Whenever talk of mobile gaming of the future arises, exciting new trends like virtual reality and augmented reality often spring to mind. Certainly these new technologies have the capacity to redefine gaming, and the games we may create in the future in virtual reality may one day be restricted only by the limits of our imaginations.
But mobile gaming is not really the best use-case for VR. Mobile games work best as “snackable” time-killers that you dip into when you’re sitting on the bus or in a café, perhaps waiting for friends to arrive. No-one wants to don a full headset and slip into a full-blown immersive experience while they’re waiting in a queue at the supermarket.
We believe that there are two broad approaches to mobile gaming. Firstly, there are native applications, involving their download from software e-stores such as the AppStore, PlayMarket, Windows Marketplace, etc. Native applications usually have better graphics and faster response times, however a player still needs to download and confirm the pulishing process with the software e-stores.
Secondly, there is the browser-based approach, which is launched instantly from the browser, doesn’t require any additional confirmation from the software e-store to be published and therefore is far more accessible to the player and convenient for the operator. The only potential drawback is that it can be slow to present itself to the user.
That’s why, for us at Connective Games, the most exciting recent development in game design is WebGL. It has the ability to revolutionize mobile gaming, offering beautiful graphics and the faster response times of native applications within the browser format.
WebGL (Web Graphics Library) has been around since 2011 but only recently, with the arrival of a new generation of smartphones having powerful enough GPUs to support it and its now being supported by most modern browsers, has it become an exciting tool for in-browser games design.
The advancement of mobile GPU technology, in particular, has been vast over the past few years, meaning that mobile devices are increasingly able to provide console-style graphics and performance, crucially, at lower power.
Until quite recently, all browser-based games had pretty simple graphics and as previously mentioned, very poor response times, especially for multi-user games, as the creation of the simplest 2D graphics and animation consumed all the CPU’s computation resources.