Jan 17, 2008

A relevent question relating to distribution of Flash Lite

Bill Perry has asked a very relevant question relating to the distribution of Flash Lite content. Looking at the stages of maturity Flash Lite has passed through, today we see many developers contributing to the technology, and each developer may have a different priority for distribution.

When I started working on Flash Lite, the priority I saw amongst most developers was to freely distribute their content. The idea was to reach out to as many people as possible and build awareness about the technology. Though there were limited mediums available at that time, the reach was possible.

With the technology maturing, the developers started experimenting with Flash Lite; they wanted to stretch the technology constraints and offer additional tools to work on. Here the ratio was balanced by developers who offered free tools/open source and others who made it available for purchase.

Today the scenario is very different. There are direct to consumer portals and aggregators like Club Moket, Handango, Mobigamz and Smashing Content accepting content from independent developers for distribution. Operators like Verizon in US have made Flash Lite available to their consumers and devices come embedded with Flash Lite. On the developer front, there are a few are still working on tools to help the community function better with Flash Lite development. But the priority has now shifted to monetizing efforts.

So getting back to Bill's question, if Flash Lite content goes completely free, it will be difficult to sustain developers for a long time. Advertising is perhaps very suitable but will still limit the audience unless supported by aggregators who are willing to push the content to customers. Finally paid content would do well only with quality content developers because the operators will place only the best on their decks to push to their customers.

I personally think that all the three preferences would appease to developers at different stages of their growth with the technology. But from a long term market perspective for the technology, it will be good to have content payable, just like it is for PC and other wireless content.



Nokia launches Series60 Programming Competition

Forum Nokia has launched a new competition for Series60 developers. This is the first contest which starts today (January 17) and will end by February 15. They plan to host a new programming challenge every month with awards for the best solutions provided.

"S60 supports multiple different runtimes and programming languages. The aim in this months competition is to come up with the glue that combines different runtimes.
We're asking you to design and implement a framework that unifies the S60 runtimes. The goal is intercommunication of runtimes (f.ex. Symbian C++, Java, Flash, Python, Web Runtimes, you name it…). With this kind of runtime interaction it is possible to access totally new features and re-use existing solutions in a manner that is unheard of. Please provide us with your framework implementation and also atleast one working example of runtimes interworking. If you don't have time to implement all the needed parts let us know your ideas and planned design to score more points in the contest.

The January's competition is open until 15th of February (15.2.2008) and we hope to have the best solutions published by the end of February.

You can check the contest website for rules and other information.

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Jan 15, 2008

Crayon Physics for PC and IPhone

Check out this really cool video of a game called Crayon Physics from Kloonigames.

I was really impressed by the user interaction it offered in its game-play and physics used. There is also an IPhone version of the the same game known as IPhysics. The IPhone version is supposed to be even more addictive than its PC version!


Adobe Developer Article - Ten tips to help you develop better Flash Lite games

There is a new article available on the Adobe Mobiles and Devices Developer Center - Ten Tips to help you develop better Flash Lite games. This article is not specific to any Flash Lite version, and talks about game development right from 1.1 through 3.0

I authored this article after interacting with a set of Flash PC developers in India wanting to try out Flash mobile gaming. While interacting with them, I realized that a lot of them were thorough with their knowledge of Flash on desktop, but were not too confident when the same had to be applied to a mobile. So in this article, I combined a set of 10 tips which I think would be of good help to developers.

To summarize the 10 tips -
#1 - Always start with a base build and then port it to for multiple devices
#2 - Follow intuitive and correct key navigation and controls
#3 - Avoid hard-coding values and use variables and logic while writing code
#4 - Use old school collision detection methods
#5 - Choose between Frame based and Time based ActionScript
#6 - Maintain game progress and scores thus adding incentives for user participation
#7 - Keep your code organized and easy to maintain with classes
#8 - Choose the right font for your games
#9 - Replace arrays with strings in Flash Lite 1.1
#10 - Testing on actual device

Of course, there are more than 10 tips to share about Flash gaming, which I hope to share in the coming months, but for the article on Devnet...10 is what you have, so let me know what you think!


