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Never mind the bullets
October 3, 2010 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Never mind the bullets A parallax comix script powered by HTML 5. The art is OK, but the interface is mesmerizing.
posted by boo_radley (50 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Neat!
posted by mazola at 8:14 AM on October 3, 2010


Looks like the whole thing is an ad for IE9.
posted by localroger at 8:23 AM on October 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Certainly a new webcomic experience for me, although not one I'd want to repeat — moving my mouse to pan around inside a frame is quite annoying.

What would be fun, I think, is a choose-your-own adventure that makes use of HTML5 client-side data storage....

FWIW, this worked on a Mac with Safari 5 (Webkit nightly build), despite the site's strong suggestion of using MSIE 9.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 8:24 AM on October 3, 2010


It's neat in a lot of way, but the jittery feel of the art within comics was a bit offputting. Great potential here though!

And yeah it worked in Safari 5 under XP for me.
posted by nomadicink at 8:29 AM on October 3, 2010


Works pretty well in Firefox, but it is unusable slow in Chrome. On a Core i7...
posted by ryoshu at 8:31 AM on October 3, 2010


Is there any way to zoom out or scroll up/down? On my widescreen laptop anything at the top or bottom isn't being shown, such as what I assume is a box of text at the top of 2-2; I see a like of white rectangle at the top but no idea what it is supposed to be saying.

Looks like the whole thing is an ad for IE9.
I'm not done reading it yet so perhaps it turns into one, but I figure the "Best in IE!" banner is just the artist trying to make sure it renders as he intended (and possibly a bit of fanboy proselytizing, like every other site with "Best in Firefox!").
posted by luftmensch at 8:32 AM on October 3, 2010


Based on your current browser, you are not seeing all that this website has to offer.
For the best 'Never Mind the Bullets' experience, we recommend you install Internet Explorer 9.


The word is upside down! 6 is now 9!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:38 AM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Created for «Beauty of the Web» in honor of the launch of Internet Explorer 9, «Never Mind the Bullets» offers the traditional comic strip experience enriched by the effects of parallax."

Eh, okay, I should just not post until I know what the hell I'm talking about. Also, I tried to go download IE9 to possibly view it correctly, but it's not compatible with XP. Annoyance!
posted by luftmensch at 8:40 AM on October 3, 2010


I'm not done reading it yet so perhaps it turns into one, but I figure the "Best in IE!" banner is just the artist trying to make sure it renders as he intended (and possibly a bit of fanboy proselytizing, like every other site with "Best in Firefox!").

"Steaw and Microsoft IE9 Present:"

"Produced by Microsoft Corp"

I'm not saying it's not neato or anything, but it's definitely an ad for IE9.
posted by katillathehun at 8:45 AM on October 3, 2010


Based on your current browser, you are not seeing all that this website has to offer.
For the best 'Never Mind the Bullets' experience, we recommend you install Internet Explorer 9.

Why would I use IE 9 for HTML5. Why would it even tell me this if im on a mac.
posted by MrLint at 8:48 AM on October 3, 2010


Do I get to play the role of "Heretic who thinks this is pointless wankery" again? Ah cool. I've got myself the hat to finish the look off. I'll go fetch it.

It's clever I guess, but I didn't like it. The layers didn't interact in a way that felt real to me, and the story (which I only gave til page four) was horribly paced with a "Click to go on" screen on a regular basis. It's like those newspaper comic strips that try and do a serious comic in only 3 panels a day.

Bah... maybe I'm just old and grouchy. But I do like my hat...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 8:48 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Microsoft worked with a bunch of sites to make a splash on the launch of IE9. Most of the sites, like this one, use Canvas in ways that really only work if your browser has hardware accelerated graphics. These comics look to be blitting a lot of images; lightning fast with hardware copy, dog-ass slow in software. IE9 is way ahead in using hardware acceleration: Firefox only does a little and Chrome does nothing at all in stable builds (yet). It's a little obnoxious, but it's good for users that hardware acceleration is coming to all browsers and Microsoft is correct to tout that (for once) they're ahead technically.

