While my previous code example showed how to recreate the past, this next example points out the possibilities of the future — Multitouch gesture interfaces, on the web!

The UI designer in me is chafing at the bit to start giving people web-apps with multitouch-based interfaces. The possibilities are enormous, and the advantages of multitouch UI – rich input, direct manipulation, natural mappings, fewer widgets, instant feedback, and a certain fun factor – are many.

But unfortunately, since this is still an emerging technology, it’s not exactly a standard yet. It’s not available on all hardware. On hardware where it is available, it’s not always made available through the browser. Different browsers expose multitouch events to web content in different ways, if they expose them at all. For this reason, the demo I’m about to show you won’t work on all browsers, sadly. So far, I’ve only been able to make it work using the Firefox 4 beta and only on multitouch-enabled computers running Windows 7 – which drastically limits the audience that will be able to try out this demo, I’m afraid.

So, I’m sorry to give you a demo that’s not fully cross-browser-compatible or standards-compliant. But! I think multitouch will become standardized, and soon. It won’t be too many more years before multitouch input becomes an everyday part of the Web experience on all platforms. So why not start experimenting with it now? We can start trying out new interface possibilities now, and work towards full cross-browser compatibility as the standards emerge.

And what better forum for experimenting with interface possibilities than the Game On 2010 contest?

Anyway, here’s the demo:

Multitouch Gesture Interpretation Demo



Mozilla Labs has announced Game On 2010, our first-ever game development contest.

To support Game On 2010, I’ve been working on some sample code that demonstrates how to accomplish common game programming techniques using only open Web standards and no plug-ins. For those who are thinking about entering but don’t know where to get started developing a game engine in HTML and Javascript, read on.

My first example is a set of classes for implementing a top-down, tile-based map screen that scrolls to follow the player’s movement. If you, like me, wasted your youth playing 8-bit and 16-bit console RPGs (like Dragon Warrior, Ultima, and my favorite under-appreciated classic: Phantasy Star) then this ought to look a bit familiar:

Old-School RPG Map Demo

Move the character around with the arrow keys, and notice how the screen scrolls when you get close to the edge.