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

The new Web version of Assassin's Creed Pirates relies on Microsoft's Babylon.js library for smooth performance

By , IDG News Service |  Software

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.

For Microsoft, Ubisoft's use of the Babylon.js framework shows how much more depth developers and designers can add into their Web games and applications with the use of rapidly advancing open technologies such as HTML5, JavaScript and WebGL.

The game "really pushes the limits of what is possible on the Web across browsers and devices," said Justin Garrett, Microsoft senior product manager for Internet Explorer.

Until now, Ubisoft only offered Assassin's Creed Pirates for smart phones and tablets; this is the first appearance of the game for the Web.

Work on this game could pave the way for Ubisoft to more closely bridge the Web and mobile versions of its games, wrote Ubisoft studio manager François Bodson in an email interview.

The Web edition of Assassin's Creed Pirates, released Monday, allows the user to captain a pirate ship through the Caribbean seas, while avoiding mines. It doesn't offer the ability to shoot other pirate ships, though it does come with controls to adjust the ship's direction, speed and weather patterns in the game.

While there is no shortage of Web games, Assassin's Creed Pirates has a number of advances, Garret said. It is one of the first games on the Web with a responsive design, he said, referring to how game scenery flows into the browser no matter the size of the window.

Nor is this game a simple side-scroller; players guide their ships forward, over a 3D ocean. The game can be easily played with touch-sensitive devices, though it also has keyboard and mouse controls for non-touch computers. It works on all browsers (though it does not run on Apple iPhones or iPads).

David Catuhe, a Microsoft senior program manager for HTML5 and open Web standards, created the Babylon.js library to help developers build games and immersive Web applications using HTML5 and WebGL (Web Graphics Library), a JavaScript library of functions for rendering three dimensional imagery.

Though Babylon.js operates as a game engine, it could be used for other forms of immersive three-dimensional Web applications as well, Garrett noted.

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