The Flash game community, regardless of whether their work is Flash, Unity, or wherever they make games now, is a community full of incredible people. I am proud to be part of it.
Flash Gaming Summit and GDC happened a few weeks ago and I’ve been putting off the recap of what happened there. I’m not going to speak much to the conference itself or GDC talks (both were great and speak for themselves, go to them!), but more about what was realized and confirmed there.
I did have a solo presentation about my work at a Flash Gaming Summit… I called it, “A Personal Retrospect: A Decade of Flash Game Design.” It was the most I’ve ever talked about myself and it took a lot for me to even get up there on stage. Not out of stage fright or any normal speaking role discomfort, but because I am generally someone who doesn’t talk about their career; I am usually far more interested in what others have to say. Nonetheless, the talk went really well, was fueled by coffee (I finished the talk about 5 minutes early!) and was a fun journey. You can watch it here if you like.
The major points…
1) Flash developers are some of the most, if not most, creative game developers from this decade
Over the last decade we have seen some amazing content come out of the community. Innovative, personal, and creative, these games continue to get better and seriously push the envelope for game design. Flash devs take risk, aren’t afraid to try new things.
2) Flash developers are getting better treatment, but it could still be better
A lot of Flash devs get pushed into bad contracts, shady sponsorship terms, and have their content stolen. While it has gotten better we still have a ways to go. Content continues to be ripped off, ripped apart, and even rebranded without developers permission. Its frustrating to watch but at least its improving, and we should continue to encourage Flash Dev love.
3) Flash had growing pains for mobile. But its getting better.
When Flash first came to mobile it was a bit frustrating to work with. But exporting from Flash/Flex to iOS and Android is getting way better each and every year. We’re seeing successful cross-platform games coming out and they look great! It can only get better.
4) Game quality continues to increase year after year
Flash games continue to get better. There is no slowing down, each and every year there seems to be some new major releases from some of the top devs in the industry.
5) A decade later, Flash is still the best platform for making games for the web and beyond
Flash continues to be the place to make online games right now. Sure, there is blooming technologies that could upset this throne (I’m looking at you HTML5 and Unity!) but for now the top games still continue to use Flash as the technology of choice. Facebook, MMO, single-player, and beyond… games continue to thrive under Flash’s wing. Its far too early to rule it out… its not dead yet.
Flash Peops: Thirsty Bear at 5pm, if they are too busy we’ll find somewhere else nearby
— John Cooney (@jmtb02) March 28, 2013
During GDC week I met for a random lunch with Joey Betz, Chris Jeffrey, Jay Armstrong, and James Pearmain. Talking to them, we all realized we had nothing going on that evening. We decided we should all meet up later, so I tweeted out that Tweet you just read. And low and behold, this happened:
26 Flash game developers showed up to our impromptu Flash game meetup.Holy crap.
— John Cooney (@jmtb02) March 29, 2013
Holy crap is right. If you wanted to see one of the most amazing meetups of Flash Devs this was it:
John Cooney – That’s me!
ConArtists Team – Last Stand, Last Stand: Dead Zone, Warfare 1914
Jimp – Elephant Quest, Sushi Cat, Super Duck Punch, Penguinz
Joey Betz – Sushi Cat, Crush the Castle
Chris Jeffrey – Space is Key, Platcore
Jay Armstrong – Super Adventure Pals
Toge Productions Team – Infectonator
Jared Riley – Hero Interactive, Bubble Tanks, Paint the Fence
Daniel Stradwick – Monsters Den
Brad Bourne – Fancy Pants Adventures
Greg McClanahan – Kongregate
Andrew P – Game Dev, Kongregate
Emily Greer – Cofounder, Kongregate
Anya C – Developer Relations, Addicting Games
John D – Founder, Kongregate
Colin C – Product, Mochi Media
David Fox – Flash Mindmeld
There was more and I’m sorry I didn’t get you down.
This group of devs more or less saw each other all week. We had drinks, we had dinner, we had fun. It was great to see everyone.
What was realized from seeing these wonderful people all week is that this really is an amazing community. Coming from all over the world these developers met and connected as if they’ve been longtime friends. Everyone seemed to be Friend Level 1,000… genuine people who love to make games and who are extremely supportive of each other’s work. We joked, we enjoyed each others company, and most of all we celebrated; that just for a week we could all be under one roof and enjoy a beer together.
There’s something to be said for that. This is not the Indie game scene. This is something different; a wavelength that resonates with very unique people. While it might overlap with that Indie vibe I think its different. A microcosm of game developers who make games, or at least came from making games, on the Flash game platform, and grew together sharing a different mentality about games.
On a fun sidenote, I opened up a tab at the bar and asked anyone who came in to use my tab. For 26 people, I ended up with 2 beers beyond my own on the tab. I have to give it to Flash devs, they are extremely self-reliant.
So that is that. I can keep going about how great these people are and how honored it was to spend a week with them, but my babbles need to end somewhere. I can’t wait for next year to see everyone again and to meet other developers. There were so many others I met and so many more I hope to meet.