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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

@playjamdev

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

HOWEVER:

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?

Male

Female

Age

Frequency

Gender

playing behavior
Playing Behavior

Genre

Motivation

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?

?

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javascript
Javascript
  • In most cases – older TVs
  • Still a big market
  • From our experience, less compatibility problems than with Flash
flash
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

input
Input
  • 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
display
Display
  • 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:
sound
Sound
  • 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.
  • TRACK YOUR MEMORY USAGE!
  • 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.

@twisniowski

@playjamdev

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