Gamedev on the flash platform and some inspirations

Let’s talk a bit about gamedev

Gamasutra posted this
Survey: Work-for-hire is the most common way indie devs pay bills

After conducting an informal poll of fellow indies last month, indie game developer and Finji Games co-founder Adam Saltsman has published the results on his blog this week.

Adam Saltsman post is here
A Survey of 634 Independent Game Developers

the data is quite interesting, especially this one

I don’t advertise it a lot but many things I do in development, and so for many years, has a little hidden goal: build a game and hopefully many games.

Everyone have different stories and situations,and to me publishing a game is not really in the highest of priorities but still always have been a goal I want to reach at some point.

So when I see raw data like that, I like to see that it’s hard but if you keep doing it, publish 1, then 2 etc… around the 5th games published the curve reverse, I find that motivating.

You will see the same pattern with open source projects, apps, games, server-side stuff etc.

Yeah your very first mobile app may sucks, may not be totally polished, even if you spent a lot of time on it, and yeah you were alone, maybe started to learn the rope about programming with AS3, learning to publish with AIR, how to use Starling or how to integrate an ANE, etc.

But the message here is keep getting at it, the whole ecosystem of the Flash Platform is almost made for you, the indie or solo dev, the underdog.

And that especially for games.

As a single developer, if you have the idea of a game, you can pull it off with just ActionScript 3.0 some efforts and a bit of “system D” resources.

First, we had decades of games made with Flash to learn from,
even now you could take the source code of an old AS2 game,
port it to AS3, publish to AIR, and it would work.

Second, the flash community have published during the same decades tons of tutorials to build games as SWF files, just do a simple search
flash game tutorial and boom 21 Millions results in google.

Third, you can find numerous examples of “little guys” who went from building small games to create full blown game studios.

And I could go on with more and more points, from open source framework, to actual games published on iOS and Android (check them out, most of the time those are not made by big game studios with hundred of dev, but more like a very smal group or even 1 person).

Oh sure you could build games with HTML5, Unity3D, or whatever
but if you are already knowing and using AS3, don’t ditch it too fast even if everyone is hating on it.

The classic “Flash is dead” does not apply to gamedev, here why

  • Even if you could still publish a game SWF online
    you mainly want to publish a mobile game and/or
    a desktop game, so your weapon of choice is AIR
  • Each time you hear something bad about Flash
    you can literally replace it by “AIR is my secret weapon”
    as this free thingy allow you to publish on both iOS and Android
    with let’s say minimal efforts and investment
  • When you’re alone working on your game
    time is the scarcest of resources, anything that can
    help you ship faster is gold, that’s AIR for you
  • It’s not magic though, you will still have to put some hard work
    to optimize for mobile, to make it work with different screens, etc.
    but let’s face it: AIR make that easy to reach compared to anything else

So I’m not trying to sell AIR, I’m not working for Adobe
but I’m the kind of guys who likes the “System D” approach

WTF is “System D” you may ask?
well it’s French (I’m French btw “bonjour” :wink:)

System D (in French, Système D) is a shorthand term that refers to a manner of responding to challenges that requires one to have the ability to think fast, to adapt, and to improvise when getting a job done, like MacGyver who solves complex problems by making things out of ordinary objects, along with his ever-present Swiss Army knife.

Let’s say you saw this news

I personally love the Studio Ghibli style, and let’s say I want to do a little game to replicate this light in the dark thing and I’m a noob I don’t even know where to start?

