by David Boswell, Robert Watt and Brian King
In our previous article, Bleeding-edge early 80s technology: Part One, we outlined the first steps we were taking to build a game out of the new technologies that the Mozilla project is innovating. This article generated lots of feedback including a Slashdot article and a heap of e-mail. Most of the feedback was positive, but there were some concerns that we want to address.
Many people were concerned that Mozilla was turning into bloatware and that this game seemed to be just one more thing being thrown into this open source project. Many of those comments clearly stated that Mozilla should be a good fast browser instead of a gaming platform. We understand this concern, but we also believe we can clarify matters with a little more information about our gaming project.
PAGMAN will not be included in the Mozilla distribution. It's a stand-alone program that's being created by an independent third party (us!) as an exercise in writing an application to showcase some of the features of the new Mozilla technologies. There are several other organizations outside of Netscape that are exploring the same kind of possibilities. One of the best examples is the cross-platform Komodo Perl and Python IDE recently announced by ActiveState that is being developed out of Mozilla technologies.
Also this week:
Open Source Roundtable: Where's That Lizard?!
Mozilla is a development platform, as other browsers are. We've already begun to see a new breed of applications, such as Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo Mail, that are built to work on top of existing browsers. Many of the technologies that make up Mozilla will help this new application paradigm proliferate by allowing more fully functional applications to be built on the Web.
Lynx is a simple fast browser, but the Web is now capable of offering much more than just hyperlinked text. Most people want a content-rich multimedia interactive experience, and we want to show how Mozilla can be used to deliver just that.
Creating a community
The positive feedback we received showed us many people were interested in our project, so we set up an environment that would allow others to learn about what we are doing and allow them to contribute to the project as well.
We created a page about Building A Game In Mozilla that contains all relevant information about what we're doing. A mozilla-gaming mailing list was also created shortly after the first article was published to allow people to talk about the project. So far, about twenty people are discussing this Mozilla-based game as well as other Mozilla-based gaming topics.
While setting up our community, we learned that there was already a Mozilla-gaming project underway. Andrew Wooldridge, a developer at Netscape who works with the Mozilla code every day, is working on the Amoeba engine. This is a role-playing game (RPG) infrastructure that is being created to run on top of Mozilla and is designed to recreate games similar to those of the early Final Fantasy series. Although it's still in the early stages of development, he has provided us with a sneak preview screenshot.
Figure 1. A sneak peek at the Amoeba engine.
We also received feedback that pointed out some flaws with our original XML grid code and suggested a better way to solve the problem of creating the foundation for our game. And that's what we've done.
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