Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
One of the best things about Chrome Experiments is that the site encourages learning alongside discovery, so once you’ve played with a project there’s a good chance you’ll be able to learn a bit about how it’s done – and in some cases give it a go yourself.
There are hundreds of toys to play with on the Chrome Experiments website and to get you started, here are a few of the best.
As this is a Chrome-focused website run by Google, all of the experiments are meant to work in their Chrome browser. This means you should have little trouble running any of them if you download or update to the latest stable version of Chrome, though other modern browsers should work too.
Just don’t go trying to do any of this on IE6, okay?
Jaume’s site is full of other interesting experiments involving HTML5, as well as a ton of tutorials to help you get started making your own. If you’d like to know how he made these clouds then you can read all about it here.
More fun than functional, this WebGL-powered lathe from Einar Öberg uses the space bar and mouse pointer to recreate the art of turning wood, metal and stone by hand. Einar built the demo so show off a simple procedural shader, but he also added a few sounds for authenticity.
While not a complete tutorial, you can learn a little more about how it was done on the author’s blog.
An experiment involving particle effects and the WebGL engine, Edouard Coulon has created something truly beautiful you can manipulate with your mouse and spacebar. Click to attract the particles to the centre of the screen then hit the spacebar to watch them shoot outwards again!
There’s no tutorial for this one unfortunately, though I’d recommend trying the one million particles mode if your computer can handle it. Add a projector and a dark room for endless fun!
Made by AlteredQualia who also authored the awesome ro.me interactive film (which is also been featured on Chrome Experiments), WebGL cars is a 3D toy that allows you to control a Bugatti Veyron and Lamborghini Gallardo from multiple camera angles.
One thing that’s particularly cool about this is the demonstration of motion blur, depth of field and different lighting conditions. Ok, and the kid in me loves playing with toy cars – what can I say?
This is one of those reaction games where the aim is to move the target with your mouse (or in this case keyboard too) in a bid to avoid oncoming obstacles – except it’s better than the rest because this one involves an X-Wing and what looks like the trench run from Star Wars.
The author who goes by the name OutsideOfSociety has a lot more WebGL experiments going on on his website.
A fully functional e-commerce front-end, My Robot Nation harnesses the power of WebGL to allow you to design, paint and customise your very own toy robot before having it shipped out to you for a set price.
Ok, so you don’t have to buy the robot to get a kick out of it – but if you spend as long as I did trying to make something that vaguely resembles a Robobrain from the Fallout series then you’ll wish you had. Don’t forget to check out everyone else’s creations too!
Another “avoid the obstacles with your mouse” type game, except this one is a sequel to the the original FastKat by Omiod, a fairly popular HTML5 game you might have already played. The sequel is faster, harder and very addictive indeed.
Just don’t start playing it when you’ve got work to do…
The final experiment featured here (of hundreds, it was tough choosing just 8) is rather special as it allows you to manipulate WebGL objects using code on-the-fly. As well as a set of demos to gawp at and play with, there are a series of tutorials to help you learn some WebGL.
I’m not a coder (I’m terrible at remembering words let alone functions) but even I found it engaging and slightly empowering to manipulate and fiddle around with WebGL with a great tutorial to hold my hand. If you’re interested in giving this sort of thing a go but have no idea how to do it then this is a great place to start.
The Chrome Experiments website is merely a platform for artists and coders to submit their creations to, but it serves a great purpose – to highlight talent and help teach others of the possibilities of new web technologies. There are even Chrome Experiments that work on your mobile!