How could a browser-based solution possibly compete with the 3D graphics of a dedicated program like Google Earth?
I’m stunned. I’m getting 60 frames per second on my Mac G5 using OpenGL in a fully responsive highly detailed network-based multiplayer first-person shooter that has wide open vistas… in my web browser. It’s platform independent, and it also supports DirectX.
How? It’s a Macromedia Shockwave game, and it loads a technology called Phosphor, which is now in Beta. Phosphor is built by Rasterwerks, which is really “Nick Kang”, probably a pseudonymous programmer from Germany — though it’s hard to find much detail on the internet as this seems to have been flying under the radar screen. He put up an alpha of Phosphor a year ago that got some web attention.
Until I saw this in action, I did not think it would be possible to build a 3D virtual globe in a browser that would be “good enough.” But the Rasterwerks game is much better than “good enough,” with the added advantage that it requires no separate installation.
Now it makes sense for France’s Géoportail to say they will do 3D mapping in the browser in 2007. Ditto if Microsoft says it will do Virtual Earth in 3D soon.