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29Jan/100

Why Does Apple Hate Flash: The HTML 5 Canvas Might Be The Answer

Why Does Apple Hate Flash: The HTML 5 Canvas Might Be The Answer

Many people on the web have been questioning why Apple "really" hates Flash and why it has not been included in the iPod Touch, iPhone, or new iPad. Everything from "Flash runs slow" to "Flash is not secure" from "Apple was to control all apps" to "Apple hates Adobe" have been bandied about by internet pundits world-wide. However, while all of these are probably partially true, we think we might have found the "real" answer.

The iPod touch, iPhone and iPad all include Apple's Safari web browser. Apple has been very active in the creation of the next generation HTML 5 spec. In fact, many people have speculated that HTML 5 support for H.264 is the reason why Apple can ignore Flash and it's video capabilities. However, it's not just H.264 video that Apple has hand in creating. They have also had significant influence in the creation of a new JavaScript element in HTML 5: The Canvas.

The HTML 5 Canvas is basically a bitmap screen that can be manipulated with JavaScript in HTML. Bitmaps can be loaded, cut, displayed, tiled, scrolled, collision detected, etc. all without any kind of external plug-in. These are the same functions that many professional Flash developers use to create their games. In fact, some HTML 5 developers have already created games that work in modern browsers and look very much like Flash games. This platform game is very good example:

 canvas1.jpg

If you play this game in a modern Firefox or Safari browser, it will play very much like many Flash games. While it plays very well, there are some obvious drawbacks. There is no sound, and the code for the full game is available right in the browser, and it only plays in a browser that supports HTML 5. However, it looks promising and impressive.

So what does this have to do with Apple? Well the answer is right there on Apple's Safari web page:

 

HTML Canvas

Originally invented by Apple for Mac OS X Dashboard, HTML Canvas technology allows web designers to specify

an area in HTML that can be dynamically stylized by a JavaScript program. Safari was the first web browser to

support HTML Canvas, and the standard is now supported by most popular browsers.

 

Did you get that? Apple invented the bitmap Canvas. By extension, the bitmap Canvas can do much (but not all) of what Flash and other plug-in like Silverlight can with bitmaps. As well the Canvas specification is not finished yet, which means as HTML 5 still evolves, the Canvas element will evolve with it.

The HTML 5 Canvas has it's own controversies within the HTML 5 community that need to be mentioned. The Canvas does not allow DOM access to elements created on the Canvas. For many HTML purists, this goes against the grain of HTML standards. However, Apple has pushed for Canvas anyway, it seems to have taken hold.

So, does Apple think that if they avoid Flash long enough, while supporting the HTML 5 bitmap Canvas development and adoption, they can outlast Adobe and and their ubiquitous plug in? To us, it seems like that might be the case. We will be exploring the HTML bitmap Canvas in depth on this site in the coming months, as it seems like an important development for web game developers.

 

28Jan/100

8bitrocket Inter-Media Mash-Up: January 28, 2010

8bitrocket Inter-Media Mash-Up: January 28, 2010

Its no secret that I have had my head buried in the proverbial sand over the last month, slogging through page after page of revisions on the book we are writing. I have not had too much time to visit blogs and have not visited a message board other than BigSoccer.com in a number of weeks. But, the lovely folks who fill up my in-box daily have sent me a few good links, and also I have squeezed out a few minutes to play, view, listen to, read, and consume media (including Flash Games) of all sorts (in small digestible pieces) that might be of interest to some readers. Here is what I have been taking a look at, in no particular order...

Bit Trip Beat
I finally played this game. I know, Steve reviewed it a few months back, and I did play it for a few minutes then, but I never purchased it. I downloaded the demo from Wiiware and was hooked from the first twist of the Wiimote. What an awesomely retro Pong style game filled with the ZarJaz I love. I instantly purchased the whole thing but have not had time play it again. If you have not had the pleasure, you should check it out on youtube.

They Used Our Stuff...
We get emails form time to time from people who have used our music loops. Super cool reader, Tom Lupkey made a commercial for Louisiana Hot Sauce for a contest. It's up on youtube. He used one of our music loops in it. It's pretty funny.

Worm Heroes Flash Game
Worm Heroes is a very well crafted, fun arcade puzzler. It is one of those games where you fire off a projectile from the bottom of the screen and as it travels through the environment it collides with elements that change its direction. The projectiles are are worms and the element are rocks and other items in a garden. You job is to collect apples and dodge the enemy critters and collect power ups. It's a fun little contest made by www.cheesecakegames.com

Mitomane's Llama Glama Flash Game
Inspired my Minter's Llamatron, Mitomane's latest, Llama Glama, is a fun retro arcade game. You Llama is a hero, flying through space, saving innocent animals and shooting at the bad mutant animals. Collect power-ups and blast away!

