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Unity drops Flash support, says Adobe is not firmly committed
Unity drops Flash support, says Adobe is not firmly committed
April 24, 2013 | By Mike Rose




The popular game development platform Unity will no longer invest in Adobe's Flash, as the company says that it does not believe that the future is certain for Flash.

Although Unity Technologies has been working on a Flash deployment add-on for Unity for around 18 months, the company's CEO David Helgason said that, as of today, Unity has stopped selling Flash deployment licenses.

"We had high hopes for the future of Flash as a gaming platform," said Helgason in a blog post on the official Unity website. "The performance of early builds was promising, and Adobe seemed to be dedicated to making it a success."

However, he added that "Since then much has changed... We don't see Adobe being firmly committed to the future development of Flash."

The cancellation of Flash Player Next and Adobe's decision to move away from Flash and focus more on other projects led Unity to make this call, said Helgason.

The post adds, "Developers are moving away from Flash, and while Flash publishing has gotten little traction, our own Unity Web Player has seen unprecedented growth in recent months."

Although Unity does not plan to make further investments in Flash deployment, Helgason noted that it will continue to support existing Flash users throughout the Unity 4.x version cycle.

Unity devs react

Judging by the reaction on Twitter, the news hasn't come as a huge surprise to a lot of Unity devs, and doesn't appear to have affected a large number of people either.

Chris Etches of Utinni Games questioned, "Did anyone ever actually release a Flash game built with Unity?", while Piwot Games' Andrea Sancio noted, "Unity has dropped flash? I was more surprised when they decided to support it..."

For many devs on Twitter, this news was inevitable, and simply marks the last nail in the coffin for Flash.

Demoscener and developer Javier Arevalo called the move "Not surprising," while Dom Raban, MD at Corporation Pop, said this was "more evidence of the demise of Flash."

Others are seeing this as a sign that Unity is gearing up to finally support HTML5. Unity's Helgason previously said at the end of 2011 that the company will only support HTML5 when it's right for games.

"Bets on when #HTML5 version gets published?" said Jammin Games' Benjamin Langerak, while indie developer Dave Reed noted, "Would be interesting to see a direct performance comparison of Unity -> Flash and Unity -> HTML5, assuming HTML5 is what's coming."

And Donnie Kerrigan of Chunk Group rounded off the majority of thoughts from devs on Twitter, stating simply, "Meaningful Flash publishing from Unity didn't really exist, so nothing's changed. But nothing's got easier."


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Comments


Phil Maxey
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Sad times, but unfortunately it's inevitable. When Adobe cancelled "Flash Player Next" it seemed to me a signal that the end was near for the FP. For me the more interesting question is what's happening with AS3 and AIR. But Unity is all conquering right now.

Damian Connolly
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Can't really fault their reasons; Adobe are taking a great language/platform and driving it into the ground

Adam Culberson
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I wouldn't really call Actionscript a great language. It made for easy iteration and fast dev times and is easy enough to learn, but performance wise it's just not good enough to keep up with the capabilities of today's technology.

Damian Connolly
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When you say today's technology, what are you comparing it to? Performance wise, I guess it all depends on what you're trying to do with it - it's always possible to write bad code :)

This is a benchmark for Box2D which came out a few days ago, comparing the performance across a range of languages: http://j15r.com/blog/2013/04/25/Box2d_Revisited - It's a benchmark like any other, but I'd say AS3 holds its own. It's not going to give you COD in the browser, but if you know what you're doing, you should have no problem hitting 60fps.

As for the AS3 language itself, sure it's missing features, but it's a great mix of dynamic vs static typing, coding vs visual, depth vs ease of use, and I can target pretty much everything with little or no effort. That's hard to just give up on

E Zachary Knight
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Can't say I wasn't expecting this. I was actually surprised when they announced support for Flash. One would think that their Unity Plugin would have been good enough.

Andreas Ahlborn
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That was astonishingly shortlived.
I watched the unite talk of the team who was entrusted with getting unity to work in flash and was certainly impressed to what length they did go to make it happen.

Terry Matthes
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I think scale form is awesome and gives a ton of flexibility to game UI. I would hate to see it go. In fact I have trouble believing it would.

Jason DuPertuis
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Scaleform is entirely unrelated to this. What they're canning is playing a Unity project through a Stage3d (flash-based) player. Scaleform is a bit of middleware that uses actionscript and flash assets that is played on top of a game engine. One means nothing to the other.

K Gadd
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I don't think Scaleform really has anything to do with this. Yes, it's used to embed flash movies, but that's about it...

Terry Matthes
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There is a lot more flash involved with scaleform than just embedding movies. You can go crazy with actionscript creating really rich and interactive UIs. What I should have said was I think that Adobe would support flash for a while still because so many people find scaleform useful in games that it must be worth keeping around.

Jason DuPertuis
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From Scaleform's perspective (a great tool, I've used it a lot), though, Adobe support captial-F Flash isn't particularly relevant. Actionscript is open-source, as are tools for creating swfs, which is all Scaleform needs. If Adobe were to give up on lower-case-f flash, there's nothing stopping Scaleform from picking it up and continuing to iterate and develop the environment.

Terry Matthes
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Thanks for making that distinction Jason. Very cool info :)

Lars Doucet
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Flash was a wonderful platform, and it still is, but Adobe is giving us long-time flash developers little confidence that the ground will still be there underneath us tomorrow.

A *LOT* of us are moving to Haxe. It's still a little rough around the edges, but at least it's open source so people like me can patch it whenever we find an unimplemented feature rather than waiting for Adobe to *maybe* do something a year from now, like we used to.

At minimum, it allows us to keep targeting flash, but also get our code-bases out of Adobe's clutches and into a format that we can also use to hit native compile targets.

Phil Maxey
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AIR could be a real competitor to Unity if Adobe wanted it to be. Either way I wish Adobe would come forward and announce their plans.

Lars Doucet
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It definitely *could* be but they really aren't giving clear signals on that. For instance, they dropped Linux support while Unity added it. What gives?

Phil Maxey
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To me the signals Adobe are sending are that they just want to be a tool maker and get out of the platform business completely. Tools which export to HTML5 primarily.

The irony is that Adobe had/has all it needed to basically out Unity, Unity, especially in the 2D arena. They have a huge developer community who know AS3 inside out. They have AIR which already exports to numerous formats, and they have Stage 3D which runs well on mobile. They just needed to bring it all together properly, perhaps a new brand, perhaps a completely new version of Flash.

I suspect that's not going to happen now, so Unity is running away with the prize.

Andreas Ahlborn
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When Thibault Imbert first announced Molehill and Stage3D I used to joke with some friends that the logical move from Adobes side would be now to acquire either Scaleform or Unity and be done with it (Meaning to get a foot in the door of real games development) Scaleform got already sacked by Autodesk and all the frameworks that pop up around the flash developer scene (like away3D, citrus engine, starling, feathers) are -no offense- not in a shape to be real competitors with Unity, UDK etc.

Despite what some developers on these forums propagate HTML5 and other Javascript frameworks (like Impact, Adobes own Edge) are at an actually usability state that is somwhere at Flash 5 level, and the performance (imo and from the demos I have seen) can only compete with starling/Stage3D in a very narrow niche of gaming.

Phil Maxey
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Exactly I thought Adobe would of bought Unity some time ago as well, I still wouldn't be surprised if there are some acquisitions/consolidations in this area.

Dean Boytor
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Yea I would Like to know how this will effect AS3 down the road. I'd hate to be almost done with my game and just have it not be there. Unsettling...

Dan Naim
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so...
which next platform will be the chosen one for actionscript developers?

Aaron San Filippo
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Take your pick. I don't think actionscript development really has much to do with Unity3D, does it?

Dan Naim
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unity3d and flash have different philosophy, so I think that most of the flash developer will look for 2d game platform.

Lars Doucet
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Haxe is the one most flash devs I know are looking at.
I'm using HaxeFlixel myself (http://www.haxeflixel.com/)

There's also HaxePunk, as well as just plain vanilla Haxe+NME

There's also Phaser for HTML5, which is kind-of-sort-of an HTML5 port of Flixel. (http://www.photonstorm.com/archives/9866/announcing-phaser-flixel
-html5-and-our-adobe-max-session)

MonkeyCoder is also gaining in popularity, though the syntax is pretty different.

I've also heard a lot of people looking at MonoGame and other C# solutions.

Phil Maxey
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If you're not looking for cross platform, and are happy just to stick to iOS, I would suggest the Sparrow framework, I'm building a game with it.

Chris Hendricks
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I was a Flash developer and moved to Unity. Whenever Unity has a UNITE conference, they devote a day beforehand to getting Flash developers introduced to Unity. Unity might not be the chosen one, but it's taking a big chunk of them.

Tom Hughes
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In my personal time I've moved to Java-android development and at work I'm using HTML5/Javascript. OpenGL has been a big deal to wrap my head around, but it is really satisfying. Syntactically, Actionscript is still pretty than all of them though.

Jonathan Murphy
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You know how hard it is to tear through 8gb ram? With HD flash streaming video I can accomplish this task in 30 minutes. Flash will die, and I'll be there to dance on it's grave. I've suffered more blue screens of death from flash over the years, over many computers than testing the most broken games.

Michael van Drempt
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Exactly. I really hope I don't have to keep using Flash just so I can watch Youtube - just switch to HTML5 already! These days, whenever my computer gets unresponsive I just CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to Task Manager, find the Flash Player process and end it. It is ALWAYS the culprit.

Mike Donovan
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Yeah, your experience.

On my end, Flash Player basically never crashed in the last 10 years. Only a couple times and it was due to developers releasing their SWF without proper testing.


HTML5 video implies activating JavaScript on the whole page, including CPU intensive crap, tracking and horrible popups; at least these are constrained with Flash.

Aaron Steed
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I mean, I hate Adobe, but you do realise that it's shitty advert programmers that cause these problems more than Flash right?

And without any sandbox to keep their shitty code in, they're going to run roughshod over the entire browser.

Mark my words - when adverts go HTML5 (and all of your favourite websites have to get their money from somewhere because you all expect a free ride) then the shit will really hit the fan.

Jonathan Murphy
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I've used HTML5 on youtube and Giantbomb lately. It loads so much faster! Yes it has flaws, popups are back, some video artifacts, tracking is more severe. If Adblock plus finds a way. I welcome HTML5. If not I'll be with ya guys complaining about ads. You can try HTML5 now on some videos and sites.

Tom Hughes
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I have to agree with Mike. Flash has copped a lot of flak in the last few years (most of it justifiably) but the worst of it has been the fault of shitty developers. Flash will die, but there will always be shitty developers.

Furthermore, there have been some some great flash games over the years. Or as xkcd puts it -http://xkcd.com/484/

Michael van Drempt
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I suppose you could stick with the devil you know, but it's not like designing a system to run code safely and securely is a new problem.

HTML5 is a standard, not a proprietary system that Adobe or Sun can just dick around with any way they please, and that in and of itself is the main reason I want HTML5 to take over already. It's way harder for corporate interests to compromise a platform when it's an open standard.

EDIT: I mentioned Sun because I'm getting pretty sick of needing Java in my browser as well.

Mike Donovan
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Except HTML5 is not a platform. Flash is.

Read the caps below as if it was underlines, i.e. I'm not yelling :p

Html5 is standardized but it is a set of LANGUAGES, which makes your point moot because the PLATFORMS to which it applies can IMPLEMENT it however they want. They don't even need to implement the whole subset of it, and they have room for "personal interpretation".

So in effect it's misleading because you hear the reassuring word "standard", but actually what you have is FRAGMENTATION across platforms, not unlike how C++ games don't run the same on Mac and Windows despite C++ being a standard. Yes, like Html5 is trying to be.

Chris Melby
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@Mike Donovan,

Well said!

Caleb Garner
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I hope they plan on refunding developers who invested $400 to $1500 for the flash exporter.. those are some pretty steep price points for something that never made it out of Beta.

Mike Donovan
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The real main reason why they drop it is because it's not efficient to use that tool, so it didn't sell well. Performance and ease of use just suck when compared to a game made from AS3 directly.

I can imagine such a conversion tool was very hard to get right, so I can't blame them. I can blame their price points and the blaming it on Adobe though.

Justin Sawchuk
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Thats a good point actually, unity has every reason to kill that plugin, it sucked you couldnt figure out the errors until after it was finished compiling. Also by cancelling it they say flash is a dying platform and thats good for unity, they did the same thing with xna and thats for an 8 year console.

Diego Leao
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Good for _them_, no question, but their costumers...? Flash will take years to die, and I have a business to run until then. You have to provide something better BEFORE you drop it, not based on your futurology efforts.

All of that "support" Unity is getting is coming from wishful thinkers. Yes, Flash _must_ die, I hate that it is a legacy platform, but over 400 million users installed Flash Player 11.2 last year... Does that spells doom?

Flash nay sayers are making what, HTML5 games, all of them? And how "superior" are their web game solutions for the PC? Please. HTML5 (today) is great for services like Scribd, etc, not games.

Unity have become to me a mobile-only solution, I would really like to make web games with it, but I can't stand losing hard earned users because of a plugin "wall".

One last thing: do your PC/Mac have Flash? Your mom's? Well, I rest my case.

Lance Trahan
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The first step in getting a platform to die is to stop building bridges to it. When Unity first announced their support Flash I thought it was a bad match and went against them pushing their web player into the market.

I think their recent work with Facebook in making the installation of the Unity web player easier is the right direction for them:
http://blogs.unity3d.com/2013/03/26/unity-and-facebook-are-now-in
-a-relationship-and-its-awesome/

I'm not sure how you can say Unity is considered a "mobile-only solution", web browser games aren't the only other platform. They support PC/Mac/Linux as well and this lines up well for people who want to get games into marketplaces like Steam. Not to mention they have the functionality to port to consoles as well. Personally I'm looking forward to seeing what comes from porting to systems like the newly minted Ouya.

EDIT: Richard made a great post below that everyone should read:
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/191112/Unity_drops_Flash_suppo
rt_says_Adobe_is_not_firmly_committed.php#comment198534

Diego Leao
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Yeah, but that is not my point. The thing is, you don't release a software platform to sunset it the following year, you just don't do that to your customers. Unity is in the "platform support" business, and as such we should be able to trust them to do their math before creating a bridge.

I can still publish for Flash, but I don't want to invest in Unity-Flash social game that is not guaranteed to work 12/24 months from now.

Flash is a dead end for Unity as a business, that was clear from the start, I just believed in Unity (as a company with a great culture) to support it until another viable platform was already here, in the present. Apparently, they just hoped for better days instead.

PS: If you look closely, I said it have become to _me_ a mobile-only solution, I haven't generalized it ;)

Andrew Sega
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Hey, look, this sounds exactly like 3 years ago when people were predicting how Flash would die and HTML5 would take over and Javascript language was the best thing evar etc etc etc.

Every. Single. Top. Facebook. Game. Runs. On. Flash. Uncountable amounts of revenue, hundreds of millions if not billions per year, all using Flash player. And it's near "death"? Seriously? Does Zynga not exist?

Re: HTML5 - The reason HTML5/JS never took over is that it's woefully lacking in the language department, the spec department, the audio department, and the browser consistency department. I would bet that Unity becomes a de facto standard well before I'd bet on HTML5 being the future of gaming.

Ben Colwell
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I remember getting into heated arguments online with people in 2010-2011 about the "certain doom" of Flash. They said Flash would be gone in a couple of years, tops, replaced by the infallible and pure HTML5. Well, it's 2013... and the arguments sound as weak to me now as they did back then.

The myth about the HTML5 runs-on-anything browser consistency is the one that kills me. How many times I've seen "Chrome only" HTML5 apps... it's insane. At least with Flash we can deploy to more than one or two browsers with some level of confidence.

Craig Timpany
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This is unwise. Maybe they really are within striking distance of making Unity Web Player a de-facto standard, and indeed Adobe seem hellbent on killing SWF, but even so, web player has never really had much scrutiny from security folks. Last I checked I could irreversibly hang firefox just by putting in a while(true). They have a lot of grief ahead of them to get it to a point where it's as battle tested as SWF players are.

James Dalby
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I simply don't understand what they're talking about. Adobe isn't committed to their developers? You mean like how they've given us the ability to publish on iOS and Android? You mean like giving us their latest Stage3D feature for GPU enabled rendering? You mean like how they've begun rolling out HTML5 animation support with Edge? And this is all within that past 3 years. Cancelling Flash Player Next makes sense. There are STILL a long list of stubborn developers who refuse to move from ActionScript2 to ActionScript3, 7 YEARS after Adobe deprecated it. It's a huge problem in the Flash community, and doing it all over again with an entirely new VM and API might not have been the best move.

Here's what was supposed to happen. Unity support was supposed to give Flash Developers something that they've wanted for a long time: an IDE for 3D development. This makes me think the following happened: Unity was getting close to being acquired by Adobe for this purpose, and the CEO freaked out and pulled the plug. They have momentum, and the company wants to see if they can run with it. The latest news that Unity will be supported on the PS4 was probably a good foot in their ass to break off and become more independent.

Phil Maxey
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Unity looked liked a great acquisition for Adobe, but that doesn't seem on the cards now for perhaps the reasons you started. Adobe still has it within it's power to create something new and interesting from this situation. Relaunch Flash as a 2D/3D editor for AIR/WebGL.

Michael Williams
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I can tell you this is EXACTLY what happened. Why do you think they turned the interface dark to look just like Premier and Photoshop? Unity is desperately searching for a buyer, and the price was too high for Adobe. Thus, the deal is dead, they are killing Flash, and blaming it on Adobe's "lack of commitment" because it sounds a lot better than "Whoops, this was a mistake".

A S
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People with flash licenses can still use them and deploy, just new developers can't buy flash licenses. Anyone coming to dev from now can use webplayer, legacy devs can still export to flash, I fail to see a problem.

Andreas Ahlborn
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The chatter on Unity`s own forums about the flash-excommunication is colorful.
( http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/179593-Important-news-about-Flas
h )
While some support this decision (mostly these ones which where never targeting flash anyway)
others check their facts:

1. You can`t argue with 1 Billion+ installations (Unitys own estimation is they are gaining around 1M/month

2.HTML5/WebGL is no alternative, because the brave new world EPIC is promising developers ( http://techreport.com/news/24586/epic-html5-unreal-engine-4-upgra
des-the-web-to-a-platform ) is based on comparing EPICs AAA-approach to the realities of a small/indie dev team [Good luck with shipping a casual game with UDK]

3.HTML5/Javascript is no alternative for rapid development because it simply lacks the tools and usability other gameengines provide (for example while UI-Design might be a nightmare in Unity, in HTML5 its a SurvivalHorror-experience par excellence)

4. The deadbeat argument "HTML5/css3" is a webstandard (GOOD), while flash is proprietary (EVIL) is a mantra no one who actually tests some HTML5 renderings across browsers/platforms will give much credit.

5.With Chrome having Flash integrated since 2010 their is at least a agreement between these two Rhinos to collaborate in the future and Google is not well-known for betting on dying horses

I will hold my breath until Adobe officially responds to these allegiations

Jorge Ramos
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Considering Adobe hasn't released a stable build of ANYthing related to either Flash nor Acrobat Reader for several years now, it's still depressing to what extent that both of these apps of theirs are still used to this day. The fact that one can't even view the HTML5 version of YouTube without installing Flash Player first is despicable... and how the majority of video sites use Flash Player instead of some other plugin - ANY other plugin, really.

If anything, I'm surprised that Unity was able to go as far as it did on its Flash Player environment. But I'm not surprised that they're giving up on it.

Caleb Garner
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that seems kinda harsh.. i use flash all the time and acrobat without any "stability" problems.. sure there are probably edge cases and Adobe can't be responsible for poorly written flash apps..

i'm not saying flash is perfect for everyone always, but after having just done a series of games in HTML5 that was meant to "run on everything" simply didn't.. we had to do a lowest common denominator version of the games and even then these very simple games were prone to problems and things just not working without doing extensive browser by browser research..

With so many browsers, mobile and pc.. and each constantly doing updates our client wasn't (and really shouldn't be) willing to pay for that time.. nor should we as developers have to be all knowing battle hardened browser gurus to make something that works across numerous constantly changing platforms..

So yea HTML5 is great, Flash is great. Neither is better. They are just tools with different strengths and weaknesses. I like them both for different things

Nooh Ha
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Is anyone actually playing Unity plugin games? I am genuinely curious. The last time I looked under the hood of a friend's Unity web game, I was pretty shocked. Churn from the Unity plugin prompt was over 70%. Not an issue with the developer's previous Flash games.

Aaron San Filippo
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Our game "Race the Sun" has a Unity web player version on Kongregate. We do lose quite a few at the launch screen, but there's also an active community of players around it. Once people realize they can have smooth, fullscreen 3D, they get pretty excited.

And the web portal wooglie.com has 10m plays on some of the top games.
So yeah, I'd say people are playing them.

Ruben Gerlach
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I make my living based on Adobe's cross platform frameworks Air and Flash, and I have to say I am more than happy with it. Code once, deploy on Android, iOS and Facebook using industry proven, convenient tools backed by huge communities. Starling gives my game the ability to run stable on 30FPS on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S1 and AS3 is a great, admittedly not flawless, programming language.

The lack of support from Adobe is inconvenient sometimes (UDP in Flash anyone?) but I totally do not understand all the rage against the technology itself. As an indie I have to say: It is great, and it is free.

Its unfortunate but understandable that FlashPlayer Next did not make it, the codebase on AS3 is just too big by now. But I am eagerly waiting to see some support for Air on console, this would be the next logical step for Adobe.

Phil Maxey
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Agreed, I wrote a short blog post about this here http://www.biggerplay.com/unity-dropping-flash-player-support-and
-adobes-way-forward

Mike Donovan
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@Jorge Ramos:

I can't see where you're pulling that from. Here's what actually happened:

- Adobe acquired Macromedia
- AS3 gets released
- Adobe mostly lurks for several years
- They wake up in 2010 to extend supported platforms to the huge number of new devices
- MASSIVE release in 2011 with Stage3D
- Continuous improvement of new devices compatibility, workflow and performance, along with a ton of new features up till upcoming Flash 11.8 and Air 3.8 with controller support.


So the reality is actually the opposite of what you just said. Over the last 3 years Adobe put a LOT of resources into Flash and Air.

Many of us jump around and worry when they see that Flash related teams are now reducing in size and calming down at Adobe, but when you think about it, it's pretty natural because the bulk of the work is mostly done and urgency has decreased.

Now I'm of the opinion that there is way more to do, but here comes the only real danger for Flash's future, the Flash bashing bandwagon. It has gained so much traction and was so closely coupled with the claim that HTML5 technologies are the way to go, that Adobe can think their only choice is to go with the flow.


