Developing and Designing a 3D web site is unlike any normal process for web design. To make a site stand out and run well, it takes a ton of time and attention to detail.
To make the 3D part of the site efficient and fast loading, Joel Reinke constructed all the elements of the site from standard 3D objects (like cubes, cylinders, planes, etc.) and then manipulated those objects using mathematics to form more original shapes.
The alternative to this is to use a 3D modeling program to create the complex 3D shapes and then export that to a data file that has all the points of the 3D object and the associated graphics files.
While this works, the files created for these 3D objects are very large in comparison to using standard 3D objects and morphing them with math (basically free in terms of memory). The load time on a website using 3D models becomes quite problematic*. This alternative, used with Cynderellie’s Closet, was time-consuming to program, but the results are well worth it because every visitor of the site experiences a much shorter load time (if any depending on your connection speed) than if it used several 3D models.
* about load time being problematic with 3D Models: This would not be an issue with a fast connection, but this becomes an issue for mobile devices with less than perfect signals and computer land connections at DSL speeds or worse.
Part of the extra load time comes from the libraries Papervision3D has to pull in to utilize 3D Models. DAE files are created and loaded in as well. The texture files can be considered a wash because either way you would have to load them. But any improvement to the executable SWF file in terms of smaller size means the site will load faster. If designed correctly, the texture files loading in can be sequenced in terms of priority which can make the impression of quick-loading 3D sites even better.
About WordPress and Integrating Flash
Another great thing about this site is that it uses WordPress to give the client with a way to update content. The 3D portion of the site is not user-editable (for obvious reasons). However, all the standard content pages can be edited. Integrating Flash into WordPress is not particularly difficult, it would be like adding Flash to a standard HTML page, but there really is no WordPress Plugins that would be able to integrate this type of Flash Content in the site.
About Flash and Search Engine Optimization
Having Flash on a web page doesn’t really help your Search Engine Optimization because the search engines don’t really index the info on the Flash Portion of the site. Many believe the Search Engines can see the info in a Flash app, but it doesn’t get any favorable treatment if it does.
For these reasons its important not to make a whole website a Flash only site. It just won’t reflect your activity either. That’s why even though the Flash part of this site is like the “Center-piece”, it is only part of the site and many other pages exist. When someone navigates the site, every page is still an actual HTML web page. Therefore, visitor activity can still be tracked and each page can still have SEO performed on it.
So even though the Flash part of the site isn’t natively helping SEO, because it creates a better user experience and draws more traffic to the site, it helps the site’s total online presence in many ways.