Asset Management System
Note: This documentation is for the old 0.3.0 version of A-Frame. Check out the documentation for the current 0.7.0 version
A-Frame has an asset management system that allows us to place all of our assets in one place and to preload and cache assets for better performance.
Games and rich 3D experiences traditionally preload many of their assets, such as models or textures, before rendering their scenes. This makes sure that assets aren’t missing visually, and this is beneficial for performance to ensure scenes don’t try to fetch assets while rendering.
Assets are placed within
<a-assets> is placed within
<a-scene>. Assets include:
<a-asset-item>- Miscellaneous assets such as 3D models and materials
<audio>- Sound files
<img>- Image textures
<video>- Video textures
The scene and all entities will block (i.e., the scene won’t render) until all of these types of assets are fetched (or error out) before playing.
We can define all of our assets in
<a-assets> and point to those assets from
our entities using selectors:
The scene and all of its entities will wait for all of the assets (up until the timeout) before initializing and rendering.
Since assets are fetched using XHRs, browser security requires assets be served with cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) headers if it is hosted on a different domain. Otherwise, we’d have to host assets on the same origin as the scene.
For some options, all resources hosted on GitHub Pages are served with CORS headers. We recommend GitHub Pages as a simple deployment platform. Or you could also upload assets using the A-Frame + Uploadcare Uploader, a service that serves files with CORS headers set.
Given that CORS headers are set,
<a-assets> will automatically set
crossorigin attributes on media elements (e.g.,
<video>) if it detects the resource is on a different domain.
Audio and video assets will only block the scene if
autoplay is set or if
We can set a timeout that when reached, the scene will begin rendering and
entities will begin initializing regardless of whether all the assets have
loaded. The default timeout is 3 seconds. To set a different timeout, we just
pass in the number of milliseconds to the
If some assets are taking a long time to load, we may want to set an appropriate timeout such that the user isn’t waiting all day in case their network is slow.
<a-asset-item> are nodes in A-Frame, they will emit
loaded event when they say they have finished loading.
|loaded||All assets were loaded, or assets timed out.|
|timeout||Assets timed out.|
|loaded||Asset pointed to by
Images are a standard DOM element so we can listen to the standard DOM events.
|load||Image was loaded.|
Audio and video assets are
HTMLMediaElements. The browser triggers
particular events on these elements; noted here for convenience:
|error||There was an error loading the asset.|
A-Frame uses these progress events, comparing how much time was buffered with the duration of the asset, in order to detect when the asset has been loaded.
Every element in A-Frame inherits from
ANode controls load and initialization order. For an element to
initialize (whether it is
<a-entity>), all of its children must have already initialized. Nodes
initialize bottom up.
<a-assets> is an
ANode, and it waits for all of its children to load before
it loads. And since
<a-assets> is a child of
<a-scene>, the scene
effectively must wait for all assets to load. We also added extra load logic to
<a-entity> such that they explicitly wait for
<a-assets> to load if it is
THREE.XHRLoader to fetch files. The data returned is
THREE.Cache. Every three.js loader inherits from
whether they are a
ImageLoader, etc. And they
all have access and are aware of the central
THREE.Cache. If a file has
already been fetched, it won’t be fetched again.
Thus, since we block entity initialization on assets, by the time entities
load, all assets will have been already fetched. As long as
are defined, and the entity is fetching files using some form
THREE.XHRLoader, then caching will automatically work.