But are HTML5 technologies a real replacement ?

Back into history, Apple put a lot of money into ensuring these ideas spread; they wanted to turn their refusal of Flash on iOS into something positive, so they decided to find a horse and showcase it as the runner up and future champion, and did everything they could to degrade Flash's image at the same time.
Just try it: Whenever you say HTML5 many people will automatically think "Flash", and if you say Flash, many will have HTML5 in the back of their head regardless of their opinion on the topic. :D

As a result of this marketing move getting so much traction, and following the natural laws governing the spread of ideas over time, more reasonable people now focus on the marketed idealistic vision of the web and an astonishing amount of resources is put towards improving HTML5 technologies, so that they can someday claim for real that they can replace Flash.

Unfortunately for everyone, they won't anytime soon. Among many other drawbacks vendor fragmentation has always been an issue, you have the standards and then everyone implement them their own way; that's where Flash usefulness actually comes from. It's been 3 years already. Give it 5 more at least, and you'll still have more problems developing good games for HTML5 than what you can do with Flash today. It will cost more and take more time and headaches to do the same thing. I'm not sure this fact can be gotten rid of considering platform and vendor fragmentation, even if we assume proper tooling is ready in 5 years.

And of course as of today you can just forget about proper tooling, they're barely born and still covered in womb secretion as we speak, as illustrated this month by LinkedIn who dropped HTML5 on mobile.


Thus in the end, it's in the interest of everyone that Flash keeps being alive and kicking for the next 5 years minimum.

Unfortunately the future of Flash lies in how much Adobe thinks it will cost (or bring) them to maintain or expand it. In such a situation it can only do good to be vocal about how Flash is cool and how it provides so many advantages that no other product can legitimately aspire to deliver within the next 5 years. Be more vocal than the flash bashing bandwagon, because image and ideology can bend reality, in that case for the worse.



So don't hesitate to link to this post or others when you think they are insightful enough and you don't have time to argue yourself. Link to this post is:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/191112/Unity_drops_Flash_suppo
rt_says_Adobe_is_not_firmly_committed.php#comment198331

Andreas Ahlborn
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Exactly as I see the subject. And I would add:

Unfortunately the "brilliant" marketing-hype jobs produced with his flash-is-evil campaign managed to brainwash many of the apple-apostles at Adobe, too.

So when Adobe finally had some valid approach to 3D they made the dumbest of all moves to alienate their developers by introducing their "This movie uses technology..." and introduce a clandestine fee, that is so obscure ("You can use our high-end features both for free, but if you use them together you ll have to pay a royalty if you earn more than 50000 $")

Bottom line: Adobe has the better technology (compared to his direct competitors) - Apple the better marketing. Since we live in irrational times, thats an unfair fight.

Jorge Ramos
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It's no secret that Flash support on any mobile devices or consoles is dated at best, and most usually awful, and awful on any environment outside of a desktop PC. And Flash Player can STILL kill a PC outright when it decides to bork and crash.

And Adobe Reader is so bloated and awful... there is a reason that there are many other PDF readers out there... and yet because of the coding on many sites from different corporate entities, many sites that use PDFs for handling documents, will not ever work unless a build of Acrobat Reader is installed on the machine in question.

Adobe can't even be bothered to keep Flash Player working on post Android 4.* devices... even devices like the Samsung Galaxy series that had a compatible AndroidOS installed out of the factory don't come with Flash Player installed, which awkwardly prevents one from even being able to install it themselves from Google Play.

Flash is great for handling animation... but its usage as a video player is detestable, and it's a constant eyesore... which makes it all the more depressing that it is the de-facto choice in the overwhelming majority of sites that stream live video as opposed to something like HTML5 that could be handled (relatively) equally well on both a desktop and mobile device.

Since Adobe can't be bothered fix ANY of these problems that have plagued even just THESE two applications for years and years... I only wish more sites would adopt non-Flash alternatives.

Mike Donovan
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""""" It's no secret that Flash support on any mobile devices or consoles is dated at best, and most usually awful, and awful on any environment outside of a desktop PC. And Flash Player can STILL kill a PC outright when it decides to bork and crash. """""

Outside of desktops you have to consider Air not Flash Player. Flash Player is for desktops browsers, Air is for all kinds of devices.

As for crashing, sorry, never happens to me. Firefox kills plugins when they hang, so mostly not even the browser crashes if a plugin fails. And you can lock a PC with any programming language.

It sounds like you're using your PC to run all kind of things, programs, games, visit many shady sites, etc, which is fine, but I wouldn't blame Flash if your system is unstable. Mine basically never crashes, Flash or not, yet Flash is one of the programs that I've used the most over 10 years with all that content present on the web.

David Navarro
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Flash is dead, it just hasn't stopped twitching yet.

Mike Donovan
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This decision from Unity has no effect whatsoever on Flash, it's mostly the Flash bashing bandwagon that takes this as a pretext to make noise.

I blame Unity for taking advantage of this situation and claiming they drop their flash export "because of Flash/Adobe" while in reality it's because developing a proper export is very hard considering the Unity pipeline, so it was not a good tool, did not sell well and is thus not worth putting any more resources into it.

Nooh Ha
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Tell that to the c. 250m people playing Flash games on Facebook each month. Then have a word with the hundreds of millions of monthly gamers using Miniclip, Addictinggames, Armorgames, Flashgames247, Newgrounds etc. each month. I'm not sure they got your memo...

Gregory Booth
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Didn't the "Flash is dead" mob first appear 3 years ago, 5 years ago?

Flash is still here.

It produces apps for IOS, Android, the web and desktops from almost the same codebase.

It's faster than it was.

It has more frameworks than it had then.

It now has Stage3D.

It has a larger development ecosystem than it had then.

It doesn't cost developers $4,500 to target most of it's supported platforms.


The torches and pitchforks went that way ->>>>>

If you run you might be able to catch up with them.

Andrew Pellerano
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It's clever PR misdirection from Unity to make this look like a discussion about Adobe and Flash. This is Unity abandoning a very real use case that their customers want and have already paid for. All we're given in return is a hint at the end of the statement that 'soon' they will announce some other way to target web and mobile simultaneously. What could it possibly be? The Unity plugin is never going to have the penetration that Flash Player has and HTML5, despite all its fervor, refuses to work cross-browser.

Rodolfo Ruiz
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This is funny. 3 years of "Flash is dead!", this article even mention "last nail in the coffin", but in this same page there are 4 ads made in Flash... oh the irony :P

TC Weidner
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I used Flash quite a bit up until a few years ago. I never understood Adobe stance on it. Its a good product, with a huge adapted user base, yet they seem content on letting it die a slow death. At least that how it looks from here. Its kinda sad, I spent a lot of time learning the ins and outs of it, but to be honest I dont think I'll be using it much in the future.

Andrew Pellerano
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There was an interesting quora answer a couple weeks ago where the author claims Flash has never been a significant portion of Adobe's revenue.

http://qr.ae/Tjvlh

Mike Donovan
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If you want to make games and target the web primarily, or target multiple platforms at low cost and headaches, you should definitely keep considering Flash.

As usual it depends on what you're making.

Julian Scott
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Back in the real world, flash is alive and kicking.

As someone who makes a lot of money making flash games, I'm seeing growth all over the world at the moment.

Flash might be dead for UE3-in-a-browser sorts of games, but, well, that's not what the vast majority of flash users want.

Gregory Booth
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/agree

It is definitely "alive and kicking". and perhaps growing, despite current hype and sentiment.

If Adobe stopped AIR development/improvement *today* we could ship apps and games for IPhone, Android, Windows Desktop and perhaps web for the next 2-3 or more years.

