How to Transform the Performance of HTML5-powered Gaming Apps Using a GPU

HTML5 has been one of the most successful advancements in redefining the visual aesthetics and functionality of web-based applications. When we say web-based applications, we mean applications that are built to operate within your typical web browser.

HTML5 was derived as the fifth iteration of Hypertext Markup Language, which proved to be the death knell for the resource-hungry Adobe Flash plugin. Although there is a view that native apps – those installed directly onto either desktop and mobile devices – continue to outperform web apps, the latter has come an awful long way in a short space of time.

Much of that progress is down to the browsers themselves, which have become more open and accessible, giving web apps greater access to a device’s hardware. Today’s computers, tablets, and smartphones rarely have just a CPU installed. They will also have a graphics processing unit (GPU) fitted too. The most up-to-date iterations of the leading web browsers are all designed to permit hardware acceleration through a device’s GPU.

Whether it’s a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) or one of the latest free slot apps to win real money, these web applications may benefit from GPU acceleration, particularly if there is significant computation required on-screen. Both MMOs and free slot games can work fine within browser applications, which is great if you don’t want to download dedicated apps that can take up precious storage space on mobile devices.

The most likely elements of HTML5 apps that can be accelerated through a GPU include the app’s general layout, as well as its CSS3 and CSS3 3D transitions. All of which can help to shift tasks that would ordinarily be processed by the CPU, resulting in significant outright performance gains – particularly on mobile devices where resource consumption is at a premium.

How GPU-accelerated computing works for web applications

The concept of GPU acceleration was first devised by NVIDIA way back in 2007. It is designed to handle the most intensive computational aspects of a web application. In an MMORPG, or indeed any multiplayer game, these web apps are bound to be more CPU intensive than conventional single-player games.

However, single-player slot titles also have the propensity to be resource-hungry too, due to their links to decentralized algorithms and random number generators (RNGs) that power every single outcome on the reels. Meanwhile, the HD-caliber visuals and animations will often require GPU acceleration to make the game flow faster.

A device’s CPU consists of “cores” built to provide sequential serial processing. A device’s GPU contains a “parallel architecture” of small yet agile cores that can oversee multiple tasks and functions in conjunction with the CPU. Complex calculations can be handled by the GPU, while the CPU focuses firmly on the basic sequential calculations.

It’s very easy to turn on GPU acceleration in the leading web browsers. Within Google Chrome, it’s possible to “force” the use of GPU-based acceleration by typing chrome://flags into the browser bar. Make sure the “Override software rendering list” is “Enabled” and hit “Relaunch”.

Although GPU acceleration cannot assist with the buffering of live-streamed content, it can help to ensure video and animated content is crystal clear, with a minimal stuttering present.

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