Web 3D: Away3D (Flash) vs Unity3D vs ???

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Nutter2000, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. GaiaDreamCreation

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    I'm also concerned about this because I'd like to make 3D games for the web. It's hard to find the perfect solution or just get all the advantages with one technology. There's also the O3D from Google, however it also requires a plug-in. It's based on WebGL. It looks powerful and the graphics are quite beautiful. Personally, I'd tend to go with Unity3D even though the penetration is not 100%. Flash is not 100% too, it between 90%-95%. I believe if you sell your game correctly, many people will install the plug-in. At the moment, I think 3D is still immature for the web and making comprises is the only way to use 3D. Probably the web version could have lower performances. Web browsers are not made for performances. A downloable version could be used by people who want more performance. With Unity3D, it seems that can be done more easily.
     
  2. oNyx

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    >There's also the O3D from Google, however it also requires a plug-in. It's based on WebGL.

    O3D used to require a plugin, but they decided to redo it as a library sitting on top of WebGL. So, it doesn't require a plugin anymore.
     
  3. sindisil

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    Nope. Just a browser that supports WebGL in a performant way. That the users are running. On which the user has enabled WebGL. See the WebGL wiki here for more info.

    Good luck with that. Some day, sure, but a plug-in is a much smaller hurdle for now.

    Not that I'm not very much looking forward to standard canvas, WebGL and high performance JavaScript, mind you. It's just not realistic today.
     
  4. GaiaDreamCreation

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    I tried it in Internet Explorer and it asked me to run the plug-in (it was already installed many months ago). I also tried it in Chrome and I had nothing to install. I think there's still a browser compatibility issue, however since the plug-in is available for many platforms, this is probably minor. This plug-in comes from Google, which seems a reliable source.
     
  5. oNyx

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    >Nope. Just a browser that supports WebGL[...].

    Yes, that's what I just said.

    >I tried it in Internet Explorer and it asked me to run the plug-in (it was already installed many months ago).

    Chrome Frame? ;)

    AFAIK O3D doesn't work at all with IE.

    Also note that this is the new O3D project page (that old plugin is deprecated):

    http://code.google.com/p/o3d/
     
  6. GaiaDreamCreation

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    You're right. I've tried the new link. One more technology flushed down in the sewer.
     
  7. sindisil

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    The point being that the expectation of users running such a browser is, at least in the near future, less realistic than the expectation that users will be willing to install a plugin to run your game.
     
  8. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

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    I just wanted to throw in Panda3D, not as a recommendation or anything, but simply because it offers a online 3d plugin.

    I'm currently building a prototype in it (this is my third look at a engine to suit my needs) and so far it's been impressive. Best part is it supports Win/Mac/linux for the download version and the web plugin.

    The linux part is why it wins over Unity for me even though I don't run linux other than a alternative boot opition on my netbook for testing along with win xp and I'm about to purchase a mac mini for mac testing, our target min reqs are low (main pc is Windows 7 64bit).

    Although it targets python for the online plugin (well it is the easiest way) it also can be done in C++ if that's your pref.

    Giving players a choice between a download of a plugin to play your demo through a browser or to download the full demo is an advantage I believe.

    Then again I have no intension in supporting Free to play stuff with my setup so the plugin is of limited value to me as my game doesn't currently support that business model.
     
  9. oNyx

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    The possibility for running such a browser is at 40-60%¹ (within a year or two). With some plugin (which isn't Flash, Director, or Java) you're somewhere below 5%.

    [¹ Europe, Russia, USA, etc. - but it looks very bad in Korea for example.]
     
  10. Nutter2000

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    I used to love the fact that Google's O3d ran in most browsers with the significant exception of Google's Chrome browser (because it didn't allow plugins) :D
     
  11. sindisil

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    Your estimate of percentage of WebGL capable & enabled browsers in the near future seems reasonable enough, though I think it'll be much closer to two years than one.

    I'm curious, however, on your source for the sub 5% install rate for plugin installs. Care to share?
     
  12. oNyx

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    >I'm curious, however, on your source for the sub 5% install rate for plugin installs. Care to share?

    There is no source for that. Except that the market penetration for other plugins is generally very low and that most (sorta sane) people won't install some random plugin because one random website asked for it.

