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Title: O3d  
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Subject: Web3D, List of 3D graphics libraries, Three.js, WebGL, Application programming interfaces
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O3D Beach Demo
A screenshot from the Beach Demo[1] used by Google to demonstrate O3D's capabilities
Development status Active
Written in JavaScript
Operating system Cross-platform
Type JavaScript API
License BSD license

O3D is an open source (BSD license) JavaScript API[2] 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 originally built as a web browser plugin,[3][4] the new implementation of O3D is a JavaScript library implemented on top of WebGL.[2]

O3D is viewed as bridging the gap between desktop based 3D accelerated graphics applications and HTML based web browsers. Proponents assert that creating a full featured 3D graphics engine that can be downloaded and run through web browsers, may eliminate the need to install large applications on a local desktop computer. This allows O3D to maximize re-usability amongst application resources, while providing a robust interface to the client's CPU and GPU using JavaScript.

Originally, O3D used a plug-in based architecture which allowed 3rd party developers to integrate custom functionality such as pre and post render effects, particle systems, and or physics engines for example. It is important to note that the plugin was written in C which communicated directly with the hardware, thus the speed of scene rendering was largely dependent on the graphics card of the computer rendering it. Now, much of this same functionality is built into WebGL.

The main advantage O3D has over alternative desktop or console based 3D rendering engines is that O3D may load, render, and transform models and their respective textures dynamically, using AJAX and/or COMET in real-time. Traditional compilation of source code, application resources, and object libraries is no longer necessary, since all of these aspects are loaded in real-time. These remote resources may be designed, developed, and maintained outside the core rendering or view application within a typical object oriented MVC application. The direct result of this, explicitly makes development of rich 3D application easier, as you do not need to recompile your O3D application per resource changes. This allows for a more robust and distributive approach when designing 3D applications.

On May 7, 2010, Google announced that O3D would be changing from a plugin to a JavaScript library running on top of WebGL.[5]

See also

WebGL - An open standard for showing hardware accelerated 3D graphics with JavaScript

VRML and X3D - Open standard from Web3D Consortium


  1. ^ O3D Beach Demo on YouTube
  2. ^ a b O3D Project Page from Google Code
  3. ^ O3D preview from Ars Technica
  4. ^ O3D Old Plugin Developer's Page from Google Code
  5. ^

External links

  • O3D Developers' Site
  • GWT-O3D Developers' Site
  • O3D Discussion Site
  • Google 3D Warehouse (Online 3D Model Repository)
  • Google Sketchup (3D Modeler)
  • A free 3D content importer/editor/publisher for creating O3D scenes
  • A series of O3D tutorials
  • Google I/O 2009 - Developing On O3D: View From The Trenches YouTube video
  • Sophos Security: Researcher rewarded over $30,000 for finding 3 security flaws in O3D
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