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Half-Life model viewer runs in your browser


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Games playable in a web browser is not a new idea, and has been around for many years relying on the Flash plug-in to make it possible. But the future of games in the browser looks very promising indeed, and won’t be limited to just 2D gameplay or reliant on Flash.

The advent of HTML5 and WebGL, combined with Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft’s push to make their JavaScript engines run as fast as possible, has meant we can look forward to 3D games that rival what we currently see on consoles and PC. We aren’t there yet, but more and more demos are appearing that show off what it possible in the web browsers we all use today.

One such example you can see in the screenshot above and play with via the link below. It’s a viewer for Half-Life models written in WebGL and capable of not only rendering the model, but playing any of the animations Valve chose to implement for each character. The example that loads is the headcrab zombie model that we have all killed hundreds of times during Half-Life playthroughs.

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Although only a model viewer, it demonstrates that your browser is now more than capable of handling 3D content. We’ve already seen a Quake 2 level running in a browser, and Team Fortress 2 level data being rendered, so I wouldn’t bet against a full port of a game like Half-Life actually being possible now using the API. If not using current browsers, definitely in the next few versions if you have the GPU to handle it.

You can try out the Half-Life Zombie Loader at WebGL.com, but ensure you have the most up-to-date version of your browser of choice installed before loading it up. You can also read about what was required to get this viewer to work.


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