May 13th, 2011
Some of the most compelling experiences on the web come when inspirations of old are brought to life with modern technologies. Last August, “The Wilderness Downtown” brought the wistful feeling of nostalgia to the browser as you run down the streets where you used to live in an HTML5 music experience based on the Arcade Fire song “We Used to Wait.”
“3 Dreams of Black” is our newest music experience for the web browser, written and directed by Chris Milk and developed with a few folks here at Google. The song, “Black,” comes off the album ROME, presented by Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, featuring Jack White and Norah Jones on vocals and soon to be released on the record label Parlophone/EMI. ROME is inspired by Italian soundtracks from the 1960s and the classic Italian Western genre. In fact, the album was recorded with the original orchestra from Italian director Sergio Leone’s westerns (remember The Good, The Bad & The Ugly?).
“3 Dreams of Black” is a visual voyage through three dream worlds, told through rich 2D drawings and animations that are interspersed with interactive 3D sequences. At various points in this web experience, you can take control with your computer’s mouse and guide your journey through the unfolding narrative. You can even contribute to the dream by creating your own relics using a 3D model creator. Some of the best user creations will be integrated into the experience and become a part of others’ “3 Dreams” exploration.
In “3 Dreams in Black”, the browser is transformed into a theater for these lucid virtual dreams through WebGL, a new technology which brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. With WebGL in modern browsers like Google Chrome, you can interact with 3D experiences with no need for additional software. For curious web developers out there, we’ve made all the code completely open and available so that you can dig in, have a look around and try it out for yourself.
Because “3 Dreams in Black” is an experiment built with the latest web technologies, it requires a browser that supports WebGL like Chrome, and Windows Vista / Mac OS X 10.6 or above to help ensure that your computer has up-to-date graphics drivers. For those of you who may have hardware constraints, we’ve put together a short video that we hope will provide a glimpse into this unique experience. To explore these dreamscapes, visit www.ro.me.
Posted by Aaron Koblin, Google Data Arts Team