Browser games are mostly developed using Flash technology, however today we are seeing more and more of HTML5 games productions. What is the reason behind the growing popularity of this technology, and why are game creators so willing to use HTML5 over Flash?
The game’s foundation is Canvas; we draw on such canvas; Canvas makes programming graphics displays possible. Additionally, thanks to WebGL, Canvas allows us to draw graphics that are hardware accelerated. WebGL is based on OpenGL ES 2.0 providing two and three dimensional graphics interfaces. These make HTML5 games very efficient and playable, at the same time, very impressive.
Why not Flash?
Perceptive readers will notice that similar possibilities are offered by Flash. In that case why consider using HTML5 for game creation? Mainly, because it gives device flexibilities:
- Works directly in browser without any additional plugins;
- One code base allows running games on any device that supports HTML5;
- Allows creating games for both mobile devices and PCs;
- Vast, dynamically expanding technology;
- Game doesn’t have to be installed on device;
- Provides possibility to create multiplayer games.
- Lack or only partial WebGL support on mobile devices;
- Still incomplete specification;
- Low efficiency on mobile devices if optimization not carried out.
Flash with ActionScript3
- Mature technology, heavy impact placed on displaying graphics;
- A large number of tools support application creation;
- Flash Player plugin that allows running a game anywhere it is available;
- AIR technology, wrapping applications into native applications for mobile devices and PC.
- Flash plugin: not supported on mobile devices;
- No efficiency of AIR on mobile devices.
Is Flash not as bad as it may seem?
Flash is perfectly suited for browser game development, however, satisfactory efficiency is only assured on personal computers. This technology doesn’t offer anything beyond what is already possible with HTML5, plus it requires having its plugin installed in the browser.
Despite constant development and evolution, Flash will not stay in high position on a browser and mobile game creation level. It will more likely become one of those technologies that are almost extinct.
During the GDC 2014 Unity Technology Conference, the company which develops popular engines for 3D and 2D games presented their new version. In Unity 5, a Unity Player plugin which allows running in-browser games developed in that engine has been replaced with an HTML5 exporter using WebGL.
Epic Games has been working on its Unreal Engine migration to HTML5 for a long time. Its latest version Unreal Engine 4 provides support for this technology as well, something which is similar to GameMaker, a popular editor and engine used for 2D games development.
More and more HTML5 games appear on the market and their authors try to optimize them for as many devices and platforms as possible. HTML5 game can be played not only on PC, Mac and devices based on Android or iOS, but also on Firefox OS, Tizen and all the others that support HTML5 standard. This significantly increases number of potential customers. Let us captivate your audience for you with development of some HTML5 games for your users!