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raleglover

Game. Alternative to .NET

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Hi all, I have a game nearly fully developed in .NET (it's a 2D card game that uses flat images, little to no animations) and I am weighing the pros/cons of swithcing to flash (or other browser based platform) so end users don't have to download a *.exe to play. Which browser platform and dev tool would you recommend? I'd love to levrage my existing .NET code if that's possible. I'm spoiled with the 2008 studio IDE.

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If it's 2D game, and you require no hardware 3d acceleration, then to reuse most of your .NET code imho your best choice would be Silverlight.

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Silverlight eh? That's possible. I've ignored installing it on my computer and that is uses .NET underneath is attractive. Sounds as though it's a Flash competitor. Has the browsesr penetration been good?

I'm looking up info on SL right now. Thanks for the suggestions so far.

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If your goal is that people should be able to play the game without having to download anything, then you should go for Flash (version 9) as it has about 95% support (version 10 plugin is installed on about 70% of the computers). So a flash game compatible with versions 9 and 10 will probably have the widest support, but it will require you to rewrite the code. Silverlight will probably be easier to switch to for you, but has a much smaller support, just about 30% of the people will be able to run it straight away, the rest has to download a plugin first, which means the advantage of using a web based platform is much smaller.

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Quote:
Original post by MichaBen
If your goal is that people should be able to play the game without having to download anything, then you should go for Flash (version 9) as it has about 95% support (version 10 plugin is installed on about 70% of the computers). So a flash game compatible with versions 9 and 10 will probably have the widest support, but it will require you to rewrite the code. Silverlight will probably be easier to switch to for you, but has a much smaller support, just about 30% of the people will be able to run it straight away, the rest has to download a plugin first, which means the advantage of using a web based platform is much smaller.

Well the download is like 2 or 3 MBs, seriously. So anyone that doesn't have Silverlight will be able to get it going very quickly. Also, it is multi-platform. Works on Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows. Not sure about the other *nixs though. And it will work in FF, IE, Chrome, or Opera too.

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The purpose of this thread was not having to download to play, and requiring a plugin that most people don't have doesn't qualify as not having to download. Also there are people that are afraid to install new plugins, it's not that every person that visits your site simply thinks "Oh I need a plugin, let's install it". Flash by now is well known and most people have it installed, silverlight still has a long way to go. I don't say you should not use it, in a situation where you can expect a user to install something to use your application it will be fine, but in this situation where the reason to use a web based platform is to have no requirement to download and install it, silverlight is not (yet?) an option.

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Great advice and insight! Yes, overcoming the 'download' barrier is my primary objective. However, as with all software development projets there are many other objectives as well. It can be a delicate balancing act between ideals, skills, timelines, and budgets.

It sure is hard to beat a 90%+ already installed base for Flash. 30% for silverlight is not great, but it's not horrible either. With IE8 out (Silverlight is included) and Windows 7 soon to release I'm sure the landscape will look quite different in 12 months. Too bad I my needs are a little more urgent:-)

I just did the Silverlight install on my IE7. The plugin was larger than my program. LOL. Still, as one of you pointed out, there's less hesitancy installing a plugin than an .exe. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

www.PlayNomad.com (shameless plug)

Thanks!

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Ajax eh? Doesn't that require a specific server software configuration to drive the client web page(s) as well as a lot of javascript on the web page(s)?

Is there a developement environment that 'handles the whole job' of Ajax from and backend? I have seen Ajax components in Visual Web Developer but they seemed to be some useable components, and not an full Ajax suite of solutions.

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Quote:
Original post by raleglover
With IE8 out (Silverlight is included) and Windows 7 soon to release I'm sure the landscape will look quite different in 12 months. Too bad I my needs are a little more urgent:-)


It took Windows XP about 3 years to gain a market share of 50%, a market share which Vista will most likely never even reach. Windows XP is still fine for most consumers, and will receive updated until 2014 if I remember well, so I don't expect W7 to have a market share of over 50% in the first year while XP took 3 years. New plugins/versions have a slow adoption time, just look at IE6 that is still being used even (although much less) though there is a free upgrade. Frustrating is you are wanting to use something that has newer requirements, but not much you can do about (you could try "install this" or "upgrade now" banners, but that doesn't mean all visitors will do that and if you aim for a large potential market your requirements should meet what the average person has).

As for javascript/AJAX, the need for AJAX depends a bit on your type of game. AJAX is ussed for communication between client (browser) and server. Some games require this, but other can be run fully client side. You could use jQuery for the front-end if you want to save time, as for back-end it depends on the requirements, you could use a framework, but if it's only small logic or a database connection that is required a simple php script can do the trick as well. But again, it depends on the exact type of game how much needs there is for server<>client communication during the game.

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How about a Java Applet? It has a larger install base than silverlight.

Have a look at RuneScape, which is a full-blown 3d MMO running inside a web browser (with very low system requirements).

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Quote:
Original post by raleglover
Ajax eh? Doesn't that require a specific server software configuration to drive the client web page(s) as well as a lot of javascript on the web page(s)?


Not really, at least nothing revolutionary. You can use almost anything for server, PHP, ASP, Servlets, as long as it's HTTP.

Quote:
Is there a developement environment that 'handles the whole job' of Ajax from and backend? I have seen Ajax components in Visual Web Developer but they seemed to be some useable components, and not an full Ajax suite of solutions.


JQuery, as mentioned, offers a fairly comprehensive set of tools. It will be (apparently) delivered as part of Visual Studio 2010.

I didn't look at your application, but networked card games are perfectly doable using AJAX.

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