Mobile game developer Wooga has published a mobile game’s source code on GitHub under an open source software license. The game was released as an open source project called Pocket Island and has been developing for the past year. The project’s goal was to highlight the capabilities of the standard as an alternative to Flash-based gaming. However, Wooga is giving up on it, at least for now, until HTML5 has more practicality.
Along with releasing the source code, Wooga published a blog entry describing some of the lessons that developers learned from the experience. There is potential there, but it is not quite yet ready, the German game maker noted. It is hoping that, by releasing the source code, it will contribute to the Web development community’s body of knowledge.
“The reason we’re making Pocket Island open source is so that talented developers all around the world can learn from the team’s work here at Wooga, before breaking and improving on it,” the company’s blog stated. “The promise of HTML5 is still an exciting one and while the time for mass market implementation may not be in 2012, we’re confident its time will come.”
HTML5 is an open platform technology for the Web that allows a game to be played on any mobile device through the Web browser. Currently, platforms like Apple’s iOS and Google (News - Alert) Android require developers to create unique code for each platform so the app can communicate with the platform and vice versa. HTML5’s universal language only requires developers to make one codebase for a game.
Pocket Island originally began as Magic land, a native Facebook (News - Alert) app that was well into its development cycle when the buzz surrounding HTML5 reached a high in early 2011. Wooga had been asked to work on a game that would launch alongside the platform, so in May 2011 the company decided to create a HTML5 version of Magic Land, called “Magic Land Island.”
“Given the excitement around the technology, the buzz in the media, the buzz among engineers you’d bump into at conferences, it would have been absurd not to at least test the technology. So, we did,” said Philipp Moeser, Wooga’s co-founder and CTO.
When the game first launched, it relied heavily on the user having a stable Internet connection. After toying with limited level downloads, the team launched a version in the iOS app store that could be played offline, helping with reducing the amount of users that dropped out, but also lead to a static user experience. License-wise, the open source project has an MIT (News - Alert) license and the art assets are under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license, letting others remix, tweak and build upon the work non-commercially.
According to Wooga, the level of sophistication of native apps has simply not been achieved with HTML5 at this point. So the company is releasing the source code to give other developers the chance to learn from their experience and to perhaps improve on the technology. Wooga said that it hopes that the community will use the project’s work to continue to promote the HTML5 standard.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli