applications that need to function across a wide range of devices."

Adobe is actively accepting proposals. So if the idea of defining a new class of application and manifesting the history of convergence appeals to you — do it.


The Adobe® Flash® Platform will provide the consistent runtime environment envisioned by Open Screen Project partners. This technology was chosen because it has the widest reach in the world across operating systems and devices, a community of more than one million developers, and leading authoring tools.

The Adobe Flash Platform

The Pipe:

BT has said a further 1.5 million homes can expect to get broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps by 2012. BT is in GB.

BT is more than doubling its plans to roll out fibre to the premise (FTTP) broadband, which has the potential to deliver speeds of up to 100Mbps.



  1. Hi, thought I'd put in a plug for a scene graph library I'm writing on top of Canvas3D/WebGL:

    I'm aiming at a first release for November. So far so good.


  2. SceneJS V0.3.0 now released with online playroom - you'll need Firefox nightly with WebGL enabled -

  3. Hello,

    SceneJS V0.4.0 beta now released at

    I recommend using Firefox nightly build for running it.

    One advantage to this framework is its terse scene declaration in pure JavaScript, allowing rapid composition of scene graphs from remotely stored assets.