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Mozilla’s Asm.js Technology Makes Its Commercial Debut With Dungeon Defenders For The Web

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For the longest time, web-based gaming meant that you had to install (often dubious) plugins to make games run smoothly in your browser. WebGL and other technologies changed that a bit in recent years, but because JavaScript isn’t exactly a speed freak, plugin-free gaming never quite took off. Mozilla has been trying to work around this with asm.js, a subset of JavaScript that can run extremely fast in Firefox and today, the organization announced that the first commercial 3D game based on asm.js is about to launch.

That first title is Trendy Entertainment‘s Dungeon Defenders Eternity, the latest in the company’s popular series of games that mixes the tower defense genre with RPG elements. To get access to the web version, you will have to buy the desktop version on Steam or the Android version later today. After that, you will be able to play the web-based game on playverse.com.

The web version will feature the exact same visuals and gameplay as the native desktop version, Mozilla tells me. Using asm.js, it will run at near-native speeds. Besides asm.js, the game will use web technologies like WebGL for 3D graphics and Web Audio for positional audio.

“The Web is already a huge part of the ecosystem for casual games, and with Mozilla-pioneered asm.js technology, plugin-free Web gaming is available now,” Darrell Rodriquez, Trendy Entertainment’s CEO said in a statement today. “Quite frankly, the ability to load into a full Dungeon Defenders match a few seconds after logging into a URL will significantly attract more gamers to the Web.”

While this is just one game for now, there has clearly been some momentum around asm.js and plugin-free gaming in general. Last year, Mozilla highlighted the first 3D game that used asm.js. For this project to fully take off, though, asm.js would need to be supported by more browser vendors. For now, it seems Google is still not quite interested, for example (though it’s clearly aware of the project as it’s now included in one of its benchmarks). Microsoft doesn’t even mention it on status.modern.ie, however, so it isn’t likely to support it anytime soon.