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Notes from the 2012 Flash Gaming Summit

Posted by Christopher Diggins, 11 March 2012 8:00 pm

I recently attended the Flash Gaming Summit in San Francisco. The goal for me was to get a sense of what was happening in the world of flash games. Apart from having fun, I learned a few things! Here is a summary of what I learned from the presentations I attended:

Flash: The Next Generation
Lee Brimelow and Thibault Imbert from Adobe.

Lee and Thibault talked about upcoming versions of Flash and ActionScript. It seem that Adobe has basically decided to focus on Flash for use primarily in the games market, while putting HTML5 to the forefront for creative media. It also seems like features are going to be added Flash and ActionScript even more quickly before, now that the team is much smaller and has a more well-defined focus.

Some of the features that jumped out at me were improved gameplay experience (enabling right click mouse events and mouse lock) and better performance. A future version of ActionScript will have strict typing turned out by default but will provide type inference to maintain the "dynamic" look and feel.

The new GPU accelerated capabilities of Flash 11 (i.e. Stage 3D) figured prominently in some great looking 2D and 3D demos shown by Thibault and Lee.

SAS: Zombie Assault 3 - Tackling Synchronous Multiplayer Game Development in Flash
Chris Harris and Jonathan Hopcroft from Ninja Kiwi

This was a story from the trenches of developing a synchronous multilplayer game, with lots of exploding zombies in the background.

Mobile Gaming Goes Borderless: Why We’re Heading Toward Multiplatform
Peter Relan, Co-Founder and CEO of CrowdStar

Flash developers are increasingly learning the value of targeting multiple platforms with single code bases. Peter gave an interesting talk about the success of using Spaceport.io to target flash and native mobile applications at the same time. What surprised me was the fact that a lot of people seem to be avoiding using Air to package their apps. 

Getting Some Perspective: Away3D 4.0 & Friends
Rob Bateman, Co-Founder, Away 3D

Rob did a great job on selling the audience on the power of 3D in Flash, and showing some of the really exciting 3D work being done on Flash.

Going Mobile
Nate Beck, Principal Architect, ZaaLabs, Ltd.

Nate gave some insight into the challenges and hardships facing a Flash game developer tareting multiple platforms.
http://zaalabs.com/2012/03/slides-from-going-mobile-flash-gaming-summit-2012/

It’s A Long Way To The Top…If You Want To Be An Indie Flash Dev
David Scott and Paul Preece

This was a fun talk about the business of making flash games. Paul Preece is the author of one my all time favorite games called "Desktop Tower Defense". Paul and David focused on the importance of marketing and paying attention to the profit margin without being a jerk about it.

It's The End of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Ben Garney, Programmer, PushButton Labs

Ben Garney is a very engaging speaker and he spoke about the current state and future of the Flash platform, and why he isn't too worried. Here is Ben's summary:

"I wanted to touch on a couple things based on feedback from different people. First, and this should be pretty obvious, everything in it is my own opinion. I tried to find sources where I could, of course. Second, Flash is obviously not dead and not going to disappear in the immediate term. However, there is a real risk that it could face a long term decline, due to various reasons I explore in the talk. Like I say on slide 12, “declining asset” is a label used to make decisions not a business reality."

Ben has posted his slides and recordoing on his website at http://blog.bengarney.com/2012/03/08/flash-gaming-summit-2012-slides/. This was my favorite talk of the day!

Screenplay
Tom Vian, Freelance Game Developer, Super Flash Bros.

Tom gave an enlightening talk about the nuts and bolts of human computer interaction (HCI) concerns when writing for the full range of computers, devices and tablets that can be targeted by Flash.

My Summary

I think Flash is going to continue to be relevant for the foreseable future. As Flash game developers try to get an edge over each other we are going to see more and more 3D content in Flash games . I also think targeting multiple platforms with a single code base is the future. Future developers are not going to be writing Flash, or mobile, or HTML5 apps. They are just going to be writing apps, and the tools are going to do the rest.

 

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