Earlier this year I was very excited to come across the above. This my friends is a screen shot of the game Google made to celebrate the anniversary of Pac-Man. In their ultimate wisdom they decided to launch a version of their Home Page where the Google logo was actually a playable version of the game Pac-Man, it was all done using HTML5. And that is damned cool.
Kudos to Flash
Before I continue I just want to quickly say that I’ve always loved Flash and indeed I still do. Of course that is providing it is being used correctly, and by that I mean it is being used to make games as opposed to entire websites (urghhh). Once upon a time there were no Flash Alternatives for making decent interactive web content, and for the most part there still isn’t. Especially when we’re talking games, Akihabra is a great HTML5 Game Engine but it is still in its infancy, and indeed it pales in comparison to Flixel the Flash based equivalent. However once upon a time, say 10 years ago, neither Flash nor HTML5 existed and you needed to be a grey bearded linux guru, skilled in the art of writing complex C++ code, to make a game.
Like it or lump it Adobe Flash changed the playing field and raised the bar so damned high, that the people who sit around tables and decide on things like browser based web standards, actually decided to make HTML5 do amazing things that previous web browsers couldn’t do – including the ability to run games. And for that reason alone, for simply raising the bar, you really should be taking your hats off to Flash.
HTML5 is a developing technology used for making websites, and we’re just starting to see its capabilities in more advanced uses such as games. Developers all around the World have started building all sorts of games using HTML5 – we’re looking at platform games, top down games, and even 3D games like castle Wolfenstein.
For those of you who don’t know what HTML is, HTML is the skeleton behind every single website on the internet. Every time you use Facebook you’re looking at an HTML page. Every time you use YouTube you’re looking at an HTML page. Every time you do a Google search… thats right you’re looking at an HTML page. Its everywhere and at the moment its best know for structuring web pages – even this one. Advanced HTML, at least by todays standards, are things like Roll Over buttons, image slide shows, and the ability to Drag and Drop objects around your screen – imagine dragging a virtual product into a Shopping Basket. Well thats pretty fancy for todays web browser.
At least that “was” pretty fancy for a web browser until HTML5 came along. What you can expect to see in the future is infinitely more advanced. Lets extend the logic we just used for dragging and dropping a product into a cart. Now in your mind imagine replacing “drag and drop” for your arrow keys, imagine selecting a product, and then using the arrow keys on your keyboard to steer the product into your shopping cart. Your reward – your product is now ready for purchase.
At a very basic and rudimentary level that is what people in the gaming world might call Collision Detection. Now let us imagine that the Product is a Character in a game and the Shopping Cart is actually a Chest at the end of a level – the Character collides with the Chest and a new page is loaded (we’ll make a game to demonstrate this I promise).
This my friends is all becoming possible in your web browser, once upon a time, not so long ago it was not even close to being possible. In the past you “needed” Flash to do certain things in a web browser. But shortly, one day in the future, you will not. This my friends is a fundamental progression in browser based technology.
HTML5 + DoubleHappy
What does this mean for you? It simply means that your games will run on more devices and web browsers – including the browser that comes with the iPhone / iPpad. For you this is awesome – because it means that you’ll be able to make games that run on these devices without having to even know what a grey bearded linux geek is.
Over the next couple of months we will be extending DoubleHappy so that it produces HTML5 games. We have started putting together a number of prototype games which we will be releasing over coming months – in time, with your help and consultation these games will become the DoubleHappy framework for HTML5 games.