Like any basic website, the basic foundations of any browser-based game are the following:
<canvas> tag in HTML works as a container for all the graphics of the game, and what we draw in the
For example, let us say you want to build a game like Flappy Bird. In this case, you’d create a
The Canvas API is an interface that is used to draw graphics with the HTML
WebGL stands for Web Graphics Library and it is an interface for rendering hardware-accelerated 3D and 2D graphics within any supported browser that results in a very high-performance graphics rendering using the HTML
<canvas> element. You can learn more about the WebGL API through MDN docs.
So we briefly learned about how web games work, let us see how we can go about making them.
There are a couple of ways you can start developing web games:
- Using frameworks or game engines
Just by reading this, using a framework sounds like a better option right? Well, not always. Let us find out why.
Also, if you just want to make a simple game, using a framework will be overkill because you’ll simply not need all the advanced features of the framework. In the end, it comes down to your use case.
Using Frameworks and Game Engines
A game engine provides all the necessary tools and libraries that are required to make a game. This can include a lot of different aspects like:
- Graphics rendering
- Project management tools
Phaser is one of the most popular 2D-focused web game frameworks. With features like physics, graphics, animation, particles, camera, input, sound, etc, it ticks all the boxes of features a game engine should have.
Phaser also has a very big developer community behind it, and there are plenty of easy-to-follow resources to learn from. You can check out their step-by-step guides to learn more.
babylon.js is a fully-featured, open-source 3D-focused game engine with features like advanced PBR rendering, animation, particles, physics, GUI system, audio, etc.
I find the API of babylon.js to be very intuitive, and there is also a very dedicated developer community behind it. You can check out the babylon.js docs to learn more.
PlayCanvas is an advanced team-focused 3D game engine that is meant for bigger-scale projects. It has a very developer-friendly UI and nice collaborative tools for developing in teams.
One thing to note is that PlayCanvas is a commercial game engine and is not open source, unlike the ones I mentioned earlier. Although the free plan should be enough for most people. Check out their docs to learn more.
There are a lot of other great frameworks for making web games but the ones mentioned above should be enough for almost all kinds of projects.
We’ve looked at how web games work in the browser and also the several ways we can go about creating browser-based games. Now you can pick and choose different tools based on your requirements.
All the frameworks and game engines mentioned earlier have really extensive docs and getting started guides for beginners. So if you’re unsure about which one you should choose, I suggest you try out all of them to see which one you’re most comfortable with.
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