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Show HN: Browse Reddit in 3D (3dforreddit.com)
720 points by masterspy7 on Sept 10, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 162 comments

How to use it Desktop: Click to start, WASD and mouse to move

Mobile: Dragging on left half of screen is move, right have is look

Append any subreddit to the url to switch subreddits

Tech stack - Babylon.js for the 3d rendering engine

- Google Cloud Function which queries Reddit Api and then transforms the data depending on the data type

- For images: Transform and serve through https://images.weserv.nl

- For videos (try /r/gifs, experimental) gets a url which can be played through a <video> tag, which is later copied frame by frame to a texture

- For websites, use puppeteer to take a screenshot

- For multiplayer (you can see other people in the same subreddit as you) https://colyseus.io/ and App Engine Flexible

- For chat, Firestore

Also, apologies for only having one avatar option! I wanted to add different genders, characters etc but didn't have time for the MVP!

Discord for more discussion: https://discord.gg/nrxQnT

I dig the museum layout style.

It really popped on r/gonewild

Uh, yeah, so, for anyone who didn't realise: r/gonewild is very much NSFW. I have just been educated on this point myself.

Do you support VR in any way? Can I use this in my Oculus Quest browser?

Firefox Reality works on Oculus Quest, it's worth a try.


I just added WebVR support! You can enable it by clicking on the headset icon in the bottom right

Second that!

Well done, adding in some nice lighting from three.js or glslsandbox.com style would awesome.

Art Gallery:


Earth Natural Art Gallery


This is very nice?

Can it be arrange as artworks on the wall in a long hallway? Or in a maze?

Please share your thought process, how you get idea to build something like this?

Not trying to flame the guy since he obviously put in a lot of work on his own, but the original idea is from a lainchan thread [1] for the 3d anonymous imageboard 3dchan [2]. I'm only assuming they're not the same person since this project is not on the 3dchan owner's github [3]. Again, the two are quite clearly different, and parallel creativity does exist in the realm of possibility, but my personal guess is he used the same concept to build something similar.

[1] https://lainchan.org/%CE%A9/res/17698.html

[2] https://3dchan.net/dungeon/

[3] https://github.com/AlexKrunch/AnonIB-3D

There's no "original idea" here. It's an obvious idea I presumed most people have had. At least I have and I haven't seen any of these before so I don't see why he couldn't have made this independently of 3dchan.

See also JanusVR for an even older incarnation of this idea (https://janusvr.com/).

To go back further, there's the old classic psDooM which lets you hunt down and kill processes on your server: http://psdoom.sourceforge.net/

Same question here - a long time ago when I first became a PO it was because I told my boss about an idea I'd had where our users could walk around our site - a little like this (this was a site aimed at kids). But this was 15 years ago and likely wouldn't have been half as cool! They asked me to rebuild the site anyway - though I was far far more traditional in my delivery in the end.

His implementation may be new but the idea of interfacing with content in a 3D manner isn't. I remember trying out a 3D desktop program around 2003 and if I recall correctly, it came with a game demo disc.

Is there a way to invert (or even just disable) the y-axis?

Just spin your mouse around 180 degrees

I would love to invert the y-axis, too.

Same. I guess we're in some kind of weird minority...

Played more flying games than FPS ones growing up? ;-)

I played a fair bit of both, but inverted always just felt more natural to me. I swear early FPS games had it that way by default, but maybe I'm mis-remembering! Definitely hard for me to grok how people prefer the 'normal' way though.

How do you make it stop so you can move your mouse to other tabs/parts of the browser?

Press the Escape key on your keyboard to regain mouse control

On Desktop, Ctrl-l works for focussing on the "location" input, too.

I spent like a full minute trying to figure this out before remembering I could just physically touch those other parts/tabs of the browser.

Pretty cool! My vision keeps shifting to the left though if I don't actively counter-rotate to the right. It makes it a bit hard to keep looking at the same object.

