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Flash or Java

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Hi everyone! Im having trouble deciding which language,Flash or Java, is the best to use for creating (commercial like), really good looking and playable online games. Could anyone please recommend the best language to use.

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<cliche> You can use either language, just use which ever one you are more familiar with. </cliche> Though if your game is not meant to be run in a browser window, you might want to use java.

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If your game is high in detail, something else than flash may be a good idea.

Otherwise if flash's performance doesn't come into trouble, it may be good idea to use it. I've seen some really good looking flash games around. And actually like those.

If you like to see what may happen if you use flash for stuff it simply can't handle without dying, try play Flow.

The concept is great, but it collapses to the performance, with my P4 it simply runs too slowly!

Remember that it is not a good reason to choose language for games that you can embed it into a web site, if they are good, people really likes to play them, not dependant if they can play it in browser or not.

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I would almost say Flash 100% of the time. Three months ago, I may have suggested Java, but that was only because then I was utterly ignorant of the latest and greatest in the world of Flash.

Thankfully, I've decided to not allow other game developers to be in the dark as well. Spread the truth!

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Really, Flow brought your computer to its knees? I'd check your computer, or check something... that game should run pretty smoothly on any computer that'd be considered "for gaming." I'd also expect it to run decently on other computers as well... I certainly didn't have a problem.

As I point out on my blog, the new Flash Player 8 (from September 2005) has a great deal of bitmap-related optimizations, including a bunch of nice, accelerated filters. The upcoming Flash Player 9 (this summer sometime) has even more optimizations, and the virtual machine is quite a bit faster as well!

I, for one, am basically switching to gamedev in Flash... I'm not particularly interested in doing 3D (I get enough of that at my day job, and I'm no moddeler), so I feel Flash is an excellent fit. It also helps to focus me on the problem at hand without getting so distracted by tech.

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Thanks for the replies guys. I tried Flow it looked and worked fine, but most of the best looking online games ive seen are made in Flash. Is this cause Flash is a better language or have i not looked long enough? Does anyone know of any sites that have good looking Java games?

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...most of the best looking online games ive seen are made in Flash. Is this cause Flash is a better language or have i not looked long enough? Does anyone know of any sites that have good looking Java games?


The reason most web-based games are in Flash is because Flash is more ubiquitous than Java (in the world of Windows and Macs). It's also a quicker platform to develop visuals on as there's a complete authoring/animation solution that many artists are familiar with (unlike Java). And I always say that game developers should focus their energies on supporting the artists first and themselves second.

To be clear, Flash is not a language. To be pedantic, Flash is an authoring tool for creating SWF (pronounced "swiff", stands for ShockWave Flash) files. SWF files can be played back in the Flash Player (which is either stand-alone or an ActiveX control embedded into your web browser).

Flash is closed-source, owned by Adobe (after they acquired Macromedia), and is largely artist-centric. In other words, it's great for creating art intuitively and doing vector animations and sequences. It's very average-to-poor when it comes to programming.

Speaking of programming, the "language" used for scripting Flash is ActionScript, which is a variation of EMCAScript (javascript). This is compiled down into "SWF bytecode" which is executed in the Flash Player's virtual machine. Unfortunately, a big problem with Flash performance-wise right now is that, unlike with Java's VM, the Flash Player does not do JIT-ing (Just-In-Time compiling to native code). Fortunately, the Flash Player does implement natively a ton of really-useful-for-games operations, like bit-blits, polygon/vector rendering, bitmap fills, gradients, sound playback (streaming, too!), video playback (great codec!) and provides a whole native display stack with alpha.

And you don't have go with closed-source tools... there's a whole open-source community devoted to Flash: OSFlash.

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