"Flash might be dead for UE3-in-a-browser", perhaps but the feature set Stage3D, Away3D and other APIs currently have would more than suffice.

David Witt
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The problem is Adobe's management team. This is not the Knoll brothers company, but is now run by bean counters who are focused on leveraging their toll road for designers. Kevin Lynch lost the fight to become CEO, which was basically when Flash dropped off the roadmap.

It's truly a shame and a pity, since AS3 and AIR are a great platform for games and RIAs. Too bad they have been betrayed by Adobe. The best hope now is that the Flash Player and AIR runtime get donated to The Mozilla Foundation like Flex, and that Haxe steps into the vacuum. However, the damage has been done, as so many of us have found the oxygen sucked out of Flash/AIR dev by platform politics and Adobe's ineptness, inability and unwilllingness to really put up a fight. Thanks Adobe - good luck with the marketeers!

Mike Donovan
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Well Haxe is a language, Flash Player and Air are platforms.

Haxe can only take advantage of them, i.e. it can replace AS3. So if Flash disappeared, no other platform would replace it.

Unity would hope so, but it's way too expensive to use commercially. Flash is free. I don't think we want Unity to be the bigger player in the arena.

Anyway, won't happen. Let's re-discuss this in 5 years.


Note: Flash development might be free if we so desire, but let's not forget that its future depends on whether Adobe is fine with the revenue it gets from Flash, which implies we support the platform by buying Adobe tools that are Flash related and continue to make the community as alive as it has always been and still is.

Jim McGinley
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The question isn't is Flash dead... the question is whether HTML5 Canvas 2D can replace it. According to my tests (http://www.bigpants.ca/html5test/) and much reading, YES. On desktop systems (MAC/PC - IE/Safari/Firefox) and iPad, it's working cross platform (no coding changes) with better performance than Flash. They're actively working on getting sound fixed, and no choice auto-upgrade browsers means the sound fix will spread quickly (you won't be stuck supporting IE6 for years). This is the first time Flash has faced a competitor with a LARGER browser install base than Flash. (Mobile devs will need to chime in on Flash mobile vs. HTML5 Canvas 2D - I haven't tested).

The tools are primitive, many libraries don't exist, and the dev/debugging environments are a joke. But none of that matters since developers can solve those problems (their hands were tied before HTML5 Canvas 2D arrived). It's just a question of when.

Andreas Ahlborn
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"But none of that matters since developers can solve those problems"

Sure and its absolutely possible to build something the size of the Giza Necropolis with bare hands, if you are lucky to have 10000 slaves caryying your stones and a deadline of 70 years.

Jim McGinley
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"Sure and its absolutely possible to build something the size of the Giza Necropolis with bare hands, if you are lucky to have 10000 slaves caryying your stones and a deadline of 70 years."

More like 10,000 developers and a few years :)
Flash itself lacked everything in the beginning, but devs subsidized.
Even going so far as to release an improved IDE for free (FlashDevelop).
The circle of life is already happening in HTML5.

Here's a list of current HTML5 Canvas 2D game engines:
https://gist.github.com/bebraw/768272 - some were inspired by Flash

There's already TOO many great non-game libraries to count:
http://jster.net/blog/javascript-libraries-started-in-2012#.UXnGd
r_kzHg

HTML5 can already use the back-end infrastructure developed for Flash games without rewriting one line of back-end code (Zynga).

The community is huge and driven by a desire to prove the nay-sayers wrong.
Kind of like... the Flash community.

Gregory Booth
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How long has HTML5 been in development? Since what year?

Haven't we been told by HTML5 evangelists (sometimes referred to as fan boys) for years now that it would be ready soon? Just a matter of time? It's the wave of the future?

"They're actively working on getting sound fixed" Flash sound has worked for many, many years.

I've played with canvas, three.js, CreateJS and I went back to Flash. Combine that with the fact that there isn't really the plugin wall (as far as I can tell) that is claimed. In fact I've read at least a few posts where people championed a "plugin free" web and in the same post praised Unity3D and it's plugin. It's called hypocrisy.

Most of us are not interested in glitchy or even cool demos w/o sound. We're interested in proven technology that is mature and is already powering mainstream, "successful" games.

Don't discount developers preferences either. It is true "The tools are primitive" and this helps determine what gets made. AS3 rocks as a development language, I don't see the same sentiment leveled at JS/HTML5 on Stackoverflow.

Definitely respect your opinion as it seems balanced but I don't share your optimism re: HTML5. Sorry but to silence the critics the HTML5 crew needs to remember the colloquialism "the proof is in the pudding".

Perhaps in a few years HTML5 will be there *and* perhaps not.

Jim McGinley
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Greg, you make some compelling points.
Do I sense... a discussion?

"AS3 rocks as a development language,
I don't see the same sentiment leveled at JS/HTML5 on Stackoverflow."

AS1 SUCKED! Yet Flash beat all the competition. AS3 is DEFINITELY better than the JS/HTML5 abomination, but that doesn't matter. JS/HTML5 is likely going to replace Flash because it works well enough (at least HTML5 Canvas 2D on desktops), and it offers greater browser reach than Flash. Flash succeeded largely thanks to easy distribution - NOT good demoes / good tech / good anything. Ironically, Flash's success is the reason I believe HTML5 will be successful. Most of the arguments I hear from Flash devs explaining why HTML5 won't succeed are the same arguments I heard from VB6 developers explaining why Flash wouldn't succeed.

As mobile devices get more powerful, so will the browsers. The importance of a game running in a mobile browser is only going to increase - especially with tablets. HTML5 is already making major mobile browser inroads (http://mobilehtml5.org). Meanwhile, Adobe is dropping support for their Flash player on mobile browsers (http://threatpost.com/adobe-no-flash-player-future-android-versio
ns-062912/). It doesn't matter whether HTML5 competes with Flash appstore games. It's about HTML5 competing with Flash in mobile browsers - a war it has already won. Hopefully mobile HTML5 Canvas 2D performance increases quickly, or I will look quite the fool.

Mike Donovan
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""""" Most of the arguments I hear from Flash devs explaining why HTML5 won't succeed are the same arguments I heard from VB6 developers explaining why Flash wouldn't succeed. """""


I think you just lost yourself in your reasoning here. :/
Flash originally succeeded because it made development easy, accessible, visual and fun. Today HTML5 dev is the opposite. It would be more accurate to compare Flash with Unity in that area.

I don't want to start arguing what will succeed and what will die, all I'm saying is that Flash is NECESSARY and will keep being so in short to mid term. That's all we need to consider as developers of quality content, really. If you think there is a war between HTML5 technologies and Flash then you've fallen into the herd of ideas born from lame marketing. It happens to the best of us every now and then but that no excuse.


As for Flash Player on mobile, you have to look at Air. Flash Player is for desktops. Mobile users use apps 80% of the time.

Andreas Ahlborn
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deleted

Andreas Ahlborn
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Is it too far fetched to speculate that not only after effects but even flash might benefit from Adobes Partnership with Cinema4Ds MAxon? Imagine a modeling pipeline that allows stage3D taking advantage of Cinema4D`s modeling and animation tools...

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-at-nab-2013/after-effects-live-3d
-pipeline-with-maxon-cinema-4d/

Richard Davey
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Sorry this is a long comment, but to give it some context: My company build nothing but HTML5 games and have shipped 40+ titles in the past year for some of the largest entertainment brands in the world, and we've 11 games in production right now. For many years before that I built Flash games.

I'm only saying this to give some insight to my comments. I've not just knocked out a little canvas demo and now think I "know" html5 and what it is capable of, but I actively work with it (and every single changing aspect of it!) on a daily basis. I also work closely with Adobe, who are doing some incredible things for the web right now.

