Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Best HTML5 Game Yet: A Threat To Flash?

Casual gaming is a bastion for Adobe’s Flash format, but we are told that it is just a matter of time until HTML5 will replace Flash as we know it today. Grant Skinner has released the best casual HTML5 game we have seen to date and we wonder why there is still a need for Flash, if HTML5 is just at its beginning and Flash is struggling to stay current?

 The game “Pirates Love Daisies” was developed by Grant Skinner for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team. Skinner usually develops Flash applications and is, in fact, among the most prominent Flash developers on the planet. This time, however, Microsoft asked him to work with HTML5 and only HTML5. The result is a tower defense strategy game that is buggy at advanced levels, according to my 9-year old tower defense expert at home, but that is just as captivating as Flash based tower defense games. The controls are similar and the graphics, while always a matter of taste, appeared to be slightly more sophisticated in their effects than your average tower defense game.

What was most interesting was the fact that the performance of HTML5 appeared to be superior to Flash-based casual games. We ran the game on several platforms, including our standard Phenom II X6 Dell machine, a Gateway mainstream notebook with Core i3-330M processor as well as the Google Chrome Cr-48 notebook, which is about as basic you can get in hardware performance – it integrates an Intel Atom N450 single core processor. The game runs on the Cr-48 without hiccups and just as fluid as on the i3 notebook (at least in initial levels. Once there are two dozen animated objects on the screen, the performance breaks down. However, my kids were quite taken by the Cr-48′s full screen feature and the clean look of the game.) You can use any modern web browser with decent HTML5 support (IE9 Beta, Chrome 6 and above, Firefox 3.6 and above, Safari 5 and above; Opera is not supported in any version).

The obvious question here is: Who needs Flash anymore? Especially if Flash is clearly having trouble running on lower end platforms.

Adobe has recently launched a new version of the Flash Player. 10.2 beta addressed some of the problems, including power consumption as well as hogging of system resources. Given the advances of HTML5, it is about 5 to 12 for Adobe to showcase Flash as a platform with future. However, Adobe will need other features that are superior to HTML5, including 3D that will appeal especially to game and multimedia designers.

Today, we have little doubt that Adobe will be seeing a tough 2011. There will be more people who will be questioning the future of the format in 2011 than there were in 2010. What we had seen so far were HTML5 apps that were little more than experiments and demonstrations. Pirates Love Daisies is a different caliber. It is entertainment that is at least on par with a Flash game and possibly slightly ahead.

1 comment:

  1. awesome game....CANVAS will definitely replace flash with this...gr8 performance to.....and no more threat of flash cookies