Secrets Behind the IE9 GPU-Powered Hamster

One of the new tests Microsoft provided for Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Platform Preview 4 hides a few secrets.

I’m talking about the Hamster Dance Revolution, designed to help early adopters and developers running IE9 Preview 4 experience the new hardware acceleration capabilities of the browser in concert with background compiled JavaScript.

There are in fact additional technologies at play in this test, but also some, let’s call them Easter eggs.

In order to experience the Hamster Dance Revolution, you will need to download and install IE9 Preview (not to worry, it can be deployed right along any other browser, including IE8), visit the IE Test Drive site choose the second test from the top down in the left had side column (or just follow this link).

Some of you might already be familiar with this gaming concept. However, the execution is a tad different in this regard.

The IE team has leveraged HTML5 Canvas, audio, and JavaScript ES5 along with the computer’s GPU to make sure that the hamster has all the right moves.

In fact, in the video embedded at the bottom of this article you will be able to see Seth McLaughlin, Program Manager for Internet Explorer talk about this specific test.

Testers can easily play the Hamster Dance Revolution game by pressing specific arrow keys when instructed to do so, in order to ensure that the hamster dances to perfection, conserving as much energy as possible.

Still, there are more keys than just the ones that control the character which can be used.

Just go ahead and press X, B, P or + once you’re in the game, and be ready for the Easter eggs the IE team has built into the game.

You’ll be able to add and remove gear from the hamster, and even change the tune (yes, I’ll let you discover the alternative melody that the hamster can dance to). In addition, you can also strip the hamster down to its skeleton.

But you shouldn’t expect anything like a dance vivisection, this is not the case. Instead you will get a look at the code skeleton on which the IE team built the browser, and in fact the secret to its animation.

Be sure to watch McLaughlin in the video below in order to get additional details on just how the hamster was put together. And by all means don’t hesitate to download IE9 Preview 4 and take it for a spin.

After all it is the last Platform Preview of IE9. Come mid-September, Microsoft will release the first Beta Build of Internet Explorer 9.

Update: Just to make sure that you that you get all the details behind the Easter eggs. While pressing “X” will deliver the x-ray mode look of the hamster, hitting “B” ahead of “X” will transform the hamster into its Hello Blues Brothers version complete with signature hat/glasses, on top of changing the tune.

“P” will deliver yet another outfit. At the same time, “+” will make the hamster test for IE9 PP4 play continuously.

Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Platform Preview 4 Build is available for download here.

Follow me on Twitter @MariusOiaga.

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