Epic Citadel HTML5 demo launched; IE browsers are left out

In 2011, Epic Games released a version of its Unreal Engine 3 demo, Epic Citadel, that will work with Adobe's Flash Player 11, enabling any web browser with Flash Player 11 support to run the demo. Today, Epic released a new version of the Epic Citadel demo that is designed to work in browsers that use HTML5 but that support is somewhat limited at the moment.

The Epic Citadel HTML5 webpage was developed by a joint team of Epic programmers working with a team from Mozilla, the creators of the Firefox web browser. The final result is supposed to allow anyone who uses a supported HTML5 browser to explore the medieval castle demo running on Unreal Engine 3. The demo does not have any interactive elements.

However, the FAQ page for Epic Citadel HTML5 points out that some browsers won't run the demo, even if they support HTML5. None of the versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer will run the demo, because they don't support WebGL, which Microsoft claims is too much of a security risk to add to any version of IE. Safari and Opera also can't run Epic Citadel, even though they can support WebGL via a manual activation.

Google's Chrome web browser currently crashes when it tries to run Epic Citadel HTML5 but the FAQ page claims this problem is "expected to be resolved by the Chrome team soon." Technically, any version of Firefox should be able to run Epic Citadel HTML5, but Epic recommends that uses download the latest Firefox Nightly build for the best performance.

Source: Epic Games

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58 Comments

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aside from not running on ie/chrome and being heavily modified js...it's still a really great w.i.p.
been fiddling with it, running firefox 20 on a core2duo laptop with 4 gigabytes of ram and nvidia 9600 gm at about 40 frames per second

It runs surprisingly well for me on Firefox 20.1 with a paltry Geforce 310 at the help. Certainly not "smooth" in any way, but playable at least.

This is NOT pure HTML5. This is using 2 specs that ARE NOT a part of HTML, or ECMA script, and ARE NOT approved by the W3C. asm.js in particular is a horrible hack - conceived, drafted, and implemented solely by Mozilla - that tries to work around the limitations of JavaScript by defining lose coding conventions that JS compilers can use as hints for optimization. And the fact that now they're compiling C/C++ to JavaScript....does anyone else see how backwards this is??

Is this where the web is headed? The browser developers all just haphazardly implement non-standards and encourage developers to target their specific browsers instead of approved standards? Did we not learn from the sins of IE6??

Sure, we'll have a plug-in free web...we'll just all have to install 4 browsers and switch between them depending on what web site we're visiting...

JonathanMarston said,
And the fact that now they're compiling C/C++ to JavaScript....does anyone else see how backwards this is??

As apposed to what? Rewriting the entire engine from the ground up? Sure, they took some shortcuts. This is only a technology demo, not meant to be a salable product.

This thing runs like arse in my browser (FF 20).

And here I thought HTML5 was going to be awesome.

Suppose technology will improve in future (or more accurately, in far future versions of browsers because lol Mozilla).

DAOWAce said,
This thing runs like arse in my browser (FF 20).

And here I thought HTML5 was going to be awesome.

Suppose technology will improve in future (or more accurately, in far future versions of browsers because lol Mozilla).

What graphics card do you have? I'm pretty certain you need a decent graphics card for this. It's not a video - it's actual 3D rendering going on.

adrynalyne said,
It is smooth as butter for me on FF 23 and OS X. With integrated graphics, no less.

One great thing about Macs: they've always come with decent hardware.

3770K @4.5GHz and a GTX 670 @1250MHz.

Pretty sure it's all about the browser version. Mozilla has been dragging their feet with HTML5 support while adding a whole host of other useless crap we didn't ask for (mimicking Chrome essentially).

By comparison, the actual client version of Epic Citadel (accessed via the UDK) runs extremely well.

It runs amazingly well for me (Firefox 23 Nightly on a 2009 Mac Mini with a 9400M), it show gets a higher average FPS in the benchmark than in Portal on this system (At similar resolutions).

DAOWAce said,
3770K @4.5GHz and a GTX 670 @1250MHz.

Pretty sure it's all about the browser version. Mozilla has been dragging their feet with HTML5 support while adding a whole host of other useless crap we didn't ask for (mimicking Chrome essentially).

By comparison, the actual client version of Epic Citadel (accessed via the UDK) runs extremely well.

You need Firefox Nightly to run it using asm.js. Otherwise its going to be slow. I benchmarked at 48 FPS with an 8800gt.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
If you're going to try HTML5, then rely on Java, what's the point of moving away from Flash?

Because it crashes a lot, isn't supported on a whole bunch of platforms, is a secuirty risk and Adobe's support is best described as "haphazard".

sphbecker said,
I don't follow... Game developers should not be allowed to help demo new technology?

My point was that web programming should be left to professionals. Designing a website that only runs on one pre-release browser and which doesn't support the most commonly used browsers is simply bad practice.

IE11 will apparently support WebGL. Atleast it's looking like it will from the Blue/8.1 leaks.

And the Flash version of this demo runs better and is far more reliable. HTML5 is over rated.

HTML5 and JS are **** compared to flash... There are like 0 APIs it is horrendously too little too late. Thats the problem with W3C, they take so bloody long to get anything done and by the time they're finished its outdated.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
IE11 will apparently support WebGL. Atleast it's looking like it will from the Blue/8.1 leaks.

And the Flash version of this demo runs better and is far more reliable. HTML5 is over rated.

I don't think you understand what a Technology Demo is for.

