WebAssembly (WASM) is a compiler target. Currently if you are using a language that doesn’t have garbage collection like c++ and rust, you can run that code in the browser with WASM. Its works by compiling code in those languages beforehand to WASM and then having WASM files sent to your browser.
So what exactly does this mean for web development and experiences on your browser?
1. Advancements in game development on the browser.
“Advancements” can come off as a awkward term here. Most high industry games (AAA games) are made with powerful engines like unreal engine which uses c++. With the ability to utilize c++ on the frontend browser, games will be catching up to the rest of the AAA gaming standard of power. This means you can create products such as full scale video games in the browser with dynamic graphics. Unity provided a straightforward example of this with a basic tank game exported to the browser.
We are currently seeing interest from 3 different game engine creators, epic games (unreal engine), unity technologies (unity), and autodesk (stingray). They released a video back in march showcasing the pros of web assembly and native development.
While there are already a massive amount of well made games that use interesting engines such as playcanvas or wimi5, languages like c++ are part of an industry standard. They can bring a new form of quality to browser games and apps.
2. The way we teach new web developers will have to change.
For starters getting a basic comprehension of c++ might be a part of advanced web development courses on major sites like cousera and edx. Likewise beginner game developers can consider creating games on the browser using already popular engines in a new way. This is a great way to expand 2 different yet already interconnected fields.
3. New experiences on the web will open up with the widespread use of game engines.
This was only able to happen once unreal engine was made available to the public for free. This gave even more incentives for developers to use unreal engine as a standard in the industry.
Epic looks outside of gaming for new uses of Unreal Engine
SAN FRANCISCO-At a GDC keynote presentation Wednesday, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney showed off plenty of Unreal Engine…
The uses for WebAssembly obviously extend outside unreal engine and epic games desires. Obviously unity and autodesk have a lot at stake for the success of WASM. But unreal engines inclusion in frontend experiences will shake the foundation of what’s possible.
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