Development Platforms

Big Fat Simulations develops games and simulations using Adobe Flash Technology. This is our preferred platform, as Flash is capable of producing web-based content as well as desktop applications.

All of our games have free versions that rely on the distribution power of game portals all over the web. The full versions, however, are too big to fit in the browser space, and owners of our full versions do not want their purchase to be dependent on a web connection. Hence the need for both an ‘online free version’ and a ‘downloadable desktop version’.

Adobe Flash has always been great for being able to deliver both. However, a number of users have experienced difficulty with Adobe AIR, and so we develop ‘alternate files’ for our games, which work fine, but have ugly icons and don’t contain our ‘digital signature’.

What development alternatives do we have? Should we hire new coders that can write the C++ language, and learn a new platform like Unreal Engine? Or switch to mobile development using Apple’s xCode, requiring coders who are familiar with the Objective-C language?

We could use Unity, which delivers for both, like Flash does. It requires a knowledge of C# and Javascript languages. And it has better performance. However, it’s content cannot be circulated throughout the online game portals as well as Flash content can.

The time I spend thinking about all this would probably be better spent focusing on simply making fun games.

So is Flash the best platform for what we do? Considering the time and money required to port our games over to another platform, a change would have to offer very substantial improvements to make it worthwhile. Almost all of our user complaints involve missing game features or bugs, but very few involve performance.

“But everyone’s playing games on mobile devices now!”. There is money to be made with mobile games, but there’s a lot of noise out there. To make a buck in the mobile world, you need to create a truly stellar game. As for PC and Mac game opportunities, there are more PC’s and Macs being sold now than ever before.

Since 2008, mobile games have steadily grown in popularity, and many have asked us to port our games over to iOS and Android. We have done this, with the assistance of our partner company, who specializes in mobile development. Android is extremely difficult to serve, as there are so many different device resolutions and device capabilities. The app stores that are available on Android are still evolving, and not quite as good as developers would like, compared to iOS.

Airport Madness is our biggest seller, and we have more versions coming, but it definitely won’t last forever. In fact, next year we will begin development of 3D games. At that time, we will likely transition to Unity technology.

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