Browser game

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A browser game ( English " browser-based game " or " browser game ") is a computer game that uses a web browser as a user interface. The game events can be calculated either completely or partially on the local computer or on the game provider's servers. Accordingly, a distinction is usually made between client-side browser games in which the program logic is downloaded and runs in the browser environment, and server-side browser games with program logic running on the server side.

The platform used to implement a browser game mostly consists mainly of common web technologies, so that most browser games are free. However, some providers charge a fee for extended game features (e.g. better armor, skills, weapons, technologies, etc.) and support, in accordance with the so-called freemium business model.

Client-side browser games

For a long time, client-side browser games generally required so-called plug-ins such as Flash , Shockwave and Java to run in the browser , which is why Flash games (" flash games "), Java games (" java games ") or plugin games in general. With the introduction of the HTML5 web standard and the advent of compatible browsers, a growing number of browser games are no longer dependent on an additional module. With a few exceptions, most of the browser games that mainly use the Flash, Shockwave or Java plugins are so-called client-side browser games. In contrast to the server-side browser games, these can also be run without a connection to a server or without a connection to the Internet without restriction on the local computer using a browser and the corresponding plug-in.


Flash games

Since they are programmed with the Adobe Flash software, Flash games usually have the .swf file extension. The first flash games were developed in 1998 with the release of version 4 of the software mentioned above. Most flash games were programmed by individuals or private groups. In the course of the increasing popularity of the genre, however, companies also developed numerous Flash games. Due to the high number of games, several websites specialized in offering collections of flash games. The largest collections of flash games currently offer over 20,000 flash games in this context. Basically, there are flash games for all common game genres.

HTML5 games

After the development of the HTML5 standard had reached a mature stage and the more popular web browsers supported large parts of the specifications, HTML5 games slowly emerged . The buzzword HTML5 games has already largely established itself , although it is not correct in the narrower sense. It is only thanks to a few new elements of the HTML5 specification that games can be drawn directly in the browser and no plugins such as Adobe Flash are required. The most important innovation is the canvas element . This element enables drawing on a 2D canvas directly in the browser. In combination with a language like JavaScript , animation and games can be created. Cascading style sheets are also used in the design of the games . Another technology that is used in HTML5 games is WebGL , which can be used to display hardware-accelerated 3D graphics directly in the browser. This even makes it possible to create full-fledged 3D first-person shooters without plugins. Thus, under the heading of HTML5 games, several techniques are actually combined to create games. How well a browser is suitable for HTML5 games depends on several factors.

The biggest advantage of HTML5 games over Flash-based games is that they don't require a plugin. Since plugins are not always available for all operating systems and can compromise the security of an entire system, this is a decisive advantage. Since HTML5 games do not depend on a plugin, but only on the support of the browser, these games can also be played on platforms such as the iPhone or iPad for which no Flash plugin is available. Another argument that is often cited is that HTML5 games are more resource efficient than Flash games. However, this depends on the implementation of the plugin, the JavaScript engine and many other factors. Therefore this statement cannot be regarded as generally valid.

To simplify the development of HTML5 games, there are already some frameworks that support the programmer. Some frameworks worth mentioning are LimeJS, Processing.js, Akihabara, and the Rocket Engine. All of them are JavaScript frameworks that provide more complex functions for animation, handling user input, and more. Whether one of these frameworks will clearly stand out from others in terms of its distribution cannot be foreseen at the moment.

The type of HTML5 games is as broad as Flash games. Almost every genre is represented.

Server-side browser games

A key feature of server-side browser games is the large number of players who can play a game at the same time. Their number can range from a few hundred to several hundred thousand (see Massively Multiplayer Online Game ). A LAMP solution, for example, is used on the server side . In contrast to platforms such as DirectX or the development environments of game consoles , these technologies are rather unsuitable for applications with continuous, fast user interaction and real-time graphics. Therefore, most server-side browser games can be assigned to the genres of strategy , simulation or role-playing games, and many are turn-based.

There is now an almost unmanageable number of different browser games on the market, which differ mainly in their subject matter with similar game mechanics. Examples are sports simulators, business simulations with locations in space or the Middle Ages, and board and card games have already been implemented as browser games.

Special variants

Forum games

A subspecies of the browser games are the forum games, which are played via the browser with the help of an internet forum in the threaded style . Primarily simple variants are popular, such as picture guessing or the clever formation of word strings and simple counting. Forum games are usually started to promote the activity of an Internet forum. The motivating factor for users is usually the rapidly increasing number of posts, which may be coupled with a better forum rank. Role-playing games specially designed for Internet forums are also popular. The strategy game Alternations, which was operated between 2004 and 2006, is one of the most successful and oldest professional representatives of this genre .

Chat games

Chat games are real-time games that run via a chat and are often played in the web browser. Most of the time, only the usual chat functions are used for gaming. A well-known variant is the search for one or more "murderers" through questions that can only be answered with yes or no. There are also quiz events that are either moderated by a human game master or an auxiliary program.

Building games

A further subgroup of the browser games are the building games. Due to the high number of users, they are mostly counted among the MMOGs . The game content is read from databases and displayed as a dynamic website using PHP , JSP or Perl . This can be used to show attack times, construction times and the like. The locations of these games range from space to the Middle Ages. Although animated games do not correspond to the original meaning of the development games, online multiplayer games with built-in (sometimes very complex) animations are now also counted among the development games.


A large online community has formed around most browser games and many players organize themselves into so-called clans or alliances. Once this is done via the infrastructure provided by the browser games. This is especially the case with strategy games, where such features have already been integrated into the games and you have to organize diplomatic relations or chat with other players . The players are increasingly organizing themselves outside the actual browser game, so many clans or alliances also have their own website on the Internet, which the players then refer to. The communication between the players usually takes place in forums free of charge or on their own servers . In addition, various instant messengers and internet telephony are used to plan and carry out real-time actions.

History and creation

The first game of this kind was the German and English language SOL , developed in Hamburg and launched in October 1995. The “father” of modern browser games is likely to be the English-language Planetarion from the Fifth Season AS project group based in Oslo, which started in 2000 and over time has reached more than 175,000 players in one round.

After paying accounts were introduced at Planetarion, many players looked for a new home and found it in Galaxywars , which also had over 100,000 players in its prime. However, there was a lack of professional management, which is why many former players continued to drive projects: Around 2001 and 2002, other space games such as OGame and X-Wars , but also browser games with a new game context such as Comunio and Sword Wars appeared. Since the costs of running the games fell considerably in the years that followed and the tools and applications required for developing browser games were further improved, dozens of other titles were published from around 2003 onwards. This led to a strong diversification in the German browser game market.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Goodbye Flash games Welcome HTML5 Games. Retrieved May 25, 2019 .
  2. How Flash Games Changed Video Game History. Retrieved May 25, 2019 .
  3. Gamesforwork - site with one of the largest collections of flash games currently available.
  5. The State of HTML5 gaming. Retrieved May 25, 2019 .
  8. Archived copy ( Memento of October 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  13. Benefits and Challenges of HTML5 App and Game Cross-Platform Development. Retrieved May 25, 2019 .
  14. 5 reasons why free strategy games are mostly browser games ( memento from June 30, 2015 in the web archive )
  15. ^ AG “Games and Social Networks” of the University of Oldenburg: Genres and History. Retrieved May 25, 2019 .