Michael James Williams Beginner Blitting Tutorials
I plan to write some new tutorials on blitting and other game related topics once the book is released. In the mean time Michael James Williams is writing up a very nice one that will be available on the Adobe site. Check Michel's blog for news about the drop date. Also check out his other great stuff while you are there.

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1
I purchased and downloaded my first Xbox Live Indie game I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 is simply awesome! If you have an account you can download a demo and the purchase cost is only $1.00 (80 points). It is well worth your time for some 2-d Zombie blasting action.

Vampire Baseball v. Quiddich v. Pyramid
So I complained about the original Twilight film last week without ever having seen it. I finally had a chance to watch about 75% of it. I was surprised to find out that it wasn't that awful. There were some cute girls some good action, but far too much brooding. The best part was the Vampire Baseball. Now, it was COMPLETELY out of place and silly, but is was much better than Quddich as a made up sport. Neither are as sweet as Battlestar Galactica Pyramid though.

Mad Dog Mcree (Wii)
Steve and I each picked this title up for the Wii (actually we each gave a copy to the other as a Birthday present). The reviews for it are awful, but I find it kind of fun. The Wii Zapper now has more than 1 use. The acting is awful and the game is more repetitive than Activition Laser Blast, I still get a kick out of it. We had it on the PC years ago and I also remember playing it in an arcade in Pismo Beach years ago.

Katy Perry has quite a set of...Lungs
Until recently I only knew Katy Perry as the generously chested, kinda cute girl who sings about cherry Chapstick. I stumbled across an acoustic concert of hers on one of the Dish Network HD channels that they stick way up above the pay movie channels, but before the sports (a set of channels desperate for viewers). I think it was HD Sound Stage. Anyway, she was dressed exceeding cute. covered in glitter, with her ample cleavage bursting at the seams. I figured it was going to be utter crap...but it wasn't. She covered one of my favorite songs, Hackensack, by Fountains of Wayne. Anyway, my wife got me her CD for my birthday. I have to say the songs are very well written and produced and she sounds little like a more feminine Pink. Pretty good, but not for everybody.

Mochi Was Purchased
It seems they were bought by suspected Chinese Gold Farmers. I have no idea if this is true, but it makes for a good story. Supposedly there was a chat today about it on Mochi. Some of our concerns were addressed. It seems that the new company is into indie games and probably doesn't want to do any thing to jeopardize what Mochi has built. Cool.

iPod Touch
I finally got one of these little babies and I am loving all the free apps. My son especially love the Bubble Warp app. Now, if someone who has made a sweet retro game wants me to play or review it, send me a link. If you know of one that I MUST purchase, send that over too.

Landon Donovan In Never-Everton Land
Favorite American footie player finally opened his Premier League account against Sunderland. I didn't get to see the game as WORK was in the way and I forgot to DVR it. In any case, here is the video from SoccerByIves.

That's it for this week.

Filed under: diatribe No Comments
28Jan/100

Video: Mochi Media's Jameson Hsu Answers Our Question About Shanda And Developer I.P.

Millionaire Tycoon Jameson Hsu From Mochi Media removes his monacle for a bit to talk about the Shanda Buyout And Mochi game intellectual property. We asked Jameson a question about how Shanda will treat developer intellectual property in the Mochi system. This was his response. Very encouraging.

Here is  link to the full chat: http://mochiland.com/articles/log-from-live-community-chat-with-jameson-and-bob

(PS: Jameson, we jest.  We know you don't have a monocle...yet).

27Jan/100

iPad Flash Support For Web Sites? Apples Fumbles This One Badly

So it looks like the new iPad, the one that apple claims is  the "Best Way To Surf The Web", does not support Flash.    That  means that any full-form web site that uses Flash for ANYTHING will not work correctly.  This is not just games or animations, but all sorts of features that ubiquitous for normal web browsing:

-Flash ad rotators, and rich advertisements

-Flash audio players

-Flash  video players

-Flash site navigation (menus, menu bars,  etc).

-Flash image  manipuations apps (3D rotate, zoom, crop, etc)

-Flash product demos

-Flash mini sites

-Flash landing pages

-Flash based catalogs  and "Sunday" ads

-Flash photo viewers/manipulators

-Flash educational apps and games

-Flash games and  animations (of course)

By the way , this most likely includes all other plug-ins like Silverlight, Unity, etc..

I'm OK with my iPhone/iPod Touch not having this functionality, but not a device the purports to be a full-page "web browser".  To support the iPad, sites will need to re-written as  straight HTML 4.0 or 5.0 + CSS/JavaScript.   Of course, Flash deve.lopers can still target  the iPhone (and by extension, the iPad) with Flash CS5, but that is just for native apps. 

Technology-wise,  Apple may have just taken the world  a year or so into the future with an  amazingly cool design.  However, for web site development and Flash (and other) plug-in support, they have taken us 10 years into the past.  You know, back when the bubble burst.

