Google Ports Quake II to HTML5

You’ve probably already heard about this, but in case you haven’t, I wanted to share this. Google’s engineers have done a quick port of a Java version of the classic Quake II video game so that it works strictly with HTML5 resources. No plugins are needed to play Quake II in your browser.

I’ve seen a few people talk about the fact that it’s not extremely impressive to port a game as old as Quake II into HTML5. However, from my standpoint, it’s a pretty incredible achievement. Sure, Quake II isn’t the most advanced game in the world, and Flash is probably capable of quite a bit more right now (though, judging from 99% of the games currently available in Flash, I’m not sure about that). However, the fact that this game can run without Flash (in HTML5, which means it will probably work extremely well on the iPhone and iPad before much longer), means that the possibilities for doing similar, tangentially-related projects.

For instance, if Quake maps are fully programmable through HTML5, imagine what colleges and universities could do to advance the concept of virtual tours. Make no mistake, this is big news. Whether or not you think this is impressive, it still shows how much more we will be able to do with HTML5 without having to rely on Flash.

Sure, Quake II was released 13 years ago, but you also have to remember that Web browsers were initially developed simply to display plain, static text. Video games originated when a few guys messing around with an oscilloscope created Pong. The bottom line is, everything has to start somewhere, and I’d say Quake II is a pretty fantastic place to begin the journey.

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