Games, apps and runtimes come to Native Client

DEC 09, 2011
By Christian Stefansen, Product Manager

Cross-posted from the Chromium Blog
Updated on December 14th with the video of the event.

Since we launched Native Client late last summer, our team has been working hard to make the technology more useful to developers. Yesterday at an event held at Google we shared the progress we’ve made towards this goal and showcased work from some of the early adopters of the technology, including Square Enix, Unity Technologies, and Bungie.

One code base for all OSs
In September, we started supporting a set of core Pepper interfaces, suited for 2D graphics, audio, and compute-intensive applications. Since that release, we’ve shipped additional APIs and capabilities, providing native code with more of the capabilities available from JavaScript. These include hardware-accelerated 3D graphics via OpenGL ES 2.0, a mouse lock API, a full-screen API, and much more. One example of the kind of experience Native Client can currently support is Bastion, an award-winning role-playing game from Supergiant Games. Previously limited to Microsoft Windows® and Xbox® systems, the Native Client port of Bastion allows Supergiant to reach users on all popular desktop operating systems, with the safety and simplicity of the web.

Easy porting of previous work
If you have existing code bases in C, C++, or C#, Native Client now allows you to port your existing apps to the web while maintaining just one code base. This was particularly appealing to Spacetime Studios. They ported their multiplayer online game Star Legends to the web in less than two weeks from an existing code base of more than half a million lines of code. The side benefit of being able to maintain their existing development and testing infrastructure further accelerated their delivery of a shipping title.

More choices of programming languages

The community is actively involved in Native Client, porting some of the most popular application middleware. Ports include Unity and Moai game engines, programming language environments Mono and Lua, audio middleware such as fmod and Wwise, as well as the Bullet physics engine. These Native Client ports make the web more accessible to hundreds of thousands of application developers. At the event, we showcased upcoming applications from Heartwood, Silvertree, Exit Strategy, and Dedalord, who used those tools to bring their apps to the web with very little effort. We’ll continue to work with the community to get even more languages and middleware systems ported to Native Client.

We recognize that building a Native Client app is only the start of a successful app. That’s why we’ve enabled distribution of Native Client-based apps via the Chrome Web Store. The Chrome Web Store gives developers a simple, effective strategy to reach over 200 million active users of Google Chrome.

If all this sounds exciting, please visit our new documentation site at There you’ll find a growing collection of tutorials, examples, videos, reference documentation, and much more.

Questions or suggestions? Join us in the discussion forums. We look forward to seeing some great new apps from Native Client developers.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor