Mozilla and Khronos, the consortium that oversees the Open GL standard for 3D content, are banding together to bring 3D content to the browser. The announcement at the Game Developer conference was covered at CNet who noted that it will be some time before this work is on a desktop near you:
“There’s a long distance between a draft specification, a real standard, and incorporation into enough browsers that Web developers will be able to count on it, so don’t expect anything revolutionary immediately. Meanwhile, Adobe is working to build 3D technology into its Flash plug-in for browsers, so other alternatives already popular with online gaming programmers exist.”
For geekier types, Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard gives some background:
While heavyweight Mozilla begins this path to a browser-based standard, I can’t help wondering whether the MMOX working group, which is looking to build interoperability between virtual worlds, might need to change their thinking about clients and ‘world servers’ in light of the announcement.
If standards for the display of 3D are built to facilitate browser-based viewing, surely the issues of identity, asset portability, and cross-world communication should leverage off of the work on Canvas 3D.
Regardless, the move promises to make 3D environments like Second Life more accessible by cutting out the client – but somehow I’m guessing the build tools won’t be as um robust. The time has arrived, after all, for broader 3D application use and development, according to Vladimir Vukicevic: