HTML5 Games: The Legacy of PC Gaming?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | December 30, 2012 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: webgl, w3c, html5

I use that title in quite a broad sense.

I ran across an article on The Verge which highlighted the work of a couple of programmers to port classic Realtime Strategy games to the web browser. Command and Conquer along with Dune II, two classics of PC Gaming, are now available online for anyone with a properly standards-compliant browser.

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These games, along with the Sierra classics I wrote about last February, are not just a renaissance of classic PC games: they preserve them. It is up to the implementer to follow the standard, not the standards body to approve implementations. So long as someone still makes a browser which can access a standards-based game, the game can continue to be supported.

A sharp turn from what we are used to with console platforms, right?

I have been saying this for quite some time now: Blizzard and Valve tend to support their games much longer than console manufacturers support their whole platforms. You can still purchase at retail, and they still manufacture, the original StarCraft. The big fear over “modern Windows” is that backwards compatibility will be ended and all applications would need to be certified by the Windows Store.

When programmed for the browser -- yes, even hosted offline on local storage -- those worries disappear. Exceptions for iOS and Windows RT where they only allow you to use Safari or Trident (IE10+) which still leaves you solely at their mercy to follow standards.

Still, as standards get closer to native applications in features and performance, we will have a venue for artists to create and preserve their work for later generations to experience. The current examples might be 2D and of the pre-Pentium era but even now there are 3D-based shooters developed from websites. There is even a ray tracing application built on WebGL (although that technically is reliant on both the W3C and Khronos standards bodies) that just runs in a decent computer with plain-old Firefox or Google Chrome.

Source: The Verge
December 30, 2012 | 05:13 PM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

Ugh. I couldn't get past the video, which couldn't stream beyond an ultra-laggy snail's pace. Maybe I'll try again during less busy hours...

December 31, 2012 | 12:26 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Yeah I am really hoping that we'll start getting locally hosted HTML5 games. Lol.

December 31, 2012 | 07:50 AM - Posted by orvtrebor

Very cool, isn't that in violation of some copyright though? I'll def. play a few games of Dune 2 (I've purchased/lost at least 2 copies of that game over the years).

Would really like to see someone do this with the original Master of Orion. It would be pretty easy to do I'd think.

December 31, 2012 | 09:59 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Unless they got permission from the original copyright holder, which I don't think the C&C guy did but the OpenDune people I think did, they're just crossing their fingers hoping that the copyright holders thinks it's too cool to crush with extreme prejudice.

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