Mozilla strives to take Web gaming to the next level with Unreal Engine 4

  • 13 March 2014
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Around this time last year Mozilla and Epic Games showed off the Unreal 3 game engine running in the browser, using a combination of the WebGL 3D graphics API and asm.js, the high performance subset of JavaScript. Commercial games built using this technology were launched late in the year.
With this apparently successful foray into using the browser as a rich gaming platform, Mozilla and Epic today demonstrated a preview of Epic's next engine, Unreal Engine 4, again boasting near-native speeds. The Web version of UE4 uses Emscripten to compile regular C and C++ code into asm.js.
Over the past year, Mozilla has improved asm.js's performance, to go from around 40 percent of native performance, to something like 67 percent of native. Our own testing largely supported the organization's claims, though we noted certain limitations at the time, such as JavaScript's lack of multithreading.
Mozilla promotes NomNom Games' Monster Madness, the first commercial Unreal 3/asm.js Web game, as a demonstration of how the technology can be used successfully. Jeremy Stieglitz, CTO at NomNom Games, said that it took just a day to port the game to the Web and that the ease of access made it an instant hit among its users, with more than a quarter of players using the Web version.

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Unreal Engine 4 launches today. What we’re releasing is both simple and radical: everything.

Epic’s goal is to put the engine within reach of everyone interested in building games and 3D content, from indies to large triple-A development teams, and Minecraft creators as well. For $19/month you can have access to everything, including the Unreal Editor in ready-to-run form, and the engine’s complete C++ source code hosted on GitHub for collaborative development.

This is the complete technology we at Epic use when building our own games, forged by years of experience shipping games like Gears of War for Xbox and Infinity Blade for iOS, and now reinvented for a new generation. Having the full C++ source provides the ultimate flexibility and puts developers in control of their schedules and destinies: Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the GitHub community, or build it yourself – and then share it with others.
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