[Kim] Okies. We have a major decision to make. There are three ways we can deploy:

  1. Facebook, as a FB app. This uses PHP. PHP is not a graphical / gaming language, but can be coerced into doing so. Facebook games are well established and make money (Zynga alone makes $4B / year, but stats on individual games is unknown atm) There are 600M FB users, of which we can assume 10% actively play.

[Cathy] has stats for individual games for the top facebook games

  1. Flash. This uses Flash and is a proven game graphical platform. Most web games are written in flash. Flash games are a rapidly growing sector; last count in 2009 was $2B/year and growing. There are 400M active Flash game players (but most of those games are short duration, low learning curve games played without time investment).
  2. Mobile. This uses iPhone or Android SDKs. Mobile games are also a well proven gaming sector ( like app from Apple IPhone store alone generates over $4B/year in revenue, but only a small fraction of that is games. Mobile is the largest potential market, but currently there are 60M smartphone users in the US Pattern of mobile game play is similar to flash: most popular games are short time-wasters, not requiring a learning curve. Mobile users are more likely to pay money for apps and games than flash players. Mobile game spending worldwide is $5.6B

We should probably only focus on 1, at most 2 of these different options. Whether we can re-use effort / code / graphics / resources from one branch to another largely determines whether we can take on 2.

I’ll do some due diligence on FB when I get a chance. At the moment, my gut feeling says that if we can deploy a Flash application on FB, then our best bet is to drop mobile entirely. We could then use exactly the same visuals, layout, and UI for FB and Flash. If we can’t re-use Flash in FB, then the decision becomes much harder. We could re-use layout, design, and interaction, but the code bases would have to be developed in parallel (i.e. x2 code work).

[Cathy] I know one of your primary motivations (if not the primary) is to get experience with flash as a game platform, but have you looked at whether we can make it work with html 5? I’m thinking through the requirements, and not seeing a lot of places off hand where we can’t make it work as a native web app. and if that’s the case, then going cross-platform becomes much easier. It would limit us in terms of browsers that can handle it though. Bonus - here is a site devoted to HTML5 games. Good examples of what can be done and how to handle browser incompatibility issues.

[Kim] Good point. I was using “Flash” as proxy for “a game that can be used on the web”. All I care is that Kim’s RPG is playable on the web, not that it is written in Flash. I’ll look into HTML5, too.

[Cathy] It looks like you can put html5 games on facebook and mobile platforms. The real limitation on mobile then becomes interface issues because of the small size and no hover state. I think I can work some css magics so that the mobile interface is a variation of the bigger screen one. At any rate, I’d be willing to mock both up and then we can discuss approaches and see how much extra work it would take and whether it would be worth it.

I’ve been eager to jump into it. Started playing around with CSS3, but not yet with hands on HTML5 yet.

[Kim] I hear ya. I’ve diddled with HTML5 too, mainly for the video. What I discovered is that it isn’t well supported enough yet to fulfill its promise of “everywhere presence”. However, we should expect that in a year (by the time we might finish this project) it may be, probably will be.

Okies, food for thought. Let’s mull it over and reconvene again sometime. Sweet dreams! :-)