Today we have an interview with Zephyros Anemos
, the creator of Project Windstorm.
Could you briefly describe yourself?
I was born in 1974. I'm not dead yet, which apparently counts as a success of some sort. I live in Greece. You should come visit us during the summer!
Is your background mostly in coding or 3D design?
I have been lucky enough to have access to a computer since I was 8 years old, in a time when this was very uncommon. It was a ZX Specturm 48K (look it up young whippersnappers, it's well worth your time) that the father of my best friend had brought back to him as a gift from his visit to Spain. We started programming that very same day, quickly wearing out those little adorable rubber keys. I haven't stopped since. Good times!
What is Project Windstorm?
What languages, libraries or frameworks did you use to create it?
Was your goal mostly to showcase HTML5 and WebGL or to keep developing it towards an actual product?
Can you tell us a bit about what goes on behind the scenes?
The terrain engine makes a valiant effort to download and prepare the data needed to present the illusion of an infinite terrain to the user. This must be done without disrupting the frame rate too much. Rendering a nice view of the terrain as quickly as possible is also very important. During all of this, the internal workings of the algorithms are being exposed to the user as much as possible. A detailed write-up can be found on www.zephyrosanemos.com.
How long did it take you to create?
Can't really say for sure, since I didn't make it all in one go. The first time I opened the browser with the intent of developing for the web was a year and a half ago. During that time, I've built some other things as well (a 3D graphics engine, a CAD-like 3D model viewer to test the engine with and an application I'd like to turn into a start-up someday).
If I had to guess, I'd say that the terrain took me 3 to 4 months, the GUI a bit more than that, plus two more for really polishing the demo. Hard to say though, since everything was done in parallel, with even a few dead periods in-between.
What kind of feedback have you seen so far?
''This is JS perfection right there, shows how much of an advantage low level programmers coming from desktop environments actually have when adopting JS, simply due to the different mindset.''
I believe that we will certainly be seeing some really impressive work in the browser in the near future.
What are some of the biggest problems you are seeing with HTML5 or WebGL?
The biggest hurdle for WebGL right now (as everyone knows) is that it's not supported by Internet Explorer. Microsoft has a vested interest in keeping it that way of course, but I don't think they can continue doing that for long.
Do you have other projects planned using WebGL or web-based 3D?