Christian Heilmann

Talking about HTML5 and gaming in Old Street

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Yesterday I went to the Mozilla Labs Gaming Special evening at the Bar Music Hall in Old Street, London. Around 150 developers, designers, entrepreneurs and project managers showed up despite the cold and it being a Monday so it seems this was a hot topic.

As the first speaker I wanted to lay the groundwork for others to woo the audience with cool technical demos. So what I did was explain why open web technologies are a great idea to build games on.

You can read the slides of the talk on Slideshare:The Why of HTML5 games development or embedded here:

I’ve also recorded the talk and uploaded the audio to why of HTML5 for games development (MP3 and OGG):

download the audio at

I’ve published my notes on the Mozilla Games Blog. Here’s a digest:

  • Working with components and open technologies allows you to be much more flexible than building monolithic one-off solutions for one provider
  • Yes, native code is more terse and gives you more permissions to access the hardware you work with. The question though is if you really need all these features or if you just want to use them to make the game cooler
  • Simplicity in gameplay doesn’t mean that there is not much complexity going on behind the scenes – the example is the artificial intelligence in Pacman when it comes to the behaviour of the ghosts.
  • Simple games can be incredibly effective – see Canabalt as the example
  • The web has social aspects and sharing built in. If for example Angry Birds were a web based game you could make it much more immersive by allowing people to build their own levels, play against each other and giving each other hints – much like people already do on YouTube now
  • A lot of the challenges we are facing right now with HTML5 games development have already been solved when we had to support low-spec gaming environments like 8 bit computers, handhelds and very slow connectivity speeds
  • Last but not least – HTML5 is a world of openness and you can find an incredible amount of information and solutions for free on the web rather than having to pay for training.

By using HTML5 anyone can be a games developer and land an unexpected success. The games industry in closed environments is much more cut-throat and reliant on immediate commercial success. You could compare it to book publishing vs. self publication of articles.

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