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Blend4Web 16.11 Released

2016-11-30

We are glad to present a new release of Blend4Web, a complete open source solution for creating interactive 3D web experiences. The most prominent features of this release are: support for material nodes of the Cycles non-real-time renderer, new API module for facilitating first-person controls, the upgraded Petigor's Quest with source files and the text editor introduced in the Project Manager.

Embracing Cycles

Cycles, a high-quality path-tracing renderer available in Blender, is widely used by Blender artists for creating still images and videos. Materials for Cycles are constructed using a separate set of nodes, which are very different from GLSL nodes used to make real-time materials for the Blender viewport and Blend4Web. Nevertheless, taking into account the huge amount of already existing Cycles content and persistent requests from the community wishing to share their models on the Web, we have decided to initiate work on supporting Cycles materials in Blend4Web.

Comparing output of Cycles and Blend4Web #1.

Due to inevitable performance constraints inherent to real-time renderers, it is only possible to implement approximate algorithms to mimic Cycles materials in WebGL. We started with the most vital and widely employed nodes, such as Material Output, BSDF Diffuse, BSDF Glossy and others, checking real models uploaded by the Blender community to BlendSwap (a popular collection of free .blend files, thanks Albin and gregzaal for the models). For convenience, the Fast Preview button has been added to the Cycles render profile so that you can export your models without the need to switch to Blend4Web.

Comparing output of Cycles and Blend4Web #2.

The exclusive list of supported nodes, sockets and options made available for this release can be seen here. We welcome you feedback and suggestions regarding further development of this exciting feature!

Petigor's Quest

Today we are releasing what can be called a continuation of Petigor's adventures - a little browser point-and-click game first introduced a month ago at Blender Conference 2016 held in Amsterdam. Since then we have added some new possibilities for the character, improved the story line and supplemented the game with audio and more FX.

For those who are inexperienced in cracking puzzles, there is a help button with a question mark on it...

The rules are somewhat simple: try to escape the troll's prison with the help of the items available, without getting caught!

That is a really big guy... Good he's sleeping.

Contrary to its prequel, this quest has been authored with almost no programmer efforts: here lies the power of the logic editor. You are welcome to study the source files which are present in both CE and PRO Blend4Web SDK distributions. Join the quest now!

First Person Controls

Good news for developers of applications with first person view - games and beyond. We have introduced the module called fps.js which makes creating such controls much easier. Furthermore, by using this module you can ensure consistent user experience across desktop and mobile platforms, including support for gamepads, touchscreens and even VR devices.

Creating shooters made easier.

Check out the new controls in the reworked Jungle Outpost aka Kick the Bucket, to which a rifle has been added as a bonus (thanks zehmx for the model!).

Project Manager

You can now conveniently edit source files of your apps (HTML, CSS, JavaScript and project configs) with the embedded text editor right in the PM. Although this editor is minimalistic, it is web-friendly, supports line numbering and syntax highlighting and correctly works with Unicode on different systems such as Windows. It is well suited to quickly edit your projects without the need to search through the SDK hierarchy, even remotely.

Editing text files in the PM.

Other Features

The pathfinding algorithm introduced in the previous release, has been upgraded to support volumetric navigation meshes. Also, navmeshes are now prepared faster which results in faster loading.

Important usability improvement: you no longer need to explicitly specify the path to the SDK folder, as it is now determined automatically through the installation procedure.

The API method for creating screenshots has been made more robust so that it can now generate images of any size (particularly, overcoming the 2MB restriction of Chromium-based browsers). The issue has been discovered thanks to the winner of the Retro Car contest whose amazing work included this functionality.

Screenshot button in the Impala contest entry.

The list of steps, required to make both the procedural sky and dynamic water work, is now shorter. The procedural sky will be displayed even if there is no light source of Sun type in your scene, while the water waves will appear even if your forgot to add the wind source.

In Closing

As usual, you can find the source files of the examples presented in this article inside the SDK. For the complete list of changes and bugfixes see the release notes. In case you missed the latest, take a moment and check out the most recent posts in our blog for new tutorials, results of the Retro Car contest and the newest featured Blend4Web-powered projects.

Comments
01 dec. 2016 16:06
Wow! That's really great that we will be able to use Blender Cycles nodes with B4W. Is your goal to be able to do PBR textures via node trees like "PBR Uber-Shader" or similar?

I'm discovering B4W and I think PBR textures would make the learning curve easier. I think it's a awesome software, keep up the great work!

Cheers!
01 dec. 2016 18:04
Wow! That's really great that we will be able to use Blender Cycles nodes with B4W. Is your goal to be able to do PBR textures via node trees like "PBR Uber-Shader" or similar?

I'm discovering B4W and I think PBR textures would make the learning curve easier. I think it's a awesome software, keep up the great work!

Cheers!
Hello and welcome to our forum!

As far as I can see most of "PBR Uber-Shaders" (like that https://jtheninja.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/simple-pbr-v5/ are node groups which somehow mix Cycles shader nodes to make user's life easier and materials tweaking closer to other renders (including real-time ones like Unreal, Unity).
Our aim is to make cycles nodes look in b4w as similar to those rendered in Blender as possible (respecting real-time limitations). So that all flexibility of Cycles materials (including ubers/supers/mega pbrs) will be available for users.
01 dec. 2016 19:20
Thank you Konstantin!

I come from Unreal Engine and VR. I'm interested in having a light-weight engine running on a browser. B4W looks like it's what I need. Great to know PBR (Cycles) should work in the future. I was impressed to find a parallax occlusion mapping on such a Javascript engine. You guys rock! ;-)
09 dec. 2016 03:44
What are they feeding you guys there!!! Every time i come to the site my mind is blown! Well done you guys.
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