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Mozilla Intros JavaScript Optimized for Web Gaming; WebGL Updated

During GDC 2013, Mozilla introduced an optimized version of JavaScript that continues to close the gap between Web-based games and native apps. The company said it will enable visually compelling, fast, 3D gaming experiences in the browser without the additional costs associated with third-party plugins. The optimized JavaScript also opens the door to 3D web-based games on mobile.

"Today, we are excited to unlock this technology for high-performance games, by teaming up with Epic Games," the company said. "By leveraging this new JavaScript optimization technology, Mozilla has been able to bring Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 to the Web. With this port, developers will soon be able to explore limitless possibilities when it comes to porting their popular gaming titles to the Web."

The news follows the launch of Mozilla's BananaBread demo back in August 2012. BananaBread is a first-person shooter that runs within a browser without the need to install plugins. To make the demo happen, the team said it ported a complete C++ game engine -- the open-source Cube 2: Sauerbraten -- to JavaScript and WebGL using Emscripten.

"One of the main goals of the Mozilla Community working on games is to not only drive game development on Firefox but across all browsers," Mozilla said. "Any browser that has implemented the necessary modern Web standards used by the BananaBread demo can run it. These efforts help us stay in touch with how HTML5 is coming together and see opportunities where we can make developers’ lives easier. Hearing directly from the HTML5 game developer community is a key part of how we learn what needs to be done."

Mozilla's BananaBread demo has been updated with the new version of JavaScript – asm.js -- and works in all browsers that support WebGL. Mozilla says it features peer-to-peer, multiplayer WebRTC technology and JavaScript performance improvements.

Meanwhile, the Kronos Group said that WebGL has been updated to v1.0.1, and implementations are now fully conformant on a range of desktop and mobile platforms. The WebGL 1.0.2 specification and a set of extensions have been submitted for ratification and are expected to be formally released in April 2013.

"The browser and GPU communities have been working diligently in the WebGL working group to resolve GPU driver issues and tighten the WebGL specification by precisely defining behaviors to provide a trusted and reliable platform that provides portability for 3D content within HTML5 browsers across diverse platforms," the Kronos Group said.

Some of the first fully conformant WebGL 1.0.1 implementations submitted for approval include Google Chrome 25 and Firefox 19 on Windows, Mac and Linux and a WebGL-enhanced Android browser for Tegra based platforms from Nvidia.

The Kronos Group also announced that COLLADA 1.5.0 has been published as an official ISO standard to provide a reliable, long-term international standard for 3D asset authoring and interchange. Additional information can be obtained from the announcement here.

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  • slomo4sho
    Maybe I'll finally get around to using the near worthless in game currency that nVidia has been peddling...
  • A Bad Day
    I wonder when it will start supporting HSA.
  • annymmo
    On an API level HSA would be represented as OpenCL.
  • dextermat
    java: no thank you
  • tntom
    Sounds interesting, but how many technologies is dependent on all at once?
    Because that sounds like a nightmare to have everything working at once and working together.
    OpenCL, HTML5, C++ game engine, Cube 2: Sauerbraten, JavaScript, WebGL, Emscripten. Is this right? or am I misunderstanding?
  • Vladislaus
    dextermatjava: no thank youJava and Javascript are two completely different languages.