I would like to start developing a MMO browser game, like Travian or Ogame, probably involving also a bit of more sophisticated graphical features such as players interacting in real time with a 2d map or something like that.

My main doubt is what kind of development tools I should use: I've a good experience with PHP and MySQL for the server side and Javascript (and jQuery) regarding the client side. Coding everything from scratch would be of course really painful so I was wondering if I should use a javascript game engine or not. Are there (possibly free) game engine you would recommend? Are they good enough to develop a big game?

Also, I saw a lot of HTML5 games popping up lately but I'm now sure if using HTML5 is a good idea or not. Would you recommend it? What are the pro and cons about using HTML5? If you'd recommend it, do you have any good links regarding game development with HTML5?

(PS: I know that HTML5 and a Javascript engine are not mutually exclusive, I just didn't know how to formulate a proper title since English is not my main language. So, please, answer addressing HTML5 and a game engine pro and cons separately)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are Travian and Ogame MMOs? World Of Warcraft is, but these are just text based games. Correct me if I'm wrong. Oh and I don't think there are "commercial" JS game engines as everyone can simply view the whole JS code. Oh, and JS is very simple to use, I don't see why you need an engine. HTML5 is great! All the new popular browsers support it, although not fully. You should really google about HTML5 games. \$\endgroup\$ – Aistis Nov 20 '11 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ possible duplicate of What are good JS libraries for game dev? (HTML5) \$\endgroup\$ – bummzack Nov 21 '11 at 8:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why oh why do people need game engines for JS... You don't! You can easily code your game in pure JS, that's what I did. I tried many JS game engines, and they just complicate stuff! \$\endgroup\$ – jcora Nov 21 '11 at 9:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ne5tebiu: Yes, Travian and Ogame are MMOs (you can just check with Wikipedia). MMO just stands for Massive Multiplayer Online, what you are referring to are MMORPG which are also role playing game. Also, why there souldn't be commercial engines just because you can see the code? There is a lot of open source commercial software. \$\endgroup\$ – The Coding Monk Nov 21 '11 at 12:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @bane: That's what I was asking, because I was actually unsure if using a game engine was the best thing to do or not :) \$\endgroup\$ – The Coding Monk Nov 21 '11 at 12:56

HTML5 game engines are really designed more for "single page" games, basically, re-creating Flash games (load the entire game once, and play it on a single page in the browser). Travian and Ogame consist of multiple pages, and existing HTML5 game engines really aren't designed to handle that sort of setup. If you're going to create a game like Travian or Ogame, then it's probably fine to simply use jQuery or whatever other Javascript DOM manipulation library you're familiar with.

That said, if you do want to make your game a "single page game" as it were, any of the options in this related question would be good choices.


LimeJS is an excellent HTML5 game dev framework.


  • can develop for multiple devices without having to worry about screen resolution, etc.
  • easy to learn
  • good community and tutorials. For example: Create a Mobile HTML5 RPG


  • runs a bit slow in mobile
  • a bit hard to integrate with other canvas libraries

I have used Cocos2d-x which is the C++ port of Cocos2d. I am just starting to play with Cocos2d-x Html5 port which looks stable so far.


When starting with 2d-x over a year ago the project was really solid and had some full time developers who were subsidized by some big Chinese phone company. Now, a year + later it is getting a lot of steam and I think the Html5 version will become a big deal?


You'll even see Ricardo Quesada (the orginal Cocso2d Obj-C guru) is a contributor to this (if not main contributor) to this project.

Of course it uses Html5 but you will really only need to program in javascript. Keep the PHP for your server side leaderboard and/or other centralized logic if you want that sort of thing.


This engine costs a little bit of money, but it looks decent: http://impactjs.com/

  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried out Impactjs. Is there any engine for 3D games? \$\endgroup\$ – Franklin Nov 22 '11 at 5:48

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