Given all the above, the decision by Unity still stuns me. It seems premature by at least a couple of years. They must have their reasons of course, but I strongly suspect there are several internal ones that weren't made public on that bullet list. I know a lot of companies who swapped to Unity because of the growing demand for mobile games, but web game work was still a large part of their business. It let them cover both and acted as a fire blanket to the "Flash is dead!" hyperbole that clients would spit out. To them, this decision hurts deeply. There's also an equal number of Flash indie-level devs who are all "what? people used Unity for Flash games?" that don't understand what the fuss is about either.

With regard to the "Flash is dead" mantra I'm split over this. Here's the thing: we make MOBILE BROWSER BASED games, because that is what our clients need. Pause on that for a second. You cannot use Flash for this on mobile. You cannot use AIR or Unity for this. The notion that all people do is play apps on their phones is incredibly out-dated now I'm afraid. Weekly we'll get new enquiries along the lines of "we're seeing lots of people start to visit our site from their iPads but none of our Flash games work, can you help?". This is where Flash is now truly dead. The situation on desktop is vastly different.

I equally hears lots of "html5 isn't ready" comments which I find bizarre. Ready for what? To create a compelling desktop-based game? Yes of course it is, and it's being used to do exactly this. We've got almost unanimous GPU acceleration on canvas across the board, WebGL (yes, it will be in IE11), sound issues ARE fixed, high performance timers, joypad access, proper fullscreen, and ever speed increasing VMs. The problem of course is that you need a modern browser, and there are plenty of browsers out there that don't fit this criteria (anything pre-IE9, old Firefox, black-listed GPUs, you get the picture).

It's not that html5 itself "isn't ready". If you look at the feature set of a modern browser it clearly is. The problem is that the desktop world is not yet fully ready for *it* and you've still millions of browsers not capable. html5 isn't a time machine that can go back and patch features into IE7 that never even existed when IE7 was coded. So arguments based along those lines are absurd at best.

So what's the best way to support those browsers? Flash of course. And because Flash is so well established at making web based games developers have a highly refined workflow in place for it too. It has a strong distribution system, is (relatively) easy to monetise and for now, mobile aside, it mostly "just works", although the recent fragmentation of Flash player has eroded even that trust (Pepper issues for example).

Going forward I can't see this argument remaining true though. Consumers do eventually upgrade PCs/operating systems, school IT labs do eventually give-up on IE6, mobile device use/purchases are still growing exponentially. Technology moves on and no-one can guess the time scale accurately.

Then again html5 is also absolutely not multi-platform by default. And I hate it when people make that mistake. I've seen Flash fan boys try to load-up some clearly desktop based html5 game on their $150 super-market bought Android tablet and then laugh about how rubbish html5 is because it ran at 1fps. Wake-up call: If a game isn't built to be multi-platform it isn't going to magically transform in to one that is. The performance gulf between html5 on the desktop and on mobile is like night and day. They couldn't be further apart if they tried. You need to target your platform specifically, and anyone who says otherwise (be them html5 advocate or hater) needs a slap around the face.

Those saying that Unity are foolish to not trust Adobe re: the future of Flash re: cancelling ASNext, should strongly question why Unity aren't the only big company doing this. If Flash was so future bullet-proof why did Zynga create PlayScript?

You could argue that Flash will never truly die until Adobe turn off the installation servers for it. But a product can die in many ways: user trust, commercial value, brand awareness, public perception, technical relevance and developer advocacy being just a few - to say that a number of those aren't already on their way out is a bit short-sighted imho.

Lars Doucet
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Richard (aka PhotonStorm) didn't mention it, but add this to his credentials: he was one of the most active contributors to the super-popular Flash Flixel engine for YEARS, and has recently put out Phaser JS which is a JS/HTML5 engine largely based on the principles of Flixel. His business has written and delivered countless games in both AS3 and HTML5.

So I'd say he knows his stuff, having put in serious time in both camps.

Andrew Traviss
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I don't think this was premature at all, given Adobe's behaviour over the last year or so.

They tried to monetize "premium" flash player features, signalling that they didn't consider the platform inherently valuable enough to invest in without some additional justification, and then backed down from that due to poor adoption.

So now we know that Adobe doesn't think that the platform is profitable enough, and that they were forced to abandon their effort to make it more profitable. Not confidence inspiring. Adobe has also recently set a pretty strong precedent that they are willing to change their short term roadmap significantly without much notice.

If I were Unity, relying on Adobe's products for web distribution, that would make me a bit nervous.

Mike Donovan
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@Richard:

I see two main arguments in your post. Excuse the bluntness, it's for the sake of clarity :)

First off while you talk in good faith, I deplore that you had to resort to using the infamous Appeal to Authority. Shoving one's curriculum vitae doesn't make them right but it does impact how others perceive whatever they are going to say, right or wrong. There are so many sad examples showing how clumsy or dishonest it is to use Appeal to Authority. It's even listed among logical fallacies. :-/

So if we ignore who you are and accept that you do have experience, like many of us around here, we can re-read parts of your post in a different light.

To me your base argument is that people now play games in mobile BROWSERS, where indeed Flash isn't quite fit for the job. Most of what you say in your post depends on this affirmation, and indeed if it was true it would be noteworthy.

I was rather surprised to hear that though, so I double checked because last time I used the thermometer, 80% of time spent on mobile occured on apps. I'll take news from March-April 2013, i.e. fresh from the month. Lessee:

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/120325-flurry-80-per-cent-mobile-
time-in-apps

http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/03/the-mobile-war-is-over-and-the-
app-has-won-80-of-mobile-time-spent-in-apps/

http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-time-spent-on-app
s-dwarfs-mobile-web-2013-3

So according to these, it seems that what you say is mostly wrong. Of course that doesn't mean you can't run your business with HTML5 mobile browser games, after all Unity had a business when they only had 1% penetration rate. Still, your point and all others that depended on it being true kind of crumble in this light.


You also go out of your way to tell us how easy it is to develop games for HTML5.

First off, the fact that you made 40+ games in one year means that these are small, maybe great, but simple games. Small projects that don't need a lot of organising and as such can cope way more easily with all the problems inherent to 2013 HTML5 game development, from toolchains to browser support and browser discrepancies in behaviors. "Higher quality" games can't get around these quite as recklessly.

Secondly, having spent so much time working with HTML5 you necessarily came to learn how to work around most issues, browser differences, performance tricks, what's supported here but not over there, etc. You probably patched yourself up some decent workflow internally and now you're used to it. You're ready to roll.

Meanwhile and even if it's not an argument, almost everyone else admits tooling, workflow, discrepancies across browsers are a major issue. Each of these can be checked objectively but I'll just partially source browser support, as I have a link around already:

http://html5test.com/compare/browser/chrome26/ff20/ie10.html

The most important is tooling and workflow though. They're a main reason why Flash and Unity succeeded in the first place. Checkout the HTML5 situation as of 2013 in this area.


To sum up, if you want to take that path you need to put considerable resources upfront. I.e. research the feasibility and what is lacking, then develop an in-house pipeline and workflow that fills the gaps and discrepancies. Build many prototypes to see what is feasible and what isn't. And accept that your assets and code are open to anyone.

Is it worth it for indies, to whom time and manpower is precious ? Is it worth it for big guys, who can just dump cash all the way and go native on all platforms ?


Finally, concerning a smaller argument:

""" If Flash was so future bullet-proof why did Zynga create PlayScript? """

If HTML5 was as ready and smooth as you say, why did LinkedIn drop it this month ?
Why did Facebook drop it early 2013, with M. Zuckerberg saying "I think the biggest mistake we made as a company is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native" ?

