Mozilla, developer of the Firefox web browser as well as several other software offerings, including a mobile competitor to Android, has announced the creation of a new web standard that could change the way audio is handled on the Internet.
This is just one of a string of developments that are being seen in the browser-based gaming space. The full Unreal 3 engine can be run inside a browser and we’ve seen many free-to-play games debut on browsers that offer an experience you’d typically find on a game run natively on the PC platform. This includes Minecraft, Battlefield Play4Free, Command and Conquer and the recently released Warface, developed by Crytek and run within a browser.
Mozilla calls it the Web Audio API. It’s a software-driven extension to HTML5 that allows audio sources to be played from within the browser. This allows audio to be piped to speakers with the same sound effects across a range of devices.
Mozilla says this will allow a broader range of applications that can offer unique audio experiences. With previous methods, sound had to be piped in through the various APIs of the device you were running the application on, leading to incompatibilities of missing effects and notes.
“The release of the Web Audio API provides the final building block needed to run advanced games on the Web. Games like the recently released Epic Games demo, Citadel which offers a great demonstration of what is now possible,” writes the company on its blog. “We’ve received a lot of feedback about Web Audio API and believe we now have an offering games developers will love.”
Mozilla has written up comprehensive documentation for developers looking to use the Web Audio API and stresses that these enhancements cannot be found in other browsers currently. A neat little demo of Web Audio can be found in the video below.