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​Mozilla-powered Web games now available

Popular action-strategy game Dungeon Defenders makes its way to the Web thanks to next-generation tech pioneered by Mozilla, and will hit Steam later today.

Dungeon Defenders can now be played in a browser window. Mozilla/Trendy Entertainment

Mozilla's dream of making the Web the latest place for the hottest games faces its first commercial gauntlet on Tuesday.

Dungeon Defenders, a popular game title from Trendy Entertainment and previously only available on native code platforms like iOS, Windows, and Mac OS X, can now be played in a browser window.

The browser version of the tower defense and action role-playing game, Dungeon Defenders Eternity, will be available from Steam later today. It marks one of the first popular titles built on the Unreal Engine to be ported to the Web without using a plugin.

Originally announced last year, the faster browser speeds come thanks to a new WebGL add-on for developers to use with the Unity game engine, a JavaScript code optimizer called ASM.js, and the JavaScript compiler Emscripten, all technologies championed by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.

Mozilla said that ASM.js had gone from processing JavaScript at around 40 percent of native code speed in 2013 to around two-thirds the speed of native code in March of this year. Now, Mozilla says that it's working at "near-native" speeds.

Vladimir Vukicevic, Mozilla's director of engineering who invented WebGL, said in a statement that he believes that the new technologies will lead to a better Web.

"Using just a Web link allows people to immediately play a game wherever they are," he said, touting the use of freely-available Web technologies to make it easier to build and distribute games. "There's never been a better time to build rich, interactive, high-performance games for the Web," he said.

Trendy Entertainment's CEO Darrel Rodriquez thinks that the new tech makes the Web a far easier sell to gamers. "Quite frankly, the ability to load into a full Dungeon Defenders match a few seconds after logging into a URL will significantly attract more gamers to the Web," he said.

Another game that recently found its way to the Web is Cloud Raider, which was rebuilt for Facebook's game platform. Previously revealed game that will be making their way towards the Web include Dead Trigger 2, Ninja Swing, and Monster Madness.

Mozilla's emphasis on games could eventually pay off huge dividends for Web developers, who currently number around 8 million. If people can play games with complicated 3D-graphics, audio, payments, and other interactions, the build-once, run-everywhere philosophy that drives Web developing devotees will have sturdier footing to face off against the growing armies of Android and iOS app makers.