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Wednesday, January 19, 2011


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Arcadia Codesmith

There are communities for buying, selling and giving away amateur 3D.

I see promisiong applications for this tech within that context. I don't see it fundamentally changing the context.


a question for Henrik -

how well does your viewer work when you view actual secondlife content (prims)?

Henrik Bennetsen

@Arcadia: I think if you look at it from a 'everything being equal' perspective your conclusion makes sense and truth is that we certainly don't know at this point.

What makes us hopeful is that we feel part of a larger wave of change sweeping across the web. Usually talked about under the banner of HTML5 and with WebGL 3D gets to be part of this.

To really get velocity on this we need killer apps. I think an early perhaps limited scale one of those is the Google Body Browser http://bodybrowser.googlelabs.com/ I would love to see more stuff like that which shows the potential 3D has for extending the web in interesting ways.

This will hopefully lead us towards a place where the realtime interactions we have had in SL and games becomes part of what we do on the web from every device that can connect to the web.

All this being said I am open to the idea you are right; I just sincerely hope you are wrong :)

@qarl: Currently we support 3D content in COLLADA or OBJ format. We are very actively working to extend that suport to other filetypes and hope to be able to launch some more soon. At this point support for SL prims is not being actively worked on but if we felt there was a demand then that could change.

Sorry for the rather vanilla response but our main focus has been on allowing content to flow to the site so we have place our focus on the formats we feel would be most helpful towards that end.

Darien Caldwell

There have been 3D model viewers on the web for decades. One that comes to immediate mind is the one that lets you see World of Warcraft Models (for an example, go here http://thottbot.com/item=14555 and click on 'View in 3D' at the top).

These didn't need any fancy webgl, just good, old, reliable Flash and Java.

Of course, it's not using Collada, but instead good, old OBJ files.

And it doesn't allow selling the model.

So a little spin on an old concept could be successful, but not really ground breaking.

Henrik Bennetsen

@Darien: You are right that a model viewer is nothing new under the sun. We have some big plans that go beyond this. OurBricks is actually built on multiuser tech. You may have caught our KataSpace release a little while ago http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2010/11/kataspace-webgl-based-virtual-world.html

If we are lucky and good enough we hope to realize something quite interesting. The name OurBricks is intended as a hint of sorts :)

As for the tech. We do support OBJ (and COLLADA) currently. We have FBX, 3DS and DXF underway.

WebGL has a few going for it. Check out a Quora question on the pros and cons of it that I answered a little while back: http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-pros-cons-of-webgl

Arcadia Codesmith

Good luck, Henrik. I like seeing things expand in unanticipated directions :)

Matt Ratcliffe

Thought I'd chime in with a few thoughts of my own. I've been following 3D in the browser (on and off) for the last 10 years and the biggest barrier with it taking off has been the area of plugins in my opinion.

Flash now has around 96% penetration (http://www.statowl.com/custom_ria_market_penetration.php )but that's taken a long time to get there. Other examples are unity, quest3d and a variety of vrml based 3d plugins. None of them have really taken off (in the browser) due to this lack of widespread adoption of the plugins.

This is why technology that enables 3D "straight in the browser" is of great interest to me. Within the next few generations of browsers they will be supporting webgl straight off the bat.

The other question that has been raised above is about context, basically what's the point? Well with all RIA's and as already been mentioned it's always down to the killer app's that sell a technology.

A couple of uses for this myself would be (eventually) fully integrated 3D game engines, you build the platform straight into the browser with a distribution model that links to twitter, facebook etc. You could stream focused content and all payment/authentication/account settings could be all controlled within your game creating a seamless environment, much like xbox live, steam or sony home. The only large barrier I can see with this is convincing people to pay for browser games in the first place :)

Another example I can think of is interactive movie making. Create a 3D game engine, enable people to create their own movies straight in the browser, utilising once again the power of social networks to share via youtube directly. You could control camera's, lighting, actors walkpaths and actions etc etc

There's probably loads more applications out there and I'll stop here as this has already become a massive wall of text.

I'm very excited about the opportunities in this tech!

Erik Champion

@Matt R: I beleive Google Chrome will have unity built into future versions of the browser.


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