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Monetizing web apps

Mihai shows us how to monetize web games and applications with minimum coding and no interruption of the user experience. developers.google.com developers.google.com
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I am no longer committed to supporting any Flash related open-source projects.

Here is why. When I started using the Flash Player it was quite easy to reach its limits. However you were able to get around those limitations with clever hacks and debatable optimization techniques. I was always keen to share my knowledge with the community and to explore all possible options to achieve best performance.

The Flash Player has been hibernating for half a decade now. The only glimpse of performance was finally a set of specialized op-codes which allow you to modify an array of bytes. In layman’s terms this means it was finally possible to do a[b] = c with an acceptable performance. So I wrote a tool which allows you to do just that and many other things. I have spent a good time of my free time trying to improve the performance of the Flash Player and contributing all my code to the community.

As a reminder: I showed some drastic performance improvements at Flash on the Beach in 2009. That was three years ago. It was not necessary to modify the Flash Player and it was not necessary to modify the ActionScript language.

The Adobe roadmap for the Flash runtimes states that Flash Player “Dolores”

  • will support ActionScript Workers
  • comes with improved performance for Apple iOS
  • and ActionScript 3 APIs to access the fast-memory op-codes

This player should be released in the second half of 2012. The “Next” Flash Player will finally include

  • modernizing the core of the Flash runtime
  • work on the VM
  • updates to the ActionScript language

This is planned for 2013 apparently. And what can we expect? Type inference, static typing as a default, and hardware-oriented numeric types. Hooray, so it will be finally possible in 2013 to write a[b] = c without having to use some weird fast-memory op-codes. If we look back to the year 2009 this makes me really sad.

With the introduction of the speed tax you will now have to license your application. No matter if you make money out of it or not. Now I think that 9% is a decent number and I can understand Adobe’s position on this. In fact it is much more friendly than the 30% Google or Apple take. However the AppStore was an invention. What is the invention here? Squeezing money out of an already existing feature, and suddenly making it unavailable after people have been relying on it for years to push the boundaries of the platform and actually innovate?

But for the hell of it, a[b] = c is not a premium feature. Nor are hardware accelerated graphics. That is what I would expect from any decent runtime.

Limiting the capabilities of a runtime — by defaulting back to software rendering for instance — will make it less attractive to use it in the first place. You are probably not interested to go through a signing progress for a small demo. So your performance might be crap, people will complain about the Flash Player taking 100% CPU because its using software rendering (YEY! 2013!), laptop fans will start to dance and you will look like a bad developer because that other guy got the same thing running with hardware acceleration. Or you could use a different technology.

Why is this bad? Because apparently this signing with a $50k threshold targets the enterprise and small developers seem to be acceptable collateral damage. However thinking about the next five to ten years: who is going to write ActionScript code if it is no longer attractive to play around with it in the first place?

We still rely on the Flash Player at audiotool.com. I am still developing for it and we will probably have to use it as long as there is no alternative. Me no longer supporting open-source tools is just me no longer spending my personal time for a platform that I would not use for private stuff. Work is of course not always about fun. But fortunately I am able to spend 90% of my time writing Scala code.

I will finish this blog post with some bad karma:

It’s also worth noting that the new Adobe license will prohibit scenarios where you’d have the first level of a game in the Flash Player, and the full experience inside the Unity Web Player. Alas, this is something you’ll need to be aware of if you were considering such a route.

You will not only pay for the features. You are also welcome to cede some of your rights.

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In the latest postings over the last seven days, Gamasutra's jobs board plays host to roles in every major discipline, including opportunities at Maxis, Activision Publishing, Nexon America, PopCap Games, and ZeniMax Online Studios.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across Gamasutra's network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Maxis: Java Web Developer:
"Maxis, a division of Electronic Arts, is located in Emeryville, California. The creators of popular franchises The Sims and SimCity, Maxis games are best known for their deep simulation, creativity, and unique style of gameplay. We foster a fun and creative environment, filled with people who have a strong passion to make great games."

ZeniMax Online Studios: Staff Software Engineer, Game Systems:
"ZeniMax Online Studios, LLC, a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media, Inc. is a premier developer of online games, focusing on Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs)."

Activision Publishing Minneapolis: Producer:
"At Activision Publishing, you will take some of the biggest brands in the business to the next level. We have created, licensed and acquired a group of highly recognizable brands, marketed to a growing variety of consumer demographics. Our portfolio includes Spiderman, Transformers, James Bond, Cabela's, NASCAR, Monster Jam, Rapala, Guitar Hero, Prototype 2, Tony Hawk and many more household names. We run a flat organization where innovation, passion, personal responsibility and individual contribution are valued and rewarded appropriately. If you are a success oriented, proven high achiever, we want to hear from you!"

Nexon America, Inc.: Senior HR Generalist:
"We are Nexon America Inc., the North American publishing arm of Nexon Group (1994), a pioneer of interactive entertainment software and the world's leader in massive multiplayer online games which it developed and introduced in 1996. Nexon America opened for business in Los Angeles in 2005 to bring the best of online entertainment to North American audiences. The company's growing library of titles includes the world-famous franchise MapleStory, the role playing fantasy life of Mabinogi, the online multiplayer first-person shooter Combat Arms, and the soon to be released Dungeon Fighter Online."

PopCap Games: Social Game Designer:
"Here at PopCap our goal is to create simple but deep games that literally everyone can enjoy! You can play all our web games instantly right in your browser... or quickly download the Deluxe versions in just a few minutes, even with a slow modem connection. PopCap Games is seeking a talented Game Developer who loves games, has deep, intuitive understanding of what makes them fun and can tinker with the fidgety little bits until everything is just right. The successful candidate will have an indie gamer spirit, strong coding skills and the understanding that making a simple game can be harder but more rewarding than a complex one."

To browse hundreds of similar jobs, and for more information on searching, responding to, or posting game industry-relevant jobs to the top source for jobs in the business, please visit Gamasutra's job board now.

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