Ezekiel Carsella said,
HTML5 is boss dude? why u think the IE10 team supports it so much? I find it amazing and beautifull compared to flash

It still don't support everything Flash could do years ago. And the stuff it can do, is nearly always worse than the Flash alternative. With Flash it's always going to work and look the same in every single browser as well, with HTML5 it's completely hit and miss. I've developed with both heavily and Flash is still way ahead including its dev tools.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
It still don't support everything Flash could do years ago. And the stuff it can do, is nearly always worse than the Flash alternative. With Flash it's always going to work and look the same in every single browser as well, with HTML5 it's completely hit and miss. I've developed with both heavily and Flash is still way ahead including its dev tools.

Flash is slow, crashes all the time, must be downloaded and isn't supported on every platform and media type. If I was talking to you in 2005, I would respect your opinion, but these days it's unacceptable to support the idea that a proprietary Web browser plug-in should be widely used on the Web. There are so many device types and scenarios that we need to support.

The WHATWG and the W3C's representatives in certain working groups have been working very hard to ensure new Web technologies go through the standards process as quickly as possible. The only big thing I think we're missing on the Web platform is Flash's support DRM on videos (and perhaps a better asynchronous alternative to the Web Storage and IndexDB APIs).

Meph said,

The WHATWG and the W3C's representatives in certain working groups have been working very hard to ensure new Web technologies go through the standards process as quickly as possible. The only big thing I think we're missing on the Web platform is Flash's support DRM on videos (and perhaps a better asynchronous alternative to the Web Storage and IndexDB APIs).

No, the W3C are not working really hard at all and most of the new HTML5 features are:

a) features that Firefox, Webkit and Safari are supported out-of-standards since years ago.
b) html5 add several changes that no designer will use. It adds a lot of bloat to the css specification.
c) movie and audio tags, however, without a proper specification, it is just "here is the tags that you are asked for, what you do with that is not my concern".

HTML5 specification could has been done in a simple weekend.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

It still don't support everything Flash could do years ago. And the stuff it can do, is nearly always worse than the Flash alternative. With Flash it's always going to work and look the same in every single browser as well, with HTML5 it's completely hit and miss. I've developed with both heavily and Flash is still way ahead including its dev tools.

Because it is a more mature technology. Give HTML5 some time.

ingramator said,
HTML5 and JS are **** compared to flash... There are like 0 APIs it is horrendously too little too late..

Rubbish. You have to start somewhere and WebGL just keeps getting better and better. These are tech demos on technology that is still maturing, but it will inevitably catch up then surpass Flash.

Wasn't HTML5 supposed to eliminate "You need this Plugin" etc for a seamless experience?

Now it's been replaced with "You need this browser". Hardly a step up. I tried it in Chrome and it just kept crashing.

Edited by McKay, May 3 2013, 12:08am :

McKay said,
Wasn't HTML5 supposed to eliminate "You need this Plugin" etc for a seamless experience?

Now it's been replaced with "You need this browser". Hardly a step up. I tried it in Chrome and it just kept crashing.

Yeah that's what I thought as well... Give me a plugin anyday, I simply refuse to have to keep switching between Chrome, FF and IE because devs are stuck in the middle of this mess.

ingramator said,

Yeah that's what I thought as well... Give me a plugin anyday, I simply refuse to have to keep switching between Chrome, FF and IE because devs are stuck in the middle of this mess.

The standard isn't widely supported yet, so I'm not sure what you're expecting.

McKay said,
Wasn't HTML5 supposed to eliminate "You need this Plugin" etc for a seamless experience?

Now it's been replaced with "You need this browser". Hardly a step up. I tried it in Chrome and it just kept crashing.

There are some glaring compatibility issues here. This is not a final product, it is a proof of concept.

"Technically, any version of Firefox should be able to run Epic Citadel HTML5."

Great, I should still have Firefox 1.0 in some of my floppy disks!

francescob said,
"Technically, any version of Firefox should be able to run Epic Citadel HTML5."

Great, I should still have Firefox 1.0 in some of my floppy disks!

Lol - limited to a browser essentially but should run on any HTML5 browser

So a web browser demo that can (at the moment) work only in one browser? That seems a bit... limited.

Raa said,
So a web browser demo that can (at the moment) work only in one browser? That seems a bit... limited.

I have firefox 21 and it still asks to download nightly.

Raa said,
So a web browser demo that can (at the moment) work only in one browser? That seems a bit... limited.

In Chrome 28.0.1490.2 it gives me a sad tab when I click try anyway.

wingliston said,
Works fine on Firefox 21.0 Beta 5!

I tried with Firefox 20 (stable) and I still get the same message:
"This browser is currently unsupported. Please download Firefox 23 (Nightly) for an optimal experience."

Running fine here with the stock v20.0.1 build, decent enough performance I suppose, I have zero interest in gaming in a browser.

francescob said,

I tried with Firefox 20 (stable) and I still get the same message:
"This browser is currently unsupported. Please download Firefox 23 (Nightly) for an optimal experience."

It could be because of your graphics card. Do you have an older integrated type?

68k said,

It could be because of your graphics card. Do you have an older integrated type?

No, I have a dedicated card also the benchmark works on nightly so I strongly doubt it's the card.

ians18 said,

In Chrome 28.0.1490.2 it gives me a sad tab when I click try anyway.

Google's Chrome web browser currently crashes when it tries to run Epic Citadel HTML5 but the FAQ page claims this problem is "expected to be resolved by the Chrome team soon."

My guess is that it is far behind the native app, but that isn't the point. The point is that this actually works (or nearly works, once they work out some of the compatibility issues), which is cool!

I'd say hardly worthless. This allows people to run something without actually installing on their computer. You could also make demos with this and people wouldn't have to waste their time installing and uninstalling etc..

There are many uses that wouldn't require a "full on" experience. Not to mention if it's capable of this, what else it could do.