I grew up in the era of Doom, Wolfenstein and Duke Nukem: These shooters were incredible and provided great storylines and many hours of gameplay. I was playing these before I became a software engineer, but those cogs were already turning and I often found myself wondering how on earth they’d managed to create such graphics.
Skip ahead to my high school years, and online games were rampant: Every class involving a computer always had someone playing something when the teacher’s back was turned. We played some browser-based 3D games back then, reminiscent of ray-caster applications like Rain (a ray-casted dev preview).
Rain (and other ray-casted games) were great because the technology used to generate the levels was quite basic, but the effect was brilliant. Heck, Duke 3D et al also used ray casting to create their vast universes.
While ray casting had its charm and allowed us to play in seemingly 3D worlds, 3D has progressed so far since then that we can do a lot better in the browser, even. I still find it hard to believe things like Krunker.io exist, showing us that browsers really can do anything (as much as some people would hate to admit it).
Krunker is a simple and fun 3D FPS that works entirely in the browser. It’s comically simple graphics don’t take away from the fact that you’re playing a 3D frame-rate intensive game in the browser with other players. It plays surprisingly well and after some short moments you completely forget you’re looking at a Chrome tab.
Another one of my favourite browser-based FPS’ that I’ve found in 2019 is QuakeJS. Quake is an old name in FPS gaming, and I would have to say that it’s not without reason that it’s so popular and memorable – Quake (especially Quake 2 and Quake 3 Arena) is a high quality product that has really stood the test of time.
QuakeJS is a clone of Quake 3 and it plays very well right in your browser. QuakeJS utilises emscripten (Web Assembly) to support browser play, much like many other 3D FPS games.
One of the best looking FPS games I’ve seen that’s playable in your browser is Contract Wars:
It’s stunning by itself: But the fact that you can play this beast in the browser is astonishing. Having games that look and play this good work in the browser really bolsters the idea that streaming game platforms in the future could provide games that don’t require any installation and can be played immediately in the browser. Exciting times!