Flash - Anybody using it?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Jay_Kyburz, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Jay_Kyburz

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    Hi guys,

    Its been several years since I last looked at flash. At the time I remember quite liking action script. I think i was eventually put off by the poor performance and the laggy feel of a few ms delay in key and mouse event responses.

    Anyhow, just wanted to know if anybody else is using flash in a big way, perhaps using those wrapper apps to ship standalone executables, etc etc.
     
  2. Desktop Gaming

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    I use it for drawing/animating graphics and exporting to PNG. Never been (or intend to go) anywhere near actionscript though. :)

    I'm using Flash 8 that I got cheap off eBay. CS3 is out now and apparently its much better.
     
  3. datxcod

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    Yes, personally I have used it before in "big way", but I had to put on hold the project because of the poor performance that I got when trying to wrap the swf file into an exe using MDM ZINC (to protect assets and for registering purposes, but it runs great without wrapping the file). I was using actionscript 2 though, and ActionScript 3.0 is way faster than AS2.0.

    I think a lot of future casual games are going to be created in flash, and actionscript is a great language and easy to use (similar to java).
     
  4. raigan

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    We made N in order to prove that you can make a proper video game in Flash.

    It's not hard, it just requires you to design around the limitations of the platform -- same as with GBA/DS.

    The VM overhead results in performance that is (very approximately) 100x slower than a compiled language.. but on a 2ghz machine that still leaves you with a virtual CPU running at 20mhz.

    It's interesting to compare Flash to GBA/SNES as a video game platform -- Flash is superior across the board:
    -faster CPU (20mhz vs 16mhz GBA or 4mhz SNES)
    -64bit processor (everything is double-precision.. compared to non-floating-point 32bit GBA and 16bit SNES)
    -virtually unlimited memory (at least 64mb.. compared to GBA/SNES where memory is measured in kb!!)

    With recent improvements (AS3, optimized bitmap rendering, etc), Flash is even more powerful. Obviously, it can't do everything, but it's perfectly suited for a wide variety of games. Certainly it can handle simulation/physics/collision technology that GBA/SNES can't.

    So, Flash should be more than sufficient for producing games that are just as good as, if not better than, the best GBA/SNES offerings. IMO the only reason that Flash games aren't (in general) better than the best GBA/SNES games is that the developers aren't (in general) as good/skilled/experienced/competent/etc.
     
  5. Spore Man

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    Search this forum.
     
  6. Xiotex

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    My background is C++ on PC and consoles and have dabbled with Flash but I recently got Flash CS3 and am now going exclusively Flash.

    I did a quick speed test the other day and I had 50k point particles and it didn't even dent the 30fps limit I had placed on the movie.

    It is also extremely easy to code for - my game Survival Factor (which I really still have to finish) was written in just 2 days!
     
  7. Jay_Kyburz

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    How is fill rate? Is the bitmap rendering software or hardware accelerated? How does it compare to sdl?
     
  8. Xiotex

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    As mentioned before - with Flash CS3 and AS3 you need to treat Flash as a reduced resources platform. The actual rendering side (AFAIK) is hardware assisted by OpenGL but as for the exact details on that I don't know.

    Since the AS3 interpreter is now a JIT compiler the closest comparison would be Java but without the capability to access the HW through an OpenGL wrapper - remember the primary target for Flash is still web browsers.

    I am still working on fill-rate. The 50k particles were all drawn to a bitmap cache using the AS3 SetPixel32 function which I imagined to be really slow but turned out to be okay. I am still working on getting accurate(ish) timing routines working so that I can profile more accurate samples.
     
  9. raigan

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    AFAIK Flash doesn't use the hardware at all.
     
  10. Spore Man

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    Xiotek, with AS3 you can now safely use 60fps (provided you code everything optimally, and use the caching, etc).

    Raigan: Not quite true anymore. As of update 3 of Flash player 9, it uses Direct X to render the Flash window to full screen mode (as opposed to just STRETCHING the graphics to the desktop resolution, causing slower rendering). Hardware is not used for any calculations or surface blitting, no.

    Also of interest to us, as of Flash Player 9 update 3, they add some VSYNC to prevent tearing (though apprently it's not perfect--just much better than before)
     
  11. Xiotex

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  12. raigan

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    AFAIK the whole rendering engine in Flash is still all in software (including anti-aliasing/etc).

    the new "hardware accelerated" player is misleading -- its not cross-platform and doesn't work when running in a window.. which is the same functionality offered for years by several 3rd-party projectors.

    the biggest thing about the recent player9 is that it now runs just as fast in a browser as in a stand-alone projector.
     
  13. Xiotex

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    I agree, if you are using the vector engine then it bubbles down to a software renderer but I believe (through reading around) that if you cache as bitmap and even use just bitmap images then the fills become ogl quads. The announcement about fullscreen stretch came some time after the flash player 8 ogl enhancements.

    The key to getting the speed out of Flash 9 with AS3 is to cache all of your artwork as bitmaps as much as possible so even if it is a sw renderer then at the end of the day an image copy becomes a rectangular copy rather than curves and fills.

    For more info on this hop on over to:

    http://board.flashkit.com/board/showthread.php?t=732354

    That link goes more into the merits of using sprites over copypixel. I personally go down the copypixel route but the principle of sprite sheets (cached artwork) is covered there.
     
  14. Xiotex

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    Although digging a little deeper it seems you may be right about it being an Apple only thing:

    "Flash Player 8 will now use Apple supported Open-GL to render graphics, a move the Macromedia says brings performance very close to its Windows counterpart."

    But that's okay for me :)
     
  15. Jay_Kyburz

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    Thanks Xiotex,

    I'd love to hear the results of your research.

    I installed a 30 day trial yesterday and will also see what I can find.

    I'm mostly interested how it performs at resolutions like 1024x768. I think people expect it these days. I'll probably do some tests to see how many 64x64 alphed sprites i can blit before dropping from 30 fps. I'll then need to test this on some of the low end machines at work.

    I think i'll also want to look at rotation and scale of the sprites or bitmaps. etc etc.

    Jay.
     
  16. arcadetown

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    Our sister Grab.com did Belle's Beauty Boutique and Gold Miner series in Flash. All were very good sellers. I believe using Flash helped differentiate the games graphically from a slew of similar games, particularly with Belle's. Plus using Flash helped produce both web and downloadable versions very easily.

    Flash is a solid rasterizer performance wise particularly with it's new features so low action or puzzle games should be fine however I wouldn't try to do a high action shooter for example.
     
  17. Xiotex

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    What I have seen online is people are pre-rotating their sprites and storing them in sprite sheets to achieve rotation - seems to be the fastest method available. Essentially although Flash has the capability to do it the consensus seems to be if you want to be fast then just consider the flash player to be a bitmap engine without bitmap transform functions - i.e. very much like some of the older platforms out there.
     
  18. Spore Man

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    I can tell you right now, it won't support much moving and animated content at that resolution.
     
  19. Xiotex

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    I think that would depend on the type of animation needed. If you are looking for full-screen scrolling animation then I would have to agree that 1024x768 is probably pushing it. However, if you have static screens with zones of animation and implement a dirty-rect system with possibly staged frame animation (i.e. update at different rates) then why not?
     
  20. Spore Man

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    ... he is at the mercy of Flash's rendering engine doing whatever it sees fit.
     

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