I'm not particularly excited by this site's UI. Loading progress bars suck. Horizontal scrolling sucks. The actual parallax motion effects are sorta cute.
posted by Nelson at 8:53 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


On not-preview - apparently not. Get your own damned hats.

I hadn't seen the fact it was written by MS as a promo for IE9. I thought it was just some idiot who didn't know how to do cross browser code.

As an example of why I think this is a nice idea badly, badly done, I've only just noticed that if you let the front page do its parallax thing, the lead character slides across the dirt. What motion, exact, lets three people who are stood in a sort of triforce arrangement move apart from each other as you go sideways?
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 8:55 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't mind that MS is doing a bunch of advertising for IE 9, and I don't even mind that some of that advertising is not cross-browser optimized. What I do mind is a return to the horrible old days of "this site looks best in...". Is that what Microsoft's vision of the Web is? They gonna throw up a bunch of 'under construction' signs on their web pages too?

Prior to this ad, I was kinda looking forward to IE9. Now, I am looking forward to what seems to be a wholehearted attempt to drag us back into 1998.
posted by breath at 9:35 AM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dreading a return to 1998, that is.
posted by breath at 9:35 AM on October 3, 2010


To put it more succinctly, you cannot simultaneously say "HTML5" and "Looks best in IE".
posted by breath at 9:38 AM on October 3, 2010


You must be using Netscape Navigator.

This site looks best if your browser window is this wide:

<>
posted by cjorgensen at 9:51 AM on October 3, 2010


Ah man, metafilter hates my line!
posted by cjorgensen at 9:52 AM on October 3, 2010


There was an entry on Technologizer the other day about the unwelcome return of "Best Viewed With..." messages
posted by jontyjago at 10:15 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


To put it more succinctly, you cannot simultaneously say "HTML5" and "Looks best in IE".

Well, "looks" maybe not, but "runs" you can. From my experience IE9 is the fastest HTML5 browser out there, especially for a lot of Canvas stuff as Nelson says. I'm a Chrome user still for all sorts of other reasons, but IE9 beats Chrome hands down for now on performance.

There's no evidence to me they're breaking standards or whatever with IE9, at the very least it's certainly the most standard browser MS has made... ever.

(And Apple did this same shit with Safari when they launched their HTML5 demo where you couldnt even get to the gallery without Safari... despite the fact that it all worked in Chrome)
posted by wildcrdj at 10:47 AM on October 3, 2010


Jesus. Is it going to be 1995 all over again? Little known fact: No peace treaty was signed ending the Great Browser War. It's just a truce that has held uneasily for the last 10 years. If sites start defecting across the DMZ (formally known as the "canvas element") we could see the war reignite.

Also, ran fine on Chrome on my Mac. This demo isn't really an amazing argument for hardware accelerated graphics.
posted by chairface at 11:19 AM on October 3, 2010


This ran as well as I think it was intended to, on Firefox. It's just not very impressive. One of those "Coulda, not shoulda" things - the tech you are trying, in your hamfisted way, to wave around is ruining your comic.
posted by kafziel at 11:26 AM on October 3, 2010


I still don't get the advantages to GPU acceleration when the DOM is still the most tedious thing to work with. I'm completely naive about these things, but is the idea that more UI intensive things will be implemented in canvas? Will we be seeing gmail applications move toward simply being rendered in a canvas element?
posted by geoff. at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2010


Best viewed in IE9 on Windows machines.
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on October 3, 2010


.geoff - if you're going to do things in DOM ( still my preference) you still probably want to be using some kind of JavaScript framework to hide the DOMs ugliness - most likely jQuery.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2010


There was an entry on Technologizer the other day about the unwelcome return of "Best Viewed With..." messages

Heh. The worst offender until recently have been FireFox folk, which is somewhat ironic as it's now pretty much the slowest browser (though a new JS engine is on the way).
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2010


Jesus. Is it going to be 1995 all over again?