2 sec googling later
Create a survival horror game in Flash tutorial – part 1 by Emanuele Feronato

You don’t care it’s from 2007, you don’t care that at the top page it advertise an HTML5 book, it can get you started right here right now
and because it is based on Flash and ActionScript

well … you can easily grasp the principle from this old AS2 code
apply it to make it work in AS3
and then work a bit more on it to make it work on mobile using AIR
like … right now, in the next couple of hours

That’s the strength and wealth of of our community
we have published content in many shapes for decades
most of it was about building games

When you decide to publish a game on mobile
nobody gives a shit whatever technology is made of
your game not gonna “sell” more or less because it’s made in XYZ technology

so just don’t dismiss Flash because of the hate against it or hype for other shiny things

If you are a gamedev using ActionScript 3.0 / Flash / AIR (or maybe even Redtamarin :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)

I and probably others would be probably interested to hear from you


Oh yay! I can contribute to this discussion! :smiley:

I think what you can create in it (Flash/Air) is pretty amazing. I consistently go look at other tools/platforms but always return to Flash. I guess now I should be saying “Animate” since I build most of my games using that. I haven’t moved fully to Starling yet because I very much appreciate having a program (environment) to work with, code with, and build all my art + animations in. People seem to underestimate that. It save TONS of time being able to do everything in it (and the weirdest shit too). This is super important because (being a solo-dev) I am spread very thin and have to worry about many other factors (business, marketing…) to make this successful. Flash/Air is my secret sauce.
Lol, I love the look on people’s faces when I’m at shows (you know demoing it) and they ask what it’s made in. I say Flash and they’re like “whoa, that’s Flash? I had no idea…” Like they didn’t think you can make Flash look like that or something. So you know, you can make “Flash games” look like anything, but that’s totally preaching to the choir. :slight_smile:
I do have equal experience building HTML5 games, and always find they tend to hit a “critical mass” – js is hard to work with when you want a lot of complexity. You can make wonderful things in HTML5 if you keep within the restraints… Not downplaying it at all, I love both, but find that discussion around Flash VS. HTML5 is very unfair (narrow-minded) when the two work together so amazingly. There is no “versus” here.
I mean, you can get these awesome hybrid projects and it’s really fun and crazy.
It also amazes me that Flash (flash player) work I made a decade ago (some of it is that old) still runs like it was launched yesterday. I can’t say the same for my other non-flash projects.

A lot of good things out there are made in AIR (Flash) and people don’t even know it. My work keeps getting recognition. No one bats an eye that “it is Flash”. I have not received one complaint yet from anyone that they need the Flash Player to see the games… No player has cared that it’s done in AIR. It’s cute. Your average gamer is even OK with wading through the “application with runtime embedded” to find the thing to click on to play it.
I made this joke app in AIR (desktop) one time. It went viral for a while. I had Linux people asking how they can run it. I found it funny because I remember Linux people cheering that “yay Flash dead on Linux!” and now Linux people want my Flash thing… which goes back to my long standing theory that people don’t care what it’s built in as long as it’s good.

So I mean, sure. Someday I’ll probably get at least ONE complaint from a player that “they need Flash Player” but generally no one cares. In terms of popularity, viewership, accessibility, awards, etc… having it “done in Flash” has been hugely beneficial. The games “just work” without any cross-browser cross-platform issues or quirks (and you know you always get those no matter how perfect you test it/built it). Having them ported to mobile was also no problem (Air). It “just worked”.

I understand that I’m really laying it on, but I think the platform needs some fair representation. Some of the stuff people believe about it (and consequently I have to listen to) is completely unfounded. I’m at the point where I could punch then next person that says something stupid.
I mean, I have people telling me that “you totally can’t make good games” in Flash, and here I am making good games in Flash. They even win awards. That means they’re good, so I’m confused.
I don’t like taking the time to defend it, or “educate” people about it. I just want to stay in my corner and make games/apps/entertainment indefinitely without worrying about when it’s going to die. Even if it did, I think it’s too late to “get rid of it”. It’s such a flexible platform, and you can do so much with it, that even if Adobe completely stopped working on it you could still continue to make great games with it for a very long time.
There is too much content built in it, and it’s part of gaming + internet history now. It’s here to stay, and has earned that. Many great things can be credited to it. To me it’s like snes, nes, etc… or any other retro systems. Give it some time and it may even be cool retro to build Flash games.

So as long as there is Flash… or Air… or whatever it will be called, I’m going to keep making games. It’s a pleasure to work with it!


thank you so much :smile: great contribution!!!