Now that the latest release of Firefox supports WebVR on the Vive and Rift by default, you may be wondering what you can do with it. Here’s three examples worth checking out.

It’s still early days for WebVR; the capabilities, development tools, and what it’s all best used for is still rapidly changing and evolving. Still, WebVR offers the promising opportunity to seamlessly visit a WebVR enabled website and then put on your headset and be in VR right away—no big downloads or separate apps and installations.

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If you’ve got a Rift or Vive installed on your PC and you’re running the 64-bit version of Firefox (version 55 or later), you’ve already got everything you need to experience WebVR content. Since WebVR is new (and free), much of what’s out there is still very much demo and experimental content, but several exceptional examples demonstrate why we should all be excited for the possibilities of VR on the web. Here’s three worth trying, built by Mozilla’s VR team and based on their A-Frame WebVR framework, all of which are designed for motion controllers.

Before You Get Started:

To make sure you’re on the right version of Firefox click the menu icon in Firefox, then the question mark icon at the bottom of the menu, then select About Firefox. There you will be able to see the current version (including whether it’s 32-bit or 64-bit). If you aren’t yet on version 55 or later, you may see an update button, or you can redownload Firefox here, which should pull down the latest version. Make sure to select the 64-bit version during the installation.

Entering WebVR Experiences:

When you load a WebVR enabled website, you’ll need to explicitly enter the site’s VR mode. Most WebVR websites will have a button that says ‘Enter VR’ or appears as an icon of a VR headset.

Note that if you can’t hear the WebVR experience, you may need to manually switch the Windows audio source to your headset’s headphones.

A-Painter

The Mozilla VR team says they are “hardcore fans of Tilt Brush,” and its ability to easily show VR’s power as an expressive medium inspired them to create a WebVR app inspired by the game.

A-Painter lets you paint in the air just like Tilt Brush, with over 30 different brushes (and an extensible design to allow people to add custom brushes). The interface for adjusting each brush’s color, tone, and size is surprisingly functional, and you can share your drawings by simply sharing a URL like you would any other link. You can even drag and drop images and .obj objects into A-Painter to use them as references for your artwork.

From a performance standpoint, A-Painter feels just like a native VR app that you’d run out of Steam or the Oculus library, but it’s really coming right out of your browser, served fresh from the web.

A-Blast

A-Blast is a simple wave shooter where you’ll use dual laser blasters to shoot flying enemies in an effort to get a high score. Don’t feel bad about shooting the cute enemies though, they’ll be trying to kill you too 😈.

A-Saturday Night

A-Saturday Night is a fun little WebVR experience that invites you to get your groove on. You can choose between four avatars and you’ll be given 15 seconds to get down to the beat. Your dance moves are recorded and at the end you can share your masterful (or not) dancing by simply copying and sharing a URL for others to view.

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That’s just a small selection of some good examples of WebVR demo content. Know any others that people should check out? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in building your own WebVR experiences? The three above were all built with Mozilla’s A-Frame WebVR framework, which is free to use and offers helpful examples and documentation.

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  • NooYawker

    I updated my Firefox, which I haven’t used in a very long time, to Ver. 55. Checked out A-Saturday night and A-blast and it was incredibly laggy, stuttering all over the place. Actually felt dizzy afterwards.

    • Diego

      Sorry to hear that. Just tried on Oculus Rift and I don’t see the problems you describe. I’m on a powerful GPU though 1080. What headset / hardware do you have?

      • NooYawker

        HTC vive. i7 1080 gtx. I literally bought a new high end computer just for the vive.

      • NooYawker

        This could be a Vive thing because the other people posting issues are using a vive.

  • guest

    I did not dare update the browser from v.44 but hit the link anyway, so of course it works in a typical half-A-ssed way with the audio playing and the screen all screwed up. Welcome to the future A-holes!

  • doug

    Tried a-blast. headtracking was too slow. Vive with gtx 970, core i7.

    • Diego

      What about a-saturday-night or a-painter? Trying to determine if it is a browser or application problem. How do other A-Frame examples perform? https://aframe.io/examples/

      • doug

        Just tried them all again (A-blast first, more on that after i answer your questions). A-Painter exhibited slow headtracking at the title screen. Rolling my head about caused the title to roll about, rather than appear fixed in space. A-Saturday-Night was rock solid both times I tried it.

        A-Blast was not as bad as I remembered it when I fired it up. The problem got worse a minute in, and I thought I’d restart and get a more precise time. Then the problem went away completely and tracking was solid for around 5 minutes, and just when I though it might be somehow fixed, headtracking started to lag again. So it’s intermittent on A-blast for sure, for me.

        snowglobe and museum are solid. Was going to try citybuilder, but didn’t see the start headset icon.

        • Diego

          Thanks for the breakdown, that helps. I think I need to downgrade my machine to a gtx970 or even 960 to live in a basic configuration.

      • doug

        Tried A-blast again, right after no problems with museum and snowglobe, and the headtracking was laggy at the start screen. Controller tracking was lagging as well. I shot start and the problem cleared up within seconds, only to come back after about 15 seconds in.

  • marc Absinth

    Nice idea, but didn´t work well, we had issues with fps and baaaad lags.
    Used FF nightly and i7 with 1080gtx and HTC Vive.

    • Diego

      What about regular Firefox (not Nightly)?

  • Diego

    For the readers of this article with Nvidia GPUs (960, 970, 1060, 1070, 1080) that experiment stutter on Firefox with WebVR content. In some machines (desktop and mobile) the NVidia control panel has the Power management mode set to optimal power that causes the problem. To solve it, open the NVidia control panel go to Manage 3D Settings and in the Program tab select Firefox. Change the Power management option to Prefer Maximum Performance.