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Mozilla Develops Gladius 3D Game Engine 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-versions-every-six-hours dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla is developing its own 3D engine called Gladius as part of a wider Paladin project whose aim it is to bring 3D to the web. As all programmers know, the best way to learn is to experiment, and that's exactly what Mozilla is doing. In order to develop Gladius the team decided to create a game called RescueFox (best played in Firefox). It's a very basic prototype, and Mozilla has no interest in taking it further, but the purpose it served was to highlight what still needs to be done to make Gladius a solid web browser 3D engine solution."
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Mozilla Develops Gladius 3D Game Engine

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  • Just what we need... an annoying technology that manufacturers can use to try to convince us to "upgrade" all of our laptops and monitors.

    • Re:Oh goodie... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01, 2011 @04:12PM (#37579096)

      Just what we need... an annoying technology that manufacturers can use to try to convince us to "upgrade" all of our laptops and monitors.

      Yeah, I wish there were more stories on Slashdot about how to live in harmony with nature away from all the trappings of modern society. I don't come here for all this news about "upgrades" and "technology" and stuff.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        what gp is trying to say is that we are sick to the death of webgl, html5 and suchlike crap.

        it aint gonna take off, no matter how much the whiney idiots that promote this crap carry on.

        for one, we don't want to go back to the days of "best played in Firefox [or insert favorite browser here]"

        • by Canazza (1428553)

          umm... HTML5 is here, and it's in every modern browser. Has been for some time.

          And as for 3D in the browser, there are only two ways around the "Best played in X".
          1) Each browser performs at the same speed (frankly impossible)
          2) Plugins, like Flash, or Unity3D, of which people here seem to be allergic to.

          so what you're wanting, really, is to go back to using Mosaic.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well those graphics are about 1998 level, so unless you're running really old hardware it shouldn't be that taxing.

      Still though who needs this? We have 3d game engines, have for years, and sticking in in a one size fits all browser is a step back for any good technology pushing game.

      Its like 15 years later everyone forgot how completely useless and crappy VRML was and they want to do it all over again.

      Know what I want my web browser to do? Render HTML, correctly, and quickly. Do javascript if I allow it

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Don't forget the nightmare that will be security. what is the one driver that really needs to be bare metal? Which driver on a system is the most likely to be flaky? That would be graphics. Personally i'm glad i moved to Comodo Dragon after Moz went nuts with their upgrade schedule.
        • by sg_oneill (159032)

          That boat sailed long ago. This is just a bunch of javascript.

          WebGL is pretty much in every browser (Well maybe not IE, not sure) , and has been for a while now.

          • Set sail for browser exploits. Over and over and over again.
          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            If it is hardware accelerated then by the very definition it has to have access to the hardware. Again which driver is the most likely to be out of date, flaky, and which bypasses pretty much ALL security because that would slow the living hell out of the hardware? Why that would be the GPU.

            Think about it friend, the modern GPU is 500Mhz with anywhere from 256Mb to 1Gb of RAM. That is a hell of a lot more power than most of us had when the nasties were spreading through the systems of the 90s. Now what can

            • by Nikker (749551)
              I would play 3D games anyway really. If the game is fun and fluid then what really is the difference if I click a link or a desktop icon?

              From a distributor's standpoint, they already know people will play games regardless of it being distributed by web/steam/physical CD/DVD. Sure most people here will cringe when someone clicks on web game links because of how slow it will run or the ability to spread malware but we also know most of the millions will do it just the same.

              What would really be cool is
              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                Uhhh...you DO know we have these things called app stores, yes?Hell my new Asus came with over a dozen games and the Asus app store if I want more. Then there is Steam, GOG, D2D, tons of places you can get games for little cost without opening your machine to the world which is exactly what we are talking about here.

                Those of us old enough remember these same claims made by a similar product, a little thing called ActiveX. it had games, could do work, all kinds of really neat stuff....until it became such a

      • by Anonymous Coward

        [quote]Still though who needs this? We have 3d game engines, have for years, and sticking in in a one size fits all browser is a step back for any good technology pushing game.[/quote]

        This isn't for "good technology pushing games." This is for Minecraft, Facebook games, etc. They are actually becoming quite popular, though probably not among the Slashdot crowd. Even though these games look like they're from 1998, they're currently done in Flash, so they still run slow as hell on integrated video.

        So there is

      • back in 95 the "true computer engineers" said they did not need 2D graphics, command-line was better than any GUI could ever become, Internet was a useless toy. They've been proved wrong since. in 2011 some think 3D in a browser will always be useless. but we're all seeing software starting to move the cloud (cloud storage, gmail, salesforce, etc ...), and we're all using 3D. let's talk again in 2027!!!
  • by will_die (586523) on Saturday October 01, 2011 @04:12PM (#37579098) Homepage
    I wonder what projects pila, pugio and plumbatae will be.
  • by Saija (1114681) on Saturday October 01, 2011 @04:16PM (#37579120) Journal
    That page only shows empty, ahem, space...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      White eagle on a white background. The flag of the French military.

