3D Games Come to Browsers

Last week Mozilla presented to wide audience its highly optimized version of JavaScript which is aimed at the launching of 3D games directly in a browser. And it should be mentioned, that we speak about a pretty high graphics level – Unreal Engine 3, to be exact, which has been the main graphic engine for games since 2008. The developers have already joined efforts with gaming studio Epic Games (the authors of the Unreal Engine) in order to turn the possibility of using this engine online into reality. Apart from that, Mozilla representatives have begun negotiations with Electronic Arts, Disney and Zetolabs – the giants of the computer entertainments world.

Among the above-mentioned companies EA seems to be most interested in the new development. It’s a known fact that company dreams of a full control over its production. Let’s take for example the recent scandal with SimCity launch that required a mandatory connection to a server. This fact caused a massive indignation wave from users and also caused inconveniences as servers were not ready to receive so many accesses. The reason for such a decision was the unwillingness of the company to let the “pirates” to hack the game. If there will appear a game where online is the way of playing it, and not the requirement for launching and activating it, such a technology should appeal to company’s policy.

Such a development for Mozilla Firefox is an obvious step towards the tendency of streaming everything. If Mozilla succeeds and there appears a possibility to launch a full-fledged game in a browser, then it’ll open whole new perspectives: no need to think about different mobile platforms, about different desktop hardware specification and operating systems installed, etc. The only requirement is that the device should work with Firefox.

But there’s also the other side of the problem. If a game loads for hours (in the long run, we speak about Unreal Engine 3) then no one needs such a service. The possible solution to this problem may come from the Khronos Group organization, if the company manages to work out a common set of data formats for 3D models, textures and other resources that a game needs.

Both Google and Microsoft also make some steps in this direction. For example, Native Client with an open source code by Google is a technology for launching machine code in browsers, safely and regardless of the operating system in use. The project is currently under development. But it’s worth mentioning that such games as Quake and XaoS have been ported to Native Client.

Taking into consideration the fact that nowadays the games for mobile devices are really great and are hardly worse than their desktop analogues, it’s absolutely possible to create a game that won’t glitch in a browser. But it’s still too early to talk about the expedience of this project. Time will show. But the open question is whether this variant is better than the remote access to a game which is already installed on a manufacturer’s server. The server receives commands from you and you get the image of a game in return. Which one of the variants will be more viable? Share your opinion in the comments below.


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