It can be easy to get lost in fractals – those never-ending complex patterns that loop over and over again – and it's even easier to get totally immersed into one with a VR headset on.
Minecraft founder Markus "Notch" Persson released what looks like a hobby project that involves virtual reality, fractals and an Internet browser. It's very trippy especially in 3D.
Notch, as he's known online, also had a trippy love-hate relationship with the Oculus Rift, but now seems to have taken a liking to the platform. Initially, the Minecraft creator was an early supporter of Oculus. When Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion, Notch withdrew his support.
Eventually (and apparently even more so now), Notch got over the deal. It's ironic considering Notch eventually sold out too when he sold Mojang, the studio behind Minecraft, to Microsoft for $2.5 billion.
He's been working on small development projects since the sale. When he's not tweeting about working "without actually finishing anything," Notch does find ways to finish stuff, and his Unmandelboxing is proof of that.
Weighing at a light 3.5 KB, the project takes viewers on a frantic fractal virtual reality journey. It's best viewed using an Oculus Rift headset on a browser supporting WebVR (available only on experimental builds of Firefox and Chrome), but regular versions of Chrome and other browsers can also display the visuals, albeit in a 2D perspective.
Those with the appropriate gear may or may not get it to work consistently. Notch says it works for him using the Rift DK2 on a Firefox Nightly build. Notch's followers shouldn't expect more to come out of this project however, as Notch is notorious for picking up things and dropping them just as quickly.
Ultimately, the main goal of the project was achieved: to produce a program taking advantage of virtual reality that is not only Web-based but also light enough to run on regular browsers. The fractals themselves run from a simple enough set of mathematical rules that also allow Notch's project to remain incredibly small in size.
Photo: Linus Bohman | Flickr