A quiet revolution is brewing and it’s coming to your browser. I’m referring to the dedicated and skilled individuals working hard to turn the web into the ultimate VR portal. Like the team at MozVR who are working to give you responsive VR experiences that run directly from your browser.With the advent of virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive, motion tracking systems, big VR content developers, and various 3D video distribution platforms, great VR experiences are becoming a reality for consumers. While the focus is mainly on gaming for now, virtual worlds are bound for our computer screens and smartphones to socialise in, do business in, study and maybe disappear in.
The opportunity for VR on the web is very obvious. The web is already a hyper-connected world where people experience much and share what they experience. To do that in VR, through your browser would be the next natural development. There is no platform for distribution of VR that compares to the Web in size and reach.
In the words of Jason Ganz, CEO of Agora VR: The internet allowed us to learn everything – VR will let us experience everything.
Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox web browser, are early pioneers in VR for the web. The MozVR team (Mozilla’s virtual reality team research team) in December 2015 released A-Frame, their open source framework for easily creating web VR experiences with HTML.
A single line of code forms the basis for creating a VR website making it easy to create responsive virtual experiences, using familiar HTML markup language. Mozilla has also made detailed instructions available for web developers who want to develop with A-Frame.
The team explains that A-Frame wraps WebGL in HTML custom elements, enabling web developers to create 3D VR scenes that leverage WebGL’s power, without having to learn its complex low-level API. Because WebGL is ubiquitous in modern browsers on desktop and mobile, A-Frame experiences work across desktop, iPhone and Oculus Rift headsets. It will eventually also support other VR devices such as HTC Vive.
MozVR’s initial work with WebVR focused on creating content using WebGL, which is a full 3D graphics API, but many web developers don’t know it and were therefore excluded from developing VR websites or adding VR content to their websites. That’s why the team developed A-Frame that enables web developers to create VR experiences using languages like HTML and CSS which they are familiar with.
Head over to http://mozvr.com/ to find out more about Mozilla’s work that will eventually bring virtual reality experiences to you via a click in your browser.