iPhones Apps Made With Flash

You’d think that someone like me, a Flash game developer and a Mac Enthusiast, would be very disappointed that Flash doesn’t work in the browser on the iPhone. But I’m not. I can see all the problems: touches aren’t mouse movements and the on-screen keyboard isn’t the same as a real keyboard. Most Flash movies on most Web pages would be a disaster on the iPhone, especially games. They’d have to be re-worked to be of any value. Plus, I’ve seen the versions of Flash on other PDA-like devices and they run slow and are battery-killers.
But from the very start I’ve theorized that a Publish-to-iPhone-app option would be the best way to go. And sure enough, it looks like Adobe is poised to bring us that in Flash CS5 next year.
Now I’m excited. After all, I’ve got about 50 games that I can easily port to the iPhone now. Some of them won’t make it because of keyboard controls or screen size. But some are just perfect for the iPhone’s touch interface.
And I can make money from them. iPhone apps, as opposed to iPhone games in Web pages, can be easily monetized through the App store. This will bring a whole new life to some of my old games. Plus, I’m looking forward to making some new games specifically for the iPhone — a new canvas to draw on with new capabilities and restrictions.
So here’s what I hope the new export-to-iPhone function does. First and foremost, it should export strong, efficient code. I don’t want to have to spend days optimizing code like I did for Flash lite on PDAs, which was 100 times slower than Flash on a PC.
Second, I want at least some access to the iPhone touch interface. These can map to mouse events, sure, but I don’t want my hands tied with just clicks, like I am with JavaScript in Safari.
Third, I want access to other parts of the iPhone SDK too — like the accelerometers, GPS, saving data, etc. I can live without them in the first generation of Flash export, but I hope Adobe is at least trying to get these in there.
Fourth, I want to avoid XCode altogether. Not a big deal, but using XCode to set up a finished program with titles, IDs, icons, etc, is a pain. I’m not hopeful on this, but it would be nice.
Fifth, I want it to go smoothly. I don’t want Apple flagging Flash-created apps as something different and giving us Flash developers a hard time. I don’t think this will be a problem. After all, I use Cocos2D right now to make iPhone apps, and Apple doesn’t care. I don’t really think Apple will notice the difference since all they get is a binary anyway.
So the main thing now is to bring it on. I can’t wait for this. I guess I can spend some time adapting some games to a 320×480 or 480×320 size, and eliminating any need for a keyboard. I can probably also convert some old games to pure AS3, since this would speed them up. It may be that AS3 is required for the export anyway. That’s the way I would do it.
So I’m getting ready and I’m excited. In the meantime I’ve halted all other iPhone game development. No point wasting more time with XCode when I can be doing Flash in just a few months.

Posted on October 22, 2009 at 9:40 am by Gary Rosenzweig · Permalink
In: General