License to Scratch

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You are Agent 008, and your mission is to prevent the terrorist organization CHALK from infiltrating the International Billiards Tournament. To do so, you must sink as many balls as you can on a virtual billiard table within two minutes. But one of the balls on the table is actually a time bomb -- and if you don't get it in a pocket in time, it will cost you 30 precious seconds!

That's the premise of Agent 008ball, a beautifully designed exemplar of the gaming renaissance being spurred by HTML5 and its super-fast rendering, thanks to hardware acceleration, in Internet Explorer 9. Developed by Pixel Lab, Agent 008ball has a smoothness and efficiency of play that stems from new powers inherent in HTML5. Game developers can take just a few objects, place them on a virtual canvas, and then use programming logic to produce effects of motion and action. So instead of downloading 36 images of an eight ball to represent its various angles, your browser just loads one image of the ball and interprets the code to simulate rolling.

In the game, you use your mouse to manipulate your cue, to line up shots, and to determine their force. Sound effects add to the verisimilitude of the game. Normally, you'd need a browser plug-in to handle the complex physics of the game and to ensure that sound effects were properly synchronized. But in Agent 008ball, HTML5 takes care of the timing and orchestration to get the clacks and caroms just right.

By the way, if you'd like a small cheat sheet to help bump up your best score, check out Pixel Lab's page on Agent 008ball about how they put it together.

This story, "License to Scratch " was originally published by BrandPost.

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