20 October 2009

How to cause seizures

As much as possible, I'm trying to show that Flash can be used to create something quite beyond what is normally seen as the bounds of the system. This is not an effort to glorify Flash itself, but rather to show how any limited system can be toyed with, hexed, hacked, faked, and screamed at until something is created that was previously thought impossible. Due to the significant limits of Flash, I'll be doing a lot of the screaming variety and faking what can't be done.

The reason this isn't a "Oh! What beauty I see before me" thing with Flash is that I have a fair amount of loathing for the system due to the massively frustrating and counter-intuitive bugs within both the player (what you use to see Flash based stuff on the web) and the IDE (Integrated Development Environment, the thing developers such as myself, struggle to use to create stuff for the player). But then again, why should I use it? Because development within it is fast. It has an extensive code library (something that simplifies many programming tasks which aids development). When it works, it's wonderful. When it doesn't do what the manual clearly states it should (even with the examples within the actual manual) my world explodes. Instead of being able to induce epileptic seizures in others with too-colourful, overly crazy, flashing graphics, my own brain sizzles on a frying pan while Adobe looks on, gleefully rubbing their hands Mr. Burns-esque. It's not very nice. It certainly convinces me not to do drugs.

Flash, however, holds all the property on the monopoly board. Other systems are certainly not nearly as ingrained into everyone's computers. Companies will support Flash as a show of how great their own product is (currently seen in mobile devices with Youtube integration, etc.). It also is currently the only product that can do what it does. The main other contenders are Unity (which, until recently, only allowed development on Macs, much to its detriment) and Silverlight (I normally hate to push the atrocity that is a Microsoft product, but this one does seem quite impressive). Unity has the added bonus of being able to muck around with graphics cards. But market integration is virtually non-existent - I want to be able to release this game to a variety of game portals, most of which will be Flash based (well, the popular ones that I know of). Silverlight is woefully non-functional compared to Flash.

I don't need to point out amazing things done in Flash because there are far too many out there. In regards to the mushy-fuzz non-stable code that Adobe has carefully crafted into a Cthulhu summoning program of doom - I have a large amount of experience working in Flash at a professional level. I've created my own library of Flash fixes and I'm very familiar with the intricacies of the system. Also, I tend to quite like seeing the occasional tentacle squirming out of my monitor, pulling me into the depths. It makes the day interesting.

That's me when it all goes wrong.

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