(last paragraph edited @2:02 Pacific Time by ickydime's clarification request)

26Jan/100

Mochi Media Bought By (Alleged) Ex-Chinese Gold Farmers? (updated)

Update:

Jameson Hsu of Mochi Media confirmed yesterday (1/27/2010) that Shanda does not intend to do anything with developer I.P. that would jeopardize Mochi's standing in the development community.  This is great news.  We will continue to follow this story and report anything that might be of note.

Original story:


How did we miss this?:
Mochi Media Acquired By Shanda Games For $80 Million

Great.  

Here is an article about these guys and their (alleged) notorious "Gold Farming" ways of old. Hopefully things have turned around a bit for them. Apparently Shanda has been trying to go legit (if in fact they needed to "go legit", which is still a not quite clear) for a couple years, so this could be a positive step for Mochi, but it might also just be a way for their funders to finally get a payout.

However, one word of caution.  Remember this from Mochi Terms Of Service:

By submitting User Submissions to Mochi Media, or displaying, publishing, or otherwise posting any content on or through the Service, you hereby do and shall grant Mochi Media an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, fully paid, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, modify, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, perform, and otherwise fully exploit the User Submissions in connection with the Service and Mochi Media's (and its successors and assigns) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.

The old Mochi crew swore up and down that this was boiler-plate, and they would not actually enforce it.  What about now?  Are all bets off? 

Hmm.

Maybe the fine people at Mochi can clue us in.

 

24Jan/100

Down The Road – Before The Corruption: An Overly Sentimental 40th Birthday 8mm Film Retrospective.


Down The Road - Before The Corruption: An Overly Sentimental 40th Birthday (today) 8mm Film Retrospective. This video includes 8mm film of us (twins Steve and Jeff Fulton from 8bitrocket.com) from 1970-1983. All the time before we were "corrupted" by getting our own Atari 800 computer or discovering the rock band The Alarm: two things we have not lost "the love" for the subsequent 27 years. By the way, notice our penchant for making faces and sticking tongues out. The song is "Down The Road" by Mike Peters of The Alarm (used my explicit permission from Mike Peters)

Happy Birthday Jeff.  I apologize in advance.

20Jan/100

Flash Indie Game Review Mash-up: January 19, 2010

Flash Indie Game Review Mash-up: January 19, 2010

I am going to "clear" out the notebook (so to speak) and review a list of games that people have sent me over the last few weeks. I have not had time to do reviews in that time, but I as encourage people to send games for review it would be nice if I actually reviewed some of them every once in a while.

Games reviewed: Right Brained Robot, Luminr, Vowels in Your Bowels, 2mazed, 2009 The Game

Game: Right Brained Robot
Author: Ace The Super Villain

right-brained_robot.jpg

Game Play: No real "game play" here as the robot in question is more of a game idea generator, similar to one we produced a year or so ago. If you are looking for an interesting game idea, this one has 4,425,578,006,446,080 different combinations.
Plus, Ace is a funny dude, so some of the games are hilarious!

Verdict: Not really a game, but will be good for game developers and fans of interesting random concepts: 75% Retrotastic

 

Game: Luminr
Author: Mochi User: MuktoSoftware

luminr.jpg

Game Play: Luminr is a puzzle game built around the idea of clearing levels by clicking on Orbs. The orbs are arranged on a grid and each time you click one, it and all of it's adjacent
neighbors change color. You job is to change the color of all the Orbs to white. It is much more difficult than it sounds.

Verdict: Orbs has pleasant music and decent game play. It is
best suited for a quiet, peaceful time at home or lunch when you have a few minutes for a quick challenge.

Rating: 75% Retrotastic

 

Game: Vowels in Your Bowels
Author: Kosoftgo

vowels_bowels.jpg

Game Play: This very unique little word puzzle game is a little like Boggle crossed with Zuma

Verdict: 83% Retrotastic. This is a very well designed, fun game.

 

Game: 2mazed
Author: Hyptod

2mazed.jpg

Game Play: A fun little retro maze-based arcade game with a twist: You choose to control either the right-side or the left side character of a mirrored maze and the opposite side character will mirror the movements of the one you control.
It makes for some very nice game play. I had a few little problems controlling and
navigating the maze, but all in all it is a nice little game.

Verdict: 80% Retrotastic.

Game: 2009 The Game
Author: Thor K. Jensen

2009_the_game.png

Game Play: Dodge 2009's biggest scum bags and collect as
much money as you can. How come all of them are Americans... Oh, I guess that's
a stupid question.  Maybe with Landon Donovan at Everton, the USA will save
a little face - if only on the footie pitch. Too bad Dempsey went down with a
bad knee. Did you see his play against Rovers before he went down? He is amazing
at narrowly missing amazing shots. Too bad for Fulham that Benny MCarthy actually makes his shots (but good for Squize)...

