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Thread: Games: Adobe´s last hope for flash?

  1. #1
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    Games: Adobe´s last hope for flash?

    A while ago Adobe honcho Mike Chambers posted a blog post regarding being into adding game dev centric features into flash.
    For a bit i thought: Way late to the party man, but better late than never!
    But then i thought some more about why Adobe could suddenly have some interest in actually supporting game developers rather than neglecting them as they did for ages.
    Then it became way more obvious when i checked out some more recent html 5 demos and then reading up on the current discussions about settling on native video playback via the browser:
    To me it looks like anything flash was used for in the browser in the past could quite soon be doable within a browser alone without any plugin. Nifty animations, transtions, effects etc, just like anything to do the hyped up RIAs and once they settle down on that even video playback.
    All that is needed in a while could be a propper editor for all this stuff.

    What is left there?

    GAMES.

    Sure, maybe with time, at least 2D games could be done better and better with the html 5/canvas stuff, too but i think as games really bring all the other fields together it would take longest till the dominance of flash in that field would be surpassed by what one can achieve to get running in the browser alone without any plugin.

    Without any flaming etc, what do you guys think about all this?
    Do you think flash will still hold its strong position once the html 5/canvas stuff becomes more common? Where would you like to see it go?

  2. #2
    Senior Member UnknownGuy's Avatar
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    With regards to video, I would "think" Flash is still going to be doing fine for quite awhile. Assuming that video becomes stable directly in the browser for most users, I wonder how flexible it will be. If Flash is required for things like integration with ads and more complicated logic then playback, I think it will last. But I'm not sure how powerful the in-browser support will be combined with javascript or what not.

    And also Flash of course has an established user-base and is proven. Granted, if it comes out on all the major browsers, there is your user-base. But given how I'm sure many people are used to developing for Flash, and may be better(cheaper development) just to stay the course then to switch, unless in-browser video has significant advantages.

    As you mentioned, the existing IDE is a big benefit for Flash for design and quickly doing things. I bet it would take A LOT of work to make something comparable to run in a browser natively(and I'm sure you would encounter compatibility issues at that point).

    And, yep, games seems to be doing quite fine in Flash. I assume that will continue.

    </pro-Flash post>

  3. #3
    Custom User Title Incrue's Avatar
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    For flash games there are ads, FGL, socket servers,multiplayer APIs, physics engines,microtransactions, mochi coins...and many other stuff
    Its at the point of no return...

  4. #4
    Custom User Title Incrue's Avatar
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    And i say more, what mike chambers is doing is useless useless useless
    For flash to become good for games is not a matter of API, everybody told him, 3d acelleration 3d acelleration but no, what they want to do is take game stuff and make it native, im skeptical about that because the way adobe is full of idiots is very likely that the new stuff wont be that much faster or even slower,and even if its a bit faster, so what?You get one, two milisseconds and think flash can be n64 now?Pff.Like have you ever tried your own version of Point.polar ? Point.polar is native and slower, just one example
    So, thats it, one more big nothing to shove on the stupid flash users all around the world.

  5. #5
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    to UnknownGuy: yeah, not sure how long it will take till video playback and canvas, html 5 etc type stuff runs nicely in all browsers and most users have those browser versions, but it will surely happen some day.
    Then having no need for a plugin and no need to buy any expensive dev tools could really speak against flash for some things.

    to Increue: Well, all good points regarding your first post, flash of course has a huge dent in there with the adoption, the available tools, services and open source frameworks/ apis.

    Regarding your second post and the whole topic in general: Well, its always that thing with the flash platform, since maybe flash 7, it seems to disappoint on various ends but it still has that big adoption going and there´s always the possibility that, you know, adobe could one day come out with all the things most of its userbase has been begging for for years and then all would be twisted upside down again

    As usual let´s see what the next flash player brings, just thought it was weird and interesting that games could become the biggest backbone for the flash platform when it looses dominance in video, website and ria usage =)

  6. #6
    Senior Member The Helmsman's Avatar
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    2 Tomsamson:

    You know what... You're not a first man who's talking about Flash death when HTML 5 with native video playback will be supported by all browsers.

    I started hearing it immediately after it was announced. The truth here that most of experienced Flash developers don't have any idea (if they don't work with video in Flash on their daily basis) how it can be f*cking complicated. Most of Flashers think that video playback is very easy. If we're talking about simple FLV player it's true, but the realities of our life shows us that today it's not enough.

