Back in 2011, Epic ported its popular Unreal Engine 3 technology to Flash and showed how relatively high-end 3D games could run in the browser. It’s 2013 now, however, and Flash isn’t exactly a hot topic anymore. So to show off what game developers can do with a modern browser and without plugins today, Mozilla and Epic teamed up a little while ago to port Unreal Engine 3 to the web, something that was unthinkable back in 2011.
Porting the whole Unreal 3 Engine to the web only took Epic four days and a few small adjustments, Vukicevic told me. It’s worth noting that Epic had already done some work on bringing its game engine to the web before, but that’s still a very impressive result. The actual demo will be available online in the coming weeks. Until then, you can always check out Mozilla’s own BananaBread demo running on the latest Firefox Nightly. It’s not clear if Epic plans to make Unreal Engine 3 for the web available commercially.
All of this work, Mozilla’s games platform strategist Martin Best also told me, will flow into Mozilla’s mobile browser for Android and, of course, Firefox OS. On mobile, Mozilla also expects games to run within 2x of native performance and the team already has some in-house demos working, but isn’t quite ready to share these with the rest of the world yet.
As for bringing actual commercial products to market that are based on these techniques, Best noted that Mozilla is already working with the likes of Disney, Electronic Arts and ZeptLab (which already brought an HTML5 version of Cut The Rope to the web after working with Microsoft). When Mozilla talks to potential new partners for this effort, Best told me, most of them are pretty skeptical at the beginning, but “by the end of the week, we usually have quite an excited partner.”