Just a quick post to announce that PhiloGL version 1.3.0 has been released!
I’ve been working hard on this new release, which is mainly focused on many performance improvements and the ability to have reflection and refraction available in the default shaders.
Performance improvements happened on three different places of the framework:
Math functions for Vector and Matrix operations are faster than ever. I changed the inner implementation of the math methods to use typed arrays whenever possible. The result is an amazing performance improvement that can be seen on the WebGL Matrix Benchmarks for Safari, Firefox and Chrome (these tests were made on a 13-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo).
The API for the math module has changed a little bit. I explain most of the API changes in the documentation (look for new from version 1.3).
Deep typed array integration in O3D.Models
I changed how attributes where handled by models in the O3D module,
integrating typed arrays very deep and reusing them whenever possible.
In order to do this I created getters and setters for most of the model
color, etc. so you can feed to
those properties either a typed array or a simple array of values and
they will be converted internally into a typed array. The typed array will
be reused whenever possible. When accessing some of these properties,
you will always get a typed array too; even if you didn’t assign one to
Did you know that using
forEach instead of a for-loop can be up to
50% slower in most browsers?. Some
micro-optimizations take care of changing
forEach calls into regular
for-loops in the main rendering loop code.
I added the ability to have reflection and refraction in O3D. There are
two new properties in O3D.Model:
refraction which indicate the reflection and
refraction index correspondingly.
I created two simple demos to demonstrate some of the new features in the framework.
The first one uses the marching cubes algorithm and web-workers as a divide and conquer technique to render reflective metaballs. I also use cube map textures and the new reflection index. You can access the example here.
The second example displays an interesting technique to render
quaternion julia sets. Quaternion julia sets are four dimensional fractals that are
created by using the same formula than the one used with two dimensional
Zn+1 = Zn + C, but instead of using complex numbers as
use hyper-complex numbers called quaternions.
Once we obtain the four-dimensional shape, what we do is project
it into a three dimensional space to get “the shadow” of the four
dimensional object. A very interesting article into how this works and
also how this can be fully calculated via a fragment shader can be found
here. I really
enjoyed reading that article and recommend it to anyone interested in
Anyway, you can access the example here.
Last but not least, I’ll be making a presentation on PhiloGL at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver on August 10th. If you’re there, come say hello!