    I'm writing all of these because I'm working as a Flash developer on the video website for a 2 years and frankly, it's so f*cking complicated, that you can't imagine. Think about this:
    - live video broadcasting with opportunity to invite different viewers to co-host with you
    - real time video recording with co-host synchronization
    - embedding chat messages on the data layer of recorded FLV file
    - showing various types of effects during live broadcasting
    - and much more

    This is the list of the basic features we support on our website in order to compete with other similar services, and we're not number one. Now think about crappy support of video playback which will be available with HTML 5 compared to this and your choice will be clear.

    Sorry for a rough post mate, nothing personal.

  7. #7
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    Man, i wrote a lengthy reply and it got wasted when i hit post =(
    To sum it up, yeah, i work on video streaming things, too, so yeah, i know there´s much more involved things there than just letting an flv be played with the default player component =)
    Regarding the streaming and recording things to me it always felt like the backend and streaming server sides were much more work requiring than the actual playback on client side, so the actual player felt like the most replayable part of the whole system (streamed format aside), dunno what you think about that.
    While at it, what do you think about streaming video content on mobile devices?

  8. #8
    Senior Member The Helmsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomsamson View Post
    While at it, what do you think about streaming video content on mobile devices?
    It is not so popular. We give to mobile users following opportunities:
    - to view live streaming show on their cellular phone.
    - to use their cellular phone to send live show to our website.

    In first case we use capturing software to get the stream together with chat messages and send it to the video phone in streaming format which is native for the 3G phone (in this case user do not need to install any additional applications, he just used pre-installed phone software)

    In second case we work with some 3rd party startup. You need to use their software to broadcast from mobile phone (it's free) and we get the stream from their servers.

    And frankly according to site statistics both services are not so popular. I think it's because poor quality. In the beginning we thought that it will be cool for users such reporters or other people who are on the move and want broadcast.

    In real life most requested feature was opportunity to broadcast in HQ using H264 codec for live streams. We do it by providing support to broadcast using FMS. But there was no work in Flash at all, all done on the server side.

    ;(

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ray Beez's Avatar
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    The HTML standards groups can't even agree on what tech to use for this <video> tag, so you know what? Any "death to Flash video" is a real long ways off. And think about this, we've had MPEG4/h264 quality via Quicktime for many, many years now, yet Flash keeps making in-roads into video streaming. What that should tell you is that it takes more than just the existence of something to define its success.

    As for game-centric things... you guys need to stop harping about 3D so much (well, I guess this is more in response to incrue). If you want 3D, move to a 3D plugin. I for one would welcome "shortcut" functions in Flash for things like:

    - distance from point A to point B
    - tile engine
    - Really effective, accurate, but fast collision management
    - Built-in Box2D streamlined for "Dummies"
    - Automated depth management
    - etceteroni

  10. #10
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    Yup, good points regaqrding them not being able to agree on a common implementation, let´s see how long it takes till they get that sorted out
    Regarding the point that the pure existance of something doesn´t make it a success automatically is of course right, but dunno regarding the quicktime comparison since at the end that´s basically about replacing one plugin with another, so that´s a different story than replacing one plugin with the option to need none.

    Regarding "want 3d now" i can understand those requests but i think in many cases that´s more a request for 3d card acceleration in general. Personally what i´d like most on that end is graphic card acceleration for all graphical operations cause the graphic handling side is really the weakest of flash right now.
    Some good suggestions there among yours, i´d also like propper secured file format which can´t be easily decompiled and AS1 running as fast as AS3 and both together way faster thanks to being compiled down to closer to machine code format.

  11. #11
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    If you really want to make games, Flash still fails, because we have Unity, and that's cheaper. Plus, we have so many easy-to-use tools, including Construct and Game Maker. We even have a few neat 3D tools like Blender, which have full game engines available to them. Blender's free. At one time, Blender had a browser plug-in, but it wasn't popular enough and support for it stopped as new versions of Blender were developed.

    Flash is still a great 2d animation tool, but it does have competition.
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  12. #12
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    yeah, it sure does.

    to Helmsman: ay, overlooked your reply last time. Yeah, i see and that´s what i wondered about, for the more complex video streaming stuff the backend is really way more important than the player in whichever tech on the frontend.
    So the player on the frontend is the most replacable part.
    Regarding flash media server: ayks, i felt like that´s way overbloated in pricing.
    regarding streaming and recording on mobiles: Yeah, i imagine its not hugely popular right now with the tech being behind expectations, but as mobile flatrates and highspeed connections become more common that should change

  13. #13
    Custom User Title Incrue's Avatar
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    Im not dying for 3d, i just cant see anything else making such a difference or making games that would not be possible right here, right now

  14. #14
    Senior Member hatu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fjgamer View Post
    If you really want to make games, Flash still fails, because we have Unity, and that's cheaper. Plus, we have so many easy-to-use tools, including Construct and Game Maker. We even have a few neat 3D tools like Blender, which have full game engines available to them. Blender's free. At one time, Blender had a browser plug-in, but it wasn't popular enough and support for it stopped as new versions of Blender were developed.