Verdict: 80% Retrotastic! A sweet little retro game.

16Jan/100

Today Only: 100% Of Your Purchase At Popcap.com Goes To Haiti Relief

Today only, you can load-up on PopCap.com games (some of the best games ever made) and every penny you spend will go to the Haiti relief effort.

popcaprelief.gif

If you have been waiting around to buy such games as Zuma, Book Worm Adventures, Heavy Weapon, Feeding Frenzy, Peggle or Bejewelled, today is the day to do it.

Filed under: Game Reviews No Comments
16Jan/100

Ever Wondered What Some "Reviewed" Book Pages Look Like? No? Too Bad.

Have you ever wondered what the pages of a book look like when they are in the middle of being reviewed by multiple people?  No?  Too bad. Here are some examples anyway.  See all those different colored balloons to the right?  Those are are the digital voices of people who know much more about writing books then you do, making that fact well-known.

rev1.gif

rev2.gif

 

 

14Jan/100

The office politik: Twilight v. The Atari 800

The office politik: Twilight v. The Atari 800

Ok, so I really want to write something about Flash games or indie games, or retro games, but every ounce of my energy for and interest in those topics is being funneled into the final revisions for the book. I would love to "mash some Flash shit up" or review some "sweet retro zar jaz", but I'm struck with something worse than writers block: I have been "Twilighted!". Some of you may well know that Steve and I don't get to work on indie games all day long. We both work for a very large American multi-national company. While I would love to live the indie life all day in and day out, I have not been able to find the right combination of Mochi pennies and contract dollars to do so. Maybe once the book is complete I will try again, but for now I keep my family living in sunny Southern California because of my day job.

Let's get something straight though, I don't particularly like working for that "man", but it is a necessary evil right now. I am damn lucky to have decent job in the current economy, so I am not crying. There are people and tasks at every company that I probably wouldn't like or respect very much. So when you (the reader) starts to say to him/her self:

"Oh shit, here we go again, this American twit is going to complain about the state of I.T. in 2010 or he is going to rage on about how making money and living comfortably in California sucks! What a wanker!"

Don't worry, I'm not there today. I might be there tomorrow, but today I want to complain about one thing: Twilight! (the movie). Ok, well not the movie actually because I have not seen it. I forgive 12 year old girls of every generation their "safe, but bad boy" passions. There is nothing wrong with it, they need it and I am sure there are child experts who will both say it is healthy and those that will condemn it as odd behavior. I will do neither. The movies make money, the books make money. There must be at least a small amount of quality there (I hope). This "safe vampire as super-duper hero" genre certainly killed High School Musical and the last "Safe, but good boy" passion for tweens, Zack Efron. That can't be a bad thing now can it?

I wouldn't even waste space on this subject if it were not for this terrible day job task I have (there he goes again). You see, when you work at a big company you have to deal with ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE. What does this have to do with Twilight? Well I someone at my job made a mistake. I was tasked with cleaning up the mess and in doing so I had to visit a bunch of people I don't know and ask them some questions. Most of the visits were fine until I got to the "Twilight Cube". This was the cubicle office space of a 30 year old female twilight fan. I was appalled. There were 1/2 naked pictures of Robert Pattinson all over the place. Although offensive, I don't begrudge this woman her passions (even though she is not 12). The funny thing is that the 30 year old "Twilight" fan with her "safe vampire porn" set of promo pics is no better or worse (to me) than the 80's era office "dude" who had posters of just swimsuit model butts, Budweiser girls, and the Jagermeister bikini team plastered all over his office walls. I wonder what would happen to me if I started plastering my walls with hot female vampirettes? Would I get a call from HR asking me to take them down?

Probably, but then I look around my cube and see all the crap I DO have:

A sign that says "When Chuck Norris jumps in water, Chuck Norris doesn't get wet, the water get's Chuck Norris", a poster of the original Knight Rider, a sign that says "No, I will not fix your computer", and pie graph that breaks down the lyrical components of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up", A poster that says "None of us is as dumb as all of us", an actual TPS report cover sheet, and my Atari 800!

All of these items are easily ignored if noticed alone, but paint the picture of a mad man if taken in all together, out of ironic context, by a casual passerby.

So, I am going to forgive the 30 year old woman her Twilight obsession. As long as no one takes away my Donkey Kong cart (the Atari 800 version is one of the few with all 4 levels) I will be quiet about the wholesome vampire porn. I guess Twilight to her is is like my Atari 800. Although (thankfully) I don't have any 1/2 naked pictures of Steve Mayer, Joe Decuir, Jay Miner or Doug Neubauer* in my cube either.

* Note: They were just a few of the engineers behind early Atari hardware, specifically the Atari 8-bit computers.

Filed under: Atari Nerd No Comments
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