New to the forum and looking for some advice...
We've developed a Real Time Strategy Engine, or at least a Proof of Concept for one, in pure HTML5. We've tested it to a certain degree on most of the modern browsers and on the iPhone (planning on testing on Android ICS but not sure about HTML5 support). All of the move, fire, build code and some visual effects and sounds are all working well (link below). It's probably about 5 weeks of research and development that originally started around learning the nuances HTML5.
Proof of Concept (Edit: Now works on iphone)
The idea is that the HTML will work not just on normal browser but also on phones creating a nice cross platform game without massive cross paltform effort. We planned to write simple browser wrappers for iPhone and Android to create saleable apps.
However, I'm really rather unsure of what to do next. Is it possible for an independent company to achieve success with something like this? Is there any money to be made from this approach? Is this something that could be taken to a publisher? Or is this just so saturated that attempting anything like this just isn't worth any more effort?
I think there is going to be a bright future for HTML 5 in gaming, particularly for the indie development; however it's not quite there yet. There's quite a few bugs the browser devs need to resolve to make the experience smoother on all platforms. Mobile platforms in particular have notoriously bad experiences because the user input is treated for web browsing and not gaming (pinch zooming, rubber banding, scaling, etc.). The audio support, in particular for Windows Phone, is quite atrocious. For some reason these browser devs have a lot of problems with audio. It took Firefox over a year just to support the audio loop attribute.
If I were building HTML 5 games today it would be for desktops only and they would have to be really simple, like Farmville, Plants vs Zombies, or a Tycoon type game. Chrome and Firefox are generally not that bad, although they still both have small audio issues. Getting them to semi-work on mobile platforms would only be to help promote the technology, although I wouldn't blow a whole lot of time on it. I think writing native apps is still the best choice for mobile platforms right now. At the least, I would have native code manage audio and user input. You then delegate the rest to the browser.
I think we were considering using HTML5 as the base and using platform specific wrappers to create packaged apps. These wrappers could act as a kind of abstraction layer to compensate for the weak spots such as sound. That said the next step we are looking at is trying to use HTML5 Websockets to implement multiplayer. If that works then I'm thinking it might actually be a viable approach.
Using HTML5 as a base is quite acceptable. There's a few simple games using PhoneGap that show it's capable, especially with a backend to power the areas where HTML5 lacks. I'm not sure what to think of Websockets though. I'm waiting to see what the final say will be on cross-domain security.
shit! a full rts in html, i cant believe it
i gotta check this out MYSELF!
if you wanna make money, you need an original idea, otherwise i see this as a good opportunity for your company, go for it.
I was messing around with html5 and had a tile engine that could load 150,000 64px square tiles based off an array http://simplehotkey....Tiles/main.html I just repeated the array a lot in notepad to make it huge for testing. Performance varies across browsers and drops as you make the canvas larger.
EA released a html5 game a few years ago called "Lord of Ultima" you might check out their setup as they use MVC for a RTS using html5 and just keep everyone updated with ajax calls, which is probably right up your alley.
You might check out making a custom webkit or application with standalone V8 engine integrated to publish it as an app.
edit:: after playing, your game is awesome
Beta is below, any feedback is appreciated...
It worked fine on my desktop, but it loaded too slow on my droid so I gave up. Overall it's interesting where you've ended up. I think the game could use a bit more polish. I would personally class this more along the lines of an alpha release than a beta, but I guess it depends on how much further you want to take this. I think there's a couple more features you need to add in such as a tutorial, revised UI, fullscreen support, and streaming music to name a few.
Just some suggestions:
Change the construction sound. I want to drill a hole in my head every time it loops. Buttons should also play a sound when you click on them.
Scrolling the map is a bit cumbersome. Sometimes it works, other times the cursor leaves the browser and your game won't register the scroll. Supporting fullscreen will help eliminate this problem. Consider supporting variable scroll speed. When the cursor is anywhere between 0 and 5% from the edge, smoothly accelerate the scrolling. It's a bit clunky right now. I assume on a mobile phone you support flick scrolling?
The UI could use some love. Buttons should adopt 4-states. Idle, hover, pressed, and disabled (at least for PC, 3-states for mobiles). Some nice sprites to animate this would look great. I know this is for mobile phones, but I would probably stick to a lighter version of the C&C UI. Expand and collapse the panels on the edges of the screen when needed. Avoid popping up panels in the middle because it totally obstructs your view.
Background music with the option to enable/disable (for those listening to something else).
I think you should increase the view area. Selecting tanks to defend your base and not being able to see the enemy one screen down from you makes it a tactical nightmare. At the least, support pinch zooming (you could use the mouse wheel for desktops).
Keep up the good work.
I have a slow connection (512k) and it just locked up when the little tanks started crossing the field.
Thanks for the feedback, I think you're right about the UI. It is quite hard to get something that works well on both the PC (browser) and Touch
- you don't have the same mouse overs for example and the screen space is so limited on mobiles. A lot of this is being done just to experiment with the various platforms so the UI is loose but hopefully the engine itself, AI and mechanics, are fairly stable now. Might have to detect and display two different UIs one for touch and one for desktop to get around this. We'll make some changes based on what you've said and work on some ideas.
You can play the game in full screen, well full browser area anyway, using the link below. It was a bit of a cop out for ads the way it is now as we're just playing with ideas for how to possibly make it pay.
We are thinking of releasing an Editor, for the game and the maps, and giving users the chance to publish content that would be available through the menus. Just as a way of extending the game, adding replay value and bringing Mods to mobiles as it were. A lot of the UI, along with the units, maps and factions are customisable.
Will have to look at the slow connection thing - I've tried it on 3g from an iPhone and it seemed to run okay though loading times were a bit of an issue. When we go full app all the files are embedded so it doesn't download anything after the install which will help with this hopefully. The game is only about 25MB at the moment and it loads a lot more than it needs for each level so we'll look at trying to refine this too.
Okay, based on comments, proposed new UI is below which hopefully addresses the feedback but is still both touch and desktop compatible...
That's definitely in a step in the right direction, less the shaky hand drawing
We have just added multiplayer support for up to four players.
Also updated to show better loading progress on Chrome and Safari and fixed a few other bugs.
Plus it now runs, though a little slow, on the Playstation 3's browser.