Mozilla has launched a browser-based MMO game designed to showcase the capabilities and the future of HTML5 gaming. BrowserQuest is a retro-style adventure game designed by Little Workshop that’s been injected with a dose of multiplayer goodness and is being launched complete with source code for developers.

This tribute to classic video games pits the player as a young warrior driven by the thrill of adventure. There are no princesses to save in this game; just a dangerous world filled with treasure to explore and discover.

The multiplayer facet allows gamers to interact via text-based chat and team up to fight enemies together. There’s even a population counter that shows exactly how many people are currently online across different instances of the game worldwide.

In addition to HTML5, BrowserQuest also utilizes WebSockets. This is a new technology that enables bi-directional communication between a browser and a server on the Internet. The game is a demo of how this technology can create a real-time multiplayer game within a single webpage. As described in a post on the Mozilla blog, when you start a game, a WebSocket connection is made to one of several load-balanced servers. Each server can host multiple instances of a game and is responsible for player synchronization and game logic.

Best of all, the game is available on a multitude of different browsers including Firefox, Chrome and Safari. With WebSockets, users can even play in Opera. It’s compatible with iOS devices and Firefox for Android for those that wish to play away from home. Mozilla notes that the mobile versions are more experimental than the desktop experience, however.