For a while, a couple years ago, my games seemed to be mentioned constantly by Adobe. Kevin Lynch even demoed Chroma Circuit for a minute or so on stage at Adobe MAX one year. I was in a perfect position, as Adobe was starting to change focus to gaming and video (though, I think they hadn’t fully committed to the change yet). Many of Adobe’s evangelists and other community figures knew me from my time building components and rich apps. Since I was new to indie games, they took an interest and helped me out by mentioning me in all the right places.
Still, though, I feel like my explorations of other technologies really made a difference in making Adobe technology better. I happened to receive a free one-year subscription to Corona about a year ago, and I took advantage of that time to really kick the tires. It resulted in several blog posts that compared and contrasted the capabilities of Corona and AIR. A couple of the posts were in favor of AIR while a couple were more critical. Most importantly, to me, the things I was most critical about have actually been improved in AIR in the time since I wrote those posts. Captive runtime and native extensions, in particular, are really removing old boundaries that made AIR less appealing (now if only captive runtime file size were smaller). I won’t claim that I had a big part in that. I was just once voice among many who were looking for a better experience with AIR. Regardless, it’s awesome to see things move in the direction that I asked for them to go.
Ultimately, I still somewhat feel like my relationship with Adobe is a little less warm than it was before. I’ll take that, proudly even, because I also feel like I helped in some way by finally deciding to provide some proper negative feedback when it was needed. In years past, I was less likely to speak up (but I was less likely to know what I really needed, as well). These days, it’s usually more clear to me what’s missing or what isn’t ideal. If I need something today, I’ll say it loudly, with more urgency, and less gently. I don’t want to wait years (or even months) for new features, and I don’t want to work around the same old issues over and over again in that time. Maybe that’s asking for a lot, but I just want to get the job done and make great apps and games.
Anyway, my thoughts tonight ultimately came about because I discovered that my game, Rivers of Olympus (you can read about how I converted it to Starling), was mentioned as part of Adobe’s Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2 announcements (including the fascinating announcement of premium Flash Player features). I didn’t know that they would be mentioning my game, and it’s great to see a little nod from my old ally again after so long. Even after many attempts to explore alternatives to the Flash platform, I keep choosing AIR to build my games, and I still feel most at home calling myself a Flash developer. I recently created the Foxhole for Starling project, a set of mobile UI components build on Starling, and I feel like it has reinvigorated my interest in Flash and AIR. It’s been so awesome to see the community show a lot of curiosity in my work too.
I felt very conflicted when I realized that Flash’s future was changing (even before all of Adobe’s big announcements about Flex, mobile Flash Player, and everything else at the end of last year). It became harder as my expectations on the matter were met (and so abruptly). Now, though, I’m feeling like I can confidently keep using Flash and AIR to build games while also transitioning elsewhere for other work. I almost wish this had all happened earlier, so that I wouldn’t have had to ride the crazy waves for so long. Either way, I’m glad that I finally feel at peace with all that has happened in the last year and more. I’m looking forward to my next adventures too.