EA’s Strike Fortress proves HTML5 can deliver a social cross-platform action game

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By Mike Thompson

Electronic Arts proved that HTML5 can deliver a quality fast-paced title at Google’s I/O conference last week with Strike Fortress , a game that provides a social action experience between Android and PC users.

Strike Fortress  is a playable tech demo, showcasing what HTML5 can deliver. Using the Pterosaur graphics engine, which is JavaScript-based, the game delivers full 3D graphics that showed none of the telltale problems with animation that HTML5 is notorious for. The gameplay delivers a player-versus-player experience, similar to the action/real-time-strategy play of League of Legends. Players control a battle mech as it stomps around a game arena, trying to take out opposing players’ bases with the aid of AI-controlled tanks that automatically spawn and progress across the map.

There were two ways to play the game at Google I/O.  Players on PC could use console controllers to directly control the battle mechs roaming around the map. Meanwhile, users with Android devices were able to scan a QR code that would bring them directly to the game in their browsers. When using a mobile device, players were presented with a top-down map of the arena they could drop support crates, mines and missiles around. Mobile players acted as free agents and could help or hinder whoever they wanted, with the results of their actions being played on a wall-mounted television. We only saw two mobile users playing in a game, but Driscoll tells us there were as many as ten Android users playing at a time.

The game was worked on by a group of Carnegie Mellon students and the team from EA’s Chief Creative Office, based on an idea EA had for an Xbox title. According to designer Daniel Driscoll, the task was particularly daunting for the students since none of them had programmed in JavaScript before. Driscoll tells us part of the reason HTML5 isn’t successful yet in the game industry is because it’s part of the JavaScript environment. Driscoll says there is a dearth of game developers who also have JavaScript experience, primarily because it’s “a language less efficient than what people want.”

EA doesn’t have any plans to release Strike Fortress, instead, the game was created as a project for the company’s Chief Creative Office to prove that a game like this could be done. Driscoll doesn’t rule out the possibility of the game getting a wider release in the future, but for now it’s serving as an example of how far game developers can go with Java WebGL.

This article was originally posted on our sister site, Inside Social Games.