Google Introduces “Find Your Way To Oz” HTML5 Chrome Experiment In Collaboration With Disney And Unit9

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For a while now, Google has regularly worked with well-known brands like Cirque du Solei and others to launch advanced web-based experiences optimized for its Chrome browser. Today is Disney’s turn. Google, in collaboration with UNIT9 and Disney, just launched Find Your Way to Oz, a new Chrome experiment based on Disney’s upcoming movie “Oz The Great and Powerful.” The experience, Google writes, allows you “to take an interactive journey through a Kansas circus, which leads you to the land of Oz after you are swept up by a massive storm.”

To bring this world to life, Google and UNIT9 — using various HTML5 techniques, including WebGL for the 3D effects, CSS3 transitions and GLSL shaders — accelerated 3D transforms, the Web Audio API for audio effect and the getUserMedia feature of WebRTC to power an in-browser photo booth that uses your computer’s camera and microphone. If you are interested in how exactly the developers created this experience, Google also published a technical case study that delves into the details of how they created the wind effect and grass, for example. As the UNIT9 developers note in this tutorial, “in WebGL / Javascript we don’t (yet) have the luxury to run a full-blown physics simulation. So in Oz we had to find a way to create the effect of wind, without actually simulating it.”

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The Chrome experiment is fun to play with even without knowing all the technical details. If you want to delve a little bit deeper without having to touch the code, you can append ?debug=on to the site’s URL, wait for it to load and then press Ctrl-i to bring up a new menu that allows you to customize the experience a bit and leave the predetermined camera path to freely roam across the 3D world.

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