    • by nzac (1822298) on Saturday October 01, 2011 @04:40PM (#37579278)

      Disable noscript... (nothing came up before I did that)

      Its a tech demo still pretty cool though.
      Find the fox and double click on it to win.

      • by Waccoon (1186667)

        Welcome to the future of the Internet. A bold, dynamic, exciting frontier where if you don't have the latest browser technology, you'll get a blank page. I'm reliving the years of looking at a spinning hourglass for minutes at a time and wondering if the computer will ever actually do anything.

        Seriously, even for a tech demo, why isn't there some kind of notification that your browser can't handle the demo? Couldn't they print a placeholder what the demo is and what is required, and then erase the messag

        • by nzac (1822298)

          That's the fault to the Slashdot Editors.
          If they had of directed you though the lead in page their might be been warnings.

          • by Waccoon (1186667)

            No, it's definitely the deveopers' fault. The RescueFox game has its own sub-domain, so there really isn't a lead-in page. The developer blog provides no easy way to link directly to the project, and states that it "works" in Firefox, but doesn't say what versions. It's just bad design all around, and we all know how much of that is in web pages.

            • states that it "works" in Firefox, but doesn't say what versions.

              It probably means it works in whatever version of Firefox the automatic update mechanism gives you.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Unfortunately there does seem to be an easy way of blocking this type of content in AdBlock, for those of us who don't use NoScript. When it loads Firefox hangs for about 10 seconds, and this on a quad core machine with 6GB RAM, and naturally I want to block ads using it.

  • Oh well. Was actually pretty impressive, smooth animation and everything.

  • I seem to recall several attempts at 3D plugins and interfaces over the years, all of which withered and blew away in the winds of "who gives a shit."

    Games are one of those areas where the web will not be able to compete with local processing power for a very, very long time. Sure you can do some primitive demos, but the sheer bandwidth required to transfer the textures for modern video games are way beyond the capabilities of current internet technology.

    Even Second Life with it's shading instead of t

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I seem to recall several attempts at 3D plugins and interfaces over the years VRML needs brains! BRAAAAAINNNNSSS!
      • I worked on an early project that used VRML, very simple models for event layouts... tables, podiums, chairs etc. Worked pretty well, and am somewhat surprised VRML never made it farther... though it was really slow on some of the computers still in use at the time, around 1997 iirc.
    • by ultranova (717540)

      Sure you can do some primitive demos, but the sheer bandwidth required to transfer the textures for modern video games are way beyond the capabilities of current internet technology.

      You could use SVG for textures. Then it's the actual detail, not resolution, that determines their size. Also, since you can render SVG to any resolution, you get nice and sharp textures independent of your monitor resolution.

      • SVG is graphics done in XML. Do you have any idea how much bigger SVG files would be than textures if you tried to do that, in order to get the same level of image detail.

        Thanks for the laugh. That was the funniest thing I've read in days.

  • We do not need plugins.

    We need next generation webGL and CSS 3D. If Mozilla wants to contribute they should make an alternative to DirectWrite as non exists in Linux. OpenGL has some features of Direct3D, but it lacks in many areas outside of 3D rendering for accelerated 2D.

    The dying of flash also shows the market is moving to pen standards.

    • 3D support is not and will not be a common requirement for a long time, so it makes sense to use an optional plugin rather than bloating the browser with crap most people will never need.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Billly Gates (198444)

        Have you seen the Firefox demo's when Firefox 4 came out? All 3D rendered with webgl. Accelerated html 5 is coming and has many uses. I already see the HP add in 3D on slashdot if I use Firefox or IE 9. It is not in Chrome yet as the canvas is not accelerated by default yet.

        With decent integrated GPUs that actually do not suck in AMDs and now Intels latest offerings it is certainly doable and coming. MS has demos including a game of scrabble [microsoft.com]. Mostly 3D is for games, children love Flash games these days and

    • they should make an alternative to DirectWrite as non exists in Linux

      I can't say I am particularly familiar with DirectWrite - can you explain what it does that's missing in Linux, compared to e.g. Pango/FreeType in the latter?

  • cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mewsenews (251487) on Saturday October 01, 2011 @04:37PM (#37579254) Homepage
    this is definitely what mozilla needs rather than a stable release cycle and MSI packages for enterprise
    • Re:cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tridus (79566) on Saturday October 01, 2011 @04:47PM (#37579322) Homepage

      Pfft. Stability? Easy deployability? Who needs that stuff? Mozilla's target audience isn't the enterprise or the home. It's a magical land of make believe.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        End users don't want stability. What they want is truly massive version numbers.
        Version number ftw!

