Introducing PlayCanvas, A WebGL Editor

30 novembre 2015   by Z Team
The PlayCanvas team tells us about their editor. You can find a short description of this editor in our article 'How To Create Great WebGL Experiences'.

How would you define PlayCanvas?

PlayCanvas is the world’s easiest to use tool for creating interactive 3D web content.

What do you think of WebGL? What does it bring to the end-user?

WebGL is awesome! The key feature of WebGL is unlocking the power of your computer, tablet or phone’s graphics processor to your web browser. This means that any interactive content on the web is fast, smooth and battery-efficient. Not only that, but now you can show high end 3D graphics in your browser.

"We saw that we could (...) create an incredibly productive environment for creating games and other 3D content."

How came the idea of PlayCanvas?

PlayCanvas came about from the perfect storm of technology advances. Back in 2011, WebGL was just coming into browsers and cloud-services were becoming more and more popular. We saw that we could combine these two and create an incredibly productive environment for creating games and other 3D content. So we started building PlayCanvas.

What’s the main objective of PlayCanvas? How does it work?

PlayCanvas is designed to let programmers, artists and designers create, build and publish interactive 3D content. There are two main pieces. The PlayCanvas Engine is a free and open-source javascript library which does all the rendering. On its own this is a great way to build 3D applications. But the real power is in the PlayCanvas Editor at The Editor lets developers collaborate together to build games and scenes. It means you can create scenes in minutes. Just drag in 3D models set up your lighting, animation, 3D physics, attach javascript code and click Launch. We’re giving power to developers who haven’t been able to work in 3D before by implementing all the hard bits like the maths and complex lighting and physics. Now they can write regular javascript and work with artists and designers to create awesome stuff.

What is your target audience?

Our target audience consists of game developers, digital agencies and online advertisers. We began as a game engine but we quickly realized that more than just game developers wanted to make interactive content for the web. Now we find that we’re just as popular with digital studios and agencies as we are with game developers.

How many users do you have?

Over 55,000 people have signed up for PlayCanvas.

Do you think people want to see more 3D content on the web?

Absolutely. People love to be entertained and 3D graphics is just one more way to do that. We’ve had enormous success with TANX which is a full multiplayer game that runs in a mobile browser. You can even run it inside Twitter and Facebook on your phone. 3D on the web is a great new way to share fun or educational things with people. And all without having to resort to the app store.

"If VR wants to change the world, it will have to be accessible to everyone."

What do you think of Web-VR ? Will it be a standard some day?

It would be a terrible shame if VR arrives and it’s locked away behind expensive headsets and expensive gaming rigs. If VR wants to change the world, it will have to be accessible to everyone. And I think one of the best ways to do that will be to deliver it via the web. We’ve been supporting the WebVR standard since we first talked to Mozilla about it and adding WebVR support to a PlayCanvas application is as simple as dropping in a script. We’re very excited about it.

Is there a new technology that is particularly exciting for you?

We’re really excited about Physically Based Rendering. This is the graphical technique used by PlayCanvas that lets you generate incredibly realistic visuals, like our BMW demo . Physically Based Rendering is used by AAA game engines like Unity 5 and Unreal 4 and we’re really excited that we’ve managed to get the workflow into PlayCanvas so now you don’t need to be making a console game to see real time graphics that look real!

"PlayCanvas is getting better all the time."

What are you working on these days?

We release features every week (sometimes every day) and each one makes it easier and easier to build interactive 3D web content. From animated particle effects to better asset management, PlayCanvas is getting better all the time and that means that people build better and better things.

What are the next steps for PlayCanvas?

We’re flat out supporting all the partners who are building awesome stuff with PlayCanvas. We’ve seen PlayCanvas content on stage at WWDC, up on the big screen in London’s Piccadilly Circus and the massive Cannes Lions festival. Everyone from tiny indie developers to multi-national broadcasters are using PlayCanvas to create web content and we’re looking forward to seeing what everyone builds in the future.

Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts!

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