From Dust Now Playable From Browsers

By Nathan Grayson on May 23rd, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Turns out, the beginning of the world looks a lot like the end of the world.
Yesterday, I noted that I haven’t played many god games lately, so I suppose it only makes sense that some RPS-reading deity would start flinging the things at me. “Know my burden,” it seemingly bellows from on high. “With great power… you know the rest.” And hey, remember that neato whizz-bang pow space streaming technology that allowed Bastion to run in your browser – as if by teleporter from Mars and also the future? Well, it’s back to¬†from said future, this time with Ubisoft’s once-DRMed, still¬†poorly ported From Dust in tow. So maybe it could’ve brought a better god game, but still, I can’t entirely knock something of this fidelity when it’s playable in my browser almost instantly.

Plus, there’s a free demo, which definitely makes this sort of tech appealing. And really, I think that’s where this stuff stands to majorly change the way things operate in the near future. Full fidelity insta-demos are both doable on modern Internet connections and incredibly appealing. Meanwhile, Bastion was impressive, but From Dust is a beast of a more graphically intense nature. Even if you’d prefer the game itself gets the “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” treatment, it serves as an impressive proof-of-concept.

At any rate, give the Chrome app a go and see what you think. Do note, however, that this isn’t Gaikai or OnLive. Your machine’s still running the game. So if it couldn’t handle From Dust in the Beforetimes of yore, it’s still going to sputter, choke, and silently tell the other robots you abuse it now.

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29 Comments »

  1. Neurotic says:

    Will we ever see a new Populous, I wonder? Back to your roots, Molyneux!

  2. Flukie says:

    I think its a great idea, but still Chromes not 100% there plugin support keeps it from replacing Firefox as my personal browser of choice, which is a shame because stuff like this is really cool.

  3. Syra says:

    Even with the slightly dodgy port I loved this game, used to create worlds in the final level then leave them on over night and wake up to see a whole new river system or land mass. It’s brilliant.

    I don’t get this chrome app thing, do you have to pay for it all over again? =/

  4. Derppy says:

    Does the game still suck, or has it been patched?

    Last time I endured a few minutes it was locked to 30 fps and moving mouse emulated a gamepad stick, absolutely awful experience.

    • terry says:

      In keeping with Ubisoft’s incredible post-release support for PC games, no, no it hasn’t.

  5. Whallaah says:

    Do you guys remember the time between 2002 and 2007? the time that Internet Explorer was upper powerful, that you only had two choices of music player and that off the 4 brands of Graphics Cards, only 2 brands were supported.

    Why, for Christ sake, are developers making games for Chrome only? I despise chrome: it’s ad-ware campaign to sneak is self on every PC, the settings and controls the user has and the privacy issues.

    Please, let this not be the whole shit all over again, and stick away from the chrome web store, or better, support all platforms.

    • Toberoth says:

      Ad-ware campaign? What are you talking about?

    • SquareWheel says:

      What? Chrome doesn’t have any ads. The only browser that ever has was Opera, and that was many years ago.

      And what privacy problems? The entire project is open source. Compile it yourself if you don’t trust the public build.

      “sneak itself onto every computer”
      Goodness gracious, some people.

      • frightlever says:

        I’m sure it’ll run on SRware Iron (Chrome fork) without problems, and no tracking.

      • vivlo says:

        i’ve been installing 2 completely Chrome-unrelated things in the last days, and both were trying to make me install Chrome alongside on my computer.
        It’s not the first time, it really happens often. And the checkbox is always on by default. So i think that yes, to some extent, it’s true that Chrome is trying to sneak on every computer.

        • Ignorant Texan says:

          This. Along with the installation making it my default browser.

          It’s why I have never installed Chrome.

          • PodX140 says:

            And this is a bad thing?

            I adore chrome, use it as my only browser. It’s fast, and has enough extensions to keep me happy.

    • Derppy says:

      The reason this is made “only for Chrome” is the fact they have something called Native Client.