    Unitiy3D is at >23 million downloads right now, which sounds like much, but that's only 1/5 of Firefox 3.6's downloads.

    So, relying on Unity3D is basically the same as making something which only works in Firefox and which also has a failure rate of 80%.

    That sounds sorta crazy, if you ask me.

    I mean even some bat-shit crazy stuff like requiring Firefox AND JavaScript AND Java AND Flash at the same time has a higher chance of working.

    But don't get me wrong. I think Unitiy3D (or similar plugins) can work very well for you... if you got a big existing user base, that is. Convincing people to install some plugin is a lot easier if they know and trust you.
     
  13. Bad Sector

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    There is something that always bothered me about market penetration stats mentioned here: you are equalizing EVERYONE.

    The thing is, not everyone matters. You don't care about the millions of office computers which have Flash preinstalled but will never finish a Flash site. If you're making an action game, you don't care about those who will avoid such games. These should not make it into your stats, but they *are* into the "firefox market share" and "flash plugin market share" stats.

    These 23 million downloads might be 1/5 of Firefox 3.6's download, but 100% of them are from players who WANT to play web games and especially 3D games. Not 100% of Firefox 3.6's downloads are from such people.

    Java might have 50% market share (i think it has more but anyway), but this 50% doesn't mean that you are going to half your players because not 100% of the web will find and want to play your game.

    Flash doesn't have 100% market share, but 100% of the people visiting Flash game sites have it installed.
     
  14. oNyx

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    >[...] 100% of them are from players who WANT to play web games and especially 3D games [...]

    Yes, but the other side of the coin also matters - there are many people out there who'd like to play web games, but don't have that plugin installed, won't install that plugin, or even can't install that plugin.

    >Flash doesn't have 100% market share [...]

    Yes, it only got about 99%. ;)
     
  15. Bad Sector

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    But how many are those people? And are they in your target audience or not?

    Which Flash though? I doubt Flash 10 has 99% market share :)
     
  16. vjvj

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    I think Bad Sector has a point... If you are making something casual like Farmville then of course every bit of penetration % counts, but for a TA-style RTS, 23 million may be enough to warrant some investigation; that may already be bigger than the game's (current) market is.

    For a TA-style game you may be able to get away with just doing 3D in Flash. You can make the units really low-poly and you don't really need to animate them. You'll still encounter some expense when upgrading to a full Unity3D version, but you may be able to work out something clever... Like build low-poly, normal-mapped units, then use the same assets for both the Flash and Unity versions (Unity version uses the normal maps, Flash version doesn't). It's probably worth some prototyping, at least.

    For us, we're going to start with 3D in Flash since our requirements are pretty low (basically, two animated characters in a small room; kinda like a fighting game). Now to find that Intel Integrated machine I have sitting around here :)
     
  17. Nutter2000

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    That would probably work for a standard RTS horde type game but our game has more of a squad level focus where the army you control consists of 5 - 10 squads, the amount varies depends on the commander's ability.

    So although it still needs to be reasonably low poly, I think it needs more than flash could probably handle, plus it's online multiplayer so effects like decals would be a good selling point.

    Think more Total War than Total Annihilation.
    (OT: amazingly I managed to spell annihilation correct on the first attempt, that's got to be the first time in 13 years :eek: ).

    Nice, look forward to seeing it.
     
  18. Chris Evans

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    Wow, Shockwave3D gets zero love around here. :p
     
  19. Baush

    Baush New Member

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    I have been using Papervision3D and Away3D in my projects for a while. If you design a low-poly browser game, it can acheive good results, but be prepared to optimize alot. Anything in the 1,000 - 2,000 poly range should work.

    Flash is very interesting as it reaches pretty much all OS plus upcoming mobile platforms (except for Iphone) in the near future. Therefore performance is far from beign comparable to os-native c++ engines.

    I suspect Flash plugin to eventually support native 3D acceleration and offer a 3D API, as they have already got 2D acceleration since version 10.
     
  20. Nutter2000

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    I fart in it's general direction :p

    Actually seriously, I often forget about shockwave :eek:

    It has around 50% adoption rate iirc doesn't it?
    Is it any good?
     

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