We've shipped a v2 update to Supermedium! We've been hard at work the last two weeks, ushering and fixing existing WebVR content as well as improving the browser itself. Here's a roundup what's entailed in the update and what's happened in the last two weeks.
Upgrading to v2
There are automatic updates set up, but we found some machines had trouble unless we Run as Adminstrator for Supermedium. In this case, start Supermedium as adminstrator, wait 20 seconds or so, close it, re-run it as adminstrator, and Supermedium should update itself. We've shipped an update in v2 to improve the update process to not need administrator privileges for some machines.
Here's what's included in the browser update, not counting changes to the Supermedium home space:
Home Space Improvements
We don't really have a name for the home screen with all the links to the sites yet. We just call it "the lobby" within the team, but let's just call it "home space" for now! The home space is a VR site in itself and is built with A-Frame, and we update it continually without the need to update the browser. Here are some changes we've made over the last couple weeks, taking into account feedback from users and from giving live demos at Y Combinator dinners:
New Featured VR Sites
We add new links to featured VR sites as we find them, often involving reaching out to the original developers to volunteer our efforts to fix or improve them. Even then, many VR sites still need some workarounds from our browser in order to work well. Check out our WebVR Guidelines to understand what many VR sites need to function in a pure VR context. But below are the sites we've added since then!
We'll be quickly releasing a developer mode to let developers test out their WebVR sites and later suggest for us to add a link to the home space. While we could add a straight up URL bar, the reality is that the majority of sites have no VR content, VR users wouldn't have any URLs in mind to go to, and most WebVR sites don't really work in a full VR context out of the box yet (see WebVR Guidelines). So we'll save that for the future when the ecosystem is ready, but for now, we want to provide a great look for WebVR.
On top of that, we've been in touch with many WebVR developers in the community helping to improve and usher in more VR sites. More awesome WebVR incoming!
For the A-Frame community, we need to usher and release v0.8.0. We'll need to look at some breakages in three.js, but that's a priority for us!
A highlight so far has been Andreas Aronsson (BOLL) reaching out to us on Intercom and sending us a 40-minute video of them using Supermedium with commentary, feedback, and overlayed performance stats! We've had a large chunk of users in Supermedium for over 30 minutes, experiencing the WebVR goodness that would have been buried on the Web otherwise!
We got a surplus of ideas, and the WebVR community has been lively. We're looking forward to the next couple weeks. If you like what we're doing either with Supermedium or maintaining A-Frame, we'd appreciate if you could tell people you know with VR headsets (Vive, Rift) to give Supermedium a spin!
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