    Flash is still a great 2d animation tool, but it does have competition.
    If you want to make games that are actually played by more than 100 people, Flash wins.
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  15. #15
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    You´re way off there, when developing offline games the plugin install base doesn´t count at all of course, you can reach an as big audience as with flash with any of those other things.
    Besides that, even in the online plugin driven segment several millions are playing FusionFall which is made in unity 3d, so the plugin penetration has already passed the a few hundreds mark a good while ago =)

  16. #16
    Say hello to Bob Kakihara's Avatar
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    3 would be nice but as said before me there are other areas that need drastically addressing. Performance is one. Proper manual garbage collection would be nice as would auto garbage collection that actually works and doesnt require to go through your code and find every reference to something and make sure it will be null and of course making sure that all timerobjects and event listeners are removed even though they are embedded in something that doesnt exist now anyway (why oh why?).

    3d is not the be all and end all. 2d pc based and console games have seen a massive resurgence in asian and things like 2d platformers and 2d shooters are still selling buy the bucketload across the world. If a 2d game is great people will play it. 3d can in many cases ruin a game because it takes away simplicity.

    Multiplayer support is another area that flash really hasnt broken into seriously either. I know this is mostly a server and socket issue but im still waiting for the day when all thats stopping me from creating a realtime flash multiplayer racing game/shooter/whatever is that i havent actually coded the game yet. At this point in time its a onstarter unless you want to spend a year on dev and write your own server.

    There are certai types of games that are not possible at the moment. A hectic platform shooter with tons of particles, blur effects, intelligent ai enemies etc... is possible but only if you severely limit what happens. If performance is improved dramatically it breaks open the barriers and allows for some truly exciting gameplay and stunning visuals.

    There are other areas that should certainly be improved before 3d is tackled. Director supports 3d, wanna make a game in it? Didnt think so :P
    If our body is a clock ticking away and if while we experience all that this world has to offer time has still continued to pass, are we living or just experiencing a slow death?

  17. #17
    Senior Member tonypa's Avatar
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    Adobe Stratus is probably best hope for multiplayer games, all the other stuff will be eventually killed off with new and improved security restrictions. Sadly, I doubt Stratus will be free.

  18. #18
    Senior Member UnknownGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kakihara
    Proper manual garbage collection would be nice as would auto garbage collection that actually works and doesnt require to go through your code and find every reference to something and make sure it will be null and of course making sure that all timerobjects and event listeners are removed even though they are embedded in something that doesnt exist now anyway (why oh why?).
    I'm not sure if I would want manual garbage collection in Flash. I would hate to think how that would hurt websites/games when they get memory leaks!

    (Yes, there are benefits, but I think it is too much power..)

    And on a side note: it was raised that it is hard to unload movies(like to stick around if any references). I was watching an Adobe video that apparently they said they are adding a "hammer" solution to basically just destroy the movie, which apparently will address that issue.

  19. #19
    Say hello to Bob Kakihara's Avatar
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    I see your point on manual garbage collection. If not done properly it would lead to some serious problems.

    Problem is ive had some memory leak issues with big games in the past and thats down to the auto garbage collector being very selective about what it leaves behind with seemingly not much logic to it. Caused many a headache that has.

    I think if they could improve two areas for me it would have to be performance (in general handling movieclips and sprites without having to use copypixel) and debugging info given. In fact more info when debugging and more importantly easy to understand debug info would be my number 1. It would save a huge amount of development time and that in itself would allow more time to be spent on other areas and thus improving the overall game itself
    If our body is a clock ticking away and if while we experience all that this world has to offer time has still continued to pass, are we living or just experiencing a slow death?

  20. #20
    Senior Member UnknownGuy's Avatar
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    Yes, it can indeed be useful. With great power comes great responsibility.

    And yes performance and debug info is indeed useful.

    From my understanding with regards to graphic cards support, the number of cards supported is only going to grow. They make the manufacturer do a check for Flash support, so only if the card has that flag "set" will it attempt to do it. Apparently for Director, they assumed all graphic cards were OK and then tried to manually update a blacklist themselves. Apparently too much work!

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