Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

American Idol, or The Wire ?

I don't normally like "My philosophy" posts, either reading them or writing them, but if you can't be self indulgent on your own blog now and again then you're missing out on being able spout your ideas out like they carry some sort of importance with your readers, and lets face it the majority of blogs are ego driven, so why not stroke it once in a while ?

This has been troubling me for a little while now, I tweeted about it a while back, and figured that a 140 chars just isn't enough.

The art, in whatever media, I really admire makes me think. It doesn't hand anything on a plate to me, it doesn't dumb itself down to a nice easy level, it pushes me to reach it's level. In return for the extra "effort" on my behalf I believe I get a richer experience.

David Simon, co-writer / co-creator of The Wire said

"Fuck the average viewer."

This is one of many reasons his work is so astoundingly good. He doesn't compromise, he doesn't go for the lowest common denominator, he writes as if writing for the target audience alone, whether that be cops in "Homicide" or marines in "Generation Kill". He, like all good artists, assumes a level of intelligence in the people viewing the art. Maybe that's intellectual snobbery, and if it is, maybe that's not a bad thing if you stay true to your vision.

I find with our medium, we're a lot more American Idol level of dumb than The Wire level of smarts. Don't get me wrong, there's more than a place for mass market junk food like gaming, shit, Chock a Box isn't exactly redefining genres, I'm not kicking through boundaries with my own work, but I do think there should be a counter point to the happy go lucky games that we all produce.

We work in a market where nothing can be simply implied. Everything has to be clearly spelled out, and that results in dumbing down. Everything has to be explained and sign posted otherwise it's thrown back in your face as a bug or sloppy design on your behalf.

There's that inane question "Why does no one on 24 ever go for a piss ?". They do. It's just not shown, not even implied, because it doesn't push the narrative forward. Seeing Jack coming out of the toilet and warning Chloe not to go in there for 30mins wouldn't make the story any richer, it wouldn't defuse the bomb any quicker, it wouldn't give us the payback for our invested time.

Is the Flash game market made up of people who wonder why Jack has gone another 24 hours without having a slash ? I like to think not. And yet as developers we all have to adopt the latest design staples for fear of some sort of backlash.

The other end of the spectrum is "Art" games. This for me at times is going too far the other way, although not for the most obvious reasons. I loved "ImmorTall", I thought it was a great experience. The gameplay mechanic is ultra simplistic, it's all the other stuff which comes with it that makes it shine.
What I can't stand is the collective orgasm that a lot of blogs have to any and every "Art" game ( There's got to be a better term for this genre ? ). This at times blind worship of all things indie, where dreadful design choices are forgiven because it's an "Experience more than a game".
If you want a backlash against mainstream gaming, whether that be shit produced by script kiddies, unimaginative popular casual games or even console fps, you've still got to be even handed. You can't take the line that all mainstream gaming is shit, so be default anything outside of the mainstream is good. It's really not.

So where do we stand ? On one side we've got the hand holding of the players to try and wring out those extra couple of points at our favourite portals, at the other we've got the almost willfully obscure games that at times go out of there way to fuck the player just to cast a different light on gaming, even at the expense of enjoyment.
Can't there be some middle ground ? Where you can treat the player with a high degree of intelligence ? Where you can use things that are subtle instead of ramming them down throats, where things are implied and the player can fill in the gaps themselves to gain a richer experience and obtain a level of ownership due to their investment.

Yes I think there can be, and although despite my bitching I still like dipping my toes into the populist throw away, I'm going to make more of an effort to reward the player, the player I want to reach out to, with games that don't treat them like they're 12. If that costs me a handful of points on a portal, who really cares ? I'd rather just one person really enjoy one of my games than a 1000 think it just ok.

Squize.

GamesChart Q&A

This is a whopper of a post. You may want to grab a drink before you sit down to read it. Ready ?

Barry kindly granted us an interview about GamesChart as I imagine a lot of you have a lot of questions about it, just like we did. That's more than enough intro, there's about 8 meg of text below.


Q: Twitter pitch. 140 chars or less, what exactly is GamesChart ?

How about 39..? ‘GamesChart is the chart for online games’.


Q: Slightly longer pitch, sell it to us.

There’s three sides to this coin really, in terms of benefits GamesChart helps Developers seed and monetize their games, GamesChart helps Publishers drive cost effective targeted traffic to their sites and GamesChart helps Gamers to access some of the best online games the internet has to offer. The technology platform is built around an API that tracks your game wherever it goes and gives you the option to display charts within your game. Although GamesChart works on any game portal, going to www.GamesChart.com and clicking on the small GamesChart icon in the corner of any of the games is the easiest way to see how it works.


Q: I don't know if you've heard, but us developers are all about the cash. Art is dead, money is king. Why should we be dropping the API into our games ?

Different things will motivate different people, but there are a number of very good reasons why you’d probably want to. If you are the competitive type, then you’re probably going to want to see how your game ranks against all the other games that get released. If you’re the kind of person that would prefer not to spend hours emailing portals, then it’s worth noting that there’s a publisher revenue share and that portals actually need to upload your game before they can bid on any traffic going to that game… that one thing alone will give your games a huge viral boost. Last of all, the money… which I guess leads me on to your next question.


