Re: Flash games

So, if I understand your perspective correctly, a sufficiently free (libre) alternative to Flash would be embedding a SVG+ECMAScript renderer in a Gnome shell.

I haven't been involved in the discussion up until now. It seems to me that those who started this discussion were looking for interesting ways to expand the Gnome Games offerings without increasing the (un)maintainability of our variant code-base. The attraction of Flash is that there a ton of existing content out there targeted for the web: if even a tiny fraction of those copyright holders agree to relicense their game LGPL, that would be a huge boost to what we could conceivably deliver to end users in a default Gnome install.

Having said that, it seems that SVG+ECMA is becoming another web platform that can be targetted by game designers as an alternative to Flash. It would be attractive because those authors can reasonably expect to reach a wide audience: those with Firefox. Maybe we'll see an emergence of authors targeting that open platform and then all we'd have to do would be to embed Xulrunner.

Just a thought.

On 1/23/08, Benjamin Otte <otte gnome org> wrote:

I noticed there's been quite a bit of discussion about the general
topic of Flash games as part of gnome-games, int he whole range of
fellings: rejection, ignorance, welcome. So I thought I'd chime in and
explain what Flash is and what I think about moving Flash closer to

The one-line explanation of Flash is "web application platform". If
you think about Flash, you can imagine it like HTML, just with more
bling and less structure (kinda like Metacity vs Compiz ;)). A Flash
file is just some images, sounds and a lot of _javascript_ code to make
them interact with each other or some web services. It does not have
any ides what's happening around it - wether it's executed in a
browser, wether that browser is running on Windows or Linux or
whatever else.

Looking at the above, it seems to me that in genral putting Flash
games into gnome-games is as good an idea as putting HTML games into
gnome-games is. I could certainly imagine games like Mahjongg or
Freecell being written in AJAX and running inside Epiphany.
Flash is certainly a nicer platform to develop games in as HTML is,
because it provides nicer objects (games more often than not are about
bling, not structure). But there are also various reasons that make
Flash a worse idea than HTML:
- There are no good Free development environments for creating Flash
content. Current gnome-games can be coded in Anjuta/Glade etc. HTML
has excellent Free tools, too. But I'm not aware of anything Free that
is used to develop Flash games. And I don't think the gnome-games
maintainers want to buy Adobe Flash to fix bugs in their games.
- Flash is a proprietary and closed technology. Advocating such a
thing as a way to develop games for a Free desktop seems
counterproductive to me. It also pretty much requires patented code
(audio is de-facto in mp3, video is H263/H264), so we'd have to either
"extend" Flash to allow Ogg or not use audio or video...
- Swfdec is still quite a young project. So while I'd be happy if
people were coding games for Swfdec (more power to anyone that does
this!), it's certainly not as perfect as Mozilla based browsers. It
should work, but you will encounter warts.

I guess that's about it. Everything else I'd say would be personal
opinions, and I'd like to keep this posting as objective as possible.

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