Project: Suisse Mania

I was part of making the Suisse Mania project, making a WebGL site for Migros. It’s an experience for all ages about Switzerland and it features 54 attractions around the country.

The app had three versions, a 3D, a lightweight 3D, and a 2D fallback for older devices/browsers. The 2D and the on-top UI was made by Agigen, another techy company here in Stockholm.

The role I had in this project was to do most of the 3D coding. We used Goo Create (of course), and I had a bunch of graphics guys from all of the involved companies to help me do the scene beautiful. Since the UI layer of the app had all the state, it made development of the 3D app quite simple.

  • A few custom shaders, including highlighting, grayscale, particles, icons, etc.
  • Sounds for each monument, including tweaking the distance model equations.
  • Deterministic particle system – that I developed specifically for this project to reduce GPU/CPU communication.

Another thing that I didn’t make but is still very cool is the splatmap shader for the terrain. It uses different channels in a “splatmap” texture to blend other textures in a layered manner. The result is higher quality texturing. The alternative is rendering a very high res texture for the whole terrain, but that would not work on all devices.

Without splatmap shader:

Without splatmap shader.

With splatmap shader:

With splatmap shader

Distance models for sound are used to lower the volume of a sound as its distance from the listener moves from it. I discovered that one of the models in the Audio API, the linear model, was broken in most browsers. But the inverse model worked well enough. The problem was to find good parameters to make sounds die out in the distance but around 100% volume when the camera is near the sound source. I used a graph calculator to get the right parameters for both linear, inverse, and exponential models.

WebAudio API distance models

I’m very happy with the result we got. It was hard work, misunderstandings, mistakes and all that, but it was worth it. I met a lot of nice people and had a really good time working with the Goo and the Agigen team.

Suisse Mania fountain

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