Brandissimo! is in the middle of producing a massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in HTML5, scheduled to launch this fall. This universe will have HTML5 games, a dynamic scoring system and virtual economy, chat, avatars, and just about everything else you can imagine. Our goal is to build a world that is accessible on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. We could not be more excited about it.
How does a team even begin to build such a thing? We didn’t wake up one day and suddenly become HTML5 game experts. While HTML5 at its core is simply markup language — just like HTML — creating HTML5 games and entertainment experiences is much more complicated than that. So we spoke to a lot of people and we read a lot of material and now we know just enough to be dangerous.
Here are five great resources that have helped us:
The Reality of HTML5 Game Development
The best place to start is Rich Davey’s unparalleled treatise on HTML5, The Reality of HTML5 Game Development and Making Money from It. You can think of Davey’s essay as a sort of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy … of HTML5. (He really should put “Don’t Panic!” in large red letters at the beginning.) Rich explains everything — and I mean everything — you need to know about the current state of HTML5 game development. And he does so in plain English, so even your CEO will be able to understand. (That’s a huge bonus to us geeks.)
The article Beginning HTML5 Game Development – and its several sequels — are a good starting point for someone just trying to learn the basics. Slynk covers most of the basics, like using the <canvas> tag, adding sound, rudimentary drawing techniques, and how to bind simple events to functions for input handling. His clearly-written blog posts are very easy to follow and should be required reading before you start building the next great web app.
Bruce Rogers and Cory Ondrejka wrote HTML5 Games 0.1: Speedy Sprites, and in-depth analysis of the results of their HTML5 game benchmarking tool –JSGameBench – and the data they uncovered when comparing the various methods for high performance sprite-rendering in browsers.
Developer Alex Kessinger has written a fantastic step-by-step tutorial on How to Make an HTML5 iPhone App. Alex discusses all the key elements of creating an HTML5 game, including the application cache, notes about differences in available screen real estate in development mode, setting Apache headers, offline caching, and a slew of other important details you will encounter when building your first HTML5 game.
The “gaming” section at HTML5 Rocks contains dozens of tutorials, articles, and case studies related specifically to building HTML5-based games. Some of the recent entries they’ve posted are:
These five resources have been instrumental to us as we produce HTML5 games, and we frequently reference them still. Like any emerging technology, many of the specific details are going to evolve as more and more developers get involved. But the core concepts presented in these articles should remain fairly stable and useful for anyone looking to get started. If you have any favorites that you’d recommend, please drop us a note!