HTML5 Game Development Overview and Resources

By James Payne

So, you have finally decided to take the plunge and develop the next big video game. You do not have a ton of experience in the gaming arena (or maybe you do) and have heard that HTML5 - the latest specification of the W3C's Hypertext Markup Language - has a small learning curve, yet is powerful enough to create cross-browser video games and mobile applications, in addition to its traditional use in web development. Inside this article, we will look at some key features of HTML5 for game development and some resources to help you get started.

Benefits of Game Development with HTML5

HTML5 has really begun to take up speed in the past few years, and as browser support has finally caught up to the specification's capabilities, more and more the markup language is being taken up by web developers, mobile app creators, and - surprising to some - game programmers as well. Part of the reason for the excitement and love of HTML5 stems from its relative ease of use and shallow learning curve. Unlike traditional game development languages - such as C++ - HTML5 is pretty simple to learn, thanks in part to its easy structure and clear-cut concepts. Add to that the fact that you can do so much with the language in such a short time, and you have yourself a natural winner. Of course, that simplicity also lends itself to a certain amount of perceived lack of power, and HTML5 certainly has its doubters. But at the end of the day, when combined with JavaScript and a powerful set of game development frameworks and libraries, it is hard to deny the strength and flexibility that HTML5 has to offer. Unlike some other languages, HTML5 has another helpful benefit: cross-platform compatibility. With a little extra thought and care, the games you develop can find themselves working well on virtually any of today's modern devices, without the need for porting to each type of device.

HTML5 Game Development Resources and Tools

To help get you started developing games with HTML5 and JavaScript, here are some resources, tools, and frameworks guaranteed to make your life - and your programming - much easier.

HTML5 Game Engines, Frameworks, and Development Platforms

Game engines and game frameworks help gaming developers structure their code and reduce the amount of programming it takes to make a finished project - among other things. HTML5 has no shortage of these tools, and for newbies looking for a good place to start, it can often be an overwhelming process. At the end of the day, no matter what HTML5 framework you choose, be sure that you read plenty of reviews, watch YouTube videos of the software at work, and download any trial versions before making a final commitment. Choosing the wrong framework will cost you both money and time! Some popular HTML5 game engine choices include Construct2, ImpactJS, GameMaker, and Phaser - to name but a few. Each framework offers its own unique set of features and pricing options - some are only good for 2D games, while others come with map editors and world designers and allow you to make 3D gameplay. A great website to find a good engine is the HTML5 Game Engines website . It has a breakdown of some of the top frameworks.

Learning Resources for HTML5 Game Development

Of course, having the right tool in your development toolbox is only part of the battle when it comes to creating great games. Knowledge and technique are the true keys to making enjoyable video games. To learn more about the specification and programming techniques, check out some of the links below. Mozilla's web game development page is full of insightful articles, game theory, and links to invaluable resources: Game Mechanic Explorer is an amazing website that walks you through concrete code examples for everything from game mechanics to special effects. Not only do you see the code, but you get to see how each piece works. A great resource for game developers of all levels. The list of learning resources would not be complete if I did not include the HTML5 Game Development website  and their very informative tutorial section, which covers topics such as code, theory, level design, and best practices - to name but a few.

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