Exploring a Mandelbox with WebGL

WebGL Mandelbox Explorer

Note: This demo requires a WebGL capable browser. Installation instructions can be found at Learning WebGL or the WebGL Wiki.

Update 03/11/10: The demo has been upgraded with the latest WebGL API changes and now works in FF 4.0b6.

This weekend I put the finishing touches on a WebGL Mandelbox explorer I’ve been tinkering with for the past week or so. If you’re interested in the mathematics, Tom Lowes who wrote the Mandelbox formula does a good job explaining it in detail on his site. I’ve been captivated with the pattern ever since watching Krzysztof Marczak’s amazing Mandelbox trip on YouTube (a must-see).

Traversing a 3D Mandelbox in real-time is intensive on any platform, but WebGL does a fairly good job thanks to the GPU. I still need to lower the fractal iterations upon interaction, but that was expected. Rrrola was nice enough to post some source for his real-time explorer, which I ported to this version. I’ll add my own refinements over time as I get more comfortable with the formula.

There is plenty of room for refinement, but basic mouse and keyboard movement controls make exploration fairly simple. Things like camera viewing angles will be patched in over time.

This will be an evolving project. If you stumble upon any bugs or have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.