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DirectX 11 Coming To Browser Games 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the see-the-stubble-on-your-stick-figure's-chin dept.
arcticstoat writes "Forget Farmville, Flash puzzlers and 8-bit home computer emulators. The next generation of browser games will be able to take advantage of DirectX 11 effects, not to mention multi-core processing and both Havok and PhysX physics effects. A new browser plug-in called WebVision will be available for Trinergy's new game engine, Vision Engine 8. This will enable game developers to port all the advanced effects from the game engine over to all the common browsers. Of course, any budding 3D-browser-game dev will face the problem that not every PC has a decent graphics card that can handle advanced graphics effects. Not only that, but limited bandwidth will also limit what effects a developer can realistically implement into a browser game. Nevertheless, this is an interesting development that could result in some tight 3D programming, as well as some much more interesting browser games."
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DirectX 11 Coming To Browser Games

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  • Slashvertisment? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @04:49AM (#31256894) Homepage

    Will it work on Linux?

    I'm pretty sure there's been 3D plugins before. One from Adobe springs to mind - it even had Havok physics engine....

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JackieBrown (987087)

      That is what I was thinking as well.

      It will be like the "old" days before firefox where site after site asked you to upgrade to IE 6.

      • wasn't there some purposed standard and platform independent proposal some year ago? something about 3d canvas and such. I think opera and firefox where the ones pushing for it, using opengl, while google was pushing for the O3D plugin which at least is not based on dx11 and already available for mac windows and linux.

        http://code.google.com/apis/o3d
        https://wiki.mozilla.org/Canvas:3D (now it's called webgl, and I find no trace of the Opera effort for 3d canvas, but I fairly sure they tried it once)
      • That assumes that Windows users will actually install this plugin.

        Will there be a Mac version?

        Will games that actually make use of this be small enough to reload every times your browser cache gets cleared?

        Very, very few browser plugins have become common.

    • by vishbar (862440)
      Does anyone remember Chrome? No, not Google's...Microsoft's [wikipedia.org]. What's old is new again!
  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @04:52AM (#31256904)

    Why bother when we have WebGL [wikipedia.org] (the 3D canvas API) that doesn't require any plugins at all?

    Really, the whole browser plugin idea is a grand, failed experiment. Instead of a fecund atmosphere of competing web extensions, the plugin mechanism has just resulted in one or two players achieving dominance and vendor lock-in.

    Browsers themselves implementing experimental, then standardized functionality is a much more viable approach. It's given us all the real improvements to the web to date.

    How long will it be until we can kill the plugin mechanism entirely?

    • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @07:45AM (#31257754) Homepage

      Agreed, sorta.

      Browser-plugins for supporting media-formats have indeed been precisely what you say, a disaster. Java Applet here, Flash-thingie there (version such-and-such required) ActiveX-shit up left, and Shockwave there. Every one of which attempts to do, more or less, the same thing.

      Security-holes abound, as do incompatibilities and performance-problems. (hands up everyone who's experienced multi-second browser-freeze, even on modern hardware, because some website is loading some ad that happens to be a flash or java-applet!)

      On the other hand, browser-extensions for non-standard behaviour seem to work fine. Stuff like Xmarks, Adblock, various tab-tweaks etc. But these are extensions that are there because the USER has selected to install them, not because the website-developer has decided that you need SpecialPlugin version 7.0.321.9 to seee this page.

      • by QuoteMstr (55051)

        On the other hand.

        Right. Maybe I'm too used to Firefox terminology, but what I'd call a "plugin" presents a new API (of one sort or another) to web content. An "extension" is solely a convenience for the user, and web content shouldn't be able to detect or rely upon it.

        The former is bad, and the latter is of course wonderful --- because it's optional. Plugins have a way of either fading into oblivion or becoming practically mandatory.

      • With the latest version of Java (u18), the browser freeze has been eliminated (as well as a vm crash taking out your whole browser).

        Snoracle have put a ton of effort into making Java plugins more usable.... finally.

    • The idea of a browser is a grand, failed experiment, not only the plugins. Slowly but steadily the browser is turned into a software distribution platform, which is the thing that should have existed first. The document browser is just one application of the software distribution platform.

