We recently released, Cweeture Jump, our first in-house iPhone game. Although we rely heavily on Flash at WeeWorld, Cweeture Jump was actually written natively using Objective C for a number of reasons. Interestingly though this didn’t mean that Flash was entirely removed from the equation as our art team opted to continue using it to create the artwork and animations for the project.

It got me wondering how many others out there are using the Flash authoring environment to create visuals for their iOS projects. Are there any development teams buying Flash Professional specifically for this purpose or is it likely that it’s being used only by those who come from a Flash background? Would be interesting to know.

As for the reasons for selecting Objective C over Flash for our project, there were quite a few. First up was performance really. It just seemed we were able to squeeze so much more out of the hardware using Objective C. At the time of development, AIR for iPhone was limited to AIR 2.0 and its GPU rendering model was extremely frustrating to work with – rasterization was taking place on the CPU rather than the GPU. But perhaps the biggest issues were the fact that we couldn’t take advantage of in-app purchasing or game center integration.

With AIR 2.6, Adobe seems to have addressed some of the performance issues. Also, the older generation devices that AIR-based apps struggled on are quickly becoming irrelevant, which must be a huge relief for Adobe. However before we can even begin to seriously consider using Flash for iOS development at WeeWorld, we’ll need to see support for in-app purchasing and game center.

So is this on the cards? The video above of David Wadhwani, senior vice president at Adobe provides some answers. It seems that native code extensibility is on the cards for AIR. This is exciting news since it will allow AIR developers to mix cross-platform ActionScript with native code. So those targeting AIR for iOS will be able to take advantage of APIs which aren’t directly exposed from Flash such as in-app purchasing and game center. It’ll also be ideal for optimization where using native code will provide performance benefits over ActionScript.

I’m excited and these additions really can’t come soon enough.

  1. Native extensions would be very nice, but I’m not really sure who they’re aimed at. The part that Flash provides easy facilities for (graphics manipulation, rendering) is also the part that runs slowest on devices.

    What would be really nice is if they actually open sourced their flash player, so I could rewrite their rendering engine to make it not suck. Again.

  2. Oh, have you tried compiling that Flash Punk example I had in 2.6? I’m very interested in seeing if it’s faster.