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Adobe hopes for more Flash developers with Game Developer Tools
Adobe hopes for more Flash developers with Game Developer Tools
December 3, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi

Adobe is hoping to attract budget-minded (read "indie") game developers to make games for Flash by offering a full range of game development tools in one subscription-based package.

The company launched its Game Developer Tools at a San Francisco event Monday evening, a package that includes its Adobe Gaming SDK, its Flash C++ Compiler (for converting C++ games to run on Flash), and several related programs, including Flash Professional and both Photoshop and Illustrator.

Premiering in the package is Adobe Scout, which Adobe is calling its "next-generation profiling tool." Scout promises frame-by-frame analysis of any SWF (no special debug builds required) and works on desktop and mobile operating systems.

Scout has been in use by developers in a private beta for some time now, and was used to optimize Zynga's FarmVille 2.

The whole package is distributed through Adobe's Creative Cloud service, which gives users unlimited use of its products for $49.99 per month.

Some of the tools -- including a complete version of Scout during an initial promotional period -- are also available in a free version of Creative Cloud, though some tools are offered only in trial mode.

More at the Game Developer Tools site.

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Sr. Software Development Engineer - Game Publishing


Bram Stolk
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A closed proprietary format like flash does the World Wide Web a disservice.
It is a good thing that flash is slowly dying.
I hope not too many devs get lured into this, and they will look at open standards instead.

Chris Melby
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Your claw game is fun! I found it last week it.

But your information on Flash is not correct and you're doing developers like me a disservice by continuing to perpetuate this sort of ignorance:

- SWFs are open source.

- There are open source Flash players.

- There are open source Flash IDEs like FlashDevelop*oops* and Haxe.

- Adobe sponsors open source frameworks like Away3D and Starling.

- Flex has been donated to the open source community.

- You can develop Flash content freely, without giving a dime to Adobe.

On the other hand, you develop for iOS, so given your perception of Flash, I'm baffled as to why you would even touch that platform with a 10 foot pole?

iOS -- a locked down completely proprietary iTunes portal -- and its single** browser choice has been and is a MASSIVE disservice to the World Wide Web. Flash helped to progress the web, iOS has set it back and for the worse...

**With iOS there is really only Safari. All other browser options under iOS must use Safari to render their pages, so really they're just skinned variants of Safari. Mobile Safari prohibits all 3rd party plug-ins and intentionally limits its capability just enough as to not do any harm to their iTunes portal... With iOS's browser, it really is only whatever Apple allows.

iOS and its tiny share when compared to the billions of PCs has disrupted the web and set it back 10 years while thrusting us into a nineties desktop paradigm; just because a few early adopters in positions of influence -- sociopaths -- insisted we all conform to their limitations.

So if you really believe what you say about Flash -- which comes off as parroted information, stop supporting iOS, as it's not remotely an open standard.

But back to your crane game, it was good to see it on Android, which is where I downloaded it; I stopped buying and downloading anything from iTunes the other year when I saw Apple's true colors.

Zach Lyle
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Never understood how a person can be anti-Flash but pro-iOS.

Colter Haycock
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@Bram - read what Chris said. And then read it again.

@Chris - thanks for saying what I wanted to say. Except for the part about the crane game because I haven't played that.

Bram Stolk
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Chris, you make some valid points.

But I don't mind the closed nature of iOS, and I am willing to play by Apple's rules, as it is Apple's phone for which I am developing for.

I do mind closed nature of what is supposed to be the 'whole web.'
The web would not be the world wide web today if it was built on proprietary standards.
Image that HTML was a proprietary standard, or PNG.
As a matter of fact: PNG was born out of patent encumberment of GIF.
That is why I would always prefer SVG over FLASH if I need to do vector graphics on the web.

Yes, I am bitter about FLASH, and maybe not always as reasonable as I should be.
Struggling to use flash web sites on my linux box in the 90s made me this way.
I've come to hate it with a passion, and it is hard to let that hate go.
And when Steve Jobs was pleading for the end of flash, I could only wholeheartedly agree.

