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WebGL needs a Home

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@rocco-balsamoRocco Balsamo

There’s not really a great place to discover and view WebGL content yet. But that will change.

In this article I’ll explain about why I think it is WebGL’s time to shine, and why there really needs to be a one-stop-shop for this type of content.

It’s 2017 and Unity does WebGL pretty damn well

I recently got reacquainted with the Unity game engine late last year. I’m a former game programmer turned web developer, and I got the hankering to put together a game over holiday break.

I built a little Missile Command Clone for iPhone and thought nothing of it. But as I was learning how to do the iPhone export, I realized that Unity had HTML5 (via WebGL) export as well!

And I thought — There’s no friggin’ way this is gonna work. But it turns out I was wrong. When I changed the target to WebGL, it worked just fine, and the overall size of the assets were pretty small as well.

I even wrote an article about how simple it was to build and deploy a WebGL game to AWS. It literally took me 35m from start to finish.

I deployed this in 35m: https://unitywebgl.com/

What had others done with Unity & WebGL?

So I started to wonder… Now that Unity has a pretty solid exporter, is there a site with a bunch of these demos?

Note, that this search is from today, not 6 months ago.

Let’s take a look at the first three links here:

Angry Bots — Unity This is a pretty cool demo that shows that you can create some pretty bad ass WebGL content in Unity. Unfortunately this demo is over a year old, and is built with an old beta version of Unity, from my inspection of the source code.

Kewl!

Benchmarking Unity performance in WebGL: This is an almost 3 year old article about Unity’s “new” beta feature, WebGL export.

Unity — Unity — Demos: This is a link to some videos and screenshots of unity tech demos. No WebGL to speak of.

What about other WebGL Demos?

So I tried searching for a few other things like “webgl gallery” or “webgl demos”. There were similarly disappointing results.

Mindblowing in 2013, maybe.

After a little more digging…

I found http://webglsamples.org/ This is probably the closest thing to a WebGL demos gallery that exists:

Neat site!

Opportunity

There’s a lot of great 3D content out there all over the web but it can be difficult to discover.

I’m launching a new company and website called Simmer Industries to solve just that problem.

the placeholder page!

Simmer will be a place for programmers to develop, share and upload their WebGL creations, and a place for consumers to discover content and try games and demos before they buy full versions.

To keep things simple and targeted, the first batch of content will be limited to WebGL exports from the Unity game engine.

UPDATE 9/2018: Simmer Industries is now SIMMER.io and has been live for almost a year now. We’re still focussed on Unity, and are now hosting thousands of games and demos.

Why not just self host?

Self hosting gives you complete control of your content. So why on earth would you want to upload your content to a platform like Simmer Industries?

That’s the subject of the next article. Stay tuned.

The List

Join my list to be invited to the preview version of Simmer when it goes live (tentatively 7.24.17). If you’re a Unity developer interested in putting your content on Simmer, please get in touch.

Please 💚 or follow me on Medium if you enjoyed this article. It gives me tons of motivation to keep writing :-).

Read Part II

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