The guys over at FGL have partnered with adobe for a competition developing flash games targeted at mobile devices. I’d decided I was going to be a part of this (I’d found out early that the competition was coming) and as you might be able to tell from my blog posts I’m in full swing producing content for it.
You’ll need to be a member of Flash Game License – though it’s free to sign up, and I reccomend you do if you want to make money from your games.
The competition page is here – http://www.flashgamelicense.com/sponsor_pages/adobe/
The forum for the competition is here – http://www.flashgamelicense.com/view_forum.php?forum_id=29
I don’t normally go in for competitions or even awards, but this one grabbed my attention as I’m really interested in the mobile space and the potential that is opening up there. Google have been doing great work in developing their mobile operating system so that it supports third party software and this has allowed adobe to get the flash player (version 10.1) so that it will now play flash content at something resembling desktop performance. Adobe Flash technology is a personal favourite of mine as it allows rapid prototyping and development of just about anything.
With a flash player install base on desktop computers and the rapid upgrade adoption that has been built into the player, this means that my content has been able to be played by 10’s of millions of people. What I’m looking forward to in this next phase of flash distribution, especially on the google devices is the portability of my games so that people can now play them in places and times never before accessible. Some of these instances are when traveling, waiting around, giving the phone to the kids while at a party (seen that a lot lately) and even on the toilet!
Content developed for a mobile device has it’s own particular quirks and reminds me a little of the earlier flash days where optimizing for efficiency and speed was especially important. Mobile devices are typically less than half the speed (or worse) than a desktop, and have a lot less powerful GPU’s (meaning much less powerful graphic rendering). For me personally this has meant exploring ways in which I can optimize the code i use, finding new solutions to adapt old techniques and a much deeper understanding of how to write efficient code.
One of the the major issues with developing for a mobile device is the resolution versus the actual size of the screen. What looks enormous on a desktop machines screen feels just right on my phone, so I’ve learnt a lot about testing the UI before committing to designing it. Buttons need to be about twice the size I typically make them for my normal games and this eats up screen real estate very quickly. At the same time fingers are typically very inaccurate and of various sizes so allowances need to be made that.
So far I have found it very satisfying to see my content running on a phone, being able to play with it, share it and see the people also enjoying what I’ve made. It feels like a much more personal experience to play a game with touch.
From this perspective I can highly recommend that if your a flash game developer you should be at least considering putting time into either porting one of your existing games over, or making something new for this new wave of devices that is coming. These are still very much early days, the markets are young, the devices a little immature and the money making a little uncertain – but the future is huge. Then there are the emerging tablet devices. The experience you gain from making something for this type of environment has invaluable lessons in design, optimization and problem solving – let alone the satisfaction of seeing something work beautifully.
Check it out, you may even win something – I’ve already got 3 entries in 😉
You can view the submissions here – http://www.flashgamelicense.com/sponsor_pages/adobe/submissions.php
Written on my iPad, which needs to be able to run flash. I cannot wait till there is a good android alternative.