The first Coding Battle on WebVR

For the very first time, we got to play around with WebVR. Exciting!

WebVR is a burning topic. It’s still at the very beginning of
its history and it is promised to a bright future. Which means there are tons of opportunities lying ahead for this technology. Now is certainly a good time to know it better.

We’ve worked together with Fabien on this Coding Battle. Fabien is a WebVR passionate who has organized many workshops with VRLabBrussels and keeps on stretching the application possibilities of this emerging technology.

The Easy part

To make this WebVR Coding Battle a reality, we knew the constraints:

  • Doable in 3 hours
  • Minimum setup
  • Fun for both rookies and experienced devs
  • A-frame based (WebVR framework from Mozilla) . A-frame is one of the main most popular framework for WebVR and is fairly easy to get on with.
  • Encourage participants to use card board / Oculus / Vive..

The exiting part

And now the less easy part but the most exciting one: imagine a competition that would include all those elements while keeping the whole experience fun and thrilling.

And on that part, Fabien has been brilliant. He has managed to condense his knowledge in series of exercises that took all the constraints into account. That took some long hours of thoughts, meeting and work; but the result was definitely truly worth it.

Coding Battle WebVR - MIC

How it played out

JSbin was used as the platform to complete the challenges: No set up required on the users’ side – possibility to use cardboard/VR headsets.

The Coding Battle was a series of exercises. After completing one, you’d get a code that you would have to add to a given URL to get to the next challenge.

That way of working allowed us to also track participants’ progress, live. We used projectors to display the logs which played nicely to generate a gentle competitive atmosphere.

Coding Battle WebVR - MIC

The participants were delighted. A couple of them even said it was probably one of the best Coding Battle so far.
If you want to try them out, here’s the link to the challenges.

The results

Most of the teams were competing at the same time on the same exercise. It was really close.

In the end, it’s Stijn and Olivier who were the first to complete the last challenge.

For this Coding Battle, we had some sweet prizes offered by the MIC (Microsoft Innovation Center), our host of the day:

  • An e-book of TheVRbook by Jason Jerald (Morgan & Claypool Publishers)
  • 2 tickets for the VR Hackathon in Brussels

All the participants also got a 35% discount on the VR Hackathon’s ticket price.

Here are a couple of pictures that’ll give you a visual taste of the event.

This Coding Battle was also very insightful for the A-frame team. We’ve collected valuable feedback from participants on the framework (ease of use, propensity to re-use it in the future, quality of the documentation, remarks on the framework…) that should help the team improve their product.

Have you tried WebVR in the past? Any other idea on how to play around with it?