      • by mrrudge (1120279)
        It's hard to see the browser as a failed experiment, even if you mean a simple just html-rendering browser. A prototype stretched beyond it's initial scope possibly, but the browser is a very large part of the reason the world is increasingly online. But yes, it's the line between browser and os that's blurring, and the passing around of text documents is now a very small part of that.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    after reading DirectX in the title. Why oh why do people insist on using single platform technologies for the web when the web in general is moving in the direction of open technologies?

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @04:56AM (#31256924)
    3D graphics is bandwidth intensive, especially for textures. 3D accelerated postage stamps just won't be that compelling. Procedural textures are vastly smaller but are rather labour intensive to create. While this is a nice concept it won't be replacing downloaded 3D content anytime soon. I have enough trouble convincing people to wait for a 2MB Java applet that's downloaded once and cached with WebStart.
    • by h4rm0ny (722443)

      Can't textures be cached? What if my OS comes with 200MB of standard texture files? What if I can get a debian package of them and just keep it updated? I don't actually know how large texture files are so I'm genuinely open to persuasion on this. However, if people are willing to accept "you must download Silverlight / Flash / Codec X to play this movie", I can well see them installing a textures file. Even 500MB is insignificant for a lot of users as a one-time download or differential updates. And hard
  • Not convinced (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdotNO@SPAMspad.co.uk> on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @05:02AM (#31256964) Homepage

    So, it'll be like a normal game, only take ages to load, have terrible performance and be full of interstitial adverts? Though I realise with a lot of games these days those terms are relative.

  • Spyware on my GPU (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpazmodeusG (1334705) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @05:09AM (#31257004)
    Shaders these days are fully programmable and DirectX allows access to them. I can't see any reason why a shader run off of a webpage couldn't do whatever it wants.
    Graphics cards don't have any privilege ring security like x86s do. They simply trust that whatever shader that is sent to run on them is as trusted as the application running on the CPU that sends them the shader.
    With this plan your browser will be sending your graphics card shaders to run from whatever website you visit.

    Either they are going to have to prune the API down a lot before it is safe (without shaders you may as well be using an earlier version of DirectX), or they are going to have a security nightmare.
    • You've obviously never written any shaders before. Basically, they take a fixed set of inputs and output a fixed set of outputs, there are no system calls, no filesystem access, and no network access. The most malicious thing you could do would be to write an infinite loop in your shader, which wouldn't actually be infinite, because the video card will terminate that shader after not particularly long.

      The actual gaping security hole here is that the plugin will thunk to DirectX, which means it's basically j

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SpazmodeusG (1334705)
        I have made DirectX games a long time ago but apart from simple examples i haven't looked into shaders much. I actually had a look just then and you are right. Obviously by design they don't allow any shaders (even the compute shaders) to access memory using pointers. So you can't arbitrarily write to some memory location on the system bus as i feared. It's obvious they wouldn't allow that even on trusted applications as your could break the whole trust system locally even. I feel silly now.

        I still have
  • Yeah sure... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fotograf (1515543)
    all we need are more applications (yet less those performance demanding) depending on webbrowser. What happened with good old optimized desktop applications? Now even most people dont use the desktop mail client anymore
  • Not all browser games need to be 2D or an ugly sort of 3D that resembles something from the Nintendo 64 or worse. Here is an example of a 3D, browser-based FPS game that not only runs great (with Firefox) but also looks as good as any other modern FPS title:

    http://www.interstellarmarines.com/ [interstellarmarines.com]

    Browser games have enormous potential (with the exception of Flash based games).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      Browser games will have the enormous potential to not run fullscreen and to be able to accidentally click the mouse outside the game area during a crucial moment.

      "Gaming" is about more than just having a 3D renderer.

      http://xkcd.com/484/ [xkcd.com]

      Typing this while waiting for that interstellarmarines game to finish loading level 1. Had time to find the XKCD comic and everything....and am now sat twiddling my thumbs.

  • Unless I missed it, I'm pretty sure DirectX is Windows only. So that means any web game/app that is written in it would have to have be made for either Windows Vista or 7 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectX [wikipedia.org] ) as those are the only 2 OS's that support it. It also means that any and all OSX and Linux boxes wouldn't be able to use these browser games/apps. This type of problem has already caused strains with Flash not being better supported on those OS's, now we'll have a worse issue with this. Yeah, don't
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169)

      Windows is already the predominant gaming OS for PCs; those who get a Mac or Linux implicitly acknowledge from the beginning that very few games are released for their platform and a lot of Windows games won't ever really work, or get ported. As for the WDDM requirement (NT6 or higher), while it's true that there are still a lot of outdated Windows systems out there, Win7 adoption is picking up speed. By the time this capability is available, there will be a lot more DX11-capable boxes than there are now, a

      • by Trelane (16124)

        Windows is already the predominant gaming OS for PCs; those who get a Mac or Linux implicitly acknowledge from the beginning that very few games are released for their platform and a lot of Windows games won't ever really work, or get ported.

