Why Firefox OS matters to me

March 16, 2013 § 5 Comments

These days, everybody seems to be talking about Firefox OS. About how removing the barrier of the marketplace will make the world a better place, or about how HTML5 is so darn great, or about the fact that a gazillion constructors and operators are supporting Firefox OS. And that’s great, because Firefox OS is an impressively good product and deserves this attention.

However, all this craze is missing one feature that makes Firefox OS my choice of mobile operating system: I can write a playable prototype for a simple game, from scratch, in two hours.

Of course, this was a prototype, and completing the game took me a few more days of adding 8 bit graphics, optimizing, toying with the rules, adding difficulty levels, high scores, etc. But after just two hours, I could play the game on computer, tablet and cellphone, and decide where to proceed from here. This was both my first HTML5 game and my first mobile game, by the way. It is by no means an AAA game, but it is fun enough that I sometimes play it in the subway. By the way, did I mention that, once I was satisfied with this game, I could publish it in just a few seconds, simply by hosting it anywhere on the web?

Oh, and another feature: I wrote a quite usable comic book reader in the subway, while commuting from/to work. It took me a few days of commuting (three days, I seem to remember) to obtain a tool that works quite nicely. Due to screen size, I prefer using it on my Android tablet than on a cellphone, but that’s the wonders of HTML5 and Open Web Applications: I developed for one, and it worked for both. Did I mention that this was my first attempt at writing a web application that does file I/O or that uses the touch screen intelligently? I will try and finalize and release this application one of these days.

Now, other developers or users might not share this feeling, but this simplicity to start coding and publish and evolve a game or application is of tremendous importance to me. Because one day, I will have a child in age of playing video games. And for his birthday, I will have a chance to download a 5€ game from the Firefox Marketplace (or anywhere else), but more importantly, I will be able to build a game with his favorite characters as support cast and him as a hero. I hope he will love it. And I will not need to ask for permission.

If there is some application you want to develop, neither will you.

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§ 5 Responses to Why Firefox OS matters to me

  • Which leave only the crucial question: where do I click to play the game you developed 🙂

  • Try Python and PyGame. Or Lua and LÖVE.

    Heck, you could make games easily and quickly with Flash…

    Sorry but HTML5 is not magic, it does not make development faster.

    Publishing is another issue, but once again, remember Flash? Kongregate?

    Ease of development is important, but saying it is a property of the Web / HTML5 platform is a delusion.

    • yoric says:

      Well, HTML5 makes my development faster. That’s kind of what counts, isn’t it? As usual, every developer is going to be most efficient with their favorite language/library/platform.

      But I just fell in love with HTML5 gaming for the above reasons.

      Oh, and nearly all Flash games I have seen were not installable. I do not know whether this was for technical reasons, but that doesn’t do much to help me play (or read comics) in the subway.

      • There is no technical reason for that. Lots of indie or even pro PC games are actually written in Flash.

        On the mobile it’s harder since Apple banned Flash but it is still possible to publish Flash games thanks to Adobe Air (e.g. Machinarium).

        The main issue I can see with Flash is that it’s not free.

        I agree that ultimately it’s your experience that counts if you’re only talking about yourself.

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