Those are Appeals to Authority, that means nothing :-/



But of course we agree that versatility is good nowadays. There are many devices, many OSes, many screen sizes, many browsers. It's not the best idea to only focus on one platform, even if that platform is as unique as Flash in that it stands on most platforms available.

Richard Davey
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+ Mike

Appealing to Authority isn't what I did, I appealed to solid tangible commercial experience and understanding of the platform. I've been in the trenches, fought the battle and come out the other side again. Unless you've done the same what actual technical grounds can you base your arguments on? A few random blog posts? Something you read online? A bit of fellow dev back-chat? None of this allows for a reasoned and balance discussion and what comes out is just emotions and feelings instead.

The fact you needed to link to "the html5 test" is clear evidence to me that you don't understand what is involved in making an html5 game - and that's absolutely fine, not many people have bothered to actually try and do it, but it highlights one of the fundamental problems with the perception of html5: that all browsers need to do everything exactly the same. It would be useful, but it's not actually as big of an issue as you think. For a start the browsers compared were wrong for mobile (I've already openly discussed the issues with desktop above) but more fundamentally we don't need ticks across the board for games. Games need only a tiny tiny subset of html5, one that has been well bedded down for a while now. It's quite irrelevant that IE10 doesn't support input type=week for example, or renders some CSS style differently. You only care about that if you build web sites.

"Most of what you say in your post depends on this affirmation, and indeed if it was true it would be noteworthy."

If I was allowed to share the stats I have from the companies I work with, I would do so. If I could show the growth charts we see across our BBC channels, I would. But saying they are "crumbling" notions and basically accusing me of lying because you were unable to find a compatible google result is quite frankly rude.

I never claimed everyone was now playing browser games instead of with apps, what I said was it's not true that apps are the ONLY way they play games on mobile any more. Even common sense should validate that - if you take the 80% claims at face value (and I would question the sources strongly), that's still millions of users spent making up the other 20%.

On the flip side I agree completely about needing to have workflow practises and tools in place - but I don't see how html5 is any different in this regard. If I was to become a Unity developer tomorrow, while the tool clearly exists I would still have to spend considerable time learning it, looking out for pitfalls deploying to mobile, etc. The same is true of Flash, it's just there are considerably more resource out there to benefit from. I spent my time in a different area, delving into areas where this knowledge wasn't readily available and where tools didn't already exist. That doesn't make that time spent any less relevant.

I would also argue that the majority of work around html5 is client based and thus not suitable for indies anyway. But this isn't something that is going to "go away", it is the web, and it's how people will play web based games.

Mike Donovan
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The first half of that post is full of "who are you, a random amateur I suppose ?", "I know what I know and that's better than you know" and yet you say there's no appeal to authority ?

How can you say "I have super secret surveys, trust me the sources you link are wrong", and at the same time imagine seriously that I don't have my own in-house studies on that topic ?
Posting public links is the only way to discuss, at this point. Is VentureBeat not reputable enough for you ?

Anyway.

I'm sorry for you if you felt offended though. That was not the goal. I didn't feel a single negative emotion when writing my previous post and I still do not. I was coldly trying to debunk some arguments, not your person. And what triggered this attempt at debunking was the appeals to authority. It's way too easy to say who we are and use our image to add weight to our words, even if it's unintentional. Good arguments don't need personality back ups ^^

Happy game development !

Diego Leao
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@Mike Donovan

I actually found very useful that Richard explained his experience. We're not children, we will not "just believe his gospel", so don't worry about it ;) I took his argument as a challenge to study better the _game specific_ features of html5, and some other pre-conceived notions.

@Andrew
If you agree that Flash could take a few more years to die, it really is a premature decision. Why can't they just announce plans to drop it when a better solution is in place, and then work on this solution? Makes perfect sense.

Scott Lawrence
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@Mike Donovan Don't confuse rightfully establishing authority with a fallacious appeal to authority. This is high school stuff, man.

Sebastiano Mandala
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Ok saying that Adobe is not firmly committed could be true, could be false, I do not want to argue about it. All that said, what bothers me is: is it correct to blame a partner for own bad business choices? It would have been fairer to say: "we made a crappy business decision, now we regret it, but since we do not want to refund you, we blame Adobe".

Richard Davey
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When they made the decision 18 months ago ASNext was on the roadmap, Adobe had just put a whole new team in place to investigate building an advanced AVM and Stage3D was getting traction. I suspect, back then, it wasn't looking like a crappy business decision at all. Maybe more a case of 'cut our loses and run'?

Sebastiano Mandala
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I do not agree Richard...I can understand that Adobe made some promises, this happens very often in business. However as3 and stage3D are both still viable solution right now, technically asnext is not needed.
Instead I guess they found out that the number of licenses sold was not so great after all, thus not so viable as business. If this is true, it is true regardless Adobe's promises.
P.S.: I agree AVM is not fast enough for complicated games though.

Andreas Ahlborn
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If you go through the roadmap of flash
http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplatform/whitepapers/roadmap.htm
l
and read this thread:
https://plus.google.com/111010557165494466226/posts/HEr4m1eLZgC

The main reason from Adobe to shy away from FlashNext was:

" After running some of our plans by a wide array of developers, the feedback was that it would be too disruptive [...i.e.loosing bachwards compatibility]. Remember that a large segment of our users are still uncomfortable with AS3." (Lee Brimelow, Adobe gaming evangelist)

Sebastiano Mandala
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Andreas, ASNext would have been very welcomed, but as I said it is not needed (although I really need a version of actionscript with generics). That's why I think that blaming adobe's roadmap is not fair.

Adobe should really focus on the AVM optimization though.

Richard Davey
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Last Sept. I was part of a group of developers who went to Adobe HQ as part of their internal gaming summit. We got to see what they had planned for ASNext and the new VM, talk to the teams working on it and give our feedback. They also showed off Hellcat. It was really interesting to hear all the teams talk, and they had some clearly impressive plans - but I think everyone there appreciated it would be a total reboot for the platform, and the sort of time scales they were talking about worried a number of people (think several years from now).

I believe it was Daniel (author of Starling) who asked them why all the investment into yet another VM when there was so much VM research going on in the likes of Google. Thinking back on it that was quite a pertinent question really. But they knew even then that AS3 wasn't going to cut it to support the features devs were asking for.

As it transpires something internally must have changed, because that's all gone now. It's important to add that they've not "shifted to html5", that was going on at the same time as all of this and has been for quite a few years actually. Some of their recent web based work is truly excellent (blend modes in native canvas for example, now live in Firefox - thank you!). I guess it's easy to just say "Adobe" this and "Adobe" that and lose sight of just how massive a company they truly are.

But I do believe actions they took re: roadmap and team restructuring sent chills throughout those companies supporting them, and to be called out as such isn't a gross offence imho.

Andreas Ahlborn
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@ Sebastiano
"That's why I think that blaming adobe's roadmap is not fair."
It was not intended to blame anyone.
I gave this information because a statement of an official spokesperson is at this point more valuable than a lot of "vague assumptions" that are popping up in this thread such as
"Instead I guess they found out that the number of licenses sold was not so great after all, thus not so viable as business." (your comment)

Diego Leao
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@ Sebastiano

Although being "wild speculation" I had the same thought as you did here:
"(...) I guess they found out that the number of licenses sold was not so great after all, thus not so viable as business. If this is true, it is true regardless Adobe's promises."

But being Unity, I give them the benefit of the doubt.

Israel Lazo
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Making games in flash is fun and it pays my bills, thank you :)

(and it's also free)

+1 Richard

Richard Davey
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That's all that matters at the end of the day, right? That you can live off of your chosen trade. I'm glad that you can, but sadly I know a number of Flash devs struggling to find new work at agencies too (and an equal number of indie devs happily carrying on oblivious to all the fuss). It's the nature of our profession I guess.

