I’ll preface this by saying that yes, I’m running Google Chrome Beta as my main browser, and yes, some bugs are to be expected from running a beta browser. That’s besides the point. So what am I complaining about?
Any small bug on any browser can instantly kill a product you’ve worked months or years on.
A few months back, the Chrome Beta had a bit of an issue. By a “bit”, I mean a massive issue that would’ve left Subbania dead in the water if I’d released it. What was the issue? Sounds wouldn’t loop or play more than once. This is one hell of a problem when you realize games are all about sound and graphics working together to make the player feel like he’s in a world. Having a damage sound effect trigger only once every 5-200 attempts makes a game unbearable, and it’s much worse when it’s completely inconsistent. I’d sometimes refresh and sound would work perfectly, only to be in complete silence 5 minutes later. Bugs are to be expected and it can be a pain in the ass to find them, but it’s a nightmare when everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and it’s entirely out of your hands and completely up to some other entity that doesn’t give a damn about your little app.
You might still say, “It’s a beta! Of course there’ll be bugs like this!” Yeah, but what if these make it past the beta phase and into a final release? Hell, this bug took about 3 weeks to patch. And what about those people that use the beta (e.g., me) and see the bugs and glitches as a result of your incompetence? Nobody’s going to say Google programmers are idiots, so all the blame goes on that little indie dev making a crappy little game. The most vocal people on the internet are the people with bad experiences, and it only takes those 5% of beta users to completely kill your product the day it launches.
That isn’t all. At the moment, there’s some bug in the beta version of Chrome that literally makes my game unplayable when going into certain levels. Memory usage swells to 800 MB for that tab in under 60 seconds and the game slows down from 60 FPS to 10 to 1. I don’t know what’s causing it. I literally woke up one day after having not changed my code in half a week, Chrome Beta updated, and my game was ruined. It works in Chrome 17 just fine, and my biggest fear is this bug somehow making it through the beta and into a final release. Then all hope is lost on the game I’d been working on for a year.
And this doesn’t even begin to go into the inconsistencies across browsers. Subbania in Chrome and Subbania in Firefox look like two completely different products.
Firefox first, Chrome second. Note Firefox’s “fuzziness.”
My solution? Learn from me and don’t develop an HTML5 game unless you absolutely know all browsers will abide by web standards and never introduce bugs ever. It’s nice that all these browser vendors are getting their shit together and making more frequent releases to keep up with the rapidly evolving internet, but it also means more things will break more quickly and you can’t do anything about it.