A few months back, I wrote about how I couldn’t use Flash for game development, mostly because of the poor Gnu/Linux support. The comments to that post have since made me rethink this position, but I’m still researching my options.
Unfortunately, my only real options are Flash and Java. I went to the Linux Game Tome forums and asked for advice on web-based game development. The opinions were mixed, as expected. Some people love Java, some people hate it. Some people didn’t like the proprietary nature of Flash, and some people said that it’s the nature of the web to support Flash.
The Indie Gamer forums had a separate thread going about online 3D game development, and it seems that there is an overwhelming vote in favor of Flash. I questioned how people could dismiss Java so quickly considering Jagex created Runescape, which was the top MMORPG until this past year. People seem to think of it as an exception, but I think it shows that Flash doesn’t have a monopoly on browser penetration. Adobe will tell you that 99% of browsers have Flash while less than 90% have Java, but when it comes to people who will play games in a web browser, do those numbers still hold? Jagex doesn’t seem to be hurting from not using Flash.
In general, Flash is the most ubiquitous platform, and I’m sure its Gnu/Linux support will get better over time. Java’s browser penetration isn’t that far behind, though, and it isn’t clear if it is at a significant disadvantage. Both have open source development tools available for them, but Flash is still a proprietary platform.
I still haven’t made my decision, and I could avoid this decision by choosing to make a persistent browser-based game (PBBG) instead. Still, I’d like to make games that are easy for others to play, regardless if they are using Windows, Mac, or Gnu/Linux. For now, I will continue to make desktop clients.
[tags] web game development, indie, flash, java [/tags]