Beautiful iOS and Windows Phone game Contre Jour has made the jump to HTML5 and the web, with a version tailor-made for browsers. It’s stunning.
In a meeting with Contre Jour creator Max Hryniv and Internet Explorer GM Ryan Gavin, I saw it up close on a Windows 8 tablet. While its designers built Contre Jour in HTML5, it feels just like a native app. Using my fingers, I helped main character Petit move around the screen and complete his mission of capturing balls of light. That I was playing a browser-based game that requires multitouch to beat it was pretty cool.
“This is the most ambitious game ever brought to HTML5,” Gavin said excitedly. “This represents a third wave of development following web apps and native apps.”
Contre Jour on the browser lets you play 30 of the game’s 100 levels in a sort of long-form demo. Not only is the game showing how far developers can push HTML5, it also gives people a chance to try the game before buying it as a Windows 8 native app. (See the best Windows 8 apps so far.)
“There’s always trade-offs when it comes to developing in HTML5 versus native,” Hryniv told me. “At this point, it’s easier to develop native than HTML5.”
Because Windows 8 is, at its heart, meant for tablets, Contre Jour is a showcase for how well touch-based web apps can work on the platform. Microsoft clearly wants to enable immersive HTML5 app experiences and show developers how it’s done. Microsoft partnered with Hryniv and Clarity Consulting to bring the app to life, especially to showcase the power of Internet Explorer 10.
Gavin admitted that Internet Explorer lost its way several years ago some time between IE6 and IE7 and that’s why it lost so much market share to Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. With Internet Explorer 10 and its push into engrossing HTML5 applications, he said Microsoft is signalling its desire to be on the forefront of browser technology again.
“There was a point where we stopped innovating,” Gavin said. “With IE7 and IE8, we were playing catch up. But with IE9 and 10, we’re changing the browser landscape. We’re building for hardware and providing a better experience.”
While I’m not convinced game developers will embrace HTML5 over native, I can imagine many app developers for news and media embracing these richer experiences. Pulse, for example, already has.
Check out the video below of Contre Jour on HTML5 for more.