This morning I work up early to download the new Xbox Live update that includes Internet Explorer. My goal was to try out some of our HTML5 Canvas game experiments to see is they work on the new I.E for the Xbox. To my surprise, they work fairly well. Both 1945 Demo and Atari 2600 Match 3 work with the game pad (the mouse maps well to the analog stick) and include nearly all the sound FX (no mean feat for an HTML5 game).
The main issues seem to be the is the size/scale of the games, and mapping the cursor to stay inside the game area. I spent no time trying to update the games to work inside the 360 I.E. browser, but I'm certain it will not take very long to optimize them for the platform.
Obviously, the games are just demos and need work, but you can see that there might be a bright future for browser-based games on the Xbox...at least in HTML5. The Flash games I tried did not work, and it looks like the player cannot be installed. So much for playing Home Computer Wars on the Xbox. I guess I need to make a version in HTML5.
A couple years ago, Jeff and I published The Essential Guide To Flash Games through Friends Of Ed. At nearly the EXACT moment the book went into print, the whole Apple/Flash/iPad flap blew-up the Flash world. What we thought would be the culmination of 10 years of work in Flash games became a sort of albatross. The book used techniques that we have developed for many years, as well as new ideas designed to get good performance from iOS. However, at the last minute, we had to strike all references to mobile out of the book. Then to add insult to injury, bugs in CS4 and new ones introduced in CS5, rendered some of the examples in the book useless. We were shattered by the experience, and decided to move on to the HTML5 Canvas.
Well, imagine our surprise when, on a whim, we ran some tests with Flash CS6 this week and found that the techniques we developed for The Essential Guide To Flash Games now produce some really solid code with great performance on iOS. Unfortunately, we are not in the position to write any tutorials right now about it, but we might post a video demo next week to show just how many objects and particles we can get up using a fully blitted engine when exported from CS6 to iOS.
Anyway, don't count out Flash just yet. There still might be some life left in our old friend.
Wow. It seems like just a few years ago, we here at 8bitrocket.com were the only ones talking about using sprite sheets with Flash, and now Adobe has embraced the idea, adding support to export Flash animations as sprite sheets. This is a GREAT feature that will help keep Flash on the top of the pack as an animation tool and game development tool. CS6 has a ton of other improvements that move Flash CS6 into the realm of full-featured app development tool, but for today, we will savor the glory of the sprite sheet generator.
By Steve Fulton
We found out about Grant Skinner's CreateJS project a few weeks ago, and were instantly excited to start writing about it for the second edition of HTML5 Canvas. The libraries he is helping to create will go a long way to help make Canvas development much easier. Now we hear that Adobe plans to include support for exporting from Flash to CreateJS in CS6.0. This seems like a very smart move that will help both Flash and HTML5 Canvas development projects.
In the video below from Adobe, you can see how it will work.
Adobe announced yesterday a set of "Premium Features" for Flash. These are features that, when used for web games, will require a license fee after a certain threshold of revenue has been reached (currently $50K) After that, they want their "tribute" in the form of a slice of the profits.
The features are limited to Flash on the web (not Air on iOS and Android) and include the use of domain memory and Stage3D that are utilized by Adobe Alchemy. According to Adobe, Alchemy "allows developers to compile C and C++ code this is targeted to run on the open source ActionScript Virtual Machine"...basically allowing the same type of middleware compilers used to make console games to also produce games for the "console of the web" as Adobe now refers to Flash.
Adobe explains it this way:
"The premium features enable these existing C/C++ codebases to run sandboxed across browsers in Flash Player. C/C++ developers, and developers using other languages who build on native middleware/engines, can now join ActionScript developers in benefiting from the ubiquity of Flash Player. And ActionScript developers benefit from now being able to leverage millions of lines of existing optimized C/C++ code in their ActionScript projects."
So basically, unless you plan to port your console game to Flash, or if you say, have a giant Flash-based social game that you want to convert to Stage3D, you really have nothing to worry about. Obviously Adobe sees all the money being generated on the back of it's tools, and now wants a to harvest some of the bounty too. That seems fair to us, but it's likely to drive even more indie devs away from the technology as it appears they will be penalized for moderate success.
We do find it interesting that Adobe has now embraced games in a BIG way. It was only 3 years ago when they appeared to embarrassed by using Flash as gaming platform. Times have certainly changed.
The Flash Gaming Summit returns again this year as the première event for Flash game developers. We were honored to both be invited to speak (we could not sync up our plans unfortunately) and to be judges in the game competition. We LOVED the first one we attended, and we think this one looks to be the best yet.
Here is the current info on the event:
FGS 2012 is taking place on March 4, 2012 at the Mission Bay Conference Center (one day before GDC begins), and will feature top industry speakers from CrowdStar, KIXEYE, Adobe, The9, and BioWare San Francisco as well as plenty of indie game developers sharing their success stories! This year's topics expand outside of the world of Flash gaming, as talks will cover mobile, 3D, and HTML5 as well. Learn more about FGS 2012!
Every year Flash Gaming Summit brings leaders in the Flash game space together to share industry insights and strategies on successful game design, development, distribution, and monetization. Passes include two tracks of community-selected speakers, an award show honoring the best Flash games of 2011, lunch, and an after-party/networking mixer.
Not much else to say here except to link to this:
Adobe donates Flex to foundation in community-friendly exit strategy.
A good move to keep Flex viable for developers for the foreseeable future.
(Thanks to R.J. Lormier for the heads-up)
In the "Your Questions About Flex Blog" on blogs.adobe.com, Adobe appears to be putting the future of Flex in doubt:
Does Adobe recommend we use Flex or HTML5 for our enterprise application development?
In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development. We also know that, currently, Flex has clear benefits for large-scale client projects typically associated with desktop application profiles.
Given our experiences innovating on Flex, we are extremely well positioned to positively contribute to the advancement of HTML5 development, starting with mobile applications. In fact, many of the engineers and product managers who worked on Flex SDK will be moving to work on our HTML efforts. We will continue making significant contributions to open web technologies like WebKit & jQuery, advance the development of PhoneGap and create new tools that solve the challenges developers face when building applications with HTML5.
So what does this mean? It means that Adobe just took more days off the life of the .SWF format (we said 1000 days last week, now we say about their are about 500 days left. Someone needs to create a SWF Death Countdown Clock...not in a gleeful way mind you....more like a Wake).
Why would Adobe do this? It's very simple: the bottom line. It make sense from a business perspective for Adobe. HTML5 is "free", but the tools to build HTML5 Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck (especially when compared to the Flash IDE). Adobe can build tools for HTML5 (hopefully better than Adobe Edge), leverage their investment in Phonegap and JQuery and sell them as a package as the "new Flash".
The Flex SDK is free too, but since the world never accepted Flex as a true "open source" software, and since the .SWF is a slowly dying format (because Adobe just shot it in the stomach), there is no incentive to support it (within Adobe anyway). Instead, Adobe will beef-up the Flash IDE, and sell the crap out of the Air exporter to create apps. This may not be a logical decision for loyal Flash developers, but it's good for the bottom line of Adobe and for Adobe's stockholders. Adobe can make money from tools, and retreat from "open source" and "open screen" Flex and AS3, because, as we now know, their heart was never really there anyway...or at least their heart would have been there, if Steve Jobs had not done the service of tearing it out it out for them.
(thanks to Ken Railey for the head's up on this)