The Citadel Demo has been released! HTML 5 and the future of Gaming as demonstrated by Mozilla and Epic…

The future of game and application development is being previewed by Mozilla and Epic. Released to the public this week the Citadel demo encapsulates all of the latest technologies that are making high speed web games and apps possible. While web gaming and apps have achieved a moderate level of notoriety they remain only a curiosity to many.

Making use of HTML5, JavaScript and WebGL the team from Epic and Mozilla used Emscripten to compile the C++ source code into 52 megabytes of JavaScript. The code itself is based on the always impressive Epic Unreal Engine 3 that makes use of WebGL to draw the HTML 5 canvas, producing the impressive visuals.

Jumping to the site and hitting the play button starts the Citadel demo, the 52meg JavaScript file is downloaded by Firefox and compiled into assembler (asm.js) using OdinMonkey. The resulting code is executed at near native speeds.

highpants-citadel-demo-002The demo has a neat Benchmark feature (by clicking the top menu and benchmark) that confirms another interesting aspect of the new technology, performance scaling. The game speed seems to be tied very closely to the graphics card in your system, scaling dependent on the power of the video card in your computer. A good indicator that the code is hitting your computers graphics card directly.

Running on a mid range gaming machine the demo averages between 130 and 150 frames per second.  Speeds of over 200fps should be possible on high end gaming rigs. Also impressive is the speed of the demo on non gaming machines. Low end video cards are able to run the demo at over 30fps, still a very playable frame rate.

As the recent experiences of Australian game company Greenheart Games and their recently released title Game Dev Tycoon, the traditional practice of producing .exe based games is fraught with issues. Piracy being the number one issue. With a clever blend of the free to play model and this new technology a gaming company may just have the future in their hands.

Users of the latest version of Firefox check out the demo here… For some Chrome users the demo may be a bit buggy this should be fixed soon.

Reference: The Epic Citadel Demo
Reference: ExtremeTech