aframe Asset Management System How It Works Internally


Every element in A-Frame inherits from <a-node>, the AFRAME.ANode prototype. ANode controls load and initialization order. For an element to initialize (whether it be <a-assets>, <a-asset-item>, <a-scene>, or <a-entity>), its children must have already initialized. Nodes initialize bottom up.

<a-assets> is an ANode, and it waits for 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 we have defined <a-assets>.

<a-asset-item> uses THREE.FileLoader to fetch files. three.js stores the returned data in THREE.Cache. Every three.js loader inherits from THREE.FileLoader, whether they are a ColladaLoader, OBJLoader, ImageLoader, etc. And they all have access and are aware of the central THREE.Cache. If A-Frame already fetched a file, A-Frame won't try to fetch it again.

Thus, since we block entity initialization on assets, by the time entities load, all assets will have been already fetched. As long as we define <a-asset-item>s, and the entity is fetching files using some form THREE.FileLoader, then caching will automatically work.

Accessing the FileLoader and Cache

To access the three.js FileLoader if we want to listen more closely:


To access the cache that stores XHR responses: