Haxe to Unchain Game Development
In the summer of 2017, Adobe reported on their official blog about Flash demission in 2020. At the same time, many businesses working in the field of games development gazed towards switching from Flash to newer technologies even earlier.
One of Sigma Software long-term partners, International Game Technology (IGT), in cooperation with which we have created dozens of games, has been researching the subject of making games targeting HTML5 standard using Haxe as primary programming language. Number of games developed last year by Sigma Software with Haxe have already reached the market.
Evgeniy Chetvertak is a Software Testing expert with over 9 years of experience and most of it in domain of interactive gambling games development covering phases from creation and customization to support. Evgeniy confides his thoughts on how Haxe can unchain game development.
Evgeniy, the rise of Flash evoked the development of whole industries, including games. What exactly has changed?
Time – that’s what changed. Flash came out over twenty years ago. Initially, it scored a great success; in its day, the technology significantly influenced production of online content. However, being a highly sought after solution for creating and running web games, animated ads, music and video players, the number of platform-specific flaws increased over the years. Eventually, it got its two primary, in my opinion, negative characteristics – unstable and insecure. Frequent runtime errors resulted in denials of both applications and, in some cases, the entire browser while multiple security vulnerabilities often put end users under high risk of being hacked.
What’s going to happen to all the games that were built with Flash?
They won’t disappear, at least for a while. It is likely that flash-based content will exist for some time even after the official EOL date. Since so many products were created using Flash, there is no surprise Adobe will only retire it in two years giving sufficient time to all users and all businesses to switch to modern web standards, supporting their promotion.
Inevitably, such content, including games, will pass into history, since new technologies are more flexible and provide the end users with more freedom, which is what makes the difference after all.
Adobe retiring Flash is not the only reason why companies are looking for new tools, isn’t it?
Of course, it’s not. Many businesses moved away from Flash even before Adobe has announced its decision because of all the issues and limitations that I’ve mentioned. At the same time, other technologies appeared to replace Flash, while not having its critical shortcomings.
HTML5 and other open web standards, native mobile applications cover the need to represent product on vast variety of platforms. Cross-platform features of Haxe suit well for this since it allows targeting major platforms natively.
Haxe is actually a very friendly technology, since it does not require mastering the “whole new universe” right away. It is similar to ActionScript, so switching to Haxe from Flash is much easier for developers. Designers can continue using pretty much the same tools they used when creating Flash content.
The fact that games are created for different devices, does it require more effort and time for development and testing?
Not at all. Another great thing about Haxe is that it is a strictly typed programming language, which leaves less space for errors, and therefore, the product is more reliable and causes fewer problems in runtime. Moreover, it closely integrates with target platform, so, for instance, existing code base or libraries can be reused.
Generally speaking, Haxe would even allow launching a game on, let’s say, a smart watch or modern land-based slot machine. The device should only have a large enough touch screen and browser support. Obviously, each platform’s capabilities should be taken into consideration to provide same UX across all devices.
So, time for games development decreases?
It definitely does. We can create games with significant time and budget saving, while the quality remains on a high level. Eventually, this is what businesses are seeking for, isn’t it?