Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Is this a wrong thing to bitch about ?

Perhaps 'cause it's late, and I'm tired, and I'm coming down from quite a hellish crunch ( All the games got there in time, and the client is pleased. Just thought I should share the good news along with the moans and gripes ), but something is bugging me.

Mike Chambers, well known Flash community facing guy at Adobe, has posted "What new game APIs do you want in the Flash Player ?".

Fantastic!

Why do I feel the need to be churlish about this, I mean it's great news, isn't it ? A chance to air our views to someone whose in a position to push forward ideas to the roadmap.

"I have been learning some game development lately, and building my first game... I think game development and deployment are some of the real strengths of the Flash player, but ones which we haven’t specifically focused on in a while... While working on my game, there were a couple of things I needed to do where additional player APIs could have made the development easier... So, what APIs would you like to see that would make game development easier."

( That's the gist of the post, but please take a minute to read it all ).

Personally, I'd like to see all the things that so many game developers have been asking for since Flash 5. Mike mentions how handy it would be to have a built in pixel perfect hitTest. Surely everyone one reading this right now has been thinking that for years ? Has no one ever requested that feature ?

Why have all the feature requests fallen on deaf ears before ? Flash has been geared towards RIA's for years, with a recent glance at 3D as Away3D et al have helped fill in a short fall with the player, along with the huge ( And really successful ) push to own web video.

But games have been left out in the cold. They're treated like they're almost a happy side effect of the Flash player, that it's not really a real use of Flash ( Noticed that very few of the really high profile Flash developers make games ? Some of them touch on game related mechanics, and do it really well, but actual complete games are very few and far between. I'm sure if they did they would be vocal about the shortfalls in the API and help to have forced a change sooner. Sound got a kick up the arse using a similar approach ).
And yet, GameJacket had a stat that 28% of internet traffic was Flash games ( I can't provide a link for obvious reasons ). The Flash Forwards have a game category. Until a couple of years ago BAFTA did too ( That's now being merged with console games, and in all fairness I can't see Desktop Tower Defence giving Call of Duty a run for it's money ). Millions of people play Flash games, and talk about them, every day
There is a knowledge and interest of Flash gaming, with huge budgets for them, outside of the "Suck and Fuck Street Racing"s.

So why has it taken until now for it to be recognised by Adobe ? Would it really have taken so much effort to not package yet another fucking scroll bar component and give us a hi-score table component just once ? I know there's an excellent one from Mochi, but we're talking first party support here.

Yes to some extent I am being churlish. In effect I'm bitching about Adobe looking to make all our jobs that little bit better, it's just that does it really only take one employee at Adobe to notice the shortfall for things to happen ?

( And yes before you ask I am a bit of a hypocrite as I've never filled in a feature list request for Flash. Maybe all of us who haven't have just got ourselves to blame that we're going to have to wait 'til F11 before getting the sugar ).

Squize.

Comments (12) -

  • nGFX

    6/17/2009 7:11:28 AM |

    Blue, think again, it's Adobe .... whatever they come up with will be as useless as their shitty price policy.

    And to be honest there is only one real fucking thing I really want from the flash player that could be usefull for games: secure source.

    OK, maybe joystic/controller support.

    And a fucking fair price for every other fucking country in the world.

    nGFX

  • ickydime

    6/17/2009 4:38:59 PM |

    its interesting, i never really thought about it being ignored before.  but now that you mention it, it is glaringly obvious.  

    games seem to be trickling more and more into the advertising world and corporate world at large.  it makes sense that adobe is becoming more aware of it.

  • Squize

    6/17/2009 5:47:35 PM |

    "it makes sense that adobe is becoming more aware of it."

    They always were mate, but it just wasn't important enough for whatever reason to be on their radar, or rather to devote resources to it.
    Remember aside from all the high profile awards, with games ( Or entertainment ) sections in, Adobe also do a site of the day that games win.

    It's like games are this new discovery, that hey, we can support game developers a bit more now. Perhaps it's a sea change there, pushing and supporting Flash in as many different directions at once, perhaps it's seeing games actually turning over vast sums of money.
    I really don't know.

    And I know I've got no real reason to bitch, all the changes are going to be for the better, I think the crux of it is that the community at large has been asking for these things forever now and nobodies given a shit.
    Now, for whatever reason, it's flavour of the month and Adobe want to cuddle up to game devs, after basically doing fuck all for us, as people just went off on their own and built an industry out of nothing.

    ( btw, read macromedia as well as Adobe. At least it's only taken Adobe a couple of years to notice, MM never did ).

  • tonypa

    6/18/2009 2:27:40 PM |

    API to ensure your Flash game runs at same speed you actually designed it for would be nice to start with.

  • Squize

    6/18/2009 4:41:48 PM |

    Excellent point.

    Rather than just being a moaner from the sidelines I did actually post some ideas at Mikes blog ( There are a lot of dumb arse ones there though imho, like built in pathfinding and AI, lots of very game specific ideas ).

    Squize.

  • Michael J Williams

    6/18/2009 7:26:50 PM |

    It's funny, I always figured Adobe had some sort of "big business" reason, something to do with profits and accounting and marketing or whatever. But reading Mike's post, it sounds more like Adobe just assumed game developers were all fine until someone there actually tried to make a game and thought, "wait, what?"

    Amazing to see the comments on his blog, it's like asking a thousand starving people what their favourite food is.

  • Squize

    6/19/2009 9:01:38 AM |

    I couldn't agree with you more mate.

    It's like Mike's started a game and has just had his assumptions shattered when he's actually got down to it.

    And the comments, yeah, I reckon people at Adobe are going to be genuinely shocked when that's forwarded on ( Even if it's shown around in an unofficial "Check these comments my post generated" way ), if you remove all the silly pie in the sky requests, there's still a shit load of very valid ones.

    Although I find it hard to believe that these all haven't been requested before.

    I can't remember whose blog it was, one of the big boy PV3D devs I think, and he posted about Unity. He'd just discovered it and was blown away by it, then there was all the stupid shit about "Adobe should buy them!". Why ? To fuck it up ?
    But the thing for me was, someone from Adobe posted in the comments there, and it was along the lines of "Why would you want to use Unity for games ? What does it offer game developers that Flash doesn't" and that to me was just such a stand out statement.
    That's someone whose working for a company whose software powers 28% of all internet traffic due to games, and isn't aware of either Flash's huge shortfalls when it comes to gaming, game developers actual needs, and the vast difference in power between the two apps.

    If we as game developers get one single additional feature which we wouldn't have had thanks to Mikes blog, then it really is a victory, and it'll be the first time I can think of that a game related feature has been added to Flash ( hitTest doesn't count, that's for dragging and dropping first and games second ).

  • tonypa

    6/19/2009 4:16:40 PM |

    lol, Michael :D

  • Scarybug

    6/19/2009 5:37:16 PM |

    It's funny. Go to one of the animation community sites that features flash. I'm not talking about the little NewGrounds shorts. I mean the ones that are frequented by the people who work on all the Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network shows done in flash these days. They've been feeling just as ignored by Adobe. It took until Flash 10 for them to finally get that Bone tool they've desperately needed forever. The new Flash 10 tween system is a consolation to them too.

    Adobe wants Flash to be the thing you use to make applications on the web. Someone told them Web 3.0 would be all cloud-computing, and they are positioning themselves to take advantage of that. Animators and game developers are lucky to be thrown a bone every now and again.

    To be fair, Adobe has had to spend 3 versions of Flash dealing with the bizarre design decisions made by Macromedia. Flash 8 had tons of cool potential, but AS3 is a real, grown-up programming language, and I'm pretty happy with that. Fixing how you add movieclips to the stage would have been my first request anyway, back before Flash 9 came out.

    But yeah. Give us a better hit-test please, Adobe. Buy the keyboard input library from Cheezeworld or some other developer and make that core.

    And fix your terrible programming environment. FlashDevelop makes you (Adobe) look pretty fucking amateur.

  • Michael J Williams

    6/23/2009 5:17:34 PM |

    Have you been following Mike Chambers (@mesh) on Twitter?

    Apparently today he's at an internal Adobe event -- the Gaming Mini-Summit: http://twitpic.com/871fn

    Things are looking up :)

  • tonypa

    6/25/2009 7:30:32 AM |

    Its good that Mike promotes games. His next post about pixel perfect collision using bitmapdata and hittest is clearly showing how bad Flash is at making games. I mean, its the simplest thing, find if 2 objects overlap, and yet it requires lengthy and complicated process which even Mike Chambers cant understand. Oh, and it ends with "this will only work if both objects are inside same container". We have to spend time and effort on such stupid things every day, the things that should only take 1 line of code.

  • nGFX

    6/25/2009 8:06:15 AM |

    Good ol' c64 with hardware sprites and easy sprite/sprite collisions and sprite/forground collision checking ...

    nGFX

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