Joe McGinn
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Seems to me they shold be giving it away, given the Herculean task of trying to get developers onto a platform that basically no one is supporting on mobile. (Yeah yeah I know - Flash "works" on Android ... as long as you define "works" as slow as trreacle and sucks battery power like hungry puppies at the teat. Turns out Jobs wasn't BSing us about that after all.)

Ryan Creighton
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Flash is running on mobile devices all over the place, as native applications via AIR. It has a ton of developer support.

Not to mention that ALL of the top 10 Facebook games are using Flash. Flash also powers the UI of many AAA games like Mass Effect via Scaleform. Adobe also claims a stat that Flash is installed on 3 billion machines. (If i had *anything* i created installed on 3 billion machines, i'd be reluctant to give it away for free, i daresay.)

Anyway, the software is - what - $700 with no license requirements? That's a STEAL when you compare it to Unity ($1500 + additional costs for other deployment targets). i'm very happy developing with the platform.

Lennard Feddersen
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More documentation and examples on how to use AIR to port titles to tablets would be a good start.

Stephen Dinehart
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It's super easy and documented. The community is still alpha, but if you build with appropriately with Air the app should conform to client device. My game works on all Android devices, and once I'm ready to submit a better build to Apple I can export an appropriate build with a few clicks.

Damian Connolly
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(disclaimer: I'm a flash dev)

@Bram: How are you defining closed proprietary format? The flex project was recently donated to Apache; the SWF format is well documented; many of the tools talked about are open source etc. There are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the proprietary/open standard debate. Can you say that Flash has brought nothing productive to the web?

@Joe: A lot of the tools in the SDK are already available for free. For mobile, they push more toward cross-compilation for a native app rather than running a SWF directly in a browser. When Jobs came out with his article, some of what he said was true (some was complete BS and could also be leveraged against his own programs). A lot has changed since then. If you know what you're doing, there's no reason why your Flash should be slow or power hungry. Just like JS and PHP, Flash has a very low barrier to entry and suffers from a perception that it's not a "real language"; hence you get a lot of amateur devs and bad code.

Gaming is one of the few pillars that Flash has left where it can really shine. I can see it eventually being taken over by HTML5/Unity/WebGL etc, but at the minute, I haven't found anything that's a easy to use while giving me such a large target audience (Flash for the web, AIR for programs/mobiles/tablets).

GameViewPoint Developer
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I'm liking these new developments, but I have a feeling it's perhaps a bit too late. For most of this year I was searching the web looking for an ANE that would allow me to use the multiplayer aspect of Apples Game Center, so I could use what I"ve used for years (Flash/AS3) to do a multiplayer game on iOS, unfortunately there were none around so I took the plunge and learned Obj-c/iOS.

It's been a steep learning curve but now I feel fairly at home with obj-c/iOS and I have to say XCode is a great coding tool.

With the current situation, ANE's are the key to everything, they are the hooks into whatever the mobile platform is, and these need to be current with what's happening in iOS and Android etc.

I still code with AS3 (which I still think is great) and create games for games portals with that, but moving forward all the momentum is behind Unity for cross-platform and Apples own platform/tools.

It took them too long to focus on gaming on Flash, they should of done that 2 years back, but now they are here if Adobe wants to stay in the "game" they need to iterate a lot faster than they are doing and lower the barrier even more for users to use their platform (lower monthly subscription costs, be a bit more radical $19.99? $9.99?).

This is certainly a move in the right direction, but this ship is heading for the rocks, and the longer they leave it the bigger the course correction they are going to have to make.

Why not jump ahead of the competition? create new tools, evolve Flash into something which is more a design tool and less a delivery platform. Create cloud gaming tools (hell just buy someone like or and make it Adobe branded).

Ryan Creighton
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WOW. You resorted to learning OBJ-c, which gets you up on exactly two platforms, because you had lousy Google skills? The Milkman Games Game Center extension for AIR has been around since at LEAST May of this year, according to this article:

GameViewPoint Developer
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I've already bought a number of Milkman games ANE's, and used them. Including using his GC ANE. However if you had better "google" skills perhaps you would of discovered that his Game Center ANE did not cover multiplayer, it just did highscores, leaderboards etc.

Stephen Dinehart
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Adobe had me out a focus group at the GDC last year and I begged them to do this - release a gamedevcentric package. I'm not sure if I like the subscription model, it could inflate costs pretty quickly, but it's nice to see the movement to embrace the game developer community more openly.

You know Jobs was wrong. Flash works on any mobile device that matters in today's market, yes even on iOS devices. It's actually super easy and, if you build your application appropriately, the client shouldn't be aware of what it was built with. It functions as a stand-alone native app. Like any creative technology solution, the tool should be next to transparent - the work should be the focus.

Adobe's problem is purely a brand issue. Apple did a great job of creating so much disinformation that most are not sure what Flash, let alone Air, can do anymore. Fact is, the Flash Platform (or whatever it becomes) will remain a viable tool suite for interactive entertainment for years to come.

Christian Kulenkampff
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yeah, it is a pity how many misinformed people preach the end of flash. adobe's marketing was a catastrophe, but no sane person can claim flash did bad things to the www or gaming and the www would be better without it. flash enables rich interactive experiences in the browser for more than 10 years now.

hoping that an optional technology dies is a proof for incompetence. many people don't see that the hate machine against flash isn't fueled by the will to open the web, but the will to close it down to some limited standard and app shops controlled by os makers like ms and apple.

Muir Freeland
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I totally agree. It was absolutely ridiculous a few years ago listening to Jobs list off fallacies about Flash (and I say this as a huge Apple fan): how Flash apps would drain the battery life (when even native Objective C apps drained battery life at the same rate), how Flash was closed and proprietary (when making native apps for iOS at the time could only be accomplished by Objective C), and on and on. Listening to people parrot these misconceptions about how Flash needs to die over the past few years has been super exhausting.

Chris Moeller
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Again, Adobe has already abandoned support for the mobile platform, as well as functionality on any new devices. They were told flash is "yesterdays news", and agreed.

I have it installed on my Nexus 7 unofficially, works, but crashes in full screen. I don't see any future for it without mobile support- you r phone/tablet will never be able to see flash content on any website. Therefore, websites won't display it, if any alternative.

Self fulfilling prophesy - killing their own, previously viable product.

Chris Moeller
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I had thought Apple-centric adobe had all but abandoned flash after Steve Jobs said he didn't want to allow users of his devices to be able to play free games, that couldn't be profited by itunes?

They have attacked their product more so than anyone else could by abandoning support for any Android devices that weren't already supported (ANY new devices).

I personally like flash/as3 quite a bit, it's easier for beginners to pick up, because it is very visual, and easy to add stuff on to the screen in no time, originally created as a scripting language after javascript, which makes it very easy to perform simple, basic interactiveness like javascript, and that it is now a fully object oriented language, so working in it skills can transfer very easily to Java/C++. (And using FlashDevelop allows you to program in a much better IDE that doesn't crash 10x a day. Better programmed than FlashBuilder for AS3 development)

Also, the ability to share your games without anyone having to "download" them first, and with Adobe Air, being able to deploy an app/game as a full program with write permissions, and interacting with the UI of the system- it was definitely a top choice for development.

I still think it is the best language to start on for learning programming, sharing with friends, and creating quick "helper" applications to save you time, but the final nail in the coffin was abandoning it on Android. Apple might have slightly wounded Flash for its own financial reasons, but Adobe killed it.

Andreas Ahlborn
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Adobe should do the next step in the game developers direction and build an asset store like unity`s into Flash/Flashbuilder. With Starling/Sparrow and a ton of useful frameworks out there in the wilderness, like Citrusengine, Away3D, Box2D, DragonBones that really can make your life as a dev easy as pie and enhance the performance of a flash game through the roof, its a shame that only guys like Lee Brimelow and Thibault Imbert understand how crucial it is to get the flash dev-community under one hood.

Ryan Creighton
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(i tell Adobe this every chance i get)

Damian Connolly
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while not an asset store, has a good list of frameworks, engines, libs and even assets. there's some good stuff in there

Christian Kulenkampff
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Adobe Exchange?
I think they currently upgrade it/integrate it more... I think it exists at least since 2007...

Israel Lazo
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I'm totally in!