Make games, worry less, just don't walk around blinkered (one way or another :)

Kris Steele
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As a consumer, I HATE Flash. When my browser crashes, it's almost always Flash related. I long for a day when it truly is dead.

I haven't touched HTML5 for probably 2 years now. @RichardDavey seems to say the audio is fixed, which is a good thing. That's really what killed me from using it. I was working on a fast passed game and it just didn't work well when sound effects lagged a half second behind.

Andrew Traviss
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Awful code that crashes browsers comes from inexperienced developers. When they move from Flash to HTML/JS the crashes will follow them dutifully.

Kris Steele
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@Andrew You can't fix stupid for sure. But it should be better handled so it doesn't take down the entire page or browser when it bombs. Especially when it's just a banner ad on a page that I'm not paying attention to anyways.

Mike Donovan
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The entire browser doesn't crash anymore. What are you using ? Updating your browser will help, if that's indeed your problem.

Andrew Traviss
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Flash does enough hand-holding just by having a garbage collector. You can't expect any platform to stop developers from crashing everything. No such platform currently exists. You can make just as bad of a mess with Unity or Javascript.

Mike: It's still possible to crash the whole browser, even with the most modern ones. It just takes some serious doing.

Phil Maxey
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*sigh* I wish all of this would just get sorted out, it's all becoming a bit of a joke. There are god knows how many frameworks/platforms/tools. There needs to be some consolidation. Love or hate Flash, at least it brought some standardisation to the development community. There was the Flash player, it ran on everything (i'e the web), you had 1 main tool, and you had AS3. Simple.

We need something similar now, it can be Unity it can be Adobe, it can be HTML5, but someone needs to grab hold of this situation and give us standards and easy to use, flexible tools that allow us to create what we want, on mobile and web.

Richard Davey
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It's easy to do that when you're in charge of both the tooling AND the platform! But no-one is in charge of the 'web' so to speak. Tools can and are being built for it, but it's like building your house on sand right - constantly shifting. It takes a lot of money to build powerful enough tools that adapt fast enough to what is going on, and thus far very few are seriously trying (maybe until it settles down enough?).

Phil Maxey
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Unity Look's like it's trying, they certainly seem to be signing up enough different licensors, but they really need a decent 2D solution, which hopefully isn't too far away.

HTML5 could of been it, 2 years back it looked like it would be, I think it's lack of performance (or perceived performance) on mobile has been it's achilles heel.

And Flash has stumbled along. For Adobe AIR can be the saviour, if they want to be involved with that, but I'm not sure they do.

The problem with HTML5 is that it doesn't seem to be in any of the major platform holders interest to push, because if users can get quality apps/games on the web which run like native apps/games they won't get their 30% cut. And it's for that reason I can't see HTML5 ever being used ahead of native for anything processor/GPU intensive.

..Unless someone comes along knocks a lot of heads together and produces tools/platforms based on webGL, which is very very unlikely.

Right now we really are at a crossroads. One one hand you have native/closed app stores..and on the other you have the web/webGL/HTML5, pretty much a supercharged version of the old current/Web, which runs on everything.

As a developer the safest option has got to be something like Unity which should allow you to choose either road. Adobe could be in the mix as well, but probably won't choose to be.

Mike Donovan
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Unity tools are interesting but very expensive. (I'm also pretty disappointed by the PR trick they just played >_<)

It's really something to study based on what type of games you want to make, what talents are present in your team and how much you can spend.

We picked Haxe for various pretty good reasons that would not necessarily apply to you, but take a look at it if you didn't already, you never know :)

k glad
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congratulations to most posters here. it's a pleasure to read comments from so many thoughtful people in an internet forum.

Barna Biro
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Not sure how many of you are following Adobe blogs ( http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplayer/ ) and news in general, but to me, it doesn't seem that they're closing the lid on Flash / AIR and that "all hope is lost"... Sure, the Flash Player is not what it used to be years back, but Adobe AIR is still a quite viable solution for mobile / tablets. It's not perfect of course ( what is? ), but for indies / people with previous Flash experience and not too deep pockets, it is still a viable technology. What's the alternative? Learning C / C++ / Objective-C / Java / HTML5 ( lol? ) from the group up? Kicking out your current team an hiring "new experts"? Re-training everyone in record time? Yeah, right...

I've been working with this technology for 10 years, and I've lived to see many "doom's day prophecies" ( Silverlight anyone? ), but Flash is still here. Will it eventually disappear? Maybe... or maybe it will just live on under a different name. Do I really care? No... I use whatever tools are needed / available to get the job done as best as possible.

As a side note: Most of the "top grossing" games on Apple Store aren't some mega-fancy 3D games with crazy effects and running at constant 60fps... Ergo, Adobe AIR has it's place and I don't think that Adobe will pull the plug on it anytime soon... and so what that Adobe decided not to push out a re-architected Flash Player but focus on what they already have instead? The future of the platform / technology is in the hands of Adobe AIR anyway ( I'm not saying they shouldn't keep an eye on Flash Player too, but let's be frank... Flash Player was never designed to work on mobile, tablets or similar... their decision / attempt to have it supported on Android was a really DUMB one. The "brilliant mind" behind that decision, should have been fired just for thinking that something like that would ever work. That moronic decision - can't describe it in any other way - only threw more mud at an already messy name... Adobe PR is / has been / will most likely always be sh*t !!! ).

Still... Flash is not going anywhere... not tomorrow, not by the end of this year or the next. But that shouldn't stop anyone from experimenting with alternative solutions if they think it's worth their time and/or money.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Flash is too confusing for me. I just want to download something, create a few classes, hit compile, and play the game. I don't want no 30 day free trial. I don't want to pay monthly. I don't want to give them 10% of my profits every month or year. I can handle paying $100/$1,000 to get the tools. But that's it.

Think I'mma have to stick with making my shitty XNA game. Might dab in Unity. Really just wish Valve would give me their Source Engine :d

Ruben Gerlach
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Hold on!

Download FlashDevelop (or any other free IDE), maybe download the Adobe Game SDK, thats it and you are all set. All free. Maybe at some point you may need to buy Flash Professional to create animations, but thats not for starters.

The rest is premium support which you can ignore until you are making serious business.

Israel Lazo
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@Curtis: so basically you are ignorant.

and a troll.

Rey Samonte
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I second what Ruben stated. I develop with FD now and hardly even touch the Flash IDE at all. In fact, I don't even need it! However, it's definitely not a drag and drop type environment that you're looking for.

However, as quick as you can drop a few objects, a camera, and controls in Unity, there's still a lot of technical hurdles you'll need to get over. You would still require the basic understanding of how a game ticks.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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Yes, totally a n00b to Flash. I went to Adobe.com and they had a bazillion links. I went back today and it appears I gotta pay over $500 for the Flash IDE from Adobe? Too pricey for a n00b. I've been a Valve modder the past decade, I ain't got any money!!!

A third-party IDE wasn't really what I was expecting... Or wanting. I might check out that FlashDevelop thing.

Barna Biro
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NOTE: That % of profit you'd have had to pay to Adobe only if you used some "Premium features" of Flash Player. Since Adobe decided to make the XC APIs free ( as of January 2013 ), worrying about giving them % of anything is no longer the case. More info: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/premium-features
.html

"There are currently no public Premium Features in the Flash runtimes."

As for the IDE: others have already nicely pointed out a few alternatives. In the end, the SDK is free, so no one would be stopping you from using even Notepad to write your code and compile the project via command line. But since you'd rather press a button and have a complete game magically pop out of the nothing... well, I'm afraid you'll be just wasting your time with this technology.

PS: Being a "n00b" is not an excuse for ignorance and/or trolling. ;)


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