Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Future In The Cloud?

My recent web browsing has been focused on sites that offer 3d model galleries. I've known about SketchFab and for some time, but a couple of others have recently blipped on my radar. One is called "" and it appears to offer more than the others because in addition to allowing uploads of pre-built models, it has a modeling interface. I gave it a try today and found it extremely buggy, but it is in beta.

Another site called "verold" offers a service that seems similar to I signed up and in a fairly short time had my test model uploaded and looking decent. Here is the result of that, but you must have a WebGL capable browser to view.

The verold options are pretty limited, but I'm sure that will change. Their claim is that a much larger set of tools is on the way and will allow for custom programming of uploaded content. People will be able to make games from within their browsers!

Perhaps I'm old school, but I prefer having direct control over my own content. I declare this as I type into a browser logged into a blogging service provided by Google. The current business trend of selling software as a service is not going anywhere and certainly has its advantages, both for the businesses and their customers.

Anyone can upload models into the verold gallery and the service is free as long as the models are public. They charge only for private projects and the $7/month fee seems reasonable. However, there are many cloud storage options. What if I want to use one of those? Or what if I already have my own website with storage that's already paid for and I want to use that instead?

These questions bring to light a new possibility for Mana.

At this time, I am still thinking about running a KickStarter for a simple version of Mana called Mana Lite (I'd call it Mini if not for Apple). It would be an easy to use model and scene editor that would export an HTML 5 web page. The resulting HTML and JavaScript files would be nicely formatted for readability and could easily be modified to suit any purpose. If Mana Lite proves popular, many features could be added for editing models, textures, lights, shaders, animation, etc.

Most importantly, the exported content could be uploaded to anywhere the customer pleases!

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