Tell Those Other Browsers to Go Fly a Kite

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The Beijing-based interactive agency Red/SAFI has created two sites that not only weave a beautiful Web experience but also test your browser’s power. In the future we’ll take a closer look at Shadow Play. Today, we’re going to fly some kites.

Fly a Kite allows you to populate the virtual sky—an HTML5 canvas—with as many virtual kites as you like, in any of five different shapes (four fauna and the Internet Explorer logo). You can add kites one at a time or in groups of five to forty. As you watch them waft through the sky and produce reflections in a “pool” at the bottom of the screen, keep an eye on a frames-per-second (FPS) meter in the upper right-hand corner, which shows how adding more kites slows the animation. The script that refreshes this page is set to run 60 times a second; the FPS meter records your browser’s actual performance.

This is all pleasant and instructive, but what makes Fly a Kite fun are the ways you can alter the environment’s physics. For example, besides adding new kites, you can also add “blowers” (fans) and drag them around the sky; a slider lets you set the blower strength. You may also choose one of three flight paths for the kites, set them to collide or just pass each other by, adjust their speeds, add repulsive gusts of wind, and generally mess with the forces at play in this little universe. Some browsers get bogged down as you add kites and blowers, but Internet Explorer 9 provides the processing muscle required to handle the complex interaction of these virtual forces.

This story, "Tell Those Other Browsers to Go Fly a Kite" was originally published by BrandPost.