WebOS Gaming: Could WebGL Be The Answer? | webOS Nation

WebOS Gaming: Could WebGL Be The Answer?

by Jason Robitaille Tue, 08 Sep 2009 10:48 am EDT

Gaming has always been a sensitive topic with the WebOS.  HTML/CSS/Javascript leads to quick app development, but unfortunately limits game development.  Palm has attempted to help, giving a Mojo animator to help with 2D animation in javascript, and setting up a game development forum section. But let's be honest, fast-paced 3D games with the current WebOS is likely to be a non-starter.

Previously we discussed Flash as possibly being solution.  However, to many, Flash just isn't good enough and people kept crying out "We want OpenGL". Since Palm seems set on sticking it with html/css/js applications, that could be difficult.  Or maybe not.  Early last August, Khronos Group, the guys behind OpenGL, made the big announcement that they were now working on WebGL, which will bring OpenGL to the browser via javascript binds, with support from Google, Mozilla, and Opera:

First announced at the Game Developers Conference in March of 2009, the WebGL working group includes many industry leaders such as AMD, Ericsson, Google, Mozilla, NVIDIA and Opera.  The WebGL working group is defining a JavaScript binding to OpenGL® ES 2.0 to enable rich 3D graphics within a browser on any platform supporting the OpenGL or OpenGL ES graphics standards.

The working group is developing the specification to provide content portability across diverse browsers and platforms, including the capability of portable, secure shader programs.  WebGL will be a royalty-free standard developed under the proven Khronos development process, with the target of a first public release in first half of 2010.

Considering the WebOS is based off Linux, it certainly seems like OpenGL wouldn't be especially difficult to port to it.  Then developers could use WebGL to integrate 3D graphics into their WebOS application. A surprisingly elegant solution, albeit something we'll have to wait until 2010 for.

Not too long ago we saw a Palm job posting for a Game Frameworks Engineer. We can only hope the people who work on the Mojo gaming framework plan on implementing WebGL as it becomes available.  Not only would it save development time from making their own 3D graphics API, but it looks as though WebGL has the potential to be an industry standard. The WebOS has shown Palm is on the cutting edge of web-based technology, here's hoping they continue that by adopting WebGL wholeheartedly.