New WebVR for 2017

January 20, 2017
WebVR is a great entry into the world of VR development, especially if your shop currently is doing front-end web development. But how to learn the basics?
As far as WebVR, the ultra-simple entry is to use the A-Frame library. It is a big JavaScript library that supports new XML tags inserted in HTML to create VR 3D

Some great examples of A-Frame

For the “hardcore” WebVR work, check this Reddit link:

And here (finally) is a great WebVR tutorial:

http://elevr.com/a-webvr-with-threejs-tutorial/

Hardware

Right now, a VR headset will set you back > $500. This will change in early 2017 when the first wave of cheaper VR headsets become available from Microsoft:

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/01/microsoft-to-have-holographic-developer-kits-for-cheap-vr-headsets-at-gdc/

And here’s one from Lenovo

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/01/lenovo-shows-off-a-sub-400-vr-headset-thats-windows-holographic-ready/

Authoring Tools

This is an intro to the whole scene, including making the 3D assets. Authoring tools of note:

The Krpano HTML5 Media Viewer also supports WebVR:

In terms of dev kits, there are several that let you import existing 3D environments right into WebVR:

Better Hardware

In 2016, the tech you needed for a VR headset with haptics would set you back about $800. In 2017, Microsoft plans to make it cheaper with their holographic developer kits.

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/01/microsoft-to-have-holographic-developer-kits-for-cheap-vr-headsets-at-gdc/

What About WordPress?

Since about 25% of all websites are coded in WordPress, it’s natural to wonder how to add WebVR to the system. WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, the main WordPress site) has added a new plugin that supports 360 panoramas. To use it, you need to sign up for a wordpress.com site. Once you’ve done so, you can use a wordpress.com – specific shortcode to embed vr in your site:

Embedding 360° photos and Virtual Reality (VR) Content

Shortcode for 360 photos:

[vr url=path-to-photo.jpg view=cinema]

360 videos (requires business account with wordpress.com)

[vr guid=videopressguid view=360]

Server Tips

One sticking point: WebVR will probably use the secure web (https) rather than insecure (http) protocol. So, if you’re going to be hosting WebVR on your server, make sure you support https as well as http.

Here is a discussion of the issues:

Potential

To round out this list, here’s an interesting project that combines the two media emerging after a decade of web and weblike apps: VR and Voice systems. The following WebVR app is voice-powered by Alexa and uses a “gamified” virtual reality for special education.

In another interesting twist, failing gaming companies turn to VR for new life.

http://www.ibtimes.com/capcom-reportedly-transitioning-vr-focused-video-game-company-after-slump-sales-2485750

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