        Acknowledgement and acceptance are who wholly separate things. Although I acknolwedge that few games (not "very few" but relatively few, certainly enough to keep me entertained) are released for Linux, I do not accept this. I just don't like Windows, and I don't want

      • by NotBorg (829820)

        I don't implicitly approve of the on going vendor lock in. I don't accept the notion that because windows is "already the predominant gaming OS" that it should be forever that way. Of course Linux and Mac users should express their disapproval for this non-portable technology.

        And haven't we learned that putting a non-portable proprietary technology in a browser is a slap in the face to all? After all this work to rid the world of broken IE only pages you want to hand the lock-in back to that wonderful ve

  • Unity anyone.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by uberchicken (121048)

    I thought Unity was going to be the One True Plugin for all platforms, and that games shops would focus there. I'm so naive.

    • The Panda 3d engine has a BSD license, and you use python to develop the games. They recently released a browser plugin too [panda3d.org]. Their runtime works in Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and of course the iPhone.

      This is the way to go, to get the most platforms covered as possible. Everyone is drooling about their new iPhone/iPad or Android phone or whatever. Mobile is not the next big thing, it's the big thing right now. With a Direct X 11 browser plugin you're achieving very little, what's the use? Halo, the Internet E

  • OpenGL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Lode (1290856) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @05:50AM (#31257184)

    What made someone who made a browser plugin for the web even THINK about DirectX 11? How is that possible? How can someone create something for the web and choose a Windows-only technology instead of OpenGL?

    • by westlake (615356)

      How can someone create something for the web and choose a Windows-only technology instead of OpenGL?

      Because Windows is the dominant PC gaming platform? Because the move to Win 7 is already well-advanced? Windows usage on Steam [arstechnica.com]

      • by ledow (319597)

        http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey [steampowered.com]

        I see your dubious statistics and replace them with the *updated* statistics which are referenced in the article you posted itself (i.e. the Jan 2010 steam hardware survey). As of this minute, it paints a slightly different picture, but pretty much the same (i.e Windows 7 is still losing out to XP - a nine-year-old OS - despite being force-bundled with every machine sold in the last six months... and Vista didn't get that much of a shoe in the door even with its three-

        • I would say what he said was dead on. Steam is the largest digital distributor in the world, and their surveys are likely to be a very good indicator of what is out there. If you use any software that doesn't "only officially runs on Windows", you are most likely looking at a company that highly embraces alternative OS's more so than is typical in the marketplace, and attracts like minded people -- much more likely to be negatively biased than steam would be biased in favor of a windows-only centric view.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      How could anybody possibly think of using Flash?? It doesn't run everywhere!

      Oh wait, the web is *full* of flash pages - we even have extensions to block it because we're sick to the teeth of it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        Flash doesn't run everywhere, but it runs on a lot of devices. My mobile phone, my Mac laptop and my FreeBSD (x86) machine can all run Flash. My SPARC64 machine can't, but that's about it. You're also excluding the iPhone, but only from web delivery (you can package Flash games up as iPhone apps and offer them through the app store).

        In contrast, DirectX 11 doesn't run on any mobile devices, any non-Windows platforms, or any versions of Windows older than Vista. Windows XP apparently still has around

      • Flash exists because people want to use it .... playing a video before flash was a nightmare, with flash installed it is simple

        Now we (finally) have video in the browser in HTML5 maybe flash will finally die .... rather than blocking it for all but the few video site we want to use, we can just uninstall it ...

        Since this is the newest DirectX it will only work in later versions of Windows, only work in IE currently .. and be a huge security hole ....all this to run a game in a browser ...

        Why not ..... down

        • Flash isn't just for playing video. I think there are many people who play more games in Flash than native games.

      • Flash basically runs everywhere where it is allowed (not iphone) and feasible to code for, it is just you and others who are so cool to disable it.

