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Mozilla plays with Humble Bundle to push web games


The latest Humble Bundle offering brings hot PC games in the browser, courtesy of Mozilla.


Mozilla isn’t playing when it comes to convincing you that the web is not dead. His latest effort to show the power of modern web technology comes in the form of a Humble Bundle of Popular Games with intricate graphics for the humble web browser.

Released Tuesday and available for the next two weeks, the Humble Mozilla Bundle Pay What You Want features fan favorite indie titles like Voxatron, FTL: Advanced Edition, Aaaaaa! for the Awesome and Democracy 3. Eight titles in total are included, with a ninth game to be announced next Tuesday. You can also download the pack if you commit more than the current average.

The games can be played through Steam or in your browser, and that’s where Mozilla comes in. Mozilla has been promoting its ASM.js technology for the past year and a half, a relatively new subset of JavaScript that makes JavaScript execution faster. JavaScript is one of the important technologies the web runs on today, powering the interactive experiences such as the automatic page reloading that power modern websites.

To help promote the Bundle, Mozilla has integrated Voxatron into its homepage, similar to a Google Doodle. Bill Maggs, director of product management at Mozilla, told CNET that browser games offer a lot to gamers – if browsers can meet strict standards for in-game graphics.

“ASM.js is still not ready to take on the whole world of PC gaming, but I don’t think the Crysis moment is too far away,” said Maggs, referring to when you can get graphics. as complex as those of the famous first person shooter.

Led in 2013 by inventor of JavaScript and then Mozilla’s CTO, Brendan Eich, ASM.js appeals to developers in part because there is no difficulty in getting the browser to work with a new programming language. . It just works, because ASM.js is part of JavaScript, which browsers already work with. There are some optimizations that can be done in the browser to make ASM.js run faster, but they are not essential.

Games are not new to ASM.js. Mozilla was watch games as the best way to convince developers to use the JavaScript subset since it went public with ASM.js in March 2013.

Since then, ASM.js has helped Epic get their Unreal Engine 4 works in the browser without plugins and Wearing the new Unity 5.0 Web-based gaming platform, major achievements that herald the beginning of the end for browser plugins like Adobe Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight. Just last week Unity has published its benchmarks for browsers against native code, and made the benchmarking tool available to anyone who wants to test their browser. Unity found Firefox optimized for ASM.js to lag behind native code, with Chrome and Safari lagging behind.

Humble Bundle co-founder John Graham said he expects gamers to embrace the Mozilla offering not just for games, but for a more streamlined workflow as well.

“There’s very little left that you don’t do in a browser, and native gaming, first-class gaming, is one of them,” he said. “You can go straight from buying a game to playing it, without having to struggle with third-party apps.”

Even though ASM.js is intended for cross-browser use, it definitely runs faster in Firefox than any other browser. Google has made ASM.js optimizations to Chrome, and these changes are also on Microsoft’s roadmap for Internet Explorer.

Maggs said ASM.js was quickly approaching a “theoretical maximum” speed of around 1.2 times the speed of native code, a point at which he said most people would be comfortable playing. games with complex graphics.

ASM.js has become a key weapon in the struggle of browser makers to prove they still matter, and the strategy of employing gamers to buy it – literally, in the case of the Mozilla bundle – shows that this war is far from over.


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