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Epic Citadel Benchmark Arrives in HTML5 Format

Epic Games announced on Thursday the launch of a version of Epic Citadel built with HTML5. This is good news for gamers, as it means Unreal Engine 3 (UE3) can be run inside a Web browser without the need for plugins, added components or a local installation on the hard drive. The only thing you'll need to experience this demo at an optimal performance is a nightly build of Mozilla's Firefox version 23 or above.

According to Epic Games, the Firefox Nightly version 23 and above includes optimizations for asm.jsa highly-optimizable subset of JavaScript pioneered by Mozilla, whose performance can rival native code. The company said it ported UE3 to the Web in just four days using the combination of asm.js and Emscripten, which enables developers to compile C++ code into JavaScript.

"With Mozilla’s latest innovations in JavaScript, game developers and publishers can now take advantage of fast performance that rivals native while leveraging scale of the Web, without the additional costs associated with third-party plugins," Mozilla said in a recent blog. "This allows them to distribute visually stunning and performance intensive games to billions of people more easily and cost effectively than before."

The Epic Citadel demo does require a JavaScript compile and an additional download, and Firefox will ask the user to confirm that it's permitted to download data over 50 MB. However once launched, visitors to the virtual medieval world can explore by merely clicking on a destination, or my holding the left mouse down to view all around and using the WASD buttons to move. There's no jump, so don't expect to take a flying leap off the bridge and into the running stream of water below. The arrow keys allow you to look up, down, left and right.

Epic Citadel also arrives with two options: a guided tour which is essentially a non-interactive demo moving the camera through various spots throughout the kingdom, and a benchmark to test the HTML5-based engine's performance on your hardware. The FAQ linked below the demo states that the framerate can be unlocked in the Firefox Nightly build by going into about:config.

Don't want to install Firefox Nightly? The FAQ also lists a few alternatives including Release Firefox which will be slower, Chrome although it crashes, and both Opera and Safari which must have WebGL activated but are currently not compatible. Internet Explorer does not support WebGL in current versions, Epic Games states.

For more information about Epic Citadel, head here. The benchmark demo can also be downloaded for iOS and Android, and experienced on the web via Flash here.