Q: Let's be blunt, how much per click ? Are we going to be able to order that solid gold Helicopter which we've got our eye on ?

Probably not. We’ve all been there, we all know that everyone believes their next game is going to earn them a million dollars, be picked up by a console publisher and then get made into a blockbuster movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, we are confident that Flash Game Developers will not just be able to increase the popularity of their game by including it the games chart, but also generate healthy revenues. Bid-based Pay Per Click is an extremely effective and fully accountable method for Publishers to drive traffic to their sites. Each ‘click’ will be worth a different amount to each publisher depending on where geographically that click comes from, the type of game it originated from and other campaign settings.

We’ve been noticing recently that people have been bidding an average of $0.60 per click for ‘flash game’ related keywords on certain popular advertising-word based pay per click system. Now of course, we’d be over the moon if that was the case with GamesChart and if it were, then a developer would stand to earn up to 50% of that. If you were an excitable chap, and you think all your games players are based from the US or Europe, confident that your CTR will be at least 10% and you’re generating 5 million plays a month… then you’d probably want to get out your calculator and start making plans for that solid gold helicopter.


Q: China, 20 billion people living there, but no advertising revenue. How will geography affect the revenue ? Is it a case of if the games big in Russia then well done, but we're not going to benefit from it ?

What can you do, it’s a fact of life. Your free to play flash games will end up being played by people in Russia and China - our advice is just to roll with it.. with GamesChart every play counts and even if you do get an extra 2 million plays a month in those territories, your game will quickly move up the charts and expose you to new audiences in territories that people do want to bid on.


Q: On the subject of the API, easy to use ? Doesn't break things like bitmap.draw() which other systems do ? Nice easy testing ground to check it's all good before pushing the game out into the wild ?

The GamesChart API is very easy to implement.  Developers have the option to add the API by dragging the GamesChart component to the stage. This requires no code adding to the game at all. The game can then be tested locally before being uploaded to the GamesChart website.


Q: Ok, you've sold us. I'm going to drop the API in. What about other API's though ? Are we cool with cpmStar, mochi version control, GamerSafe etc. ?

Sure, no problem. The exposure your game will receive from GamesChart will actually result in more revenue from other third party services you use in your game, so if you can find a way to get all of these API’s into your game AND GamesChart.. that’s awesome! Just to clear this up, we don’t consider ourselves to be in competition with anyone. In fact, in order to save you time, we actually give developers the option to upload their Mochi Games Pack to the GamesChart console. We’re also in discussions to include other third party API’s in our developer pack too, including the great new multiplayer API from Player.io


Q: Does adding the API affect the game in any way ? Is it a big bloaty monster ? Will anyone have to change the way they've set their game up to get it in there and working ?

You can modify the API to fit into any game and the developer is given complete control over how and where it is displayed so that they don’t have to compromise their game to accommodate it. It’s a tiny file that won’t hurt performance in the slightest, why not have a look - http://wiki.gameschart.com/index.php/GamesChart_Developer_Pack
It’s completely optional to display the GamesChart API in your game. Even if you do decide to disable the charts within the game, your game is still eligible to appear in the charts. Developers have the ability to remotely enable/disable a little 40px icon that appears in their game. It’s very low key and most developers decide to place it in the corner of their stage.


Q: Adobe are doing a similar-ish thing, a kind of YouTube-esque system showing games you could like ( The name of the project escapes me, and it doesn't seem to have had much of a push yet ). I'm guessing two systems can't be sitting in the same game easily, why GamesChart over the official first party offering ?

I haven’t heard much from Adobe these days apart from the iPhone & iPad discussions, but if you are referring to Youtube’s recent patent application in relation to a "Web-Based System for Generation of Interactive Games Based on Digital Videos", it’s hard to say how much we will have in common. I guess we’ll have to wait and see, it does ‘sound’ interesting though.


Q: The crux of GamesChart is to push traffic to sites, how are you differing from more well established methods of throwing traffic to sites willing to pay for it ?

GamesChart is a distilled version of more established methods.  Why make a player sit through a 20 second advert when all they want to do is play a game?  We offer an efficient method of delivering traffic that is shaped and informed by the way flash game players use the Internet.  The result is a low cost, high value click-delivering juggernaut.


Q: Sponsorship in itself is a great way to bring home the traffic. Say this goes huge, could it have an impact on sponsor prices ? I mean why pay for the whole game when you can just pay for it's clicks.

Interesting question.. Sponsorship is often a one-time shot, whereas GamesChart may actually prove, over time, to be a more sustainable means of generating revenue for Flash Game Developers. We know how important sponsorship is to developers, so GamesChart is designed to be complementary. You can place it anywhere in your game and it’s flexible enough to meet the requirements of most sponsors.
Flash Game License is a brilliant service for developers precisely because it provides a fair and open market to buy and sell sponsorship deals.  The GamesChart publisher bidding system is also open and transparent, which means healthy publisher competition and the highest possible CPC earnings for developers.


