The Hobbit Google Chrome Experiment

Middle-earth Won't Get Any More Real Than This

From the elvish oasis of Rivendell to the abandoned kingdom of Erebor, director Peter Jackson spared no expense in re-creating J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical world of lush greenery, terrifying forest lands, and creatures big and small. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (out Dec. 13!), the trifecta of stunning backdrops, flawless costumes, and sweeping music comes together seamlessly on the big screen (and in eye-popping 3D).

Now imagine the difficulty in developing that same universe for small screens. A Journey to Middle-earth is a Google Chrome experiment that took the challenge head-on. The web interactive feature for computers, phones, and tablets allows Hobbit fans to see the dwarves' journey in incredible detail.

Explore the Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell, Dol Guldur, Thranduil's Hall, Lake-Town, and Erebor in full-screen. You'll definitely want to pop on some over-ear headphones and experience the Chrome Experiment's immersive soundtrack. The narration provided in each area will provide background from Tolkien's novel and the first Peter Jackson-directed Hobbit film. Once you finish swiping through each area, you'll get a chance to play an interactive game. Try your hand at archery in Lake Town or avoid the wrath of Smaug by delivering only the cleverest response.

Creating the web-based multimedia was no small feat. Engineers used WebGL and Web Audio to produce the interactive's rich detail and optimize javascript performance. Adapting the experience for all screens was another challenge entirely. The team provided a case study of how they approached the front-end development for the site.

As fans of both Tolkien and Sherlock, we are very, very excited to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug again and again. The film, of course, stars our two favorites: Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Benedict Cumberbatch as the lethal Smaug. The banter between the two of them in the film is priceless.

After watching the film, dive into the Hobbit Chrome Experience at middle-earth.thehobbit.com, then let us know which section of the dwarves' adventure you'd like to participate in most.

Latest