      Essentially it means running native code within the browser, applications written in pretty much any programming language. If the code is untrusted, it’s run inside a secure “sandbox”.

      The game isn’t developed for Chrome, only slightly adjusted so it can be run from within Chrome.

      There’s some sort of Firefox Native Client plugin in development, but Mozilla claimed their JavaScript engine is so fast they don’t need Native Client and stuff should just be rewritten in JavaScript instead. They demonstrated it and got roughly 50% of the performance Google demonstrated with Native Client, which is pretty impressive.

      While WebGL is becoming increasingly popular and we’ll probably see even a little consistent HTML5 sound API soon, games aren’t going to be rewritten in JavaScript any time soon.

      • Premium User Badge

        The Sombrero Kid says:

        That doesn’t stop the OP being completely right, a game that runs in 1 browser is as good as a game that doesn’t run in a browser, From Dust already ran on all the computers the Na-Cl version runs on, except now with extra overhead! sign me up.

        • Derppy says:

          Yes, there’s extra overhead. The browser is basically a wrapper for a game you could as well run outside of the browser. The performance however, is basically the same as running it outside of the browser.

          What’s the problem here? It’s a nice feature and nobody is forcing you to use it. The game didn’t suddenly become dependent on Chrome, it’s just also available in Chrome web store because Google implemented Native Client in their browser.

          Complaining about this is like complaining about websites being available through Steam Overlay. “I can’t view websites through Impulse so it’s useless feature for the world’s most popular digital distribution platform.”

          • Premium User Badge

            The Sombrero Kid says:

            I’m not complaining, I’m pointing out that wasting your time on Na-Cl as a developer or a consumer is idiotic.

        • Jibb Smart says:

          I’m right now running the From Dust on Mac, Linux and Windows PC through Chrome. The former two aren’t supported by the standalone game to my knowledge.

  6. Toberoth says:

    Control issues aside, that was very neat! I didn’t realise until halfway through that it defaults to low graphics though – be warned.

  7. SquareWheel says:

    Neat game, good framerate. Didn’t care for the demo enough to buy it though.

    Saw it on Steam for $5 before, if it weren’t for DRM woes I probably wouldhave picked it up then.

    • siegarettes says:

      I wouldn’t if I was you, even for the price. It’s an awful port from what I hear. Which is a shame since it’s a good game.

      • Jibb Smart says:

        Its controls are the main issue port-wise (oh, and graphics options… anti-aliasing would be nice… but that’s not a deal-breaker for me).

        If you own a gamepad, though (I wish everyone owned at least one gamepad), use that and you’ll be fine. Although I don’t know if it only supports XBox gamepads. I’m really enjoying the game.

        Oh, and I should mention, I’m enjoying it on Steam. I think NaCl’s brilliant, but at this stage (or at least in From Dust’s demo) it doesn’t actually let me play with a gamepad.

  8. fallingmagpie says:

    Took me quite a long time to work out this wasn’t the PS3-only EVE spin-off. I were a bit baffled, like.

  9. MythArcana says:

    And what is a browser exactly? It’s a program to access the…DOH, INTERNET! Wow, they must think you guys are completely stupid or something.

    I. C. R.

    Get this through your tiny insect minds, folks.Let’s review…

    I = Internet
    C = Connection
    R = Required

    Can you say that together with me now, kids? I.C.R…

    One again, you people are supporting the same shit that most of us are trying to avoid.

    Ok, Ok, Ok. A second review should be in order because I don’t think most of you got the drift quite yet.

    I.C.R. = Loss of privacy. Loss of rights. Loss of options. Loss of control.

    And you guys are going to avoid this crap like the plaque now, am I right???? Well, am I??

    • Premium User Badge

      lasikbear says:

      Wow wow wow, hold up there, you are saying that the internet requires an internet connection to work? So if I don’t have an internet, can I still acess something on the internet?

      Bear with me, insect mind, remember?

    • terry says:

      If your knee jerked any harder it’d be embedded in the ceiling.