September 09, 2011

CNET: “Flash-derived iPad game tops App Store charts”

Congratulations to the developers of the beautifully illustrated Machinarium:

Gaming evangelist Tom Krcha has posted an interview with the designers & some behind-the-scenes photos.

It’s funny how things change: As CNET’s Stephen Shankland points out, “A year ago, the app wouldn’t have been allowed under Apple’s rules. But now Apple is getting $1.50 each time another person downloads Machinarium.” (I’m not trying to start some flame war here–at all. I do however like seeing Adobe technology help creative folks bring their work to more people.)

Posted by John Nack at 4:14 PM on September 09, 2011

Comments

  • Iain Anderson — 4:35 PM on September 09, 2011

    And Apple are promoting it as their iPad game of the week — great! Only problem is, it’s only working on iPad 2 at the moment. Sure, as iPads get faster, the performance penalty for using Flash will disappear, but it’s (evidently) still a real problem.

    [Reading the developers' comments, I didn't get the sense that the problem is with the use of Flash (with which they seem quite pleased); rather, it's that the game was developed for PCs/Macs first, so its memory requirements are higher than an app built with tablets in mind from the start.

    As it happens, this is a general problem when comparing Flash to other technologies: People compare SWFs made for desktop/laptop systems to HTML5 content made & tested for iPads from day 1. I can point out examples of legacy HTML content (nothing fancy--even this blog, for instance) rendering poorly on tablets, but doing so doesn't seem terribly useful. --J.]

  • Iain Anderson — 2:01 AM on September 10, 2011

    Thanks for the clarification — if memory is the issue, then the extra RAM on the iPad 2 would indeed be handy.

    From my own experience in creating apps for iPhone/iPad with Flash and HTML/hybrid technologies, each has strengths and weaknesses. The main problem I’ve had is that the things that are hard to do *well* with Flash — even with an SWF made expressly for iPhone — are the things I really wanted to do.

    Search my name in the app store if you like. Lefty and Ron (iPhone) was made with Flash (with the CS5 beta, before the gates closed the first time) and my iPad apps are hybrid HTML. Performance is better with the hybrid apps and full-screen fades are possible, but traditional Flash-style animation is much harder (so far). Performance was certainly my major problem with the Flash option; the iPhone 3G just chugged along slowly while the 3GS was better.

    Good content and concepts can succeed with either approach, though, and I certainly appreciate the Flash option.

  • Walrus — 3:26 AM on September 10, 2011

    Eating humble pie comes to mind….I just wish you could sell apps without paying a yearly subscription fee plus a whopping 30% of each sale. Apple have created an OS that needs to be fed but then manufacture and keep the only key to the food store. This cannot be good for competition. Still waiting for a class suit…

  • Jeremy Chone — 9:38 AM on September 10, 2011

    Does the same game work on Android?

    [I'm told it's due for release shortly. --J.]

  • s9tpepper — 10:01 AM on September 10, 2011

    Always nitpicking. There can be native apps on AppStore that only work on iPad2, that’s not unique to Flash. Next…

    • Iain Anderson — 5:26 PM on September 10, 2011

      The difference here is that most apps that are iPad 2 exclusive need a camera (Photo Booth, FaceTime, etc.). Many apps run better on iPad 2, but I don’t recall another app that has required an iPad 2 just for its processor or RAM.

      All third-party authoring solutions (not just Flash) incur some kind of speed hit or extra RAM requirements compared to a purely native solution. If you don’t have the time or skill to code in Obj-C, then that’s a compromise you have to make.

      So, sure, maybe the creators of Machinarium could have created it with native code for iPad 1 and iPhone, but it might have taken another year. I’m glad they did what they did.

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