  • by EdZ (755139)
    I can't be the only one to wonder why Mozilla would be making a Gradius game.
  • It started with the UI... eliminating status bars and minimizing the ui to an extreme.

    Then they changed the numbering on releases.

    Now they are copying the game engine. (another feature that chrome already has)

    Why innovate for yourselves if you can just copy everything that chrome has done already?!?

    Of course copying Chrome is counter-productive... If I want my browser to be like Chrome I am going to use Chrome. Hey mozilla team: If you want people to use your browser you have to innovate on your own and giv

    • I'm sure that you think that video game consoles that use analog sticks, rumble and touch technology are ripping off the competition, too...

      If Chrome has a feature that puts it at an advantage, why shouldn't Firefox have a similar feature?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by phizi0n (1237812)

      The UI was minimized because of netbooks, not because of Chrome.

      Numbering is artificial and of little significance. Mozilla's plan is to eventually remove it entirely.

      It seems you're confusing a javascript game engine that uses the WebGL API and the WebGL API itself? All major browsers are implementing WebGL which allows browsers to render 3D. The article is about a javascript game engine that uses WebGL and will run on any WebGL capable browser. Many people will be writing javascript/WebGL game engines and

    • Now they are copying the game engine. (another feature that chrome already has)

      Why innovate for yourselves if you can just copy everything that chrome has done already?!?

      Neither Firefox nor Chrome has a full game engine. They both have WebGL though..

      Paladin/Gladius is just a game engine for WebGL - not a new thing that will be part of the browser itself. So it will run in both Firefox and Chrome. There are plenty of such game engines, hopefully this new one will be useful too.

  • Speed the death of Flash and speed the adoption of HTML5+JS as the goto client-side software development platform for most things. The Joystick API is amongst the greatest things coming out of this effort:

    https://wiki.mozilla.org/JoystickAPI [mozilla.org]

    Mozilla is doing good stuff here, buck up ppl!

  • I've got a ridiculously powerful graphics card (Nvidia GTX 560 TI) and the "game" is hella slow.
    Maybe it runs better on windows...

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      yea how dare mozilla not optimize a demo game on a unreleased engine, and yes its fairly fast here, just a little jittery on a 9600GT and windows

    • A lot less powerful GT218 here, but the game is more or less still playable.
      I think in it's current state, the game isn't GPU bound. Probably, no matter the humongous GPU you throw at it, you'll still see slow downs due to CPU-bound limiting factors (like javascript).

    • by BZ (40346)

      Chances are, it does. The state of hardware acceleration of graphics on Windows is way better in all browsers right now than on non-Windows platforms...

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday October 01, 2011 @05:40PM (#37579586) Journal

    It's a very basic prototype, and Mozilla has no interest in taking it further, but the purpose it served was to highlight what still needs to be done to make Gladius a solid web browser 3D engine solution.

    From history, the most successful game engines are those which are written first for a specific game that is sold (Quake and Unreal are two prominent examples, but there are many more). Which makes sense - how else do you find out what a real game needs? I'm not sure a simplistic prototype is going to cut it here...

    • by carou (88501)

      The other feature of successful game engines is that they, generally speaking, don't pin a core i7 at 100% usage drawing half a dozen objects at 15fps with a lighting model which would have looked dated in 2001.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The same code was iterated through Mechwarrior 2 (all of them), Interstate 76 and 83, and Heavy Gear. Having played all those games I can see the resemblance but it totally eluded me at the time.

  • I am sure that many Firefox users would like to get the opportunity to use a Gladius on the Mozilla management team
    Until the invention of the machine gun, the roman short sword was the weapon that had killed the most people in history.

  • How thoughtful of them to choose a project name without at least googling for conflicts. :/

    https://sourceforge.net/projects/paladin/ [sourceforge.net]

    Any ideas on who to contact? I can't find anything on Mozilla's project pages.

  • time to switch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Saturday October 01, 2011 @06:09PM (#37579738) Homepage Journal

    Between the version number / release cycle insanity and this, I think it's finally time to switch. What a shame, I've been using Firefox since it was called Phoenix. But the update today broke another extension, and building 3D into the browser is a sign of insanity that I thought we had wiped out with the demise of VMRL.

    Dear Mozilla developers: If it's not something the majority of your users are going to actually use, it belongs into an extension or a plugin. Also, there are already several 3D engines with Firefox plugins, with years of experience in the field, because you don't build a good engine in a lazy summer. So with all due respect, what the fuck are you thinking?

    I'm afraid you've fallen into the way-too-common bloatware trap: Not realizing when your product is feature complete and what it needs is polishing, not more stuff bolted on. There's enough CSS3 and HTML5 support still missing, for example.