        DirectX on the other hand, is chosen to run on Windows by its vendor itself. Not just Windows, in case of DirectX 11, it will only run on Windows 7.

        There is a technology/plugin which runs on both Windows and Mac (which means 98% of coverage) and can use both OpenGL and DirectX, has professional application support. Shockwave of course. Is Adobe pushing it enough?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It worked for WildTangent... which turned out to be spyware. They interfaced to Direct3D as well. They were windows-only as well. A lot of people paid them for their technology and used it to make all kinds of crappy 3d games in a browser. When that turned out to be profitless people stopped and as far as I know it's been relegated to making crapware games packaged by Gateway and others with new PC installs... just one more piece of spyware in their crapflood. There's no particular reason to believe that th

  • Forget Farmville, Flash puzzlers and 8-bit home computer emulators. The next generation of browser games will be able to take advantage of DirectX 11 effects, not to mention multi-core processing and both Havok and PhysX physics effects.

    Why does this sound familiar. Maybe because it reminds me of Macromedia Shockwave, the browser plugin from the 90-s. With OpenGL, Direct3D support and Havok for physics effects. Yet today we still play Farmville and Flash puzzlers, some of which make millions of dollars per month for their makers.

    Every year another naive startup announces the next generation of gaming on the web. History is full of 3D plugins that failed to gain much traction beyond a small niche of devoted users.

    The fact is browser experie

    • Why does this sound familiar. Maybe because it reminds me of Macromedia Shockwave, the browser plugin from the 90-s. With OpenGL, Direct3D support and Havok for physics effects. Yet today we still play Farmville and Flash puzzlers, some of which make millions of dollars per month for their makers.

      The irony is that Macromedia Shockwave Flash (now Adobe Flash) was what "killed" Macromedia Shockwave (now Adobe Shockwave). Victim of their own success and all that.

      Incidentally, the former name is why Flash file

  • "... limited bandwidth will also limit what effects a developer can realistically implement into a browser game."

    Why does OP claim this? Remember: browsers can also work with local resources. So maybe it could be used like other engines, such as in Everquest II. Sure, you are interacting online... but most of your graphic object definitions are local; there is no "bandwidth limitation" there. Same with some FPS games. Almost all the graphic resources are local, and the only "bandwidth" issue is the amoun
    • by imsabbel (611519)

      Hint:
      "Browser Game" implies a game that is started by visiting a web page.
      No local installation existing before.

      Otherwise it would be pointless.... if you already have it installed locally, why not just run an executable?

      • Says who?

        I think you missed the point of my post. Especially with DirectX11 supported in the browsers, there is no longer any reason for a "browser game" to be something you play on a remote website. In fact, that would be the worst possible utilization of hardware, software, and bandwidth. The paradigm will change. Sure... you might START a game by visiting a website (but even that would be redundant), but usually there would be no need.

        "Otherwise it would be pointless.... if you already have it inst
        • Correction: I mean that you would only have to use one graphics engine for all platforms. And, to be honest, I bet an open-source engine would come along soon.

          I could be wrong. That could have been done already with OpenGL.
      • by Tim C (15259)

        "Browser Game" implies a game that is started by visiting a web page.
        No local installation existing before.

        True, but even Flash objects are cached by browsers (assuming you don't disable the caching). I don't see any reason why this wouldn't load and cache resources on demand (or slightly ahead of demand); there would be a start-up hit, but that's pretty-much inevitable anyway.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Funny)

    by muffen (321442) on Wednesday February 24, 2010 @08:24AM (#31257984)

    Forget Farmville

    ...and start working when I'm at work??

  • I keep wondering if this won't open a whole new series of security exploits. Has Direct X been tested for cracker cooties?
  • by Tom (822)

    And the news is what, exactly?

    Unity 3D [unity3d.com] has had a browser plugin for its engine for several years now. (PC and Mac)

    There are one or two others as well.

    So the news is what, again?

  • You can already use OpenGL if you make it in Java.
  • 3D games in a web browser? Been there, done that. [unity3d.com]

    Also, Trinergy appears to be a Windows-only technology wheras Unity works on MacOS too (and additionally supports native building for iPhone & Wii)

  • Yeah, it's not like anybody has done this or anything [unity3d.com]. I'm sure that *this* time, it will completely revolutionize gaming. And somehow install the desire for hordes of consumers to want to play graphically intense 3d games from their web browser...

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