The Flash Player has been around for a long time. I remember making animations with Macromedia’s Flash tool as a teenager. Since then, it has fueled the internet’s media needs for over a decade. Yet, browsers are pushing for open standards and power conscious applications. Flash is not dead, not yet at least but its use is declining. Here are some critical tips to stay relevant as online gaming transitions to new technologies.
One of the easiest things to implement in a new game idea is a simple control system. This is becoming important as laptops gain touch screens, new 2-in-1 computers are released, and now that tablets are the go-to casual gaming devices. The simplest control scheme will only use mouse clicks or finger taps. Using such simple controls will enable games to reach the biggest audience. For games more involved, arrow keys or WASD can still be comfortable on newer mobile computers. Anything more and your game losses appeal to the growing casual game market.
Full Screen or Die
For Flash games, scaling was an issue considered solved long ago. Yet, comparing Flash games to mobile games, you will quickly see Flash rarely utilizes screens in the best way. Even if your games are embedded on a web page, consider adding a full-screen button. This way the game is expecting different screen ratios and sizing. As game creators, we must now meet the quality of other similar platforms like mobile. Players are expecting games to fill the browser, so developers must adapt to this newer expectation.
In the past, it was easier to get away with a static main menu. This is less true now and players have a lower tolerance for games with bad menu designs. For top games, we look for a great user experience throughout the menus and play areas. With new game concepts, think of the menu as a separate mini game to the main play mechanic. Find ways to add interest and value to areas where players will spend less time. This can be items like bonuses or upgrades. Additionally, graphics and sound do add a ton of value. Don’t let these important visual, audio, and design aspects be last minute decisions.
While, I would not describe multiplayer as a requirement for today’s hit casual games, demand for social features is growing. Give players the chance to share their high scores, achievements, and general progress. A central forum post can be a good way to get feedback while providing a simple outlet for players. Looking forward, it will be positive to implement multiplayer features. Even simple multiplayer interactions can increase player engagement drastically.
In conclusion, Flash is not dead, but its use is slowly declining. It still has players and developers who find it both entertaining and useful. With some updated techniques, Flash will likely remain a part of the online gaming market for years to come. The four main techniques are simple controls, thoughtful scaling, great user experience, and make something shareable. Here I focused these suggestions towards Flash developers but these concepts are universal with online games.