Thursday, July 3, 2008

Jangaron 0.52 in Firefox 3 -- but slow

About 20% of all Firefox surfers that have visited during the last month already used Firefox 3 -- and couldn't start the game! After a really small patch, Jangaron 0.52 now works completely in Firefox 3.
My workmate Jan found a bug in the browser abstraction code: To let standard-compatible browsers simulate IE behavior (yes, I know, it should be the other way round!), I checked whether MouseEvent is defined. Since MouseEvent is supposed to be a constructor function, I used typeof MouseEvent=="function". For reasons beyond my imagination, Firefox 3 changes the type of MouseEvent to "object", so the check failed. Now, I simply use typeof MouseEvent!="undefined".
After quick-fixing the bug (no new version number, just reload / maybe clear browser cache), the full game now works in Firefox 3. However... it runs unbearably slow :-(. I started searching for similar problems and found many disappointed Firefox users who reported that version 3 is actually quite slower than 2 (at least in certain circumstances).
Currently, there is not much more I can, or better am willing to do about it. Maybe the guys over at Mozilla will come up with some performance tips or patches soon. Until then, I do not recommend using Firefox 3 to play Jangaron. If you are brave and try, I would really be interested in your experience. By the way, I didn't yet bother to patch the "stable version" 0.43, which has the same bug, so please use 0.52 with Firefox 3.
One last hint, if you want to use Firefox 3 for surfing and Firefox 2 to play Jangaron: just google for "firefox.2 firefox.3 parallel". Essentially, you create a separate profile for each Firefox version so the other one does not mess it up, and start the program with command line switches that tell it a) to use a certain profile and b) not to reuse the running Firefox instance.
After being a bit disappointed by Firefox 3, Opera 9.5 and Internet Explorer 8 are my next candidates...


  1. I've found that Firefox 2 runs tons faster with the scripts I've written. I'm hoping that the new JavaScript engine FF is promising fixes the issues.

  2. I just found out that FF3 spends most of the time in Array#join(). Jangaron uses this a lot to build CSS style values for all the graphical elements ("slants"). In contrast to IE, Firefox has always be known for its good performance concerning Array concatenation. While IE improved, it seems that with FF3, things became worse. I also tried Firefox 3.1 Beta, but even with the new JavaScript JIT ("TraceMonkey") enabled, the situation does not improve. :-(


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