Happy St Patrick's Day!!!
In honor of this day (and my Scotch Irish roots) plus the demise of Mochi (where this game was initially published), I present to everyone who is NOT on mobile, a game I created about 7 years ago (with my sister Mari and Steve Fulton helping with level graphics and level design respectively). It's in Flash, so you can't play it on a mobile device unless you have an Android device with the Flash player (and a keyboard). Your mission on each level to to rescue the trapped Leprechaun. There's more to it and LOT's of power-ups and strategy. It is essentially a Pacman like game with much more going on. I think this one got up to about 2.5 Million plays before I stopped looking or counting. It's fun though, and difficult. Read the instructions to get the full gist of it. The song at the beginning is an original by me (no singing, so don't cringe before you play).
On March 14th Mochiland, the blog that has been the mouthpiece for Machi Media since 2006, announced that the array of Mochi Media services for Flash game developers will go offline on March 31st. Josh Larson wrote a logn detailed message to describe the situtation. Here is the most important part of it:
"It saddens me to make this announcement today–our parent company Shanda has decided to dissolve the Mochi Media business. The last day that Mochi Media services will be available is March 31, 2014."
Developers and publishers who use the service should read the blog post so they can find out what to do with their content, and what they need to do to get their final payments from Mochi Media.
As a long-time Flash developer myself, I know full-well the flack Flash got in the traditional game community, some of it deserved, and some of it not. However, no one can deny that the Mochi set of services, from Mochibot (basic stats), through Mochi Ads, Analytics, High Scores, Game fund coins, content hosting, distribution, etc. were game changers. Mochi's self-publishing model for indie game developers was the template for the current mobile games industry. The Mochi set of services gave 1000's of bedroom and semi-professional game developers their first taste at the joys and pitfalls of what the indie game industry would become in 2014. In that way, long before iTunes and Google Play, Mochi services acted as a breeding ground for game talent where almost anyone could get an idea published at their discretion. The ones who had thick skins, and were not discouraged by low eCPM rates, kept making games until they were good enough to ply their skills elsewhere.
It's not a mystery as to why Mochi Media has to close its' doors. Most "Flash" game developers I knew from the halcyon days of Mochi services (2006-2010) have moved on to make games in HTML5, Unity, and Corona for platforms like Android, iOS and Steam. Some of them were lured out of their bedrooms to work on Facebook games for giant companies, and then moved onto jobs in the traditional games and media industries. Others just kept making games on their own. Almost all of them are still working in the games industry today.
It's sad that Mochi could not find a way to extend to mobile and HTML5 gaming themselves, Their inability to change with the times is a lesson for pioneers of new platforms. Maybe if they did not sell out to Shanda so quickly, maybe if they did not rely on a single technology for their APIs, they could have survived and thrived.
Maybe, or maybe not.
However, for myself, Mochi Media meant freedom. It meant I could finally break out and make the games I wanted to make, and publish them when I wanted to publish them: who cares if they were not good enough, or the types of games people wanted to play? I could experiment with little consequence, iterate, and try again. Mochi let me do that. For me, Mochi Media were the DIY disruptors of the the game industry.
They were my indie "label".
They were my punk rock.
And I will never forget them.
Compile Me Baby! Dedicated to the 2005-2010 Indie Flash Game Underground!
To all those that were through through the Mochi and Flash Game License Years.
WE salute you.
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.