Sign in to follow this  
przemoo83

Is WebGL ready for production

Recommended Posts

Do you think that WebGL is mature enough to be used in production? What I mean by ready is stability, performance and so on. Also are there any WebGL frameworks that are mature enough to be used in production? Say you have a client who orders 3d car configurator application that runs in a browser. Would you be willing to try and create three.js app that renders all objects in 3D? Or would you prefer to use 360-photo-based approach or some plugin? I'm asking because: First - I don't see many truly commercial WebGl applications. Secondly - it is really hard to find some good feedback about WebGl among web developers. It seems like they're not really interested in this IMO fascinating technology. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

http://caniuse.com/#search=webGL

Yep, webGL is ready for production, and has been for a few years.

Most popular rendering engines have webGL enabled renderer with fallbacks to support canvas based. Almost any website you visit that uses transitions (most of them) will be using gpu accelerated rendering, even though they don't explicitly use webGL.

I think what you're really talking about is 3D applications, rather than 2D apps/games that use webGL for performance (of which you'd be hard pushed to find examples which are NOT webGL powered).

There are a number of 3D based frameworks that are most definitely ready for production, three.js has a large userbase, babylon.js is very very active on these forums (with plenty of examples of use in production) and the stackGL project is fairly mature now and used by several of the (very large) companies that support it, I suspect there are many more frameworks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the answer and clarifying that. Yes you were right I was actually asking about using WebGl in 3d applications. This is something I don't see very often. I'm myself thinkig about making a 3d product viewer/configurator which would use 3d models exported to threejs JSON format. It looks very promising when I think about it but I have some doubts about performance. Also it's hard when you don't have any real world examples to use. There are tons of small demos but no real commerciall apps to take example from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

https://clara.io/

I just found that, first search, not sure if this is something similar? Looks like it's 3D model editor in browser, the company have other products used in some fairly heavyweight films so I assume they know what they are doing. Whether it is profitable or not I have no idea.

I guess there are 2 sides to why there isn't more 3D on the web,

One is simply that ubiquitous 3D stuff is still fairly modern, particularly for mobiles where phones a year old or so might not support webGL very well. This constraint is going away but it takes a little while for everything to catch up to where tech actually is. Most complex products take at least 6 months to really get going, even longer usually to get a userbase etc etc, and it is a tough decision when you are a few weeks from shipping to say "hang on, our decisions 6 months ago are based on premises that are no longer true so lets delay for another few months and get it right", most wont do this, will ship and then try to improve but you then get bogged down by user expectations and fixing going-into-production issues so your plan to upgrade your tech platform goes out the window, then, hopefully, you start making money and there is no need to change anything, so things get even more delayed.

The other sticky is that it is far harder to create 3D applications than 2D ones, and, as the market for the web is still firmly in the 2D market, there is little incentive for the outlay to create the harder product. This is changing too of course, it just takes time. We're seeing more and more 3D stuff for native mobile apps (I'm thinking mainly games) and they are a fair way ahead of web gaming, which is following a similar path (rightly or wrongly).

Making a game, for instance, I'd guess it is generally more difficult to find competent and affordable 3d modellers and animators than it is 2d people, whilst there is hardly a shortage of either type of creative there probably isnt much of a surplus of 3d peeps which means you need to incentivise them away from the their current employ as 3D stuff on the web won't replace other stuff, it just expands the market.

Of course you could approach this from another point of view and say this is an emerging market and I'm not risk averse so I'll try to ride the crest of early adoption and grab a slice of the action before the big boys move in. Personally, I see a big opportunity, particularly as the browser has just about the same access to the GPU as any other application.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, mattstyles said:

https://clara.io/

I just found that, first search, not sure if this is something similar? Looks like it's 3D model editor in browser, the company have other products used in some fairly heavyweight films so I assume they know what they are doing. Whether it is profitable or not I have no idea.

I use this very editor to export 3d objects to three.js JSON files:) I always thought of it a s a tool but you're right it's a great example of complex and fully operational 3d WebGL app. 

15 minutes ago, mattstyles said:

Personally, I see a big opportunity, particularly as the browser has just about the same access to the GPU as any other application.

I see the same opportunity here. However although I'm fairly competent in web development I'm still very new to 3d. Currently I'm trying to get a grasp of 3d basics like math and GPU rendering. It's quite overwhelming and I estimate it will take me from 1 to 2 years to say that I'm more or less intermidiate in this technology. I fear that by that time there will be too much competition in this field.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking from the front lines (I'm one of the founders of PlayCanvas, one of the most popular WebGL toolsets) we're already seeing tons of cases for WebGL in full production in all manner of areas.

Games: http://tanx.playcanvas.com/ has over 10,000 players every day

Configurators: e.g. for greenhouses http://www.vaxthusguiden.se, lifts http://www.aritcohomelifts.com/build-your-lift/ and cars: http://car.playcanvas.com/

High End Graphics: http://casino.playcanvas.com/

Web Design: http://careers.360i.com/

And all kinds of other stuff...

We get calls everyday from people who want 3D web applications built so there is definitely the demand out there. I totally suggest you go for it and build your configurator. Though if you're finding some of the low level stuff tricky I highly recommend taking a look at PlayCanvas. We've done all the hard maths for you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use WebGL in production (2D in my case) and have found it to be reliable on browsers that support it. The only real problem I see with it is that browsers will often lose the WebGL context, so you have to detect that situation and handle it. Usually it seems to happen in situations like resizing the browser window. Performance is good on most devices, but in some cases h/w acceleration is not enabled in the browser, which makes the game laggy. Some devices can be laggy even with h/w acceleration enabled, especially Android. Another issue is that IE 10 and below do not support WebGL, and that's a pretty big swath of the market, although IE users will be in permanent decline now that Microsoft has replaced IE with Edge in Windows 10. IMO, if you want to create a web based 3D game then WebGL is the way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I'll start building WebGL games when 1 in 5 of my users doesn't have to fall back to canvas

You know your market better than me but that 1-in-5 is almost certainly IE9 and older mobiles (mainly mobiles), quite possibly that demographic isn't your target market either.

Quote

 Another issue is that IE 10 and below do not support WebGL, and that's a pretty big swath of the market

No it isn't, most sites stick IE < 11 at a max of 5% usage, even net market share which always have a massive IE swing (well above everyone else) says its less than 12.5%, and that will mostly be corporate usage, most of those will be able to run another browser on their machine so supporting old browsers is totally worthless unless you have statistics to prove your userbase is actually using your product on a specific platform, I don't know any games where this is actually a concern. 

The bigger issue is mobiles, which hang around in the market for longer (although that is changing too as the hardware stabilises), but web-based mobile gaming has bigger problems than supporting older devices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Another issue is that IE 10 and below do not support WebGL, and that's a pretty big swath of the market

Quote

No it isn't, most sites stick IE < 11 at a max of 5% usage

I stand corrected. I just checked my site stats and traffic for IE 10 and below is indeed now down to about 5%.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

a10.com (SpilGames) seems to be publishing games with WebGL last time I checked. There's a 3D game like Temple Run and it's really nice.

Last time I published my game there, they were only into Canvas, but that was 2 years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It might be a good idea to get head start on WebGL games. 3D HTML5 games in particular might be the next "genre" to be in demand. I have a few templates ready to go with some 3D HTML5 games made with GameMaker Studio.

Here is a 3D game/demo I put together recently:
http://www.shoozes.com/games/3dhtml/index.html

I would like to think that the old common 3D bowling game would be very popular in HTML5 for most publishers for instance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.