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Tomasz Wisniowski. Playjam Ltd. Creating and Optimizing 2D Flash Technology–Based Games for Mass Market TVs October 2011, Adobe MAX @ playjamdev. Table of contents. Why create games for ConnectedTV? Evolution of CTV Market Dynamics Target audience Challenges for developers

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Tomasz wisniowski

Tomasz Wisniowski

Playjam Ltd.

Creating and Optimizing

2D Flash Technology–Based Games

for Mass Market TVs

October 2011, Adobe MAX


Table of contents
Table of contents

  • Why create games for ConnectedTV?

    • Evolution of CTV

    • Market Dynamics

    • Target audience

    • Challenges for developers

  • Technical aspects of creating CTV games

    • AS2 vs. AS3 vs. AIR

    • Input

    • Display

    • Sound

    • General code guidelines

  • Case study

  • Sum up

  • Closing remarks

Continual evolution
Continual Evolution

  • Major Consumer Electronics (CE) vendors driven by the hunt for recurring revenues & the necessity to shift from pure manufacturing to service operators.

  • Addressing global markets with richer, faster interactivity than ever seen on TV before. Made possible by lower prices and better tools:

Better hardware

Optimized software

Smarter input

Market dynamics
Market Dynamics

  • Combined installed base – 1billion devices by 2015

Market dynamics1
Market Dynamics

So, we have:

  • A viable casual games platform today

  • In huge volume

  • Globally


Are games important
Are Games Important?

  • 21% connecting primarily to access games

  • 47% of connected homes would play games

Smart tv early indicators
Smart TV - Early Indicators

24% = Games

23% = Educational apps

Samsung @Internet TV Store

Who s playing
Who’s Playing?






Playing behavior
Playing Behavior



So what are the challenges
So what are the challenges?

  • Delivering and app store experience conducive to the TV / Living Room

  • Solving discoverability for content owners

  • Coping with technology pace and fragmentation

  • Creating sustainable revenues

Technology choice
Technology choice

  • First questions – what technology to use, and which programming language to choose

    • Javascript? Flash?

    • If Flash – AS2 (Flash Lite) vs. AS3 (Flash 10.1+)

    • Flash or AIR?








Platforms technologies


  • In most cases – older TVs

  • Still a big market

  • From our experience, less compatibility problems than with Flash


  • AS2 vs. AS3 (or rather Flash Lite vs. Flash 10.1)

  • Things to consider:

    • Performance

    • Do you already have a backlog of games that you want to re-deploy on CTV?

    • External libraries access

    • (subjective) AS3 code easier to create, more modern

Technologies comparison
Technologies comparison

Yahoo! Widgets

Panasonic JavaScript


  • Different types of input

  • Each remote has a different key layout

  • OEMs typically want you to support all types of their input

  • Your application MUST be fully navigable by d-pad + enter

Input continued
Input – continued

  • Things to keep in mind:

    • Different key codes for each manufacturer

    • Input lag

    • KeyUP/KeyDOWN handling

    • Technically impossible to press two keys at once


  • Most of the devices support HD, but the recommended resolutions for applications are QHD or 720p

  • Since the graphics are upscaled, they tend to be blurry and/or pixelated

Display continued
Display - continued

  • Problems when deploying your application to 720p devices if your initial version was QHD – this happens quite often.

  • Flash software scaling causes performance drops – avoid if possible!

  • Safe zones:


  • Some devices support sound, some don’t

  • Some support BGM only

  • Most allow for various file types: mp3, ogg being most popular

  • Sound support varies by device – some can play music/sfx straight from Flash, others need to play sounds via fscommand2 or javascript

Programmer s guidelines
Programmer’s guidelines

  • Typically the amount of memory available for applications is more than enough (for casual games)

  • Graphics are usually stored with 32 bits per pixel. Full hd screen = 1920x1080 pixels * 32 bits = 66 355 200 bits = ~8MB – way too much memory! You usually have about 6 MB of texture memory in total, everything over that causes a significant performance loss.


  • Avoid the use of alpha

  • Avoid rotating objects (especially in javascript)

  • The application should run at 20+FPS

Case studies
Case studies

Case 1

Pick & Nick AS2/AS3

Case 2

Space Shooter MAX Demo, AIR 3.0 with Molehill

Summing up
Summing up

  • There is a wide range of devices to choose from

  • Make sure that the application is designed for a 10ft experience:

    • Don’t use fonts smaller than 18px

    • Don’t make the user read a lot of text

    • Keep the forms (input fields) to the bare minimum

  • Double check that every functionality you designed is accessible by d-pad + enter. System keys such as EXIT and BACK/RETURN are programmable too, as well as the colored keys.

  • Making your game support mouse input will make it work with most „wand” input methods too!

Summing up continued
Summing up - continued

  • Use hardware acceleration where possible (cache as bitmap)

  • Remove everything that does not to be on the screen from the memory, if possible. Remember this is a memory-tight environment.

  • Don’t use Flash native tabbing, create your own input mechanisms.

  • If you want to use objects with alpha, make sure they don’t get on top of each other!

  • Don’t bloat your application, some platforms have a limitation on how big the installation can be. Store the assets, or even separate .swf’s remotely in such cases.

Summing up continued1
Summing up - continued

  • Make sureyourgraphicsarescaleable – youprobablywon’t be sticking to eitheronly QHD oronly 720p.

  • Usevectorgraphicswherepossible – less strain on thememory.

  • Gameplay-wise:

    • Avoid situations where input lag might affect the fun.

    • Avoid asking the player to press two buttons at the same time.

Closing remarks
Closing remarks

  • Flash Lite was never meant to create games or applications

  • The market is slowly moving away from Flash Lite towards Flash 10.1/AIR2.5

  • It means better support for game developers – access to more game engines, better libraries

  • Better cross-platform opportunities – immediate porting to iOS, Android, and many more

Thank you for coming
Thankyou for coming!

Thankyou for coming!

Tomasz Wisniowski

PlayJam Ltd.