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Ubisoft Pirate ships sail onto the Web thanks to Microsoft JavaScript library

Joab Jackson | May 21, 2014
A Microsoft JavaScript library for rendering three-dimensional environments played an instrumental role in helping game developer Ubisoft build a version of its Assassin's Creed Pirates that can be run in the Web browser.

To produce an acceptable Web version of the game, Ubisoft needed the browser to produce a steady 60 frames per second. The development team used a two-year old GPU as a benchmark, to approximate the average game user's computer.

That the Babylon.js was well optimized, through TypeScript, helped keep memory and processor usage in an acceptable range, wrote Christian Nasr, a Ubisoft programmer on the project, in an email. Because the library was open source Ubisoft was able to add features into its game that weren't offered by Babylon.js itself.

WebGL helped as well in that it allowed the game to access GPU hardware acceleration, allowing the team to make some "awesome shaders," Nasr wrote. Shaders provide the depth and texture of colors being rendered on-screen.

The chief challenge, however, was keeping the size of the game file as compact as possible, so it can be downloaded within a tolerable period of time. "You have to minimize file size while keeping the best quality. That was a real challenge," Nasr wrote.

Overall, Babylon.js provided the experience of "a very straightforward [game] engine," Nasr wrote.

 

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