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Jan 12, 2008

Flash Mobile Games Review at Frame27

As Frame27 gears up to accept new Flash mobile games for review, I have also been included as a part of their team of reviewers. Being in the game development industry for a substantial time, I think this is a good way to share opinions and thoughts about games being developed by other developers.

I'd like to thank Scott Janousek and Felipe Andrade for coming up with this suggestion and making me a part of their review team.

At Frame27, we are now open to receiving content for review for the year 2008. If you have a Flash Lite game for any non PC device, please write to us. We look forward to seeing some great work!



Jan 11, 2008

Flash Lite Installed Handset Base Statistics

Bill Perry has uploaded a detailed breakdown of the forecasted installed base of Flash Lite enabled devices by region, country and version.

This list is very useful for those in the business of content development and publishing because it gives an analysis of the consumer market one might want to target.

Whats interesting to note is APAC has the highest base of forcasted Flash enabled devices...and this is not including Japan. But why aren't the operators and consumers here taking notice of this...


TryPhone Beta has interactive phones

I came across a very interesting site this morning called TryPhone which gave me a live hands-on experience with mobile phones. The site states that it could be the one stop for those wanting to purchase a new phone but not having enough access to its features or for those who have already bought a phone but don't know how to use it.

On going through the website, I noticed that the handsets are currently US specific, but it would be great if they could extend it to the global GSM handsets too.

Each handset comes with a detailed spec and consumer reviews on performance...which is a good way to judge the handset. Finally each handset also has a set of demos (how to download applications, how to send a text message etc) with a set of steps to guide you using the phone. And these demos are not just simple animations, but interactive, thus giving you the feel of using a phone in the browser.


Jan 8, 2008

Adobe launches Mobile Podcast Series

This news comes via Kathy Charneco, who mentioned the launch of a series of mobile podcast series hosted by John Agger from the Adobe Mobiles and Devices team.

Watch or listen to this podcast series aimed at creative professionals new to mobile, as Adobe host John Agger walks you through tutorials on mobile content creation. The Adobe Mobile Podcast series is created in partnership with Terry White’s Creative Suite Video podcast and includes the following episodes:

Why mobile is important
Mobile & Devices Part 2
Getting started with mobiles

See these and stay tuned for more....

Jan 2, 2008

The year gone by, the year to come

2007 has gone by leaving a lot to reminisce about, but has made a promise of a 2008 with unexpected yet interesting learning experiences.

The last year started on a good note with the launch of IndiMAD (The Mobiles and Devices User Group in India). The intention was to get all the Indian Flash mobile developers on one platform to know each other and interact. I also organised 2 UG meetings in Mumbai and Bangalore. I was also selected to be an Adobe Community Expert last year.

Attended a couple of events like the Adobe MAX conference in Chicago where I was also the speaker, visited the initRIA in Bangalore, and of course was a part of the CS3 launch in Mumbai, where I participated in an on-the-spot content creation contest (although I didn't win, I liked the idea of participation).

I also wrote a couple of articles beginning with the first on the Adobe Developer Connection on Porting a J2ME game to Flash Lite, contributed to an article in a leading newspaper in India on mobile gaming and finally was in the Spotlight for Flash Lite game development on the GoToAndPlay.it portal.

Last but not the least, I left my job of 6 years at Indiagames for better reasons. Today I see myself exploring and learning a lot more about mobile content development.

On the personal front, I fulfilled my passion of traveling by going to northern India, couple of cities in the west coast of USA and Mexico. I made new friends through my User Group and realized what a great Flash mobile developer team I had in Indiagames. Although we are all now fulfilling different goals outside the company, I know I can always rely on them and they on me!

So what do I expect in 2008...
Definitely the launch of my game development studio called IGameStudio (the portal is yet to launch). Some more articles and speaking engagements. I am already on the roll for speaking at a BarCamp in Pune about "Flash Lite - past, present and the future". I also want my catalogue at IGameStudio to contain exceptionally different content which I will blog about as they launch.

Hopefully lot of traveling to newer countries for personal and professional reasons, participation in many more marathons outside Mumbai, and finally find more reasons to meet people and learn more :)

So thats summing up the year gone by and analysing a year thats yet to pass! Setting goals is only what I can do, because I know life will spring up events that will be so unexpected...

Wishing everyone a great New Year!