WebGL is now one of the standard parts of the web app environment and programmers keep doing impressive things with it. This month's Mozilla's DevDerby winners are good examples of what you can do.
Mozilla runs a competition every month for the best WebGL programs. All of the entries are open source and you can look at them to find out how they work. Most of us, my guess, will simply look at the results and realize what can be done in the browser.
The July winners were:
- First place: Falling in Circles by rossmckegney
This is a really amazing gravity simulation of the Trojan asteroids. Using nothing but the simple laws of gravity we get some very complex and very pretty behaviour. Be careful where and when you load this demo because it could waste hours.
- Second place: Simple 3D Snake Game by Samir Solanki
Well what can you say - it's snake, but in 3D. Snake was already a good game for mobile devices but now they can run it in 3D - how things move on.
- Third place: Cross-hatching GLSL shader by Jaume Sánchez.
This is mesmerising, but stop staring at it and appreciate what is going on. This is an implementation of real time crosshatching - a shading technique that is particularly suitable for rendering generated objects with an artistic touch. The idea is that the stroke texture follows the curvature of the surface to make it more apparent in a 2D rendering and it simulates what a human pen and ink artist might do. It is based on a paper from Microsoft Research and you can find more about it using the link given below.
The runners up aren't so bad either and you should most certainly give them a look:
Is this enough to convince you that the browser is as good as the desktop for complex 3D graphics?