Porting SimBlob to the web #

I first saw Emscripten a few years ago. It compiled C++ to Javascript. My mind boggled! How cool! This year at Game Developers Conference there was a talk showing that Emscripten plus asm.js could run C++ games in the browser with good performance. I was amazed.

After publishing my article on hex grids, I decided I should do something different for a little while. I remembered Emscripten looked intriguing, and I should try it out. Could I make BlobCity, an OS/2-only game from 15 years ago, run in the browser?

TL;DR: Yes, try it out here!

Here's what I started with, a game that only runs in OS/2:

Screenshot of OS/2 version

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Origin Story #

SimBlob. This is the project that got me interested in tile games, hex maps, pathfinding, road drawing, economic simulation, AI, and procedural map generation. Those of you who have been following me for a long time know that these are topics I'm especially fond of. This project was a huge influence on me and my game programming site. It ended 15 summers ago.

SimBlob was the simulation game engine / project that I was going to use for a building game called BlobCity, but I also wanted to use it for other games. As typical for people who work on a game engine first, I didn't finish. But that's ok. I was writing the game in order to learn and experiment, not learning and experimenting in order to write a game.

Screenshot from Aug 1998
More screenshots from 1995-1998