Mozilla prepares Firefox for the VR web

We haven’t seen a production version of Oculus‘ Rift VR headset yet. Even so, Mozilla feels that the product will be revolutionary not just for games, but also for the web, and it’s preparing accordingly. In a post on his blog, Vladimir Vukićević, Mozilla’s Director of Graphics, JavaScript, and Gaming, has posted some early builds of Firefox that are VR-ready. He’s also shared some principles for how VR content should work in the browser. 

Stereotypical musings about Snow Crash‘s Metaverse aside, Vukićević describes where technologies will need to go in order to support future VR headsets. Unsurprisingly, support for VR in web standards such as HTML5’s canvas element, WebGL, and CSS 3D transforms will serve as the foundation of browser-based VR content. Vukićević also wants to ensure that VR content remains device-independent, “beyond [knowing that] there is one and [that] it has certain standard rendering characteristics.” The test builds of Firefox can accept sensor input from VR headsets and render content to them. 

Mass adoption of VR is probably a few years off, but it’s good that Mozilla is developing tools to help conceive a VR-aware web. If you want to get your feet wet with making such content, you can download the VR-ready builds of Firefox from Vukićević’s blog post. The post also contains some starter code for communicating with VR hardware, and it provides some bug reporting tips.

Comments closed
    • ferdinandh
    • 8 years ago

    Google pays Mozilla for getting a place in Firefox. Your logic would mean that I fund Microsoft.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    I find flash video will play pretty well in something like media player classic…..but the second you put it in a browser is just slows to a crawl and turns to crap. I agree though, the web needs some serious work.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    TR on the oculus rift?….hmmmmmm. I think for some things it could work, like graphical websites or games, but anything that you read or type on not so much.

    I still think this could be great for gaming though.

    • Amazing Mr. X
    • 8 years ago

    As much as I’d love to see Ghost in the Shell come closer to reality…

    Can we focus on getting [url=https://www.youtube.com/html5<]Media Source Extensions[/url<] running on the browser before YouTube launches 60 fps videos first? I know they mostly work in [url=http://nightly.mozilla.org/<]Nightly Builds[/url<], but I'd still like to see the features release to the general public at least a little before people start actually needing them. While you're at it, can't anyone look into the problems with Flash in Firefox these days? You know, aside from the crashing bugs [url=http://youtu.be/-2ERtbK8jCU?t=6m41s<]even Linus complains about[/url<]. Technically Flash supports 60 fps YouTube videos right now, but it just drops most of the extra frames and somehow induces stuttering and screen tearing to boot. Yeah, so, how about a little actually important housekeeping before we start living in the future please?

    • jstern
    • 8 years ago

    The credit should go to the insane free press Apple gets for products that were already there. (For example the industry for years getting ready to introduce slate like tablets and jobs thinking it was useless, something that a person would only use in the toilet. The HP slate getting introduced and not a peep anywhere, the iPad getting introduced 3 weeks later and getting covered like Michael Jackson’s death. With people saying it looks like the HP Slate, then 9 months later people on YouTube saying that HP copied Apple.)

    Other than that, everything you said before I agree.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    Well, VR never went away. It’s just the dream took a lot longer to become relevant than it took to show up in its initial form. Look how long it took Palm Pilots and Newtons to become smartphones and tablets. The dream of it started one could argue with something like the tricorder from Star Trek in the 60’s or even something before.

    Some things take longer. Other things take less time. It depends on the complexity of both the production and presentation to sell the idea as useful.

    Jobs isn’t given enough credit for essentially selling us all on the use of touch as a control scheme in a way that no one else ever had.

    Until he sold out to Facebook, I thought Luckey might be the guy to sell us VR. Now… I don’t know who’ll do it.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    That’s what makes it (mostly) okay.

    • DrCR
    • 8 years ago

    Except Google basically funds Mozilla.

    • egon
    • 8 years ago

    Recently been re-reading an old stack of computer magazines from the mid-90s, and one of the things that was the rage back then was the concept of 3D/VR user interfaces, which it was predicted would have a major impact on everything from the then-burgeoning web to the humble file manager.

    Kind of a ridiculous idea in hindsight, but until reading those old mags, I’d largely forgotten about it and the extent to which it was taken seriously at the time. Perhaps now, it’s a tech whose time has come, but I’d be inclined to view it as a fad repeating itself.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    The VR web is not and will not be a thing.

    Not, at least, until 2D displays are museum objects.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    Mozilla will do a lot of heavy lifting.

    Google will sneak in and snatch it all away.

    Just like always.

    • bthylafh
    • 8 years ago

    Next: VRML 3.0.

    • fhohj
    • 8 years ago

    rickrolls et al. now become far more enjoyable.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 8 years ago

    Still waiting for multicore support for Firefox…

    • willmore
    • 8 years ago

    “Oww, VR on the web.” That’s in the top ten list of ‘things I have no use for’.

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