Free, open, all-HTML/JS MMO from Mozilla

The Mozilla Foundation is on a kick to show people just how amazing HTML5 can be, and to that end, they're releasing a series of free, open, ambitious in-browser apps to inspire developers and users. The latest of these is BrowserQuest, a multiplayer online role-playing game built completely out of native HTML, with no plugins, and with sourcecode for your learning, tweaking, and repurposing pleasure.

BrowserQuest is a tribute to classic video-games with a multiplayer twist. You play as a young warrior driven by the thrill of adventure. No princess to save here, just a dangerous world filled with treasures to discover. And it’s all done in glorious HTML5 and JavaScript.

BrowserQuest can be played by thousands of simultaneous players, distributed across different instances of the in-game world. Click on the population counter at any time to know exactly how many total players are currently online.

Players can see and interact with each other by using an in-game chat system. They can also team up and fight enemies together.

BrowserQuest – a massively multiplayer HTML5 (WebSocket + Canvas) game experiment (via /.)


  1. Just completed it. Really good game and quite engrossing. Only about an hour long to complete including all the achievements.

    It uses WebSockets and it runs really well even with the ~75 or so people on at a time.

  2. That this is open source, can be set up by practically anyone on even a ridiculously small parcel of web hosting space, and can be interconnected with other installations means…a revival of the MUDspace?

  3. Saying it’s all HTML is misleading, IMO. That’s not really HTML. It’s a vector-based drawing engine inside a specialized HTML element with a JavaScript interface. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see it get some attention (Flash needs to die now)  but it’s not like the animation is being done with divs with alternating background images or something (which would also require JavaScript). Canvas has been around since before HTML5 was even a spec. Not supported in IE of course, but it’s been around.

    1. It is misleading to call it all HTML, I agree.  Also, *most* uses of the term “HTML5″ are also misleading because what people really mean when they say that is almost always “CSS3 and JavaScript” but HTML5 has become a marketing buzz word.

      Heck, even some of the new markup elements in HTML5 like video, audio, and canvas actually predate the HTML5 spec and also can be used just fine in XHTML or HTML4.  You pointed this out… It is all a bit silly.

      Technically, what you are seeing is a raster-based drawing engine, not vector.  Canvas is a raster surface.  You could write custom vector-to-raster code, but they did not do that from what I can tell.

      1. Durr, good point. It wouldn’t be able to all the image stuff it does if it were vector.

    2. What people call “HTML5″ really consists of HTML5, CSS3, and the latest additions to the JavaScript standard library (which, as far as I know, don’t have a particular name). I generally use the phrase “HTML5 and related technologies”, which is accurate if a bit verbose.

    3. I disagree. What else can you call it? Would you really want something like this implemented with divs and alternating images? What’s wrong with JS in this context — what kind of graceful degradation do you expect for an application like this? It seems to me that the canvas element is exactly the right tool for the job, and it’s a HTML element, so HTML is appropriate.

      1. I’m not saying that would be ideal. Neat-o, but not ideal. I’m just saying that when people say it’s  all-HTML, it suggests that it’s somehow done with markup as the primary tool, when it’s really just one specialized tag that would just be blank without JS acting on it. 
        It also annoys because it suggests the technology didn’t exist before HTML5. It’s actually been around since Safari first implemented it in 2004 and what we tend to call a de facto standard since around 2006-2007-ish. IE of course didn’t get on the bandwagon until IE9.
        Also it’s kind of annoying to have the industry boil down everything we do ( front-end/ui web developers) to the buzzword “HTML5.” HTML is the part any high school student can master. CSS and JS are the bits that actually take a lot more effort to become accomplished at. The thing that’s cool about games like this is that they use what are now 100% browser technologies. No plug-ins required. No more need for Flash. And streaming video just one competent royalty free codec away from being a truly standardized and hassle-free thing to implement and maintain.

    4.  Why does flash need to die now, when there’s nothing out there that can do what it does?

      1.  Because it’s bulky, buggy, insecure, unstable, and proprietary.

        The issue isn’t so much that Flash should be killed when nothing else can do what it does, it’s that we need something that can do everything Flash does without that long list of problems.

        1. I’ll give you proprietary. But its not bulky, no more buggy than the browsers it runs in, not insecure (at least no more than the system it’s running on), and no less stable than javascript.

          It also doesn’t rely on a standards organization to update it every ten years.

          Plus if you really cared about that stuff you’d be more concerned about Adobe fixing those problems than some far-off standards adoption. Instead you root for a ‘replacement’ technology that isn’t even designed to replace it and couldn’t keep up even if it were.

          I’m not even that fond of flash, but the unsubstantiated claims and piling-on seem rather pointless. More like people trying to fulfill steve jobs’ end-of-flash prophecy… which was wrong 3 years ago and will still be wrong in 3 more.

  4. If I can use these comments for a relevant pitch of my own work, I have been writing simple games using all HTML and JavaScript for a while now, and have a few of them on:
    All work beautifully on Chrome, not bad on Firefox, and at your own risk on IE.  As previously commented, it’s not actually the HTML5, but the additional JavaScript that really makes them sing.

    Safe for work if you’re allowed to play at the desk.

  5. don’t forget to consider the mix of low-cost BTG phones and ‘view source’ real time collaborative environments as a platform for political activities.

  6. HTML5 is a good news to indie and mainstream developers who deal with MMPORGs. BrowerQuest is another great development – 1,600 players is an impressive number.

  7. No credit anywhere to Legend of Zelda (Link to the Past)? That’s clearly the visual inspiration here, in about 100 ways.

    1. What about Earthbound/Mother? ;)  Anyway… I think we all recognize SNES style when we see it… is credit necessary after 20 years of derivative work?

        1.  Er, no, you don’t have to credit the inspiration for your legally-distinct derivative.  Batman comics don’t even credit co-creator Bill Finger, let alone acknowledge that his first appearance was a panel-for-panel knockoff of The Shadow.

          And yes, this is quite clearly legally distinct from the SNES-era games it’s used as inspiration.

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