Mozilla updates Firefox, shows off HTML5 prowess with an MORPG (video)

29 Aug 2012

Mozilla has released Firefox 15, redesigned its Firefox app for Android and, to top it all off, has also introduced an in-browser adventure game to showcase its new HTML5 capabilities.

Firefox 15 comes with the one of the browser’s biggest memory improvements yet. To make browsing faster, Mozilla has focused on plugging up the main cause of memory leaks in add-ons both by working with authors on improving poorly written add-ons as well as developing a mechanism to prevent the worst leaks from happening in the first place.

This groundwork was greatly needed to help the user experience considering Firefox add-ons crossed more than 3bn downloads last month.

Features for developers in Firefox 15 include the ability to use the JavaScript Debugger over a local network to remotely debug apps running on Firefox for Android, simplifying mobile web development, and support for compressed textures, letting game developers build graphics-heavy games without losing performance.

There have also been WebGL enhancements and an improved JavaScript engine enables smoother animations. The demo below shows what these improvements mean for in-browser gaming.


Mobile upgrade

As far as the Android update goes, tablet users can expect faster performance as well as an improved interface that better uses the real estate these larger mobile devices offer.

For all mobile devices the update comes with the addition of the ‘Awesome Screen’, which stores a user’s browsing history, bookmarks, passwords and form data in one place and also lets them sync this to their desktop browser using Firefox Sync.

New features include swipe to close tabs, the option to view the original version of a website (as opposed to the mobile site) added to the browser menu, the ability to search in-page and improved text selection. Also, users operating under Android 3.0 Honeycomb will now have Flash support.


To truly show off the new HTML5 capabilities of Firefox, Mozilla have developed a multi-player online role-playing adventure game called BrowserQuest that can be played in Firefox across the desktop and mobile web.

Powered by HTML5 and WebSockets, BrowserQuest harks back to the days of 8-bit gaming, sending users on a quest to explore a world created on a single webpage and unlock 20 achievements.


Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic