THE BUZZ: Google’s push for “applications” in its Chrome web browser has sometimes seemed like little more than a fancy interface for getting to standard web portals—but that could be changing thanks to their “Native Client” open-source technology.
The idea is this: using this technology from Google, developers can compile C or C++ code into a new type of binary that is executed by Chrome—thus allowing that binary to exist as a platform-independent type of code. In other words, since Chrome is what is processing and running said code, it shouldn’t matter if the type of device it’s being run on is powered by Windows, Mac OSX, or whatever else. So long as the device can run a version of Chrome that supports Native Client—and we assume the hardware has the required level of specs—it should support the application.
As a part of this, Spacetime Studios has announced that they are bringing their mobile MMO Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles to Native Client—where it will be the first Native Client-built game to hit Google’s Chrome Web Store. Already out for iOS and Android, the Native Client version of Star Legends will offer all of the same features and gameplay as its mobile versions. As well, players on one version will be able to connect up and adventure with players on any of the other existing versions of Star Legends.
EGM’s TAKE: The world of browser-based gaming has long held this stigma as being a dumping ground for “casual” games lacking in depth or complexity. However, in recent years, those assumptions have been changing; Flash, HTML5, and other technologies have allowed developers to offer richer, more involving experiences that are attempting to get closer to the types of titles you’d see on a home console or handheld.
Google’s Native Client initiative is interesting, especially if it’ll provide performance boosts and better system compatibility over those solutions already being used. I’ll be curious to see what kind of experience games such as Star Legends can offer through Native Client—and if the browser-specific engine will be enough of a boon to game development to catch on.