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Flash Is Dying, Long Live OpenFL

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Lars Doucet, the developer of Defenders Quest has written an interesting blog post about Flash and his thoughts on Flash dying. I thought you readers would find this interesting since it concerns developers Linux porting options.

QuoteEven today, Flash remains a very viable platform with a large install base and a relatively healthy commercial ecosystem. Many awesome games have been written in Flash and/or Adobe AIR, including our own Defender's Quest, which to date has sold over 125,000 copies.

That's a pretty decent number and Defenders Quest is actually quite an interesting title, although it did annoy a fair few Linux users for using Adobe Air.

QuoteFlash may not be dead, but it is certainly dying, and the killer is not Steve Jobs, mobile devices, or HTML5, but Adobe. They are slowly neglecting Flash to death.

He's not wrong on that point either, I completely agree. Especially considering Flash is no longer supported normally on Linux. If you want newer versions of Flash you need to run Chrome/Chromium for its Pepper API and last I heard, Mozilla weren't interested in picking up that API.

Adobe also killed off Air for Linux, so any developer picking it up thinking it is cross platform is a bit stuck.

Let us not forget that they also killed off Flash for mobile devices. Thank god.

So, it will leave people wondering where to go, should people go to Unity3D with it's high prices and closed-source nature? You could, but you run the risk again of it being pulled away anytime, the platform exporters you depend on could become unmaintained and there are more risks.

Lars has pointed out OpenFL as his answer to current and former Flash developers. OpenFL is the Flash API written in the Haxe programming language and is what Papers, Please & rymdkapsel are written in. So, developers can use a very similar language they are used to working with, but with the advantages of open-source and native speeds.

He also goes into more detail, giving an example of how he is using it for his next game Defenders Quest II: Mist of Ruin.

I hope developers take note and have backup plans for when the closed-source tools they use pull the tools out from under them. Why risk it?
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The comments on this article are closed.
manny 18 March 2014 at 9:16 pm UTC
hopefully adobe will just adopt openFL or html5 once and for all and drop their closed plugin.

if its *open, works well, less buggy, native-like and fast* then I don't care if it stays around, because well it will take a long while to get rid of it anyway. Even Youtube and most video sites are still mostly in flash even after all these years ..., so is it ever going to disappear? who knows.. ;/
Beta Version 18 March 2014 at 10:34 pm UTC
mannyEven Youtube and most video sites are still mostly in flash even after all these years
Youtube works perfectly with HTML5 player.
Joey Cagle 19 March 2014 at 5:00 pm UTC
I'm a web designer who has been using Adobe Edge Animate. It's capable of creating some great non-flash DHTML/HTML5 animations. It still has some things that need to be worked out, but I've used it on a few web projects happily.
berarma 19 March 2014 at 7:51 pm UTC
HTML5 sentenced Flash, Adobe executed it and wisely started working on HTML5. I think Youtube keeps Flash mostly because of IE users.

mannyhopefully adobe will just adopt openFL or html5 once and for all and drop their closed plugin.

Why? Is that necessary to stop using it?
Anonymous 19 March 2014 at 9:02 pm UTC
Just to be clear

OpenFL is *not* a replacement for the Flash Plugin. It's not like Gnash or LightSpark (both plugins that render SWF content), or even ShumWay (which renders SWF content as HTML5).

Instead, it's for coders. It's basically the Flash API in Haxe. So you port your ActionScript code over to Haxe (which is a very similar, but superior, language to ActionScript), and you can still make the same method calls.

Then, when you compile, it's like Unity -- you can target Android, iOS, Desktop (Mac, Windows, Linux), Blackberry, Tizen, and now HTML5.

I'd also like to point out that on many of those targets you're building NATIVE binaries -- Haxe will output your game to C++ source files and then compile them again into a properly configured native executable for that platform.
Anonymous 5 May 2014 at 3:40 am UTC
HTML5 = HTML 5 + JSS + JAVA SCRIPT + JQUERY and other crap I wish you all luck in the gamedev industry *smirk*
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