Roll20 is a place to play your favourite tabletop adventure games like Dungeons and Dragons in your browser with your friends. So if you’ve been dreaming of playing with your friends around the world, now you can. There is no need for custom software since it’s all HTML5.
Roll20 is the easy-to-use virtual tabletop that brings pen and paper gaming to the web the right way. Built on a powerful platform of tools, yet elegantly simple, it focuses on enhancing what makes tabletop gaming great: storytelling and camaraderie. It’s incredibly user friendly, and runs right in your web browser, so there’s nothing to download or configure.
The site has been around for about a year now and I have no idea how I missed it. It was generously Kickstarted last year and was made by a bunch of Redditors.
Anyone who has been following HTML5 to any degree has probably gotten lost or confused at some point about what’s going on. I know I have and I know I will get confused again in the future. For now (end of Jan 2012) this wonderful blog post on HTML5 game development is great!
The post covers nearly everything one needs to know from the technology to some problems with HTML5 to how the heck one can monetize games made using the tech.
Here’s a snippet from the mobile web browser section:
Not to be mistaken with mobile apps, which you download and install onto your phone, the Mobile Web Browser is an increasingly important platform to target. Mobile browsing is catching up to Desktop fast with some predictions putting the overlap period to be as early as 2014. Take that figure with a pinch of salt of course, but no-one denies the rapid growth here. This is in part supported by the recent advances in mobile technology. It assumes the player is online and browses to your game via the browser installed on their phone or tablet. There is a rapidly growing market in mobile web games, with a number of high profile games portals already on board buying them and many more will follow. In terms of development you need to approach it from either the DOM or Canvas angle. Most smart phones contain dedicated GPUs and Mobile Safari will now use it to render DOM elements and under iOS5 Canvas as well. WebGL is also on its way. Enabled in Firefox on Android and a hidden option in Mobile Safari expect to see more of this soon.
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
For those of you who loved Flash on mobile don’t fret (you’ll still fret), Adobe will continue support for existing mobile Flash apps:
Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook. We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.
Still, my biggest question is what will happen to the Apple App Store when everything is HTML5 why make it an app? There are many good reasons, but I do wonder if the app store’s days of monopoly on iOS app distribution are numbered. Ugh, maybe I’ll put more thought into this another day.