running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

HTML 5 and Quake II

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Both the Apple iPad and iPhone don't support Flash, but this hasn't affected their sales.

As for developling animation and interactive content, HTML 5 is heralded as the alternative to Flash. It allows similar functionality directly in a compatible browser without a plug-in. As I posted back in March, simple games and complex applications have already been written in HTML 5.

But HTML 5 can also support video without any plugin, and just recently, Google announced that its engineers had managed to port the seminal 3D shoot-em up Quake II, allowing it to run directly in a browser. In effect, this is the proof we need that HTML 5 is going to revolutionise browser content. And here it is:

First the technicalities.
The version in question has been ported from a Java port of Quake 2 that already existed called Jake2. The team used Google Web Toolkit, the Canvas API, WebGL, and WebSockets to recreate the game in its HTML 5 form. The results allow versions to run at 60fps on a Linux laptop, 45fps on a Mac Pro, 30fps on a Windows PC, and 25fps on a Macbook Pro.

Now the fun.
Not only does the game run well in a compatible browser (Chrome or Safari), but sharing a game is as simple as sending someone a URL.

If you would like to try Quake 2 in your browser the code can be downloaded from Google Code.

What Does This Mean?
It means that a full 3D game can run directly in a browser at a very good frame rate - something that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.

HTML 5 has hit the ground running in terms of gaming, and no doubt it is going to become a popular way to create games. A standard install of a browser like Chrome will allow HTML 5 games to run. This also means the forthcoming Chrome OS will be compatible with all HTML 5 games and apps.

Flash is hanging on by the skin of its teeth, but this is another nail in its coffin.

Quake II in Your Browser - PC World
Quake II In A Browser - TechCrunch
One Last Flash In the Pan?