Updated discord link, first one expired: https://discord.gg/sZrw5hT

I love it! Thanks for sharing under-the-hood stuff!

Can't get it to work on Firefox on Android.

Works for me on FF 68.1 on Android. /r/gifs doesn't though

Do you filter NSFW stuff by default?

Right now it just loads whatever the subreddit returns. I'm working on adding an option for that. If you want to browse a SFW one you can just pick a subreddit you know is SFW:


Why would you want that?

I clicked on the link at work and had an embarrassing moment as sexy Game of Thrones cosplay popped up for my boss.

Love this. Was much better than I expected since you also showed other users, what they were looking at, and let us have personalities like looking at each other and nodding yes/no which kept cracking me up.

A few people were at the Game of Thrones Cosplay submission (an image of two cute women in costumes) looking at each other and nodding. Some people formed a conga line.

It's easy to imagine stopping this project when you have the basic rendering + WASD working, but the multiplayer aspect was simple and fun.

the multiplayer aspect was pretty neat. another way of engaging with people

Amazing! I might just use this as my go-to reddit app moving forward...

A couple suggestions: any chance movement could be a bit faster? I'd rather run through the museum if given the chance, just as I can scroll quickly through reddit. Maybe I'm just too used to playing CSGO and expect my character to move a bit faster

I kinda wish it included some slight head bobbing to, but I guess that's a matter of preference.

I tried to jump...

I can't be the only one who unnecesarily jumps around in every game unless it's penalized by some sort of stamina system.

As if penalties would stop me. Stamina recovers, but a missed jump is a missed jump!

I like the casual nature of walking through a museum, but I agree with having a faster option. Possibly allow sprinting with shift key or as an alternative allowing double tapping of the wasd keys to run.

Just added Shift to sprint, enjoy!

I made a similar (single-player) version a bunch of years ago when Mozilla first released WebVR or whatever they called it back then! https://github.com/mrspeaker/InternetExplorer - The controls were weird (they were ok in VR): wsad + arrows, and "enter" loaded any linked subreddits.

Surprisingly it seems like it still works (http://mrspeaker.github.io/InternetExplorer/ - though it seems that only certain image formats are loading now)

That is good fun. What's interesting is the amount of thought I'm willing to give something that's virtually hanging on a wall over an onscreen sentence in a list.

On a different note, one of the images from a Bloomberg post was simply showing "We've detected unusual activity from your computer network" and the usual reCaptcha "I'm not a robot" box.

Please join me in condemning such hostile behaviour of web sites. Of course it's 'unusual activity', it's unusually creative, and it's what the Internet used to be about.

Thanks, I hate it?

Seriously, great job, supremely disorienting - it almost felt like the Internet again.

Watch out, eventually every visit to Reddit on mobile will have half the screen taken up with:

  See this post in:
    Reddit 3d  [   OPEN   ]
    Reddit App [   OPEN   ]
    Safari     [ CONTINUE ]

Yep, still better than the New Reddit. Great job!

Still links to the new Reddit design when visiting links from Reddit 3D, unfortunately.

If yours logged in, under settings there’s an option to select the old layout.

If I had to choose between using this or the new reddit UI I'd choose this

Also, I could walk through the walls of the "museum", are there no clipping options?

I actually followed the "rules" of the walls myself, until my forward key got stuck and I started phasing through things. I never even thought to check the clipping.

It's definitely possible, I just didn't have time to implement clipping properly haha.

Clipping first, then it just needs NPC trolls that follow you everywhere spewing the actual comments from each thing you're in close proximity too - then you'll have a pretty neat game

Rendering quality would be greatly improved by generating mipmaps for your rendered text [1]. It's unclear how you're rendering text in Babylon, but you might have to use a slightly different approach to improve quality.

[1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/WebGLRender...

This is brilliant!

Really make yourself feel at home:


r/Art and related subreddits really lend themselves to this. As the documenting of "related subreddits" is not standardized, reddit.com/dev/api has no way of listing them. Some write a /wiki/related page, most have it in the sidebar. Would make for an opportunity to add a webring-like "next" button.


