Cloud Computing, Software Programs

GDC 2014: Epic Games and Mozilla Demo Unreal Engine 4 in Firefox

Today we got word that Mozilla and Epic Games have been working together very closely again, and this time it is to bring Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 to browsers. Specifically, to Mozilla’s Firefox browser through the use of Khronos’ WebGL and Firefox’s asm.js which is an open source low-level javascript. The two companies announced the update to last year’s similar demo running Unreal Engine 3. Firefox, as of late, has really been pushing the envelope of what browsers can do through their partnerships with companies like Epic Games and OTOY, who they have worked with to develop an in-browser cloud rendering pipeline.

What this also means is that Unreal Engine 4 is getting ever closer towards targeting mobile and potentially becoming a high-quality mobile game engine. The lines between mobile, desktop and browser-based gaming continues to blur every day and today’s announcement does nothing but blur them further. At GDC 2014, we can likely expect to see a continuation of these blurred lines (no, not the song) with more announcements from Khronos that will likely center around WebGL, OpenGL, and OpenGL ES. The momentum of mobile is pulling everything with it and right now it appears that the mobile APIs of choice are Khronos’.

The goal of this demonstration is to recreate the experience of running a native app at near-native speeds within the browser. Obviously, we won’t actually know how well this new implementation with Unreal Engine 4 will work, but they will be showing it at their booth at GDC and we’ll be sure to check it out for ourselves. After that, we can only hope that this will gain traction with developers and we will start to see more games in-browser and above all, platform agnostic. That is, if you’re using the Firefox browser.