Game talkWhere 3d browser stuff stands

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Jan 152011

Been awhile since I posted about how progress is going on this front. Everyone is very excited about HTML5, of course, but particularly with the latest H.264 news, Flash is still going to be pretty widely used. WebGL is going to be in Firefox 4, (basically, the OpenGL ES 2.0 API will be available).

To my eye, the WebGL stuff is behind the Flash stuff in terms of framerate consistency and performance — but it does have all sorts of nifty off-the-shelf integration with Web data on the fly, because it is literally “a 3d web page” made out of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Here’s a video of the “Flight of the Navigator” demo — if you have a WebGL enabled browser, you can actually try it yourself.

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Game talkThe flip side: Apple vs Flash

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Apr 082010

I actually knew about this while writing the other post, but it hadn’t seemed to break publicly on the Net yet. Well, now it has. There’s language in the new SDK agreement for iPhone OS 4.0 that appears to ban using any development environment or toolchain that Apple doesn’t like. Most especially, it seems aimed at preventing Adobe from marketing the flagship feature in CS5: compiling for iPhone standalone apps.

3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

CS5 launches on Monday, by the way, so this is a huge blow to Adobe.

There is already plenty of speculation as to whether this catches stuff like Unity, MonoTouch, Appcelerator (they had a blog post up about it, but it’s gone now!), and who knows what else. Basically, all cross-compilation tools, which is a large amount of the middleware out there.

This is the dark side of the last post I wrote. Epically closed means, well, epically closed. And in this case, it means creating barriers to content creation that effectively mean it costs more dollars to engage in the market. That’s what happens when you have closed-off production-and-distribution chains: smaller developers lose out.

Game talkGoogle’s O3D and VW’s

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Jun 012009

GigaOM has an article titled Will O3D Get Google Back Into Virtual Worlds?. Apparently, at the MetaverseU conference (which I usually attend but couldn’t this time), the tech lead for O3D said that his team’s next goal is to fully integrate it into Chrome. By the end of the year.

After his presentation, a group of developers surrounded Kokkevis, peppering him with tech-heavy questions. He told me there weren’t any companies creating MMOs in O3D yet, but he raised the possibility that Google might port Sketchup and Google Earth into O3D, “once we become part of the browser.” (Both have been implemented for MMO-related projects.)

I wrote about O3D back in April; its integration into Chrome is certainly interesting, but Chrome itself has quite a lot of adoption barriers yet. But it’s still highly intriguing tech to keep an eye on. If Sketchup and Google Earth migrate to it, that’s a pair of apps to drive adoption, for sure.

Meanwhile, the same article says Unity has reached 10m installs…

Game talkMass market game hardware

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Aug 032008

The guys at Unity have posted hardware stats for their web users, in a manner akin to how Valve publishes stats for theirs. The results may be surprising to folks still used to the core gamer market.

Among the key things:

  • The single most popular video card, at 12% of installs, is the Intel 945.
  • Dual Core CPUs are common — like, 44%.
  • 1/4 of the machines run at DX7 level, and ~70% support 2.0 shaders.
  • But almost 4% still run in software mode.
  • 90% or so have graphics pixel fillrates of 2.0GP/s or less. That’s basically like a Radeon x1600, a card which sells on Amazon mostly used for between $45 and $120.
  • Almost 80% are running without a DX10 card and without Vista; only 2.6% can even use DX10 (since it requires both).

It’s worth bearing in mind that Unity likely still isn’t as casual as the true mass market, despite their good penetration (this data had about a million users in it), since it requires a plugin install.

This speaks, of course, to designing for everywhere.