A favorite of mine that seems very well suited.

Dear devs, please `return false` from your keypress handlers (or preventDefault, stopPropagation, any of them!)

Otherwise my browser doesn't know you do something important with them, and uses keyboard for its own navigation and shortcuts, which fucks up your page.

This is glorious. It's a less good 'user experience' than browsing reddit itself, but it's also better in every way.

Some subreddits work really well with this ambiance. E.g., https://3dforreddit.com/r/villageporn :).

Love it. I propose a 'fire' keybinding to downvote, like Doom process management.

This is insane! You could kind of see Epic ripping this off and browsing a Reddit museum with your Fortnite character. It reminds me of Playstation Home too.. but the fact it's so easy to jump in really alters how this could work.

Amazing, this is clearly a glimpse into a future of internet content being less like a document and more like a virtual world.

Suggestion: the enter key should focus the chat box (like a FPS game) so you don't have to hit escape then click on it.

You mean the future as imagined by someone from 1995?

I think it's possible that vision is closer to the real future than that sounds at face value. I also initially thought of lawnmower man era breathless predictions for VRML and mockups of the future 3D internet. But this is actually a surprisingly compelling experience. Is it wrong I kind of like that almost everything from the browsing experience of reddit is removed except the titles and the linked content? It's got a pleasing simplicity and the tangible nature of making the internet a physical place is appealing to my primitive brain somehow. Definitely not my new way to browse the web, but surprisingly charming.

Maybe we can get a modern updated VRML spec going.

We definitely should, although probably from a completely different perspective than ‘94: High end phones can capture in 3D, so we should be able to store and view 3D images properly.

I’m starting with the idea of PNGs where the channels represent RGBZ instead of RGBA, but obviously we need more than 8 bits of depth information, and we are starting to get and care about high dynamic range for RGB data as well… would 16R:16G:16B:16Z work?

There’s also the point that depth information will have sharp boundaries, and it will probably be much worse for RGB information to blur over such a boundary as compared with the equivalent parts of a flat JPEG.

Yeah I remember trying a demo that was literally trying to do this, just on our Mac Performa 5200 over a 14.4 modem (you had to pre-download the "map"). Even the design is eerily similar.

If this is what internet content is going to be like in the future I'm not looking forward to the future.

The dream of the [late] 90's is alive?

Yeah, looks like project looking glass for the desktop ca. forever ago. The future is here?

Great idea and the implementation is pretty good for v1. The v2 can index reddit and render that index as a fancy 3d structure that gives a 10,000 feet view on what's going on in reddit: relationship between subreddits, topics, comments, users. Perhaps this structure can look like a forest where heavy subreddits look like big branchy trees and users look like bees adding comments. Big plus if this is rendered in real time, at least with 1 fps. It's not entirely impossible that this idea may be good enough for a little startup (afaik, YC offers 150k for 7% if the idea seems worth exploring).

Congrats on shipping it! It worked nicely on my first try. I think this might be the feature for visualizing data, when VR/AR become mainstream.

Imagine this but with stylized graphics that respond to real-time data: you could see a popular post like some sort of concert with tons of people (the website visitors). Every comment made on the post can be also read from them in real time.

It's a way I wanted to browse the web for a long time.

It looks neat, but I can't use it because it keeps looking up as if I were moving my mouse (I'm not). Running it on Firefox 69 on Linux.

I seem to have the same problem.

(Firefox 69 w/ sway)

Neat stuff! Why is it always yawing to the left? Sometimes I can get it to stop but as soon as I move the mouse again it continues to spin.

I'm experiencing a similar bug. I think it's particular to the Linux build of Firefox, because I experience the same bug in krunker.io, but nowhere else.

It was also on Linux+Firefox

You really should not use this old-school QuickTime VR reverse-drag scrolling on a mobile device. That is not what anyone who's used a touch device in the last ten years expects.

