Learn more about this HTML5 development platform that's looking to empower devs

Tools Spotlight: Turbulenz

The next step in scalable development with the potential to reach myriad audiences is HTML5.

It’s a shift that boutique middleware firm Turbulenz sees great prospects in, and by making its self-titled game engine open source, it intends for you to benefit too.

Founded in 2009 by James Austin, David Galeano and Gavin Shields, Turbulenz’ aim is to create an online platform for games with portability across all devices and instant access to content – the Kindle or Netflix for games, it says, if you will.

The Turbulenz Engine is a full featured games engine implemented in TypeScript and available as a JavaScript library. It uses modern HTML5 features such as WebGL and typed arrays to deliver a hardware-accelerated and data driven 2D and 3D engine, which is also integrated with web service APIs and its own developer hub to create a complete platform for developers online.

“The main difference from other engine technologies is the language it is implemented with and the application platform that enables it,” CEO James Austin (right) tells Develop.

“As the Turbulenz Engine is implemented with TypeScript and JavaScript it runs natively on the web application platform. This means that it runs in a browser without requiring a plug-in. Whereas, classic C++ or C# engines would require a binary installation or some form of language translation to run online. This is a significant architectural difference and results in different degrees of portability for both types of engine.”

Early adopters of Turbulenz technology include Wonderstruck, which created the 3D arcade strategy game Polycraft, Xona and its four-way multiplayer shooter Score Rush and Denki with its BAFTA-winning 2D arcade game Save the Day.

Turbulenz opened up its engine, SDK and publishing pipeline in May, and Austin says this another defining aspect of its offering.

“Obviously being open source is a significant difference as well as it is a huge positive for many developers when evaluating technology. Almost all current generation engines are closed source. But the difference here is that HTML5 is a software platform that will continue to grow.

“The Internet and the web flourished because of open standards and open source technology. We hope that by open sourcing the Turbulenz Engine we can help accelerate the adoption and growth of HTML5 as a pillar of the games industry.”

At the time of writing, the Turbulenz team was just finishing off a solution to power asynchronous multiplayer games and for packaging HTML5 games as native applications for Android and iOS.

“Developers want to create games that span the most popular devices and allow users to play with their friends. These two features nail that request,” Austin comments.

Turbulenz next focus is getting the tablet and mobile support polished and released. The engine, Austin says in summary, brings true desktop-quality production to the web platform.

“The Turbulenz Engine is a feature-rich framework that developers can depend upon to building portable online games that people can play with their friends across a range of devices.”


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