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PlayCanvas in 2014: A Year In Review

· 5 min read
Community Manager

In 2011, PlayCanvas started its journey as the world's first cloud-hosted game development platform, and over three years later we’re still giving you the next generation toolset to build, share and play video games.

In 2014 our community has grown from roughly 2,000 to over 20,000 users and there has been over 2,000,000 views of PlayCanvas projects. There really has never been a better time to join us! So without further ado, here’s a look back at PlayCanvas and the Games industry in 2014 and glance ahead into the new year.


SWOOOP background


The entire runtime engine is available right now on GitHub under the lovely MIT license. Which means you can download it, fork it, and generally use it for anything you like.

Asset Store

We recently announced the PlayCanvas Asset Store, which is a huge deal for us. As the PlayCanvas Store grows we should hope to see thousands of game ready assets become available to our community. Try the beta for free at

Physically Based Rendering

Up until now PBR has only been available in the domain of AAA console and PC gaming. We’re excited to announce that PBR is coming to PlayCanvas.

Right now, it is possible for all PlayCanvas users to create this kind of content, but some of the steps need to performed in code. Our next goal is to integrate these steps directly into the toolset to allow you to build and iterate even faster.

Star Lord Fan art using PBR in PlayCanvas
Star Lord Fan art using PBR in PlayCanvas

Complete Website Redesign

Over the past year we have also been busy redesigning our virtual home, We’ve focused on increasing the speed of browsing on the site and functionality. Now it’s fast and intuitive to use, giving you more time to work on your game!


Every PlayCanvas project now has a DevLog. Think of the DevLog as part commit message, part blog and part twitter stream. Use it to let other people know what you’ve been working on.

Watch and Star Projects

Watching a project shows your interest, and your news feed will feature updates from any watched projects. With Starring you won’t receive any information, but it just tells the project owner that you think it’s cool.

Particle System

The particle component is our newest engine component type. Our new particle system runs on the GPU for blazing performance on all devices including mobiles. It's all packaged up into an artist friendly editor panel where you can modify the curves to create the exact effect you want. From explosions and smoke to magical effects.

iOS Export

It’s just one click to get a XCode project which is easy to build into a iPhone application. This feature allows our Pro Account holders to make their projects as viral and shareable as they are fun to play.

Material Editing

Hard to remember a time before we had Material Editing. This year we deploy the Material Editing feature in the PlayCanvas Designer. This lets you customize the look of your models. And recently it's getting more and more advanced in particular with our new Physical Material type.


Way back in March we unveiled SWOOOP, an endless flying game created by 2 team members in 4 weeks. This is our flagship game showing the capabilities of WebGL, but following our new PBR feature the sky really is the limit with PlayCanvas.

SWOOOP in Designer
The SWOOOP project is open to everyone


In July, a PlayCanvas user walked away a prize winner in a game jam with his game ColorTanks. In around 8 hours the developer had created an incredibly addictive multi player game, that has been played by over 12,000 gamers.


Towards the end of this year we started our own game jam, the PLAYHACK. Running the competition monthly, we provide you the model, you make a game with it and our favorite is featured on the PlayCanvas site.

Things to look forward to in 2015

Physically-Based Rendering Workflow

As we progress the new PBR feature in the PlayCanvas Engine, making visually stunning games with 'AAA grade' graphics will become easier than ever before. Pretty exciting stuff!

Massive Editor Improvements

We have a lot planned with regards to the Editor, so stay tuned. If PlayCanvas wasn't your favorite engine before it will be next year.

Enhanced Store

Though the current iteration of the PlayCanvas Store only has around 40 models, soon we’ll be giving all of our PlayCanvas users the chance to become vendors, opening up their assets to over 20,000 PlayCanvas game developers. In time, the PlayCanvas Store will be a fully functioning marketplace for the PlayCanvas Community.

What Do You Want To See?