February 18, 2013 10:34 am

Hold Your Own Heist: Robert Kirkman's Thief of Thieves Now Interactive Online through IE10

A message from the Internet Explorer Developer Relations team…

Today we’re excited to announce the online debut of Thief of Thieves: Experience, an interactive online game based on the comic book series from Robert Kirkman and Skybound, his imprint at Image Comics. The site is a showcase of the new features in Internet Explorer 10, including full multi-touch capabilities and HTML5 support. We thought bringing the comic book style to the web would suit the immersive, chromeless browsing experience on Internet Explorer with Windows 8.

The Thief of Thieves comic tells the story of Conrad Paulson, alias Redmond – a happy coincidence as that just happens to be the hometown of Microsoft’s headquarters. Redmond is a master thief who steals from other thieves to make up for his past robberies and gain redemption. Each arc of the comic is written by a different writer echoing Robert’s experience in the writers’ room on The Walking Dead television series. Thief of Thieves was an instant hit when it was introduced in February, 2012, so much so that AMC immediately began developing Thief of Thieves as a potential series with Robert serving as creator/executive producer and writer. Needless to say, we were beyond excited to work with Robert to bring the style of the books online.

With the Thief of Thieves: Experience, fans can create their own secret thief identity, practice their skills in larceny, and ultimately participate in one last job — the big heist.

“I’m really pleased with how well the web experience captures the setting we were trying to build for Thief of Thieves.  It’s a great way for fans of the of the Thief of Thieves comic books to immerse themselves in Redmond’s world and really interact with the story,” said Robert Kirkman.

Under the hood, the Thief of Thieves: Experience, built in partnership with Skybound and creative agency Bradley and Montgomery, is firmly built on web standards.  This includes the new Pointer Events specification recently accepted and published by the W3C.  This specification enables a unified way for developers to accept input from users (such as touch or mouse) while allowing the user to leverage other means of input in the future, without the site owners having to rebuild their experience.  IE10 supports this specification and it makes for a fun touch-first means of experiencing the Thief of Thieves story via the web.

The Thief of Thieves web site also makes heavy use of scalable vector graphics (SVG), which provides rich graphics regardless of a user’s zoom level or screen size.  Animating these rich graphics enhances the story telling but in the past has caused issues with performance, which could impact a user’s overall experience.  To optimize for this heavy load, the Thief of Thieves site uses new performance and animation standards like requestAnimationFrame to ensure that paint requests are being synchronized with the refresh rate of the hardware, ensuring the performance remains fast. 


In addition, we’ve used:

· CCS3 animations for some of the larger scene transitions on the site;

· MSGesture API for handling more advanced pointer interactions like the safe cracking exercise;

· pageVisibility API to detect when an open page isn’t being actively used so we can control audio appropriately; and

· setImmediate API to improve performance and power consumption on tablet devices. setImmediate like setInterval and setTimeout is a timing API and requests the CPU to process the instruction as soon as it’s possible to.

You can read more about the technology behind the scenes including code snippet and an example of the game mechanics used like the A* pathing algorithm in JavaScript here.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with great partners leading up to and through the release of IE10 to showcase the power of HTML5 and multi-touch – Pulse, Atari and Contre Jour, to name a few – and Thief of Thieves is no different. Be sure to download IE10 to check it out, and let us know what you think. Happy heisting!

Updated November 8, 2014 2:17 am

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