When someone drags on a touch device, they expect to be dragging the thing they see. You touch something on the screen, move it around, and that thing follows your touch. Whatever you touched, it follows your finger around.

This site does just the opposite. When you drag on the screen, things move in the opposite direction. That's how QuickTime VR worked, but no one who is used to modern touch devices will be able to use this without being confused.

Or desktop devices for that matter. There is a simple solution: just study how Google Street view works on both mobile and desktop devices, and do that.

This could be a great site, and I would love to try it again if this one fundamental bit of navigation is fixed.

As soon as I move the mouse, it makes me "look at the ceiling" and I can't get out of there :(

Nice. D (right) doesn't seem to work for me though. Also - are the black plaques meant to show anything?

Sorry about that! I haven't tested across all browsers yet. It should look like this though:


What inspired your decision to make the line of sight of other users visible?

lmao this is pretty funny. It would be cool if it was a sort of infinite hallway that kept loading...

One step closer to the Metaverse, I suppose


Fantastic! Simple concept, but the effect is amazing. I felt like I was in a museum, except I was browsing reddit. This gives me a lot of really fun ideas regarding the future of the internet! I keep wondering where VR is going to go!

This is glorious, I just found a friend and we nodded at each other for a good while. Then I walked through the next best wall and lured others out, since they can still see the beam indicating the direction of my view.

Thanks for this!

It should be called 3ddit.com

I was thinking of r3ddit but 3ddit is good too.

r3ddit is a nice one too, good catch!


This is a really neat concept! I love how you can see other people and their literal sightlines.

Some people have said that they wish movement was faster; I completely agree with that.

I also wish that more of the interface were integrated into the "museum" -- it would be nice to be able to go to other subreddits from within the museum itself rather than having to leave and go to the address bar.

I'd also like to be able to see comments somehow, since that's 80% of the experience of reddit for me!

The movement speed is definitely a dealbreaker though.

I think I read a John Grisham book that had something like this in it.... they had to find and destroy a file or something, but this is exactly how I pictured it.

There used to be 3d filebrowsers which were fun to use for about half an hour. http://nooface.net/3dui.shtml


When I was a kid and my Uncle described Amazon as a 'new virtual bookstore,' this is almost exactly what I pictured. Very cool.

I remember VRML being a thing and me wanting it be something usable :) Thanks for making this.

Feature request: I'd like to run holding shift

aframe.io is sort of a modern and more usable take on the VRML idea.

Somebody even added a VRML loader as a functioning April Fool's joke.


Shift to sprint is done!

Great job! Thank you for creating this and sharing this.

I can see people creating their own subreddit just for their own mini virtual exhibits.

Cool... this reminds me of what "cyberspace" was supposed to be in the fever-dreams of cyberpunk fiction.

this is an absolute gem to experience. my question: do you shard it off to different servers or some such thing? i only ask because trying to connect on both my mobile and my laptop, i can't seem to ever end up in the same apparent room as myself. but that's no but deal, just a minor curiosity.

Yes, I have multiple servers running and each room is limited to 12 players, so it's likely that each device is connecting to a different room.

Is it just me or do all other avatars freeze in place after a few minutes?

Loving this honestly, although I must say I saw another comment about visiting /r/gonewild. I must have been living under a rock because I did not know it was THAT kind of subreddit. Assumed it was hiking photographs.

Browsing https://3dforreddit.com/r/earthporn in this really feels like going to an art gallery

How about when you visit certain subreddits it turns into a game of Doom?

I'm not into games at all, but this really captures my imagination. I can imagine enjoying interacting with the web this way. Maybe even coding this way if possible. Thanks!

Needs to add the option to grab a gun and start shooting down ads.

Well that is just neat. Took a little time to adjust to movement on mobile but super fun when you get the hang of it. Really smooth. Thank's for sharing.

