AUSTIN, TX. October 9th, 2012 – Companies are scrambling to understand how to get their business applications on mobile devices and creating media-rich experiences for their users. It’s not just banking and business applications that struggle to maintain their compatibility with mobile. Developers within the gaming industry are starting to see the telltale signs of the next big land rush as mobile devices continue to account for a rapidly growing percentage of overall Internet traffic and use in recreational gameplay. Game developers have been feeling increasing pressure to see that their games are ported into browser-friendly environments. The platforms with gaining traction include both desktop browsers as well as tablets on the iOS and Android platforms.
Nerds Answer the Call
This past October, two lead developers from The Nerdery were invited to present on the use of HTML5 and how it can be used to bring high-quality gaming experiences to the web. Their session was entitled, “Creatively Bypassing the Limitations of HTML5 as a Gaming Platform.” You can watch it from the GDC Vault. The session was not only well-attended, but it was standing room only. The appetite for all-things-HTML5 at GDC Online seemed to reflect the overall interest around the technology world-wide.
Kevin Moot and Scott Bromander were invited to speak on their expertise in creating gaming experiences for the web. Kevin Moot is an authority on HTML5 and the author of numerous articles on HTML5 Canvas-based applications. His blog features much of his educational content. Scott Bromander, a lead developer in interactive design (Flash, ActionScript, and Unity 3D) is also an online university professor. Scott teaches online classes for students that are studying to be game developers themselves and looking to learn more about interactive design technologies.
Moot and Bromander were scheduled to speak on the second day of the conference. They ran through the presentation three to four times that morning before giving the presentation that afternoon. Attendees lucky enough to get seating found a free Nerdery Lab Notes notebook on each chair (which got as many compliments as the presentation).
Those that were in attendance were excited about the topic that Moot and Bromander had chosen. The appeal of the presentation was that it addressed the topic of HTML5 capabilities from both broad brush-strokes as well as getting into the nitty-gritty with code snippets. As the carnival barkers would say, “a little something for everybody.”
Moot and Bromander wowed the audience with a fully prepared presentation that went above-and-beyond the standard PowerPoint slide-deck filled with text and static images. The two Nerdery developers came with a fully-working prototype of an HTML5 3D space shooter that was created specifically for the GDC Online seminar. As Moot walked the audience through the strengths and weaknesses of HTML5 in relation to graphics processing for 3D effects, audio, sound FX, full-screen mode, and mouse controls, Bromander played the role of the Great and Powerful Oz as he switched the presentation between slide deck, sample code, and the 3D game demos on the big screen. At one point he even demonstrated how HTML5 can access the web-cam hardware on a computer to make an image of his face appear on the floating space-objects that get blown up by the spaceship within the game.
The presentation covered the complete spectrum of HTML5 strengths and weaknesses and put them into context with potential solutions. The findings are that leveraging cutting-edge technology and the black-belt programming chops it takes to stay on top of the bleeding edge of ‘best-practices’ for a language (HTML5) is a full time job. This is the case in large part because HTML5 doesn’t even yet have a consistent set of development tools.
Moot and Bromander had the non-developers in the room fully engaged when demonstrating a particular feature within each section of the presentation by blowing up space objects and flying a 3D ship around the screen. The developers in the room were furiously making notes on laptops and in the conveniently provided Lab Notes notebooks as Moot discussed code, beta plug-in’s, and API’s that were being leveraged to make the space-shooter perform so well. Several attendees were overheard as the presentation finished saying,
“This is exactly the presentation that I was hoping to see! I knew about a few of the things they were talking about, but there was some really amazing stuff in there!”
Upon completion of the presentation, a line of attendees stayed after to talk with the Nerdery rockstars of HTML5 and game development. Moot and Bromander were answering any and all questions thrown at them by those in attendance after the presentation. Based on the line of attendees, developers, and industry representatives that wanted to bend the ear of our Nerds it reinforces that the game development industry and development shops are quickly realizing how far HTML5 technology has come and it’s wide range of potential applications.