Mozilla Launches Online Game Using HTML5, WebSockets

What better way to show off your HTML5 prowess than to conjure up an MMOG using the new platform? Mozilla has done just that with the launch of BrowserQuest, an old-school adventure game developed by Little Workshop. Currently the entire internet seemingly wants to check out the new demo, as it's extremely difficult to log on and stay connected.

"BrowserQuest is a tribute to classic video-games with a multiplayer twist," Mozilla reports. "You play as a young warrior driven by the thrill of adventure. No princess to save here, just a dangerous world filled with treasures to discover. And it’s all done in glorious HTML5 and JavaScript."

Powering BrowserQuest are WebSockets, a new technology that enables bi-directional communication between a browser and a server on the web. The MMOG is merely a demo to show how these WebSockets can be used to create a real-time multiplayer game in a single webpage. Even more, because it's HTML5-based, the game can be played in Firefox, Chrome and Safari. With WebSockets enabled, it’s also playable in Opera. Moreover, it’s compatible with iOS devices, as well as tablets and phones running Firefox for Android.

"When you start to play, your browser opens up a WebSocket connection to one of several load-balanced game servers," Mozilla explains. "Each server hosts multiple world instances and handles the player synchronization and game logic within all instances. Because the server code is running on Node.js, both the server and client codebases share a small portion of the same JavaScript source code."

Controls are highly simplistic. Users left-click the mouse to move, attack and pick up items, and press ENTER to chat (you can click on the little cartoon balloon at the bottom right-hand of the screen too). Quests can be accessed by hitting the little chalice button, and characters are automatically saved as you play.

"The mobile versions are more experimental than the desktop experience, which has richer features and performance, but it’s an early glimpse of what kind of games will be coming to the mobile Web in the future," Mozilla reports.

For more information about BrowserQuest, head here. Servers seem to be overloaded, so expect connection issues until the newness wears off.

  • dameon51
    Its cool and all, and I like that web tech is becoming more powerful, but at the same time it seems lackluster because these sort of thing has been around using different technologies. I get the web is open and cross platform, but I'm finding it more and more difficult to get excited about these little HTML 5/javascript tech demos.
  • esrever
    I can just imagine people making lots of money off something like this for mobile devices and web. Extremely large user base with lots of possible income and being easily amused. Get them hocked on an mmo and it will prints money.
  • killerclick
    We have (had) a great casual gaming platform - Adobe Flash - but it was destroyed by then Apple CEO and current corpse Steve Jobs because Adobe once stopped developing software for the Mac and Jobs held a grudge. Now we have this ugly, jerky crap, that's progess I guess.
  • prophetzarquon
    @killerclick Adobe destroyed Flash. Macromedia made an amazing tool and Adobe filled it with bloat and bugs until it became useless on all but brand new Core based PCs. The prophesied Flash web-game era never arrived because Android has no way to Point (hover) without Clicking, and nearly all Flash games rely on a pointer, not tap-zones. Flash sites like YouTube and Netflix run video more slowly than ever, thanks to revamped interfaces loaded with DRM and excess decoration that has nothing to do with your content.

    Frankly, the whole web has been moving to an idiot-box / WebTV style that eschews real functionality and streamlining in favor of unnecessary animations, transparencies, extra objects and buffer methods that throw away video content on each mode change, creating an unreliable, slow, less-compatible net that - for the user - is patently inferior to that offered in 2001.

    HTML5 is the only web technology I see moving us toward compatibility and efficiency. Don't even get me started on HDMI vs VGA (15pin D-sub) vs SDI.
  • obsama1
    Actually, Netflix doesn't use Flash, they use Silverlight which plain sucks. For content like games/video HTML sucks, but for regular old webpages, it's amazing. HTML5 YouTube runs terrible on my quad-core computer with 6Mb connection speed. However, 720p Flash videos play beautifully.
  • killerclick
    prophetzarquon@killerclick Adobe destroyed Flash. Macromedia made an amazing tool and Adobe filled it with bloat and bugs until it became useless on all but brand new Core based PCs.
    Sure Adobe Flash has bugs, but so does every single platform out there.

    As a games platform, Adobe Flash has more players than DirectX, since pretty much every Facebook game uses it (Rovio, Microsoft, Nintendo and others can only dream about the kind of user base Zynga has). Furthermore, a lot of desktop casual (Big Fish Games etc) games use Flash, but you can't see it because it's nicely packaged into an exe.

    There is really no substitute for Flash at the moment. HTML5 is immature, has poor support and market penetration compared to Flash and most importantly, it can't do a lot of things that Flash can. There is not even a HTML5 standard and you can't count on major browsers supporting the same features (HTML5 video on my web site needs 3 video files for every video, because of inconsistent HTML5 video support). YouTube still considers HTML5 support experimental after two years, because it's not as good and reliable as Flash.

    It was just an example of Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field. Apple has less than 10% of usage share and he went up against a standard that has 95% market penetration. Now that he's dead and gone, maybe we can step back, ignore the con job he pulled, and let the free market do its thing. As long as Flash games have hundreds of millions of players, Flash is here to stay, bugs and all.

    HTML5 is ultimately the way to go but it's years away from being ready.