I wouldn't mind pretending the last 15 years didn't happen. Even if it means going back to waiting a hour for the scan of that Playboy centerfold to download over my dialup connection.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:02 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


NAyway, the actual comic is kind of neat. Gimmicky, but neat. I especially like it where they get a big creative with the parallax and use it to convey motion or other stuff as well as distance - the card game is particularly neat. It's a bit like reading a rather clever pop-up book.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on October 3, 2010


Also it seems a little prone to random slow-down for me (Chrome, Win Vista).
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on October 3, 2010


Fail.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 3:25 PM on October 3, 2010


yuck.

interface made me queasy...
posted by DavidandConquer at 4:01 PM on October 3, 2010


Yeah, Microsoft worked with a bunch of sites to make a splash on the launch of IE9. Most of the sites, like this one, use Canvas in ways that really only work if your browser has hardware accelerated graphics. These comics look to be blitting a lot of images
The thing is: with what they're doing couldn't they have just used plane old DIVs with transparent PNG files? It would have worked in almost all browsers, and probably would have been pretty fast.

Not to mention this would have been fine in Flash in like 1999.
posted by delmoi at 4:20 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


The thing is: with what they're doing couldn't they have just used plane old DIVs with transparent PNG files? It would have worked in almost all browsers, and probably would have been pretty fast.
Funny thing is that there's already a jQuery plugin to do parallax scrolling based on mouse position or other user behaviors with -- you guessed it -- unordered lists and some .png files. Maybe I'm missing something as I'm not using IE9 to view it; it seems like a nice demonstration of something that IE9 can now do, but a terrible demonstration of how you should do it.

It's a tech demo, and those are always quirky and browser-specific. Nobody employable builds productions sites on tech demo approaches to problems.
posted by verb at 4:57 PM on October 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


as was said before, this really may as well have been a flash demo, which would have been faster and actually not crash the browser as often.

compare this to the arcade fire/google chrome demo from a few months back -- where they really embraced the idea of the canvas, video, and personalization in ways that you just can't do as easily in flash.

nice try, but...
posted by mrballistic at 5:12 PM on October 3, 2010


Doing stuff you could have done in flash without using flash is a step forward, imo.
posted by empath at 5:20 PM on October 3, 2010


This was great. Played fine in Chrome 6.0.472.63 (stable?) on an OS X.6 MBP.
posted by onalark at 6:10 PM on October 3, 2010


Why would I use IE 9 for HTML5. Why would it even tell me this if im on a mac.

I thought the same thing when I went to Apple's HTML 5 demo and it told me I had to download Safari. Why would it even tell me this if I'm on Linux? Worse yet, why would it even tell me this if it wasn't true, since the pages worked in Chrome, if you manually skipped over the sniffer? Why? Because it's marketing. At least with this "demo" the browser sniffer doesn't refuse access to the pages.

But what Apple and MS have done is what is to come with the blanket "HTML 5" umbrella. We're back to even worse than what we have now, if that makes sense. Or at least it looks that way. I really hope the new browsers have some sort of rendering parity and hardware acceleration will be very useful.
posted by juiceCake at 8:49 PM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


FWIW not allowing other browsers puts it firmly into Safari demo territory, whereas this is clearly and plainly an advertisement for IE9. Not that I don't loathe the practice, but there is a reasonable argument in favor of designing something to demonstrate only your product.

This demo seemed to work OK (if very slightly under 30fps) on my hackintosh netbook with Safari 5. The biggest problem is that it doesn't gracefully scale to smaller resolutions/different aspect ratios. I couldn't read most of the comic at 1024x600, so I just didn't. I gave up on HTML a long time ago, but isn't the ability to make things resolution independent greater in HTML5 than ever before? I'm in the poor execution camp on this one.
posted by polyhedron at 10:00 PM on October 3, 2010


I think the main reason this was IE9 only, and slow for many people is that's meant to show off IE9's hardware-accelerated rendering.
posted by !Jim at 12:03 AM on October 4, 2010


Having thought about this for a while, I think that the main reason this Microsoft ad is crappy is because of the context. It's fine to have an ad for a product as long as it is clear that that's what is going on. However, the way this post was framed, and the site itself, disguise the fact that the project was commissioned by Microsoft for the purpose of advertising IE9.

It is a trick. Astroturfing. There is no indication from the url that you're about to visit an ad/tech demo, and the only clue once you're there is the tiny "IE9 presents". It seems that the user is supposed to discover the site via social media, get to the site, see the notice, and say to themselves "huh, people are starting to really build for IE9 now? Guess I better grab it!" But no, people are not building for IE9 now, they're just being paid to say they are.

