The History

Around September 2009 I started playing around with the new HTML 5 Canvas element. I was quite fascinated of the emerging possibilities this new technology had to offer in terms of graphics without any need of plug-in installation. As a Linux follower I have a native reluctance towards silverlight and that abomination called flash. Which leaves very little room for any sane browser games. Well, that is, until now.

Raycasting JavaScript
I enjoyed the little Wolfenstein 3d canvas demos that appeared and gave the concept a shot. I wrote a pure JavaScript raycasting engine which took about 3 months to implement. The result was rather disappointing. Implementing 3D functions consumed way too much time and JavaScript as a language is a pain in the ass. Yeah I’m a wasted Java brat but I don’t give two cents about it.

This is an actual screenshot from the engine with a link at the bottom if you care to try it out. This raycasting JavaScript engine hogs the CPU at 100% and there is not much to look at really but if you are interested you may try it out:

Canvas Raycasting

Canvas Raycasting

Play me

Ultima VI Canvas Clone
Shortly after Christmas 2009 I dropped the whole ray-casting project in favor of starting an Ultima 6 clone on a JavaScript/Canvas basis. 2D was way more fun and less tedious to get something working. Decrypting the original map files with pu6e and programming the conversation systems were really interesting tasks to be confronted with. Origin used simple 2D tiles with a slight isometric touch which looks somewhat awkward at first but after some time it fits the scene perfectly.

The Ultima VI clone does take some time to load though as the map and the tileset are rather big. Expect a gross of 2,5 Mb. Here is a screenshot and a link to the game:

Ultima 6 HTML Development Screens:

Ultima 6 HTML 5 Canvas Clone

Ultima 6 HTML 5 Canvas Clone

Play me

Anyway, JavaScript was again getting more and more in my way and I decided to finally switch to some other language. The GWT Google Web Toolkit seemed the way to go. The Java to JavaScript compiler and two halfway mature canvas plug-ins paved the way for some intense hacking. I abandoned the Ultima 6 project May 2010 in favor of something own.

A new hope
In August 2010 the first line of a canvas MORPG (working title ZULU) was written. GWT and GWTCanvas shall be the foundation for the game running on an Apache Tomcat Server. Until this day Zulu has come quite a long way. Especially since this is my first own full-fledged game creating experience.

Stay tuned for some tech talk, Zulu progress information and pure Java goodness.

-Sebastian

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