What this means:
ORBX.js, a downloadable HD codec written in JS and WebGL. The advantages are many. On the good-for-the-open-web side: no encumbered-format burden on web browsers, they are just IP-blind runtimes. Technical wins start with the ability to evolve and improve the codec over time, instead of taking ten years to specify and burn it into silicon.
After these come more wins: 25% better compression than H.264 for competitive quality, adaptive bit-rate while streaming, integer and (soon) floating point coding, better color depth, better intra-frame coding, a more parallelizable design — the list goes on.
The GPU cloud has your back. Think of the amazing 3D games that we have on PCs, consoles, and handheld devices thanks to the GPU. Now think of hundreds of GPUs in the cloud, working for you to over-detail, ray/path-trace in realtime, encode video, do arbitrary (GPGPU) computation.
Or consider high-powered tools from Autodesk, Adobe, and others for 3D modeling and rendering:
Native apps from any popular OS, in the GPU cloud and on your browser. Yes, both: this is not just remote desktop tech, or X11 reborn via JS. Many local/remote hybrid computation schemes are at hand today, e.g. a game can do near-field computing in the browser on a beefy client while offloading lower LOD work to the GPU cloud.
OTOY’s CEO Jules Urbach demo’ed an entire Mac OS X desktop running in a cloud VM sandbox, rendering via ORBX.js to Firefox, but also showed a Windows homescreen running on his Mac — and the system tray, start menu, and app icons were all local HTML5/JS (apps were a mix ranging from mostly local to fully remoted, each in its own cloud sandbox).
Valve’s Steam was one such app:
Watermarking, not DRM. This could be huge. OTOY’s GPU cloud approach enables individually watermarking every intra-frame, and according to some of its Hollywood supporters including Ari Emanuel, this may be enough to eliminate the need for DRM.
We shall see; I am hopeful. This kind of per-user watermarking has been prohibitively expensive, but OTOY estimates the cost at pennies per movie with their approach.
Oculus Rift, Lightfield displays, Holodecks, and beyond. OTOY works with Paul Debevec of USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies. This is Tony Stark stuff, coming at us super-fast and soon to be delivered via JS, WebGL, and ORBX.js running in the browser.
I was thrilled to be included in today’s event, hosted at Autodesk‘s fabulous San Francisco offices. I gave a demo of Epic Games Unreal Engine 3 (Unreal Tournament, “Sanctuary” level) running via Emscripten and asm.js at full frame-rate in Firefox Aurora, and spoke about how JS will continue to evolve “low-road” as well as “high-road” APIs and features to exploit parallel hardware.
As Jeff Kowalski, Autodesk’s CTO, pointed out, the benefits go beyond major cost reduction in CGI and similar processing work, to increase collaboration and innovation radically, by relieving creative people from having to sit at big workstations. The GPU cloud means many alternative ideas, camera angles, etc., can be tried without waiting hours for each rendering. Even from the beach, via your 4G-connected tablet. Teams around the world can collaborate closely as timezones permit, across the web.
We will continue to collaborate with OTOY; I’ll post updates on this topic. It’s hot, and moving very quickly. Kudos to OTOY for their brilliant innovations, and especially for porting them to JS and WebGL so quickly!
When we at Mozilla say the Web is the platform, we are not bluffing.
P.S. Always bet on JS!