I think I’ve said this a few dozen times already, but it’s not going to stop me from saying it again: It’s been a long time since I have any serious effort forth on making a webpage. Years. I am quite literally about twice as old since the last time I’ve done so, in fact. It should come as no surprise that a lot has changed.
But it does.
I’ve used the web plenty, sure. But only as a user. For some reason it’s been a long, long time since I’ve taken a serious look at it as a programmer. I’ve heard about things like CSS and XML, sure, but I never really taken a good look at some of the cool things you can do with them. So hey, let’s do that!
It’s been too long since I’ve wall-of-text’d this blog after all.
90’s: The Golden Age Of Websites
That’s probably the most blatant lie I’ve posted on this blog yet.
Before I get into all the fancy examples I have found, I want to take you back in time. A time when pages were filled animated gifs, clashing colors, and midi files. The way the web looked back when no one had a clue what they were doing designing a web page, but they tried anyway. The type of web pages I grew up on.
This one sums it up pretty well without being too abysmal on the eyes. You have the pointless animated gifs, the guestbook, the page counter, the barely-readable text. It’s only missing two things, really: An imaged based background, and an under construction image. After all, all websites were under construction those days. Always.
Probably the saddest part about it though is that it’s not even all that bad by 90’s web page standards. It’s lacking in content, but sadly, that’s kind of a plus. Why?
HTML5, CSS3, WebGL, and More
Thankfully, we’ve made progress since the days of such websites. I’d say half of that is thanks to the emergence of professional web design artist. Having people who actually know what they’re doing handle such tasks works out pretty well. Who would have thought?
As for the other half? I’d have to give it to technology. You can do a lot of really interesting stuff with web pages these days. Not all of it is exactly practical, but that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining. Let’s run through a few examples:
This page has a pretty simply yet interesting effect. As you move your mouse around, the webpage scrolls in kind, though not in a traditional sense. What you’re seeing here is a clever use of parallax scrolling—objects moving at different speeds to give the illusion of depth. For some reason it’s a bit jittery on my browser, which detracts from the experience a bit, but it’s still pretty damn cool.
This one’s pretty brilliant. It looks a bit messy at first, but once you try scrolling, it all makes sense. Everything is on one page, yet instead of scrolling down, you start scrolling in. It’s a really cool effect that actually works pretty well.
Plus there’s an inception easter egg waiting for you if you scroll all the way in and click the top.
Now I don’t see many practical uses for this one, but it’s still a great example of just what can be done with newer web technologies. Click anywhere on the video, and it flies apart in pieces. Even ignoring the technical limitations of graphics cards back then, coding something like this ten years ago would have been absolute hell.
This is one of my favorites. There’s a lot here that’s nothing new. Click and drag, yeah, sure, that’s nice. Physics? We’ve had that for a while now.
However, the fun starts when you decide to try moving your browser around. Normally you’d expect nothing fancy to happen, but the circles actually start to bounce and slide around as if the browser itself were a physical box! Grab the browser, drag it from one side of the screen to the other, and the circles go flying to the side, slamming into the wall.
Now, just like the above, there are very few practical uses for this that I can see, if any. It strikes me as entertaining at best. But honestly? I’d be trilled to see more websites including subtle effects based on this behavior.
This last example uses WebGL. WebGL almost feels like cheating given that it’s basically a 3D graphics for web browsers. But seriously, let’s consider something for a moment:
It’s 3D graphics for web browsers.
Do I really even have to say anything more than that? It’s not a technology I expect to see everywhere. And for that matter, there are probably a lot of places it doesn’t even belong; there’s a difference between using technology because it’s cool and using it because it’s appropriate. That said though, it’s offers incredible possibilities.
Now if only Microsoft would stop trying to fight the push for WebGL support in Internet Explorer.
You’re still here?
Oh. Right. Ludexor updates.
I would like to think that the webpage will be up “soon” with a web-based version of potato bucket following “shortly.” At the moment though, I’m stuck somewhere between feeling like an old man who doesn’t understand these newfangled technologies, and a kid at Christmas who just received more shiny new toys than he knows what to do with. For now, my official statement is “we’ll see.”
In other news, witnessing the recent success of Double Fine’s Kickstarter project tempts me to see if anyone would want to fund something as silly as Potato Bucket. It would be awesome if that all worked out—especially since I am starting to think that I might need to get a dreaded ‘real job’ sometime soon otherwise. However, there’s a pretty good chance that everyone and their uncle is going to be trying to fund indie games on Kickstarter now.
But hey, I can’t fail if I don’t try.
In other other news, I’m going to GDC. Yep.
In other other other news, I’m hungry.