Goodbye Flash

Goodbye Flash

it was a nice time. My first digs into flash have been in 2000 with Flash 4. But I only did a bouncing ball tutorial and not much more. I rediscovered it while I was studying in 2003, it was then called Flash MX 2004. Since then I did a lot of Flash websites and apps. But it has been mainly animations and timeline scripts. In 2007 I started as Flash Developer at a beautiful Web agency called argonauten G2 in Berlin. There I met a lot of highly skilled people, I learned a lot about Flash, external Actionscript and Software Architecture. I used AS2 and AS3, and even did a big project with Flex. I liked it a lot and it was a real good way to become a Software Developer.

But with the iPhone, Flash started to fall down. Everyone wanted at least a mirror of the Flash site in HTML or even just only HTML. I think it was good move, because with the power of HTML5 you can do very beautiful website without Flash. So in the end I only did Banners – I hated it. Ok it was a challenge in the beginning. You have to bring a lot of graphic, algorithms and even sound into 35kb. I knew nearly every trick to save the last bit. It was also a chance to test local connections. But hey in the end I have been the guy that is doing this annoying ads. So I had to stop it – Don’t do it if you don’t like it.

That was the reason that I moved on and went to Wooga in 2010. Since then I had the chance to make wonderful Flash Games for Facebook, that are free, and highly polished. Again, more high skilled people. So I could progress even more, as a developer and learn a lot. I used Flash mainly for games. Or from a developer perspective: big apps that have to be efficient, maintainable, stable and user-friendly. Flash was perfect for it, as long as the majority of Social Games happened at Facebook. We try a lot of new stuff at Wooga and are free in our decisions. That was the reason why we (of course) tested HTML5 for developing a Game and started with iOS and also Android.

So whats the current status? It’s only my thoughts, but thats my opinion of the current situation, as a developer:

HTML5

Don’t get me wrong, I like the features and all the beautiful websites and even apps that are done with it. And yes you can do games with it. But no it’s not the best choice for big games. – One example here is, you can only play one sound at a time, but basically you need more in a good game.- I don’t say you can’t do a game, we also did it, you can check it out: It’s called Pocket Island and we open sourced it. But for me HTML5 feels like Flash 5. It’s something you should use for webapps or websites. It’s the best for that, and not Flash anymore – I completely agree. I also see a big future in it. The community is growing like hell. Frameworks, Tooling and support is popping up everywhere. And I also think it will be usable for big games in the future but not today.

Android

I had an android phone and I liked it. The number of devices with Android is big. Very big. Also the different versions of software, resolution and capabilities also (too) big. Google is trying to reduce this fragmentation, because it’s quite necessary. For me as a developer Android is nice because it is an open system, but on the other side if you are done, you have a million different devices where you have to test your app. Especially if you want to do games for the masses. – Also one example: there are 4 different versions of Samsung Galaxy S 3 (like one special for Verizon and so on). On 3 of them your Game is running and on one it’s not,- Thats terrible, but Google will work on it and Android will become bigger and bigger. So it’s an interesting platform, and it will be very important in the future. But I really don’t like that also the phones getting bigger. A screen size of 3.8“ or 4“ is ok to put in your pocket, but 5“ is too much. Unfortunately there is no powerful and small phone on the market any more – and no I don’t want to watch a movie on it. So I couldn’t live with such a big device, and that’s the reason I can’t develop for it. You should use the system you develop for – and I can’t at the moment.

iOS

It was a big invention, and it changed the way we use phones. It also changed the look and feel for these group of devices. Every phone looks like the iPhone, every tablet looks like the iPad. And if not it’s basically not successful. Apple is quite strict in with what you can do and what is only allowed to them. It is a big plus when it comes to user interfaces and usability. Also the frameworks are well designed, and because you develop native (you should) the apps run much, much faster than Flash. They have a huge Appstore and you can make a lot of money there. Really? I think as a big company yes, if you are just one developer without money to promote your app, it will be very hard to get users (and money). For me iOS is the most interesting platform I would develop for. Of course apple is not perfect. One small example: With a Sony Ericsson T68i you could took a photo and share it over Infrared or Bluetooth, 10 years ago. Now with an iPhone you can’t, just because of all the restrictions – Sometimes they just restrict too much.

Flash

I liked it. I learned a lot of Software Architecture with it. It was easy to start and easy to see your results and it had the possibilities to make complex apps with. Flash gave us a lot: Browser compatibility, Animations, Fonts, Sound, Video, 3D and Games. Flash made it available for everyone inside the browser. Because of the plugin they could do fancy stuff, that was available to a lot of people in a short amount of time. They made it possible that you can use this „App for making Animations“ with Object Oriented Programming! Not bad. In addition to that, there was also a really huge community around it. But now it feels like also Adobe don’t believe in it anymore, so that they not even mention it on their own conference Adobe Max. I’m not sure if they could handle it better. In the end we have to look forward, and I think they will stop the development for it soon. Moving everything into the cloud and with that FlashCC is a good move for Adobe, because they are not forced to implement new features every year, but they still get money for it. So it will be alive, and of course has to be, for a long time, because HTML5 can not replace it completely, yet. But also Adobe will try to shift us developers to HTML and JS. You see this move in all presentations Adobe makes on conferences and think back how much new features in Flash IDE and the Plugin we get in the past every year and what we get now.

Flash you just feels old and left alone. I’m sorry, but I will move on to a new wonder woman named iOS, take my knowledge and develop for Mobile Devices. I like iOS the most, but will also try Unity. Especially for prototyping, Unity sounds really interesting for me. I’m looking forward!

 

Hello iOS

 

Reminder: thats just my opinions of what I see as a game developer, but I’m also happy to discuss that with you. So please leave a comment or feedback if you want.

Posted Montag, Juli 1st, 2013 under Apple, Flash.

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