Thanks to Autodesk’s Scaleform, the user interfaces in many of your favourite video games have all been created using Flash Professional and successfully integrated with the game’s native code. Mass Effect, Crysis and Halo Wars are prefect example of AAA titles that have gone down this route. However Rovio – the makers of angry birds – have recently shown that you can do much more than just build game UIs with Scaleform. Their latest mobile game, Tiny Thief, uses the Scaleform Mobile SDK to port Flash CS5 animations and ActionScript 3 code to both iOS and Android, and the end result really is quite impressive.
The Scaleform Mobile SDK provides a standalone Flash runtime for native iOS and Android developers, allowing for the easy deployment of Flash content on mobile. Tiny Thief’s development team, 5 Ants, took advantage of Scaleform to render the vast amounts of Flash artwork they produced for the game. Around ninety percent of the artwork was vector graphics and with Scaleform’s optimised GPU accelerated renderer, there was no need to convert the artwork to bitmaps first. Scaleform also supports ActionScript 2 & 3, with the ability to also integrate with native code. This made it extremely easy for the team to develop across platforms. The majority of the game’s codebase used ActionScript 3 with only small amounts of platform specific code for each platform.
Of course, you’d be right in saying that you could just do all this with Adobe AIR and use native extensions to plug the platform specific gaps. And it’s certainly a perfectly valid and cost effective solution. Autodesk however highlight several benefits their solution has over AIR. This includes much faster compilation times, lower app footprints, and a high quality anti-aliased renderer. Whatever route you decide to peruse I think it’s interesting to see the many ways in which the Flash platform can be used to produce great games and content.
Download Tiny Thief (iOS & Android) and see just what’s possible with the Scaleform Mobile SDK. Also download Starforce Battlement for iOS, which again uses predominantly Flash and ActionScript 3. If you want to know more take a look at the the Scaleform Mobile SDK page and check out the documentation and video tutorials.