In the approach to the holiday season last year, our design and web development team were given an amazing opportunity. We collaborated and produced an online video game to raise awareness for our sponsored charity, Leeds Mind.
Early in the process, the web team was deciding on a suitable framework to build the game. My mind was cast back 10-15 years ago when such a project would require the use of a program called Flash.
What was Flash?
Originally developed by Macromedia, Flash started out as a vector based graphics and animation package. We would use this to create the animated advertising banners that you saw around websites at the time. When Flash 5 arrived, the Actionscript 2.0 programming language was introduced. This allowed for so much more functionality and scope. With the addition of a scripting language, we were able to produce online games as well as other powerful web based applications.
Flash was eventually bought by Adobe in 2005, who introduced the Actionscript 3.0 programming language which supported the programming practices of the time.
Flash was so popular at one point, that it was not unusual to see entire websites being built within the program.
What led to the downfall of Flash?
One of the problems with using Flash for web development was that the content could not be read by search engine bots. As Google became more prominent, content based websites built using Flash were replaced with HTML counterparts whose content could be seen by the search engine bots.
It was also a security nightmare. To run a Flash application your computer would have to have Flash Player installed. This software was plagued with security issues that needed constant updating over the years.
A major blow was Apple dropping all support for Flash Player. You couldn’t get it on any of the iPod, iPhone or iPad devices.
On the 31st December 2020, Adobe officially finally shut down support for Flash Player. It was the end of an era.
What do we use today?
Flash does still live on to some degree. Emulators are available that allow Flash to be played within browser and on desktop, but the web development industry had to move on.
Today, if our web development team is tasked with producing animated advertising banners, these will be built in HTML5 due to its better performance, efficiency and drastic reduction in security issues.
Back to the online video game for Leeds Mind
Our web development team chose to develop the game in the Godot Engine. Godot is an open source engine that allows us to design and develop innovative and exciting games that can be played across multiple formats. In the case of Leeds Mind, we developed the online game ‘Jingle all the Sleigh’ to raise awareness of their cause over the Christmas period. You can play the game in your web browser by clicking here.
Online video games are just one of the many services offered by our talented design, content and web development teams. You can find more examples of our work and the services we offer in our portfolio here.