Greenfoot Scenarios Back Online

Many years ago, we created the ability for users to upload Greenfoot scenarios to our website, and play them from the website without requiring Greenfoot to be installed locally. This was a great selling point. If you were a learner creating games at home or at school, it allowed you to share the game with friends and family by just giving them a link to the online game.

However, the implementation used Java applets, which have turned out to not be secure. Over time, browsers have one by one dropped support for applets, and slowly it became harder and harder to run the Greenfoot scenarios in a typical web browser. The only technology guaranteed to work in every browser is Javascript. Despite the names, Java and Javascript are not really related, and so converting Java to Javascript is a very difficult technical challenge. But… my colleague Davin has been working on this, and in a surprisingly short time, has got a Java to Javascript converter working for Greenfoot scenarios. It’s currently in beta testing, and details are available on our forum about how to run this.

The Marbles scenario is a good one to try. Remember that you need to press the Run button before playing. (Enlarging this button and making it easier to start playing is one of the items still on our todo list.). Then drag from the gold ball to fire it.

On desktops and laptops, this really just restores functionality that we had several years ago with applets. However, the new advantage of being in Javascript is that it means the scenarios on the website can now run on Android and iOS devices. You can’t develop the games on such devices, but once published to the website, they will be playable on other devices (essentially, touch works like a mouse device as far as the scenario is concerned). This should allow Greenfoot games to be shared widely to friends and family. Once it is finished, this will be publicly available by default, but for now you need to follow our instructions to enable this.

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