Epic Games and Mozilla team up to show off Unreal Engine 4 running in Firefox

A year ago, Epic showed off its Unreal Engine 3, which utilized Javascript, HTML, and WebGL to display impressive visuals running within a browser. A year later, Epic Games and Firefox have teamed up once again to showcase Unreal Engine 4.

What used to be a platform for simple Flash and Java games has quickly evolved into one that can support robust visuals like those found on PC and next generation consoles. Utilizing asm.js, which is a subset of Javascript, Mozilla and Epic are able to create games that run at near native speeds (67%). This means that developers can start considering the web as a serious platform for gaming.

While any browser can run asm.js files, Mozilla has pioneered the improvements and has optimized Firefox to run these files to output the most consistent experience. Developers can also feel confident that the code they have developed in C and C++ can be cross-compiled into asm.js, making it possible to port next generation games from PC and console to mobile devices and the web. Both Epic Games and Mozilla will be showcasing this technology at the upcoming Game Developers Conference starting March 17th in San Francisco. 

Source: Mozilla Blog | Image: Mozilla

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I was thinking that HTML5 and JavaScript are both kind of crappy solutions.

I sort of wanted to see a new native code interface that runs from the web, with secure parameters that don't depend on what's local to my machine. And as a standard, it can be supported by all devices that wish to use it, without having to code into an existing system like HTML5 or JavaScript...

This is stupid, case in point BF3 and how they forced you to use a browser to start the game which just gave them more ways to advertise in your face.

NOPE!!

Battlelog is literally the best server browser for a battlefield game ever. Looking at it right now I see one ad on the whole page. It is also only on the initial landing page and it's not even very prominent. Do you even play the game?

SOOPRcow said,
Battlelog is literally the best server browser for a battlefield game ever. Looking at it right now I see one ad on the whole page. It is also only on the initial landing page and it's not even very prominent. Do you even play the game?

There's absolutely no reason why Battlelog needs to be a standalone website.

What people aren't seeing is the scalability part. Being a browser and combining it with responsive techniques, it can be played or extended to a mobile device with little code modifications (assuming how responsive design works)

Edited by Jose_49, Mar 13 2014, 4:18pm :

It's interesting as a tech demo, but since asm.js is not an accepted standard and is only implemented by a single browser the hype around this is a little premature.

Instead of using stupid hacks like asm.js, the browser vendors really should get together and decide on a cross-platform, low-level instruction set that can be JITed to the platform that the browser is running on, much like Java's byte-code and the .NET CLR's CIL. Compiling from a high-level language (C++) to a scripting language (JavaScript) is such an ugly kludge...

It's great for now (the current demo runs smoothly in the current beta of Firefox on Windows 8.1 x64), and this is performance that is *better* than a lot of browser-based games have today - the only real minus is that 50MB are required to be locally stored for now (however, a lot of Flash-based browser games have similar requirements, if not taller ones, depending on the game).

JonathanMarston said,
It's interesting as a tech demo, but since asm.js is not an accepted standard and is only implemented by a single browser the hype around this is a little premature.

Instead of using stupid hacks like asm.js, the browser vendors really should get together and decide on a cross-platform, low-level instruction set that can be JITed to the platform that the browser is running on, much like Java's byte-code and the .NET CLR's CIL. Compiling from a high-level language (C++) to a scripting language (JavaScript) is such an ugly kludge...

Guess it's a good thing asm.js crap is not Firefox specific. The Unreal 3 demo works in Chrome as well.

"run at near native speeds (67%)"

I'd not call that anywhere near native personally but it's still interesting to see technology like this happening.

shifts said,
"run at near native speeds (67%)"

I'd not call that anywhere near native personally but it's still interesting to see technology like this happening.

Some other asm.js project get 85-90% performance of native code. I'm sure when epic has finished optimising it that it will be similar to that and will definitely be "near native"

Pluto is a Planet said,
Compared to generic JavaScript which is probably 10%
10%? Which year are you living in? Chakra, V8, IonMonkey all compile JavaScript to native machine code and have been doing so for quite some time now.

Romero said,
10%? Which year are you living in? Chakra, V8, IonMonkey all compile JavaScript to native machine code and have been doing so for quite some time now.
I write JavaScript code for websites all the time, I know how fast it is lol. But compared to C or C++? Besides you have to consider the time it takes to compile the JavaScript code as well since it's done on the spot.

