Author: Egor Kuryanovich et al.
Publisher: Friends of Ed
Aimed at: Beginner to intermediate level
Pros: Good chapters on WebGL
Cons: Doesn't get to grips with creating games
Reviewed by: David Conrad
The first chapter attempts to put everything into context by providing an overview of the state of the art. Unfortunately it's a bit brief and really only serves to introduce the terminology and outline what exists.
Chatper 5 deals with 3D CSS. This gives an example of essentially DOM-based animation using CSS to make it look more impressive. This is interesting but mainly as a reminder that this approach is available.
Chapter 7 is a straight introduction to WebGL. It starts out from the very basics of 3D and gets you to a simple game. This is followed up by a chapter on creating a CycleBlob game. This is interesting, even if it lacks a lot of the practical detail, because it demonstrates a different way of thinking about rendering 3D shapes to create effects.
Chapter 9 moves off the topic of 3D to look at how websockets can be used to implement a multiplayer game.
The final chapter looks at the choice of technologies in detail. SVG v Canvas and HTML5 audio, websockets and so on. This really isn't definitive in any sense of the word. It certainly doesn't say "use Canvas" or "WebGL is great"; it simply does a point-by-point comparison of pros and cons. It also fails to tackle the issue that WebGL isn't supported by Microsoft or any of the IE browsers. In fact the whole question of browser compatibility, a major problem for HTML5 games, is hardly mentioned.
Overall this is a book with about three or four good chapters and the rest aren't really suitable even for the beginner. They most only get to the level of what exists and the choice of putting processing.js so early in the book throws a big doubt about its overall structure. It would have been better to start off with what most programmers consider the foundations of HTML5 games - DOM-based graphics - then cover Canvas-based graphics perhaps with a mention of the SVG alternative followed by a section on WebGL with big warnings about Microsoft not supporting it. Finally a look at some of the frameworks that exist for game creation. The only real problem here is choosing which of the many is the best one to use. If the book had some guidance on this then it would have done a service.