May 08, 2013

Will Runescape Drive HTML5 Adaptation?

As HTML5 plods toward becoming a formal standard, currently slated for sometime in 2014, many Web and game developers are adopting the code languages in anticipation. The HTML5 language’s latest adoption comes in the form of Runescape, the in-browser free Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), which has been operating since 2001.

Runescape’s latest iteration of the awards-winning game, Runescape 3, was recently introduced. In a shocking development, the game’s maker, U.K.-based Jagex, will drop Java in favor of HTML5, meaning the medieval MMORPG could potentially run off smart TVs and on mobile phones. 

Jagex tells Gamasutra the move to HTML5 was necessary and based off the assumption that the HTML5 language will become the standard code for Web developers in the very near future.

Not everyone is onboard with the quick adaptation of the nascent language, however. Big players, like Facebook (NewsAlert), have detracted from HTML5 by saying the language is difficult to apply to all desktop and mobile browsers, though this may change with time. 

Jagex, however, fully committed itself to HTML5 and is pioneering its adaptation.

“There needed to be a move, but there were no clear answers as to where," Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard told Gamasutra‘s Mike Rose. "Flash doesn’t have the power. Microsoft’s (News Alert) got something interesting with Silverlight, but it’s only on Internet Explorer and there are no standards there. We could deploy our own custom plug-in, but then we’d see a cut on the install base.”

Indeed, a good deal of Web developers, especially game developers, are anticipating HTML5 because, as Illyriad Games developer James Niesewand tells Massively, "It treats audio, video, 3D graphics and effects as equal partners to text, without the need for plugins."

But easily translating the language, and subsequent Web apps, to all of mobile and mobile browsers will be an important watermark for coding language. HTML5 may not be appropriate for every developer, but its flexibility will likely prove suitable for most.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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