So you want to run fancy interactive 3D media on your website without any fancy shmancy plug-ins. Well, that‘s just fine, because you‘re living in the future, and the future supports WebGL. It‘s also supported by any browser you care to name – if it can‘t run WebGL, it‘s either outdated or used by 6 people around the world. But what tools should you use if you‘re just starting out and don‘t really know much of programing?
Unreal Engine 4
Unreal Engine is the big kid on the block. It‘s used to power some of the biggest games on the block – on the future block, too, seing how the top-of-the-line Samsung Gear VR game EVE Gunjack runs on it. It‘s freshly introducing blueprints which allows developers to drag-n-drop variables and actions instead of programming everything by hand. Of course, scripting is still available for pros, but newbie-friendlyness is one of the main selling points!
Unity is the other white meat… er, easy to use developer tool with WebGL support. Unity runs roughly all of the indie games out there, from Kickstarter darlings like Wasteland 2 to anything available on Samsung Gear VR that‘s not EVE Gunjack. Much like Unreal Engine 4, it also supports game design without actual coding, though it‘s flexible enough to allow for people with scripting experience. Make use of the bajillion tutorials available for it, too.
Goo Create doesn‘t even want you to leave the browser. It allows you to create WebGL games, apps and animations without coding and for free. Hell, you can create immersive ads that people won‘t mind seeing and exploring, if you‘re good enough. Just drag and drop stuff until you are done! Their website itself demonstrates the kind of interactive fun that WebGL is capable of, and there are a few demonstrations covering the main areas of use.
You‘re not going anywhere without models, buster. Clara.io is the a 3D modeling platform in WebGL and it allows you to make your own 3D models online, for free. Just sign it and start creating, and soon you‘ll have tanks, space ships and other fancy objects aplenty. Of course, you might desire models that are a little more refined than the ones you just made, so you can always turn your gaze to websites like CGTrader. They have thousands of low-poly models (you know, just the kind of model you want for games and apps) in their libraries. And as is the case with aforementioned CGTrader, there are many free 3D models too, which allow you to skip the whole „3D modeling“ phase.
This website will serve as an inspiration in your many trials and travails with WebGL. These users have already made some strange and wondrous stuff – lighsaber simulators included – so give them a spin. Who knows, they might inspire you to do something fresh (or fresh-ish) and show you the heights that WebGL can take you to. One day you might also be one of them!
So there you have it. These are all good tools for an aspiring WebGL developer. From software with premade blocks of states and actions to be used instead of coding to 3D modeling suites run on WebGl, to Chrome Experiment, everything is at your fingertips.