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Bringing Native Games to the Web is About to get a Whole Lot Easier

GDC 2015 is a major milestone in a long term collaboration between Mozilla and the world’s biggest game engine makers. We set out to bring high performance games to the Web without plugins, and that goal is now being realized. Unity Technologies is including the WebGL export preview as part of their Unity 5 release, available today. Epic Games has added a beta HTML5 exporter as part of their regular binary engine releases. This means plugin-free Web deployment is now in the hands of game developers working with these popular tools. They select the Web as their target platform and, with one click, they can build to it. Now developers can unlock the world’s biggest open distribution platform leveraging two Mozilla-pioneered technologies, asm.js and WebGL.

What has changed?

Browser vendors are moving to reduce their dependency on plugins for content delivery, with Chrome planning to drop support for NPAPI entirely. Developers such as King, Humble Bundle, Game Insider, and Zynga are using Emscripten to bring their C and C++ based games to the Web. Disney has shipped Where’s My Water on Firefox OS, which was ported using the same technology. Emscripten allows developers to cross-compile their native games to asm.js, a subset of JavaScript that can be optimized to run at near native speeds. However, this approach to Web delivery can be challenging to use, and most of these companies have been working with in-house engines to achieve their goals. This has put some of the most advanced Web deployment techniques out of reach of the majority of developers, until now.

The technology is spreading

Browser support for the underlying Web standards is growing. WebGL has now spread to all modern browsers, both desktop and mobile. We are seeing all browsers optimize for asm.js-style code, with Firefox and Internet Explorer committed to advanced optimizations.

“With the ability to reach hundreds of millions of users with just a click, the Web is a fantastic place to publish games,” said Andreas Gal, CTO of Mozilla. “We’ve been working hard at making the platform ready for high performance games to rival what’s possible on other platforms, and the success of our partnerships with top-end engine and game developers shows that the industry is taking notice.”

Handwritten JavaScript games: can you spot the difference?

At GDC, Mozilla will be showcasing a few amazing examples of HTML5 using handwritten JavaScript. The Firefox booth will include a demonstration of a truly ubiquitous product called Tanx, developed by PlayCanvas. It runs on multiple desktop and mobile platforms. It can even be played inside an iOS WebView, launched within Twitter. Gamepad and multiplayer support are also part of the experience. Mozilla will in addition be featuring The Marvelous Miss Take by Wonderstruck and Turbulenz. This title is soon to ship on both Firefox Marketplace and is available on Steam today. For Steam distribution, the HTML5 application is packaged as a native application but you would be hard pressed to know it.

Not done yet

Mozilla is committed to advancing what is possible on the Web. While already capable of running great game experiences, there is plenty of potential still to be unlocked. This year’s booth showcase will include some bleeding edge technologies such as WebGL 2 and WebVR, as well as updated developer tools aimed at game and Web developers alike. These tools will be demonstrated in our recently released 64-bit version of Firefox Developer Edition. Mozilla will also be providing developers access to SIMD and experimental threading support. Developers are invited to start experimenting with these technologies, now available in Firefox Nightly Edition. Visit the booth to learn more about Firefox Marketplace, now available in our Desktop, Android, and Firefox OS offerings as a distribution opportunity for developers.

To learn more about Mozilla’s presence at GDC, read articles from the developers on the latest topics, or learn how to get involved, visit games.mozilla.org or come see us at South Hall Booth #2110 till March 6th. For press inquiries please email press@mozilla.com.

Feed Source: The Mozilla Blog
Article Source: Bringing Native Games to the Web is About to get a Whole Lot Easier

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