Work Starts on my WebGL Game!


Caught up in all the excitement of WebGL becoming more mainstream, I’m building another javascript game. My first offering to the browser based game community was Manic Spaceman, a straight platform game based on ManicMiner which was a little rough around the edges, but boshed out on the quick for the 8weekgame competition.

This time round I intend to go full 3d, taking advantage of WebGL, and make a desert strike style game. I considered starting from scratch, as I did with Manic Spaceman, and writing my own engine to power it all, however given that I’ve next to no 3d experience I thought I would reduce the scope a little and use an engine that’s already out there. After about a week of research I’ve settled for Three.js – I say “settled”, but it’s actually shaping up to be a pretty awesome engine. There’s are a few decent engines out there, all obviously in their infancy, but having reviewed the feature set and looked at the demo’s and read around other developers experiences,  Three feels like the best choice. The other’s I considered were;

The Short List

Other contenders

I only considered open source offerings and looked for engines which

  • were still being actively developed (!)
  • seemed performant with high poly counts
  • handle shadows/ reflections
  • exposed access to GLSL
  • UV Mapping support
  • be relatively stable.

It was surprising how many engines had broken demo’s on their site, which never bodes well, but on the whole, they are all good offerings with almost all of them fulfilling my requirements.

While building my game, I shall be working through some OpenGL tutorials I found- a port of the well known NeHe OpenGL tutorial set, on LearningWebGL.com, which should put me in good stead to build my next game totally from scratch.

I shall post updates as I have something to show.  So far I’ve written a HeightMap generator which works from a greyscale bitmap to build terrains, and I’m currently working on getting the model to follow the landscape; I’ve a long road ahead!

  1. #1 by garfbradaz on February 28, 2011 - 20:53

    @the_shawson your awesome Shaw!!!

  2. #2 by Benjamin DeLillo on March 9, 2011 - 01:07

    Hey, I’m the developer of WebGLU. I’d say WebGLU is stable, performant, and I am still actively developing it. The other requirements are all doable with shaders.

  3. #3 by shawson on March 10, 2011 - 14:25

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for posting! Like I said it was a tough choice! All the engines I looked at were good, but I had to choose one of them- I guess the clincher for me was that Three had pretty much daily check-ins to their git hub repository and a lot of varied examples which, for someone who’s starting out in 3d development like myself, is an invaluable learning tool.

    I didn’t intend to detract from your offering at all- just listed all the ones I considered incase there were some people hadn’t come across.

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