This week’s one hour hour challenge used A-Frame, a web framework for building VR experiences. From A-Frame’s Website, the framework is described as a tool to “Make WebVR with HTML and Entity-Component. Works on Vive, Rift, Daydream, GearVR, desktop.”
Why A-Frame? We first heard about A-Frame at a React Boulder meetup last month. The idea being able to build VR with only HTML and a CDN sparked our interest. A-Frame uses Web VR, “an open specification that makes it possible to experience VR in your browser.” It is super easy to get started.
- A-Frame CDN
How to Get Started: There is NO setup. Just add the CDN via script tag.
We followed the Hello WebVR example and quickly pivoted to building a solar system. In retrospect, it may have been a more productive hour if we attempted an easier
Impressed? I know, we weren’t either…
- Very easy to get started
- Docs are full of full examples
- Too much magic - This made debugging very challenging since we didn’t understand the problem we were solving in the first place
- Mostly fidgeting (rather than “coding”) to get the positioning of entities correct. We really just changed numbers and hex values.
- Position was challenging to understand. Perhaps this comes from our rudimentary understanding of Physics? Regardless, we struggled to understand basics concepts like how changing x, y, and z in position=”x y z” altered the entity.
- Large focus on design, UI/UX. Confirmation that we are not front-end developers… (not yet at least :) growth mindset!)
- This would be cool for games!!
- Didn’t feel like coding because it only involved adding html attributes and fidgeting with numbers. It would be more fun if we incorporated JS (with React) - something so we could play with state, interact with the dom, etc.
- What would our simple solar system look like on a headset?
Would we use it again? The short answer… No Not because the tech isn’t awesome - it truly is. Mostly because A-Frame’s huge pluses seem to fall in the category of simplifying game developing and VR for the novice and those pluses aren’t personal pluses.
All in all, it was a fun hour. Wish I could have gotten Saturn’s ring to be round though…