“As Hard as Atari’s E.T.” Bored Breaker Now Available in Your Browser via WebGL

Man, I’m sooo gonna put that review quote on the back of the box! If I had a box. Remember when software came in boxes? Good times! I remember busting open the shrink wrap and taking a deep breath of New Game Smell. Oh, the intoxicating aroma of fresh cardboard mixed with the air of far off packing plants! Er… What was I talking about? Sorry, me memory’s a little shot from decades of breathing toxic paper plant fumes.

Oh, right! Bored Breaker has busted beyond its touchscreen confines and is ready to break boredom (and boards!) in web windows worldwide! It took a little longer than expected due to the whole Chrome plug-in issue, but it’s ready and we’ve got some exiting new tech to talk about to go along with it.

Play Bored Breaker in Your Browser (Firefox performs best)

So… The plug-in issue. As you might imagine, Google’s roadmap to remove NPAPI from Chrome has caused quite a kerfuffle in the game hobbyist community. Many developers actually relied on the Unity Web Player plug-in to post their work to the world, especially following popular game jams such as the famous Ludum Dare. Fortunately, Unity engineers have not been resting on their laurels. While it is still considered a “preview” Unity 5 can build out programs in an entirely new format: WebGL.

WebGL (or, more appropriately, OpenGL ES 2.0 for Web) is a cross-platform, web standard for low-level 3D graphics based on OpenGL ES 2.0 standard already in use on mobile devices. This allows compatible browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera) to run 3D applications natively without the need for any 3rd party plug-ins. No more plug-ins, no more special permissions, no more scary pop-up to frighten the ‘casuals’! So, what black magic is powering this madness? Believe it or not, JavaScript. Yup, this new browser-based version of Bored Breaker, complete with lighting, physics, score saving, and one sweet ragdoll, is running on the same language used to help display those boring ol’ web pages like GUO you visit everyday (er, wait…)!

Obviously, a few caveats are in order. Unity’s implementation of WebGL is, technically, in a beta/preview kinda phase. While I haven’t ran into any problems in testing, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. On the upside, fixing said issues (so long as it isn’t some kind of repeatable bug) should be as simple as refreshing or restarting your browser.

Chrome’s current implementation of WebGL seems to be a bit shaky and, even a game as simple as Bored Breaker, was plagued with little bursts of hesitation. On a similar but darker note, Opera gives a warning message that Unity’s version of WebGL will not function. Surprisingly, it does. Well, except for the sound. And the stutter. The stuttering isn’t much of a surprise as the current version of Opera is actually based on Google’s Chrome. Firefox (Love it more everyday!) ran silky smooth. I did not have a chance to test Safari as the Mrs. keeps the Mac at school so… Good luck, cultists! Lemme know how it goes.

Finally, as WebGL is still in its infancy (relatively speaking), there is a chance that the whole thing could stop working with a browser update. Just like the rest of the Internet Winking smile

I’m pleased to deliver this version of Bored Breaker to I and I’s PC bredren. This toy plays a little rougher without a multi-touch screen, but it’s still the same satisfying score-chasing as its Android cousin. The opportunity to bring this application out on such a new platform while sharing what might the future of the web with everyone was too intriguing of a chance to pass up.

We love you! Thanks for experimenting.

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