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The web as the platform

by Ashley | 28th, September 2012

Recently Apple released iOS 6, the new version of the operating system for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. For us the most notable new feature is the Safari browser now supports the Web Audio API. This is the same audio engine used by Chrome, allowing for low-latency, high-performance polyphonic audio playback. Typically Safari has had such strict limitations on audio it was effectively impossible to play sound effects in a game - but this is no more! Unfortunately Safaris' Web Audio API is not backwards-compatible with existing games, but we've fixed it for next build, bar one small restriction (more on that in a moment).

At last, this means there is a major mobile browser that has good support for HTML5 games! iOS 5 introduced a hardware-accelerated canvas for high-performance games in Safari, but the audio limitations meant there would basically be no sound effects - and who wants to publish a game without sound? Now that Safari can play audio properly, you can run GPU-accelerated games with full audio support right from the Safari browser. What's more is you can also design iOS web apps which run from the home screen, looking like native apps, but circumvent the 30% cut that Apple take on their store. Ensuring people find your game may be more difficult if you're not in the App Store, but others are saying iOS 6 could make it harder to find your game anyway - another reason to go on the web.

For a demo, check out this touch enabled version of Space Blaster:

http://www.scirra.com/labs/spaceblastertouch

If you have an iOS device try visiting the URL in Safari and having a play - then try adding it to the home screen and using it like a native app. And thanks to Construct 2's offline support, it'll work even without an internet connection.

Now for that limitation - Safari mutes all audio until you touch the screen, presumably to stop websites immediately blaring unwanted music at you. To work around this the Audio object will queue up any sounds played before the screen is touched, then play them on the first touch. After that, all sound will work normally. To work around this we've also introduced a 'touch to begin' screen before the main title. When you touch on this screen it will play a sound (therefore unmuting the Web Audio API), and the title music and rest of the game will continue to play as expected.

The performance may not be perfectly native-like yet, but it is definitely good enough for a large class of games. Also, iOS will keep improving, newer faster devices will be released, and we'll keep tuning our engine for maximum performance, so it will only get better.

We believe this is a strong sign that the web is increasingly becoming a viable platform for publishing games - even for mobile. It does seem to have been neglected in the past in favour of the app stores, but this may have largely been because mobile browsers provided such a poor experience. Now Apple have a mobile browser robust enough to play HTML5 games, we can expect ever-competitive Android to catch up in the near future. And the upcoming Windows 8 Phones have great HTML5 support too.

So when publishing your next game, take a moment to consider the web. There are some interesting advantages to it. You don't have to jostle for attention in App Stores - the web can be the platform.

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Comments

6
gammabeam 13.2k rep

Awesome news!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 4:40:36 PM
7
jogosgratispro 19.8k rep

Construct2 is by far the best game creator tool out there :)

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 4:52:00 PM
2
Ethan 11.0k rep

Great work.

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 4:53:00 PM
2
EmpowerMe 8,535 rep

Well the possibilities keep getting greater at every turn. This is great news for all of us.

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 4:54:41 PM
2
JohnnySheffield 6,662 rep

Good work, Scirra team, and a really good choice for choosing html as a platform for games! Looking forward for new good news from you little factory of awesomeness!

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 4:59:51 PM
2
Wrangler 8,240 rep

This is a very interesting new step, I haven't really considered games on an iOS device that aren't from the app store.

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:01:50 PM
2
felixsg 8,924 rep

Really interesting option

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:09:06 PM
2
helto 2,378 rep

I've worked on ios apps before, and I will be more than happy to circumvent their app store, thanks for the heads up!

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:25:41 PM
4
Wastrel 11.6k rep

Great article! Every day it seems another brick falls out of the wall that hinders HTML5 from seeing it's full potential.

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:31:58 PM
6
kenli 7,323 rep

Wow, the mobile platform really support HTML5 day by day. Greatt!!
Android 4.1, iOS6, BlackBerry Playbook OS 2.1, Windows Phone 8 was great HTML5 mobile platform. Really convince me to focus on HTML5 Game Development.
Plus the new OS from Microsoft, Windows 8 Metro Apps support HTML5 too. :)

I'm also hope for upcoming open source mobile OS from Intel and Samsung, "TIZEN" (developer.tizen.org/) keep their support for HTML5 plaftorm too.
And i hope @Ashley @Tom and Scirra will prepare for the features 'export project' to TIZEN for short/long term plan. ^^

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:45:32 PM
-2
ghostwheel 1,620 rep

That's good but how do you monetize a web game? If someone buys it from the app store, that's money in your pocket. Where's the money in putting it on a web page?

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 5:58:22 PM
2
Bigheti 15.7k rep

It's a good coments that Scirra Team prepare for us. Tks Ashley!

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 6:14:23 PM
3
kenli 7,323 rep

@ghostwheel this is some good reference link for "How to make money with HTML5 Games?"

The Reality of HTML5 Game Development and making money from it | Photon Storm
www.photonstorm.com/archives/2759/the-reality-of-html5-game-development-and-making-money-from-it

Gamasutra: Ben Chong's Blog - Making money with HTML5 games
www.gamasutra.com/blogs/BenChong/20120713/174146/Making_money_with_HTML5_games.php

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 6:16:00 PM
1
Animate 10.7k rep

Apple is finally making their way to a full html5 enviroment, we just need safari to full Web GL support by default.

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 7:05:47 PM
0
Velojet 20.7k rep

Brilliant! More leading-edge stuff from Scirra, keeping ahead of the curve with developing browser functionality!

Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8:34:02 PM

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