Dolphin Browser and Dolphin Browser Beta

Just wanted to quickly reflect some thoughts on Dolphin Browser Beta.

My current test device for HTML5 games is a Samsung Galaxy S3. Quite possibly the best handset money can buy at this moment in time.
There are a range of browsers available for it and I have them all installed. It’s a wonderful feature to be able to launch a game from a shortcut and then select a browser to run it in.

Android browser selection

My current focus is on the Dolphin Browser.
In many respects it’s a wonderful browser to use. Its gesturing for starters makes life very simple. But with regard to executing HTML5 games it’s a dog it falls short of Firefox and Chrome on Android.

Dolphin browser beta logo
Fortunately there is a Dolphin Browser Beta (DBb) which addresses this. Better yet it has an implementation of the Web Audio API. It is this browser that you want of the two Dolphin browsers available for playing your mobile web games on Android.
It still falls some way behind Firefox (the best) and Chrome (a close second) on Android for raw Canvas performance but is a huge leap forward from the default Dolphin browser.

So to the problems I’m experiencing just now.

  1. A distinct lag from the touch interface
  2. Unable to decode MP3 audio files generated from Audacity

Of the two I suspect that number 2 falls under “user error”.
Number 1 on the other hand is annoying.

Executed on the desktop my current project tracks the mouse beautifully such that the player’s ship glides gracefully around the screen. This makes the game extremely playable and comfortable to control.
Moving over to mobile and playing under Firefox and Chrome that same smoothness can be found. A real pleasure to play.
But with DBb there appears to be a tiny lag in firing the touchMove event. This translates in to a dragging effect whereby the player will slide his finger around the screen only to find that his ship is struggling to catch up with the precise location of his touch.

In some respects I quite like it. It adds another dimension but of course it isn’t by design so is unwanted.

This is a minor niggle. The browser’s performance is very good and it also offers a full screen experience as the game launches. Thanks to an implementation of requestAnimationFrame the movement is smooth and makes games a pleasure to view.

My side project, PlayStar.mobi, is due to launch as a feature within the Dolphin Browser beta in the coming months so I am going to keep a close eye on the progress of the browser. I am hoping that it emerges as a strong contender to the more established mobile browsers.