webVR experiments

webVR experiments

posted in: webVR | 0


Making webVR sites is now super easy, thanks to Mozilla’s webVR browser and three.js webVR boilerplate! All you need is to know a little javascript, or, alternatively, have your coworker be webVR pioneer Andrea Hawksley, and make sad puppy faces until she helps you.

I’ve found both those strategies to be extremely successful, and have been posting new webVR experiments on my github every day, learning some three.js basics and sticking them on my face.

Open up the webVR-playing-with index in your webVR browser and hit enter to go fullscreen (be sure to click “accept” on the fullscreen dialog or it will eat your mouse), or navigate in a normal browser using WASD + E/Q.

We’ve had a lot of discussions on what the best theoretical controls are for webVR, but for now we need to design with mouse+keyboard in mind. How do you click links? Mousing around a 3D space with a regular cursor as you also turn your head is extremely awkward, so for these pages I tried using mouse movement/click as an abstract way to interact with the scene, no absolute position in space required.

For links, we like the idea of looking at a thing and pressing space, because space is a big button that’s easy to find by feel, and I like the metaphor of using space to “jump” into a new page. Another possible button would be “enter,” but I like enter for entering VR mode.

Starting from the index in VR you can navigate around without having to exit fullscreen. The individual URLs are index, spindex, compound, wave, and pointland (so far. I’ll probably keep adding things until I get bored. [edit: undefined and particles exist]).

Ideally all these directions would be integrated into the site via an overlay or text or good UI like mozvr has, which I will probably learn how to do eventually.

Partly I’m just messing around to try and figure out how to do very basic things. Making an index that contains mini-versions of larger objects is a great exercise because I have to repeat the same basic idea but hopefully with better understanding so I can re-implement it in a cleaner way.

The other motivation is to test the sorts of interactions that we want to have in the actual webVR version of our own site:


Andrea’s experimental navigation system for eleVR is the start of a more ambitious webVR project. Ideally, when you visit eleVR.com it would drop you right into our office, where you could look around and see all our latest stuff. For now, you can look around our office and select various floating spheres textured with our 360 pictures/videos, and press space to enter/exit one (though at the moment only one actually has a video behind it).

I’m sure Andrea will post more about it when it’s further along, but it’s very cool and I’m excited.

Emily has also been experimenting, bringing her iconic style to The World’s First WebVR Glitch-Horse:


Start getting your pre-nostalgia for the real world while you can, because webVR is going to change everything.