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Mozilla and Unity Team Up to Rule Web Gameplay

by João Paulo Marques on Apr 18, 2014 |

Mozilla and Unity recently announced they have joined forces to bring Unity's popular game engine to the web using WebGL standard and Mozilla’s asm.js.

Backed by a strong base of developers, Unity started in 2005 as a game development tool for the OS X and then grew to a multi-platform game engine that currently supports iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry 10, OS X, Linux, Flash, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Windows Phone 8, and Wii U. Until now, this engine was only available in the browser through a plugin, but soon this reality will change.

Last month, at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, Mozilla and Unity showcased a version of the 3D shooter Dead Trigger 2 running inside the Firefox browser, without the need of additional plugins while maintaining a smoothly gaming experience.

This is the culmination of the efforts made by Unity and Mozilla for the past 2 years and was possible because of two technologies supported by Mozilla. The first one, WebGL, is a JavaScript API based on OpenGL ES 2.0 and exposed through the HTML5 Canvas for rendering 3D graphics without the need of additional plugins. The second one, asm.js, is a strict subset and optimized version of JavaScript that allows a browser-based application to be written in other languages than JavaScript, such as C or C++, which according to Mozilla can help boost the performance of these applications to reach near-native speeds.

Mozilla said in their blog, that browser based games will work well in all modern desktop browsers that fully support WebGL, with improved performance in Firefox because of its asm.js support. The export to WebGL is expected to happen in the end of this year with the upcoming version 5.0 of Unity that will allow the creation of richer experience in web gaming using the popular game-engine.

This announcement follows a previous one where Mozilla and Epic previewed Unreal Engine 4 running in Firefox, and clearly shows Mozilla's commitment of pushing technologies that can help users have a web experience with nothing more than a browser and near native-speed.

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