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Large Animal Games on O3D

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I got a chance to talk to the guys at Large Animal Games about O3D.  They are one of the first game studios to produce a game (Infinite Journey) using O3D.

O3D is an open source JavaScript API created by Google for creating interactive 3D graphics applications that run in a web browser window or in a XUL desktop application. O3D may be crafted for use in any application area, however it is geared towards games, advertisements, 3D model viewers, product demos, simulations, engineering applications, control and monitoring systems, or massive online virtual worlds. O3D is currently in Google's incubation lab, and is deployed as an experimental web browser plug in.

What is O3D?

O3D is an open-source web API for creating interactive 3D content in a web browser.

Why did you choose to develop with O3D?

We were approached by Google to create a game that would demonstrate the power of O3D. Since we try to make games that appeal to the broadest possible range of gamers, the less steps involved in loading up a game the better. The idea of being able to run games directly from a browser without having to constantly install individual apps was something that appealed to us.

Would you consider O3D to be stable?

O3D runs on a wide range of hardware and works on all the major systems. We currently have Infinite Journey running on Chrome, IE8, Firefox for XP and Vista and Firefox and Safari on Mac. 

What are some of the advantages/disadvantages to using O3D over other traditional means for developing games?

The advantage with O3D was its ease of use. We had 4 full time staffers (two artists, a coder and a producer) and one intern that created what you see in the demo in five weeks. O3D delivers exactly what it says it will. The disadvantage of O3D is that it isn’t strictly meant for game design.

Since O3D isn’t a game engine per se, we had to build tools such as our level editor and model/animation viewer from scratch. 

How has the user response been to Infinite Journey when it comes to playing a 3D game in the browser?

Our user response has been great.  Most people are astonished to see a game running in a browser in full screen mode. Since we’re only showing off a demo of what will ultimately be a much more fully featured social game, we’ve been very pleased at the response so far.

Where do you see O3D 3 years from now?

Software development in general seems to be heading towards a streaming and thin client paradigm, where the user does not need to download and install anything in order to use an application. Games are no exception to this trend but to date, no powerful, high quality, pervasive 3D API that supports thin client applications has been available. So, web-based games have traditionally had to forgo the sort of visually rich experiences found in console games. O3D is poised to change all that; not only is it an excellent software development platform, but it has all the might of Google behind it.

Google reaches into almost everyone's life to some extent, which means they're in a position to really push O3D out into the world and get it onto everyone's home and office computer. A high quality and widely propagated platform like O3D should result in a very large number of rich 3D web applications being developed over the next several years.

What does Large Animal Games have planned next?

We’ll continue to focus on publishing high quality social games for players of all levels. We’ve spent the past year refining our cross-network social game platform – Toga – so you’ll see us adding to our portfolio of games on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and other social networks. We’ve just recently released What to Wear for Facebook, and our popular game Bumper Stars in now available on the iPhone.

As for Infinite Journey, we’ve been working on the full social network version of the game.

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