WebGL and asm.js at GDC 2014


The annual Game Developers Conference is back in full swing in San Francisco. It was at last year’s GDC that Mozilla first demoed their collaboration with Epic on the WebGL port of the Unreal Engine 3. The demo was made possible by Mozilla’s Emscripten compiler and the JavaScript machine code hybrid that is asm.js. The collaboration continued this year with both showing off the Unreal Engine 4 running inside Firefox. Future plans are to focus on optimising asm.js for mobile.

The speed of the technology is impressive (close to Java or C++) but setting up the toolchain required to generate asm.js is not for everyone. Mozilla’s second GDC announcement addressed that through a new collaboration with the popular game dev toolmaker Unity. A WebGL export target has been predicted for a while but it is now confirmed as an “add-on” in the forthcoming Unity 5.