Webmonkey, along with the rest of Wired, ignores April Fool’s Day pranks. Which is to say I don’t post about them, not even the good ones. But occasionally an April Fool’s prank is good enough that it makes the leap from joke to real thing — like MMOAsteroids.
I’m not sure about the “massive” part of MMOAsteroid (it appears, based on posts at Hacker News, that the game randomly assigns players to different boards to avoid overwhelming the screen and making it unplayable), but otherwise it’s pretty awesome. And highly addictive.
A developer named Kevin Roast has created a slick demo of the arcade classic Asteroids using the Canvas element inside HTML5.
Use the arrow keys and the space bar to control your ship. Also highly recommended: press “R” to switch to the retro-styled graphics. The complex polygons of the modern graphics are harder to see (sorry, Kevin).
Originally developed by Apple, Canvas is now part of the HTML5 draft specification and is supported by most major browsers. IE8 is lacking native support (it works with this add-on) but IE9 will fix that when it reaches the beta stage later this month.
Kevin’s demo has been around for a couple of months, but we’re revisiting it because the author has taken the original code and created a brand new Canvas benchmark tool to test how quickly and smoothly your browser can render HTML5 animations. Run his new test code and you’ll see a game simulation with more asteroids than your browser can handle.
Also, when playing the actual game, you can recreate this effect by pressing the “A” key as you fly around. This adds new asteroids to the playing field, so you can test your browser and your skills.