The movement on a touch screen is unintuitive. Dragging the screen moves it in the direction opposite to what you expect generally, when you scroll.

Great job, nonetheless

Now do Hacker News ;)

It reminds me of the Dk “eye whiteness” tapes my parents played for us as kids (except with slightly less insightful content.)

The multiplayer thing is awesome!!

This is rad! Is there an existing way to show adult content? Looks like the backend needs to click "I'm over 18" button.

Tip: after a few minutes of wondering why it didn't work, make sure Caps Lock isn't on or it won't register WASD

Despite being a 3d app, it doesn't make my laptop fans spinning fast like the current js-heavy Reddit web app. Kudos :)

This is like one of those mirror funhouses that you think will be fun, then turns into a nightmare after about 8 minutes.

Where are the couches, what about more rooms?

allows Apple Watch Series 5 to offer all-day 18-hour battery life

How is 18 hours considered "all day"!?!?

I retired my previous fitness watch (Polar M600) when its battery life got that bad, and moved to a Garmin 645M with almost a week of battery life. Being able to to travel on business without worrying about carrying (and loosing) the charger is very nice. The watch is "always on", does notifications, music, etc.

Wow, what a typo. I wish i could delete it..

This is amazing! It makes Reddit much more fun, especially with the other random people floating around.

Neat, although Youtube thumbs are showing the prestitial ads instead, which is a little weird.

I've been thinking about building something like this for ages now. Very well done.

PLEASE someone (masterspy7 ?) make this into a proper VR app!

I'd love to do this in my VR headset.

I just added WebVR support! You can enable it by clicking on the headset icon in the bottom right

Actually much more interesting than i thought it would be. Great effort! :)

It's the UI from the film Hackers that we've all been waiting for.

This is surprisingly fun.

Disappointed. This would work better as a first person shooter.

Adding simple emoji signalling for avatars would be hilarious.

Good work man. What technology stack did you build this with?

May I suggest . . .


(I know, I know. But it is kind of funny to jump from HN to a museum of HN comments in 3D)

Pretty neet! I recall an imageboard with a similar design.

I was surprised how usable it was on my iPhone, great job!

Doesn't work in Firefox. Will not open Chromium.

Works for me in Firefox Quantum 69.0 on macOS.

I am not seeing any pictures, using Firefox 60

I want music similar to Doom to go with this!

Impressive and terrible at the same time.

This is pretty cool/fun! Thanks!

great, but what the site needs is mostly a HN-esque text interface

So many possibilities!

This doesn't work at all for me in Safari tech preview on Mac, just has weird blue background and some white lines. Normal safari seems to load a visual, but I can't seem to do anything with it. TL;DR- I don't get it, but thanks for sharing.

It's hilariously broken on Safari Technology Preview, but I think that's because it's using WebGL calls that Safari doesn't support correctly yet.

Awww . I miss VRML

How do you jump?

Would you jump in a real museum?

real nice; I love how we see other people.

Pretty cool!

Very cool!


Now do VR!


I've been on the internet since 1994. I hate to tell you this but in 25 years it hasn't gotten any better- just louder.

If you ask me, the root cause is simple: the internet is merely a reflection of our society. And we are awful, generally speaking.

Damn, it doesn't seem to support gifs.

Edit: No, it does, just not links to other areas of the site which contain gifs.

Which place in it was this? I mean, there's just so many, would be good to know so I can avoid it.

is this sort of brain-dead Redditor "humor" what HackerNews has devolved to? At the risk of making a unsubstantive comment myself, I sometimes wish HackerNews remained a smaller discussion forum, mainstream online visibility seems to inevitably attract flies.

> is this sort of brain-dead Redditor "humor" what HackerNews has devolved to?

You should consider reviewing the site guidelines.

"Please don't submit comments saying that HN is turning into Reddit. It's a semi-noob illusion, as old as the hills."


No thanks. I prefer the old Reddit, and by old Reddit, I actually mean the OLD reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/redesign/

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