Game Development Reference
Figure 10-2: Example of Flash running Stage3D, Yellow Planet game at flare3d.com/demos/yellowplanet/
NOTE “The best thing about Flash is people are able to code games in their bedrooms,” says Paul Preece.
That spirit went away in the 80s with the advent of consoles, but Flash development's barrier to entry is so
low, it's practically non-existent.
Preece believes that HTML5 is not yet a mature system, and still has technical concerns that make it vul-
nerable to piracy and hacking. Although Flash has its own vulnerabilities in that regard, it's been around for so
much longer that Flash coders have a knowledge base to address those problems. “It's definitely the future,”
Preece says of HTML5, “but in order to make games, you need the tools, the platform, and the wide reach, and
[you need to] be able to do it in a secure manner.” HTML5 doesn't have any of that yet, and to boot, it has a
small install base in comparison to Flash. What's more, HTML5 is not consistent across platforms, and it plays
differently on different browsers.
Nitrome Managing Director Matthew Annal also thinks Flash has a strong future, especially with the late
2011 addition of Stage3D, which also allows export from the 3D engines Unreal and Unity. “[Which] means,”
says Annal, “that games can look just as good within the browser as they do on consoles or other formats. I don't
think this means that online games will all start to look like console games, but I think it is causing a perception
shift in what an online game can be—it can be a serious gaming platform. For years, Flash games held a stigma
that they were cheap, because of all the amateur-level games that flooded the market.” A rise in the quality of
Flash-based graphics will likely lead to increased development of web games aimed at the hard-core market.
Much of the Flash versus HTML5 debate rides on what Apple will do. At the moment, iOS only runs
HTML5. (A couple of years before his death, Steve Jobs publicly rejected the idea of making iOS Flash-com-
patible, probably at least in part because allowing iOS users to access Flash-based programs would threaten the
monopoly of the App Store.) The strong growth of tablet computing (primarily the iPad line) suggests a time in
the next few years when developers will largely shift their focus away from laptop and desktop programs and
concentrate on tablets. At that point, Flash may be in jeopardy.