Monday, April 2, 2012

Tool: Chrome 18 arrives with hardware-accelerated Canvas

Webapps getting faster...

Ars Technica

Version 18 of the Chrome Web browser has rolled out to the stable channel. The new version includes hardware-accelerated rendering for the HTML5 Canvas element on Windows and Mac OS X.

As we have recently reported, standards-based Web technologies provide an increasingly capable platform for game development. The major browser vendors are working to further increase the viability of open standards for browser-based gaming. Offloading Canvas rendering to the GPU helps reduce the CPU load of 2D games and improves performance. The feature has been available in Chrome for quite some time, but it's now finally enabled by default.

Hardware-accelerated Canvas rendering is only available on systems with compatible graphics hardware. You can get some information about what features in Chrome have hardware acceleration enabled on your system by navigating to the "chrome://gpu" URL.

Another key open standard that is relevant for gaming is WebGL, which provides JavaScript APIs for rendering 3D content in the Canvas element. In Chrome 18, Google has introduced a software-based backend for WebGL based on TransGaming's SwiftShader. This will make it possible for users to view WebGL content on computers that don't have compatible graphics hardware. Although it will open up WebGL content to more users, the software-based renderer doesn't offer comparable performance to native hardware-accelerated WebGL.

In addition to these improvements, the Chrome developers have also been working to make various security improvements based on vulnerabilities that were exposed during the Pwnium competition. For more details about the Chrome 18 release, you can refer to the official release announcement. The software is available for download from Google's website.