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Would you play (and pay for) 2D adventure games in the browser?

posted by hansschmucker on - last edited - Viewed by 1.1K users
First of all, this thread not meant to discuss the technological challenges a developer would encounter creating such a game. There are virtually none. In my 2nd year at university I created an engine for this purpose that ran on all then-current browsers fluidly using a 800x600 display window. It's just not an issue. Or at least not an issue that can't be overcome if a developer is willing to invest some time optimizing the engine.

A bit of background: An adventure game is at it's core simply a matter of layering images on top of each other and even InternetExplorer is very much capable of layerering the typical 4 full size layers and a number of splite-type layers without running into performance issues.

So here's a little FAQ about the technology first.

Q: Browsers are not able to render such a game fast enough
A: Browsers are very much optimized for the exact type of drawing an adventure game needs and can easily render most scenes even on slower computers.

Q: Browsers can't offer sound and video like a normal application
A: All current browsers include some form of video and audio playback. Sometimes this is in the form of a default video plugin that's available in the browser (Internet Explorer/Media Player plugin), sometimes it's a native engine (Firefox, Safari), but there's always something.

Q: You can't play these games offline
A: All modern browsers can by now via special offline storage (think Cookies on steroids). Internet Explorer needs the Gears Plugin in order to do it, though.

Q: Browser games can't run fullscreen
A: While web applications can't control fullscreen mode, all current browsers have one and applications can rearrange content accordingly when the user enters it.

The issue here is whether users would actually care about it and how it should be funded. (No I'm not planning on doing one right now, this is just scientific curiosity).

The benefits:
  • Zero launch time
  • Quick switching to other applications
  • Available everywhere
For me that would be enough to actually prefer it running inside the browser to a dedicated application, but that's because most of my work actually happens in the web browser.

So, what are your thoughts?
40 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • No... the experience would be broken by IMs and pop-ups from other sites. Why would you switch between applications? Doesn't that throw you out of the game's atmosphere?
  • Erhm.... have you checked Samorost out?
  • That's one thing that falls into both the benefit and drawback categories. For me adventure games are a relaxing break from work and squeezing in a few minutes here and there would be great for me. But of course, the atmosphere would almost certainly suffer.
  • smashing;169561 said:
    Erhm.... have you checked Samorost out?
    Bought it, actually. But it's not what I mean, both from a technological and a gameplay perspective. Samarost is a collection of independent puzzles and it's a standalone Flash game.
  • Sorry if this question is not what this thread is for but why wouldn't you just develop in Flash?

    Scalable graphics plus video and 3D.
  • Hmmm... so something like Free Realms then?
  • Toothless Gibbon;169571 said:
    Sorry if this question is not what this thread is for but why wouldn't you just develop in Flash?

    Scalable graphics plus video and 3D.
    Compatibility, usability, integration, accessibility would be the key points.

    (I should probably explain further)
    Compatibility: Using Flash means that it will only run on Adobe certified platforms and that would directly conflict with one of the key benefits. You couldn't play it on the iPhone, not on Android, not on the Pre...

    Usability: Flash applications well, they just feel horrible. There are excpetions, but for the most part any Flash app feels first and foremost like a Flash app. The right-click menu does the rest.

    Integration: Flash doesn't include the behaviours your used to from applications. This ranges from text selection over font rendering to button designs. It just always feels wrong.

    Accessibility: Well, it's Flash. What else do I have to say.
  • smashing;169572 said:
    Hmmm... so something like Free Realms then?
    Is there a browser-based version of FR?
  • hansschmucker;169576 said:
    Is there a browser-based version of FR?
    You can't run Free Realms without a browser.
  • smashing;169578 said:
    You can't run Free Realms without a browser.
    I meant the game actually running inside the browser. Not just the launch page (TTG games actually only work with a browser to. The launcher is actually a InternetExplorer instance).
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