[casual_games] Making a Case for Flash
kenny at arkadium.com
Thu Aug 18 14:46:20 EDT 2005
Long time reader, first time poster....
I wanted to follow up on the recent posts regarding game authoring
languages. I know the hard core crowd and downloadable game developer
community would typically laugh at Flash as a development tool however at
Arkadium we have found that Flash as a development language works very well
in the online casual game space. I am not talking about developing a
downloadable game in Flash (yet we did that with our Solitaire Poker Pack)
but we have found that casual gamers who play online would much prefer a
no-download Flash game than installing some software just to play a casual
At Arkadium, we have developed over 50 games in Flash, and have found that
the authoring language is easy to learn and has an extremely high
accessibility factor. With a 95+% penetration rate, users can play Flash
games without downloading an additional 5mb JRE, a Shockwave player and 3d
Plug-in, or an Active X control. Despite the install rates previously
posted on this list, I believe that users are scared shitless to download
anything these days. Malware, Adware, blah blah blah. I suspect that a
50+% drop off rate is more accurate in terms of install rates when a
download is required. On sites like MSN, Yahoo, Real, PopCap, Shockwave,
install rates maybe higher because of the trust factor, however for smaller
shops or web destinations, I know a download can be a major hurdle. Yes
some users will do it, but many will not.
Regarding accessibility, Flash has been great for us at Arkadium because of
three platforms that have adopted Flash. 1) The Information Super
Highway...as my grandma calls it 2) Set Top Boxes and 3) Flash Light on the
Why not create a game once, and port it to every device possible with a
simple "output type" selection. We did a deal that put our Flash content
into a million hotel rooms without re-coding any aspect of the game other
than key mappings. We have also found that every significant set-top-box
being manufactured these days now has support some version of the Flash
player. Furthermore, with the addition of Flash Light, Macromedia has the
Flash development community really jazzed about the ease of use when porting
existing Flash content to Mobile devices and PDAs. Yes, the install rate on
mobile devices is really low right now compared to other plugins for cell
phones, but Macromedia/Adobe have made a commitment to Flash and don't be
surprised when every mobile device supports Flash in the next 2-3 years.
Also, every few months there are significant improvements to the platform.
I know Flash is not the perfect platform for downloadable game content for a
variety of reasons. The hard core programmers here at Arkadium do not even
consider action scripting programming. However, with casual web games like
solitaire, match threes, mahjonggs, and even some basic sports titles, Flash
has kept us very happy and very busy at Arkadium.
And a final note regarding Flash security, it's no surprise that you can
search the web for "flash decompilers" and spend $25 bucks on a program to
decompile an SWF file, but honestly, who cares? The positives totally
outweigh the negatives. I'd say that less than 1% of the casual game
community would really attempt to decompile your code. Would you really
discard Flash as a programming language because less than 1% of the
community is trying to hack your warez? At Arkadium, we know plenty about
Flash decompilers, and since we know they exist, we build in additional
security measures to protect ourselves from this vulnerability. There are
thousands of ways to build in safeguards to protect the integrity of your
game without relying on Flash to do the heavy lifting.
Anyway that's my two cents...
If you would like to take a look at some of our Flash game content see here:
or the use of Flash Video in a Multiplayer Trivia game:
CEO Arkadium Games
kenny at arkadium.com
212-337-3701 ex 22
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