HTML5 Games Creating Fun with HTML5 CSS3 and WebGL

“ALL THIS IS done in HTML5, by the way!” exclaimed Steve Jobs, the mind and face of the Apple success story, as he walked the audience through the new HTML5-powered ad system at the iPhone OS 4.0 Keynote, receiving cheers, laughs, and applause in return.

The recent developments in open, standards-based web technologies are moving the web forward at an increasing pace, and Apple’s embrace of HTML5, including the blocking of Flash on all iOS devices, is just another symbol of the power of this movement.

Although Apple’s love for HTML5 might in part be fueled by business motives, it is clear that the open web is on the move and exciting things are happening on an almost daily basis, making it an exciting time for web and game developers alike.

The world of web and game development wasn’t always this exciting, however. Building games for the browser could be a frustrating experience and has traditionally meant having to choose between using feature-rich plugin-based technologies or settling for a more low tech approach, trying to fit the square peg of HTML and JavaScript into the round hole of game development.

Disagreeing or downright broken implementations of various standards have only made the consistent and predictable environment of, for instance, Flash more appealing.

By opting for plugins like Flash, developers and game designers gain access to frameworks that are suitable for advanced game development, featuring dynamic graphics, sounds, and even 3D, but doing so also disconnects the game from the technologies surrounding it.

Although technologies such as Flash, Java, and Silverlight all have means to communicate with the rest of the page, they remain isolated objects with limited capabilities for mixing with the surrounding content.

In contrast, using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS — the native building blocks of the web — means your game will fit naturally within the context of a web page, but with them comes other compromises, not the least of which is a lack of suitable elements and APIs.

When the first editions of the HTML standard were published in the mid-1990s, it is doubtful that anyone had rich Internet applications in mind, and HTML’s document-centric nature meant that it was much more suitable for marking up pages of text and images than for application and game development.

Even as these pages slowly became more and more interactive as JavaScript and the Document Object Model (DOM) evolved, graphics were still limited to static images and styled HTML elements, and audio was pretty much nonexistent.

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