Here are results from a comparison of JavaScript on V8 with C++ compiled with g++: http://benchmarksgame.alioth.d...&lang2=gpp&data=u32

Basically it's normally 2-5x slower, and the median is 4x slower, meaning 25%. Not quite 10%, but it's not native speeds.

Of course it's not native, no-one's claiming that; it's running inside the browser after all. I just wanted to point out that your 10% figure was completely outdated. I'd also say the 4x median has been reduced but I don't remember the link to the benchmark I saw some time back. The one you posted, how old is it?

Mr.XXIV said,
I hate Java with a passion.

A nice programming language. But runs on a terribly bulky and error-prone runtime engine.

Well, you can't really blame people for confusing it. The hole reason they called it JavaScript was to piggyback off of the success of java even though it had nothing to do with it. People should call it by its original name, LiveScript, and if they ask what it is, take the chance to educate.

Ad Man Gamer said,
Well, you can't really blame people for confusing it. The hole reason they called it JavaScript was to piggyback off of the success of java even though it had nothing to do with it. People should call it by its original name, LiveScript, and if they ask what it is, take the chance to educate.
No ECMAScript.

Pluto is a Planet said,
No ECMAScript.

It is an implementation of EMCA script as i understand. But as we know it today, it was called LiveScript when it debuted in Netscape Navigator 2.0. But then they changed the name to JavaScript in Netscape 2.0B3, Presumably to speed up adoption using the recognition of the Java name.

Wow... game engine runs that smooth in a browser... now gaming will be revolutionary from here on... Now we can safely say good-bye to Flash for ever...

Krome said,
Wow... game engine runs that smooth in a browser... now gaming will be revolutionary from here on... Now we can safely say good-bye to Flash for ever...

You will still need to download a bunch of add-on or plugins to play the game. it is not just going to the website and play.

macoman said,

You will still need to download a bunch of add-on or plugins to play the game. it is not just going to the website and play.

You havent read the article have you?
HTML/JS and WebGL, all 3 major browsers now support this out of the box.

Shadowzz said,

You havent read the article have you?
HTML/JS and WebGL, all 3 major browsers now support this out of the box.

I will have to see it to believe that you can run Unreal Engine 4 in a browser without any add-on or special plugin. Don't tell me that the demo shows that because it's just a demo and does not represent any real game.

Unreal 3 ran without addons.

And yes just because the engine runs, does not mean every game automatically runs in it. Just makes it a usuable feature of the engine. But as the article states, they can compile unreal engine C/C++ code into asm.js. So each Unreal game could be compiled to run in a browser.

macoman said,

I will have to see it to believe that you can run Unreal Engine 4 in a browser without any add-on or special plugin. Don't tell me that the demo shows that because it's just a demo and does not represent any real game.

Seriously? I don't see the point in not believing it. They're not publishing the Unreal Engine 4 demo until the conference, but it's worth checking out the old demo.

http://www.unrealengine.com/html5/

Meph said,

Seriously? I don't see the point in not believing it. They're not publishing the Unreal Engine 4 demo until the conference, but it's worth checking out the old demo.

http://www.unrealengine.com/html5/


Thanks for the link, I see that I do not need any plugin... well hope Unreal 4 works the same way or even faster.

wow I did the benchmark using that link... doing 1920x1200 resolution, at high setting and got 60FPS... that's amazing...

Wow, it doesn't run in Internet Explorer even though IE 11 on Windows has WebGL. Is it some substandard code that only runs in WebKit/Chrome?

I was able to run it in Chrome, and it looks pretty pitififul. More like a game from the year 2001 being ran on a 2014 system at very high speed, but very low complexity. Just textured surfaces, basic geometry, and nothing more ..

Edited by nullie, Mar 14 2014, 12:56am :

unreal engine 3 was released in 2007 with UT3.. It powered DirectX 9/10 games for years.

It's a deliberately reduced tech demo designed to run fast with only textured surfaces which is why it runs with any speed at all.

It has no other effects, no meshes or models, actors, or serious shaders.. Just so it runs fast.

The ut4 engine stutters with the few added effects it has like the water and ####.