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Udacity adds HTML5 Game Development Course (udacity.com)
114 points by vignesh_vs_in on Jan 29, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 32 comments

HTML5 gaming is an interesting frontier but I am sceptical that we will see a resurgence of the sort of the casually played (and developed) amateur games that we saw during the hayday of newgrounds and similar sites.

In retrospect Macromedia made a stroke of genius with Flash in bundling design & animation tools, sound editors and a code editor into the same IDE.

All of this combined in an easy-to-pirate package along with the thousands of tutorials and code samples available online made game development almost shockingly easy.

Myself and a more artistic friend could literally sit in his bedroom and crank out a complete game over a weekend by taking turns at the computer and drinking heavily. No thinking about "engines", writing asset import code , muddling through JS patterns/frameworks or being stumped by cross browser quirks.

Deployment and getting instant feedback was as simple as uploading the .swf to deviantart.com and spamming the link to all of our contacts via MSN messenger.

All of the .js game dev stuff by comparison looks like hard work.

I'm curious, do you think it was the IDE that was the game changer (excuse the pun)? If JS had a game dev IDE with bundles sound editor etc... do you think it would be as popular as Flash?

I can't say for certain but I would wager it was certainly a significant part of it.

You could put a programmer or an artist down in front of it and it was intuitive enough and gave an "integrated" feel which was also probably part of what made Visual Basic popular.

Basically the interface felt "empowering" to the newbie in a way that something like vim doesn't.

For example, you could create an animated sprite and with a couple of clicks transform it into something that you could manipulate directly in the code as an object. No importing third party libraries or creating "sprite sheets" was required.

I'm not sure if the bar for games has become significantly higher apart from in the AAA area, plenty of successful indie titles still look like SNES games.

A games/multimedia specific JS IDE that dealt with as much of the crap surrounding the JS ecosystem as possible could certainly have a chance of being popular. Though I think something built around http://love2d.org/ with easy browser publishing might be better in some ways.

Our startup's IDE, Construct 2, attempts to do just that for HTML5: http://www.scirra.com

Do you think that's in the right direction?

Interesting, though you seem to be going for a "no coding required" approach which always ends up hitting limits pretty quickly.

Do you support an easy way to add custom JS code for logic that the in built tools cannot handle elegantly?

Also interested in how this works, do you generate JS code or do you have a JS engine which reads settings from other files?

There aren't any hard-coded limits, and you can do things like make recursive functions with unique local variables at each call. We have a JS SDK for custom code too: https://www.scirra.com/manual/15/sdk

I've used Construct 2, it's definitely good stuff.

Do you plan making a linux version?

Or do you think that because games now have a higher bar we will see fewer but better JS games?

Thanks for your interest in the course!!

Re: Jiggy2011 - All game dev is hard-work; JS is easier in some ways, harder in others. We've had good 2D IDE's for 20 years now to make 2D games; Making the runtime HTML5 isn't new (especially with the ability to export SWF to JS with easel.js)

Re: CodeCube5 - We'll be covering perf on rendering, input, sound and overall entity processing

Re: muyuu - NaCl is awesome! Html5 is awesome! Web game development is a win either way; NaCl is great for devs who have an existing codebase, HTML5 generally works for most others.

blog post by course instructor Colt McAnlis http://mainroach.blogspot.in/2013/01/the-past-and-future-of-...

Looks great, but I guess NaCl isn't covered in the course.

Pardon my ignorance, but where is NaCl in HTML5?

That's why I don't expect it to be covered, despite NaCl being his main area and it being a course on game development.

What is everyone's favorite HTML5 game engine? So far out of all that I've tried I like the Isogenic game engine: https://github.com/coolbloke1324/ige_prototype

I've been using Scirra's Construct 2 (http://www.scirra.com/construct2) and like it so far. I do programming for my day job but I like how this abstracts things that I need to do to make a game like tying art assets to game rules so I can focus on the game design and less time on learning lots of subsystems.

Curious to hear about other game engines as well.

I highly recommend Construct 2: http://www.scirra.com/construct2

It takes care of most of the heavy lifting when developing games for HTML5, but it still has a very open and powerful scripting language (unlike something like gamesalad which is more like using pre-built blocks).

Edit - Ha, beaten by 1 minute.

Have you made anything using it yet?

Current favorite: ImpactJS. Closed source, costs $100 to get started, but comes with a nice level editor and a very involved community.

Great for making 2d games.

I'm liking create.js and easel.js

I like gameQueryJS.com as there's almost no learning curve if you know jQuery.

This looks like you need to have experience coding to take this class.

If you're a beginner or know a beginner who is interested in HTML 5 game development, you need to check out http://codehs.com

We teach you how to program from the ground up and get you as quickly as possible to creating awesome games in the browser.

The whole time, you get personal help from tutors who answer your questions and give you feedback on all of your programs.

You can make some really fun games really quickly. Here are some demos:


Whoa, interesting ... I'm particularly curious as to what performance improvements he will go over.

I've been working on a little html5 game engine myself. It lets you use sprites in a retained mode like API, while still giving you an immediate mode interface to manage the game logic. It's still pretty early, need to do more work on some samples and documentation, but there are some docs there in the wiki :)


While HTML5 hasn't been employed heavily by the gaming industry, signs of it are showing up. Gas Powered Games' recently teased "Project Mercury", their next-gen cloud powered Modding Tool & Web platform – http://youtu.be/kuGdQqUhKD4

Such projects are possible only due to HTML5/WebGL, and the innovations on top of it. In a couple of years, we'd be seeing mainstream studios shipping AAA Games as Web-based applications.

Just noticed the design change on Udacity. Interesting, but I preferred the old one.

There's something seriously wrong with the new design. Clicking on just about anything results in a 5-15 second loading time for pages, it feels like it is bogged down in database queries for routine page access. Furthermore, some class pages have out of control javascript that pummels most browsers and pins CPUs. Wasn't like this at all before the new design, which seems to not have been tested.

Hey droithomme, could you please email some concrete examples (like I'm on page X, do Y after which there is a long delay) to attila [at] udacity.com? We're trying to iron out all the issues as quickly as possible.

The course catalog looks very much like Coursera's, which isn't bad.

The UI for a specific class, the unlabeled boxes above the videos to display progress, is horrible though. The list to the right side of the video was far clearer. Each unit of a course is accessed via a drop down now, as opposed to the collapsible list that used to be to the right of the videos.

Also, they seem to have lost all their orange.

I'd be really curious to know which libraries, frameworks, or engines they intend to employ. Just yesterday I started learning the melonJS canvas game engine and it's been a lot of fun so far!

According to the blog post in a link from this thread they are using https://code.google.com/p/gritsgame/

box2d.js is the only external script that is going to be used (confirmed by the instructor).

Why is it still unavailable today Feb. 4th??

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