Thanks to his presence as a background image, W.T. Monkey is immune to ass kicking.
Sometimes you just want to kick the web’s ass. Destroy it with tiny dots blasted from your Asteroids-style space ship floating above all the paragraphs and images and semantically meaningless wrapper divs.
Or maybe that’s just me. But if you find yourself feeling the same way, well, you too can kick the web’s ass.
Kick Ass will add a triangular spaceship to any page. Use the arrow keys to steer and the space bar to shoot. And remember, like the site says, “it’s cooler if you make your own sound effects.”
To rebuild the same gameplay found in the arcade classic using browser-native code, he’s relying on local storage, HTML5 audio, Canvas and @font-face. Harvey is sharing all the code on Github as well, so you can run it locally.
Reminiscent of Google’s recent Pac-Man port, Harvey’s attempt is yet another example of web standards being used instead of Flash to create animated, interactive experiences in the browser.
The Flash plug-in is still the most popular platform choice for browser-based games, and it has some advantages over HTML5. Most notably, a Flash game would work in any browser that allows the plug-in, but to play Harvey’s game, you’ll need to use a browser that supports the elements he’s using — Firefox, Opera and Chrome work just fine, but IE8 is a no-go.
On his blog post about the project, he notes some of the other stumbling blocks he encountered when porting the game. For instance, there’s no easy way to loop HTML5 audio, there isn’t a convenient tool for drawing Canvas shapes, and using Canvas/HTML5 for a game even this simple still puts more strain on your CPU than using Flash.
We’re giving away a pair of passes to Google I/O today.
A little over a week ago, we kicked off our contest, encouraging you to send us any HTML5 web apps or Google Chrome browser extensions you’ve built. Alternatively, we asked you to tell us how you’d describe a web app to your grandmother. We got a heap of submissions, but we worked our way through the field and picked two winners.
Abraham Williams and Mike Cantelon will be heading to Google’s premiere developer event, which takes place May 19 and 20 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, free of charge.
Here are the winning apps, chosen by the Webmonkey staff, along with a couple of honorable mentions:
Williams came up with this cool extension for Chrome that shows additional information about a user’s followers on Twitter — in particular, it shows where you and another user’s social graphs overlap. Install the extension and visit somebody’s Twitter profile page. You’ll see additional grids loading below their stack of followers. You see which of your friends are also following that user, which friends you have in common and which followers you have in common. It’s an excellent social discovery tool for Twitter power users, and the best extension for Twitter’s stock web interface we’ve seen yet. Congrats, Abraham!
“Up front, I’ll say that the reason we are moving to Flash is because of Java’s adoption rates. It is not, in fact, because of the language itself but because of Java’s deployment model. We suspect that we lose somewhere between thirty and fifty percent of users due simply to the fact that we are in Java.”
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever tried to load applets on the web. They are slow and prone to crashing. To be fair, the same could be said of other technologies, including Flash. Java tends to get more than its equal share of criticism, for what I’d call legitimate reasons.
Still, Java has been embraced for most mobile game development, excluding the iPhone. Google’s Android open development platform uses Java. Sun estimates that its Micro Edition of Java is deployed on billions of devices.
So, is Flash the answer? Flash has been popular for creating web-based games. Adobe’s Flex framework has made programming Flash easier, giving developers a more standard environment than a timeline. But Dale Beerman, the developer making the leap to Flash, admits Java’s development environment is still “years ahead” of Flash.
Flash is also mostly unproven as a mobile language. Apple has not allowed it on the iPhone, apparently over worries of battery life. Adobe announced that it has an iPhone version ready to go, should Apple change its mind. So, Flash is getting some mobile love.
The iPhone, of course, has its own development framework, based on Objective C. There are major benefits to developing for a device as well-loved as the iPhone. Unlike Java and Flash, games written for the iPhone cannot be used elsewhere.
As we said recently, mobile casual games are going to be big. There will always be multiple platforms, but the fight for number one is still in the early rounds. Do you think it’s fair to rag on Java? Is Flash a viable alternative? Or, will all the world eventually have an iPhone?
The more iPhones that are purchased (and there have been about 5 million 3G models sold), the fewer owners are early adopters. That means apps will become more mainstream. The trend in desktop gaming appears to be holding true for iPhone: casual games rule.
Though action games, which take advantage of the iPhone accelerometer, are quite popular, so are simple, graphics-light games that can be played in short bursts, but are also incredibly addictive. Bejeweled remains popular for paid apps, and four of the top free apps are games, including my new favorite, Trace.
The game at first appears a lot like Line Rider, a classic Flash game where you draw a course then watch your player move along it. Trace takes it a step further, as you avoid obstacles in order to finish each level.
The controls are way simple: you can move left and right, as well as jump. As for drawing your path, you can create or erase lines with the tip of a finger. With those few commands, much can be done. I’ve spent more time than I would like to admit playing Trace. And unfortunately for me, the app keeps track of the time.
I expect games like these to continue to grow in popularity on the iPhone, as the general public recognizes it’s a device worth the price. The iPhone is capable of graphics less childish than Trace’s crayon look, but mobile devices–and the ever popular casual games–don’t require a pretty face.