    Time to take a serious look at Chrome. :-(

    • by phizi0n (1237812)

      FYI every major browser supports WebGL for 3D and this article is about a javascript game engine. They are not adding this engine to Firefox, it is just a javascript game engine that allows web developers to create WebGL games easier.

      So with all due respect, what the fuck are you ranting about?

      • by Goaway (82658)

        Did you get this far down the thread without already noticing that Slashdot is dumb as toast nowadays? Nobody posting in this thread has even the tiniest sliver of a clue what they are talking about.

      • by Tom (822)

        I withdraw my point about including it in the browser.

        I sustain my points about there being a lot more important things and on the Mozilla team having lost sight of what really matters.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So you're bitching about Firefox's rapid release cycle and WebGL support, but you want to remedy that by looking seriously at Chrome? Uh, hello?

    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      Time to take a serious look at Chrome.

      At least consider Iron [srware.net], where the full source is available and it doesn't force you to have Google Update and its friends.

      First time I tried Chrome, it read 20GB and wrote 4GB of data. I don't know what it was doing, but it sure looks suspicious to me, and I'm not too thrilled that every cold start of the browser unnecessarily tortures my SSD.

      • by Tom (822)

        That's a good link, thanks a lot. Mod parent up (I can't because I already commented on this story, obviously).

      • by bgarcia (33222)
        Iron was basically a joke for the paranoid:

        Is Iron a Scam? Yes [hybridsource.org]

        The article title appears to be too harsh, but basically somebody compared the Iron source code to the Chromium source code and found that the only real changes were to disable 3 items that were already user-configurable within Chromium.

        Here's another article that suggests that the actual reason for the Iron fork was just to make money (using Google ads on their website) by taking advantage of peoples' fears about Google: The story of Iron [neugierig.org]

        • by Waccoon (1186667)

          The primary reason for using Iron, despite "only 3 real changes" is the fact that the project is already built. Google makes it hard to get the official Chromium builds by repeatedly moving around the binaries. Do you see any binaries downloadable from the page you just linked? You have to hunt for them, and you have to do that every time you want to update. No thanks.

          Linux people may be thrilled to compile their own code, but most people just want to download it and go. To a lot of people, having a bu

    • This is javascript. It's not something they built into Firefox, it's a game engine they wrote in Javascript, specifically so they could test and make their browser more efficient.
    • by antdude (79039)

      Why upgrade? Just stick with the stable version for now, v3.6.xx, until Mozilla stops supporting it. That is what I am doing.

    • Between the version number / release cycle insanity and this, I think it's finally time to switch. What a shame, I've been using Firefox since it was called Phoenix. But the update today broke another extension, and building 3D into the browser is a sign of insanity that I thought we had wiped out with the demise of VMRL.

      Dear Mozilla developers: If it's not something the majority of your users are going to actually use, it belongs into an extension or a plugin. Also, there are already several 3D engines with Firefox plugins, with years of experience in the field, because you don't build a good engine in a lazy summer. So with all due respect, what the fuck are you thinking?

      I'm afraid you've fallen into the way-too-common bloatware trap: Not realizing when your product is feature complete and what it needs is polishing, not more stuff bolted on. There's enough CSS3 and HTML5 support still missing, for example.

      Time to take a serious look at Chrome. :-(

      Both Firefox and Chrome use the same 3D API: WebGL. Firefox is not adding any new browser components here. The Slashdot summary is a little misleading - Paladin/Gladius is just a game engine written in JS/HTML5/WebGL, not something new being included in the browser. So there is nothing being bolted on here. (Or are you saying that WebGL is unneeded bloat? That's a separate argument, but with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera all supporting it or close to releasing support for it, that is a done deal I think

  • Will there be a new version every week that makes obsolete all scripts you created in the old engine?

  • http://news.cnet.com/Netscape-buys-3D-vendor-Paper-Software/2100-1033_3-204692.html

    "Netscape Communications yesterday moved to bolster its 3D technology for its Navigator browser with the acquisition of Paper Software. ... Separately, Netscape yesterday announced Live3D technology for adding VRML capabilities to its browser. A test version of a Navigator plug-in based on the new technology is available now to let users created and read VRML Web pages."

    • Tuned into a radio lately? It's called the retro/nostalgia cycle. Everything nineties is new again! Of course, anyone who wants a 3D web experience is already married to Second Life, but the rest of us can pretend.
  • DO YOU THINK THIS IS A GAME!?

  • Nothing like trying to rescue a polar bear cub in a snowstorm

  • ...game development.

    WebGL is great, canvas is great, web sockets are great, Audio support is terrible.

    If it becomes possible to feed samples into an audio player (or other more complicated synchronization methods) in HTML5, then you're pretty much set.

  • Does it have one? Because it's a slideshow on my notebook.

    Also, I thought 3D with h/w acceleration was available in Flash for several years now. Didn't see anyone use it though, except technical demos.

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