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This Page Updated:
Thu Feb 19, 1998

HTML Gaming
Page 1: Gaming in Your Web Browser
By: Evan Jones

HTML is the language of the Internet. It is the language that all web pages are written in. It has continued to evolve since its creation with the addition of new tags and new features, both by the World Wide Web Consortium, which releases the "official" recommendations, and browser developers Netscape and Microsoft, which implement new features before a standard becomes clear.

Documents created in HTML can be viewed by any user on a modern computer, there are web browsers for nearly every computer platform. It is cross-platform compatable because it is an open standard. It is becoming a very popular format as well, with the latest versions of most major word processing applications being able to read and save HTML files.

Like any new technology for computers, there are those who will try and adapt them for computer gaming. Games that use HTML offer a few advantages. They can be played on any type of computer, and can be easily played on the Internet. They can also be played from within a web browser without any downloading, making it easy to use, easy to update and easy to distribute.

The key to creating games with HTML was the creation of JavaScript by Netscape. JavaScript is a programming language that controls objects on web pages, allowing web authors to create neat effects or entire applications. Before JavaScript HTML documents could only deliever information, now they can respond to users' actions. The problem with JavaScript is that it is slow, and it can only interact with the user through HTML objects.

Dynamic HTML (DHTML) is the latest creation of Netscape and Microsoft in the ever raging browser wars. DHTML is HTML that moves or changes as the user views the page. Previously, web pages could not have moving objects without plug-ins or GIF animations. Now, HTML objects can be moved and altered with JavaScript. This means that it is now possible to use HTML as an interface to a program or to create flashy effects.

One problem with DHTML is that Netscape and Microsoft's implementations are different, making it difficult to create cross platform DHTML applications. If DHTML does become stabler, faster, and standardized perhaps it could be used to create games like Panzer General, however they would only be stand alone version. JavaScript was created to control elements on a web page, not to create full blown applications. It will probably never have support for network connections, direct access to graphics adapters and other functions which would optimize or enhance a game.

Page 2: Games in HTML

Further Info

Java Gaming
Another solution for cross-platform Internet gaming

World Wide Web Consortium
The group that maintains the HTML standard

CNET's Next Wave in Surfing
A good look at what DHTML is and what it does

The Future of Gaming is created by Evan Jones