Anyway, since this is part of "Beauty of the Web", it's kinda a double post. Not to crap on you, boo_radley.
posted by breath at 2:17 AM on October 4, 2010


If people are building for IE9, then the message has been lost, hasn't it? The whole point of developing a standards-compliant browser is so that people can just build a damn website and not spend hours tweaking it to make it actually work in that one damned browser that just refuses to render it correctly. And anyone who has tried to produce a standards-compliant site knows that browser is usually from Redmond.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:36 AM on October 4, 2010


I think webkit has already won the 'browser wars', since it's in both the iphone and droid. Firefox and ie don't really have a chance.
posted by empath at 6:48 AM on October 4, 2010


"Since you're running Windows XP, you won't be able to install Internet Explorer 9 unless you upgrade to a more recent version of Windows."

Never mind then, Microsoft.
posted by DanCall at 8:49 AM on October 4, 2010


The whole point of developing a standards-compliant browser is so that people can just build a damn website and not spend hours tweaking it to make it actually work in that one damned browser that just refuses to render it correctly. And anyone who has tried to produce a standards-compliant site knows that browser is usually from Redmond.

I hate to say this, but for my development it is undeniably true: it is usually a browser from Redmond, unless it's a font issue (in which case it is Firefox) or a random whitespace injection (in which case it is Opera.) It's gotten to the point that I develop on Safari as my reference browser these days.
posted by davejay at 9:31 AM on October 4, 2010


FWIW not allowing other browsers puts it firmly into Safari demo territory, whereas this is clearly and plainly an advertisement for IE9. Not that I don't loathe the practice, but there is a reasonable argument in favor of designing something to demonstrate only your product.

To be fair, this is very different from Apples HTML5 demo - that claimed a browser specific technology as HTML5 and put up a wall to keep browsers perfectly capable of HTML5 out, where as this has what is effectively a simple capabilities check on CANVAS and a suggestion that you use a different browser if you can't do CANVAS (i.e. any of the current versions of IE) - no different from hundreds of other HTML5 sites.
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on October 4, 2010


To be fair, this is very different from Apples HTML5 demo - that claimed a browser specific technology as HTML5 and put up a wall to keep browsers perfectly capable of HTML5 out.

Exactly. Few if anyone had any problems with them promoting Safari. That's expected, though more seem to have problems with MS promoting IE 9. I see this promotion targeted at IE users, and if IE 9 actually is up to standard then I can only hope that those that use IE move to IE 9. The lack of an XP version greatly hinders that of course.
posted by juiceCake at 1:55 PM on October 6, 2010


Yeah for me lack of XP support means that IE8 is going to become my next IE6, but that's a different rant.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on October 6, 2010


W3C: Hold off on deploying HTML5 in websites - Despite the hype, the HTML5 specification isn't yet ready due to interoperability issues, a W3C official says
posted by Artw at 10:43 AM on October 7, 2010


where as this has what is effectively a simple capabilities check on CANVAS and a suggestion that you use a different browser if you can't do CANVAS

The page told me to use IE even though my browser is perfectly Canvas-capable, and was showing the content right above the notice. So it's the same thing as the Safari demo, technically. That's not the problem.

Again, the problem is that Microsoft is disguising the fact that it paid for this site to put the notice up.
posted by breath at 9:58 PM on October 8, 2010


So it's the same thing as the Safari demo, technically.

No it's not. Technically, Apple used their sniffer to refuse to show you pages that worked in other browsers. You clicked the link, it said no, you can't see this page, you're not using Safari. And yet if you went to that page via different URL, you could see it. Microsoft's sniffer does not do this. Apple, in that case, closed the door and forces you to go round the back, if you happen to know where the back door is. Microsoft says you should come in via this door but go ahead and go in using the one right beside and we'll let you in.

Both fail to sniff the OS however to see if you're using Linux in Safari's case, in which case you can't get it, or a Mac in Microsoft's case, in which case you can't get IE.
posted by juiceCake at 10:48 PM on October 8, 2010


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