Q: Look at my game, it's sex, it really is. Oh, it's slipped out of the charts. That's it then ? Will games which fall out of the charts just tumble into a void of never making any money again ? If it's say a 20 minute job to add the API, test it and upload it, and my game is in the charts for only a day, or never even makes it in there, isn't that a waste of 20 mins ? You guys will still be getting exposure due to the viral nature of games, but me as the dev have basically just helped you out.

I think it’s important to clarify that revenue is only generated from outbound clicks from a developer’s game, so there is actually no requirement to ever appear in any of the charts in order to keep earning money. However getting your game into the Top 10 will result in a massive boost in game impressions which will also have a direct impact on any revenues you earn through GamesChart and  from other third party APIs.
At the moment, you’re only able to see ‘The Official GamesChart’, we’ll also be adding multiple game category charts over time. Now you may have noticed on the game upload facility that there are a number of category options available. These will help define new charts that will appear in the API; charts like the ‘Puzzle Games Chart’, ‘Action Games Chart, ‘Racing Games Chart’ etc… keep an eye out for the ‘What’s Hot Chart’ and ‘Top Rated Chart’. The introduction of these new charts will enable everyone to have a shot at gaining fame and notoriety.


Q: On a similar theme, won't the charts just be dominated by the big hitters ? Won't a Fancy Pants 5 or a Bloons 12 just be permanent fixtures on top of the charts ? Great for those guys, but for everyone else ?

Well the Official Games Chart is based on the total previous weeks game plays for each game. It’s just one of the many charts that through targeting will be presented to the gamer, but it is an accurate reflection of how popular that game is at the time. Games will naturally fade in and fade out of the charts in the same way music does with the music charts… If over time this chart is less dynamic than the other charts, then we might choose to focus gamer’s attention on the ‘What’s Hot Chart’ or some of the other category charts instead.



Q: Mochi distribution is a thing of beauty, they spread a game like VD in the Navy. Are you guys going to be running a distribution model ? Have you looked at partnering with services like FlashGameDistribution who also provide a great service ?

Mochi distribution is pretty awesome and we’d also love to partner with Adam and his great service at FlashGamesDistributon. However I have a feeling that if your game features in any of the GamesChart top ten charts.. it will experience achieve such a distribution kick up the proverbial, you’ll probably fall over with shock.


Q: We've all got games gathering dust on our hardrives. Is it good to upload them to GamesChart to try and squeeze every last penny out of them ?

Wouldn’t you rather find out, than leave them there? If they’re good, then they will receive a new lease of life.. if they’re gathering dust on your hard drive for a reason ..then we make no promises ;)


Q: On a similar note, are you worried about the charts being flooded with crap whilst people take to it ?

Not at all. It’s early days, but if someone adds a decent game now, it will probably dominate the top of the charts for a couple of weeks yet. People are naturally hesitant and have been using some of their earlier games to check us out. Don’t worry, it’ll soon drop out of the charts.


Q: What are you doing in terms of sponsors good will ? Have you being speaking to those guys, and what is their take on it ? I'm thinking in terms of their support when it comes to adding the API, are they going to see it as potential threat ? A lot of sponsors aren't loving microtransactions, are many loving GamesChart ?

A lot of these Sponsors used to be Flash Developers themselves and the feedback we have been receiving so far has been more questions than comments. Those Sponsors who would like the games they have sponsored to feature in the charts, but would prefer that the games didn’t display the API, can always ask the developer to disable it. The GamesChart technology has been designed to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of most Sponsors.


Q: What track record have you guys got before starting the GamesChart project ? I'm guessing it's not just you in a room with a well thumbed php manual.

Not exactly no. The team we have assembled here for GamesChart are experienced developers who have been involved in web development, online gaming, viral media and social internet applications for many years. It’s a platform that has been built for Flash Game Developers by Flash Game Developers… Some of us designed and built the original GameJacket technology and have an acute appreciation of the complex issues facing massively viral applications and flash games.


Q: I've got to touch on it, and it may be a little delicate still, but GameJacket. You were the public face for it for so long, I don't think too many people were aware you left a good 6 months or so before the end. Are you concerned you are going to be known as "The GameJacket guy" when quite a lot of developers got stung ? 
Basically people don't want to be in a similar situation a year down the line, what lessons have you taken with you to GamesChart, is the company structured differently with a different mission, different goals ?

I will always be happy to be remembered as the Founder of GameJacket, it took up a lot of my energy and I was proud that the company achieved the phenomenal growth it did in such a short period of time. Working with Flash Game Developers, following the development of their games and helping them to monetize and distribute their games was personally very fulfilling.
Ultimately there were good reasons why I felt it was necessary to leave the company in December 2008. Although there's always going to be some fall out from GameJacket because of the way things were handled in the six months after I left, I hope people can understand that it wasn't easy for me to make that kind of decision and I was genuinely saddened to hear that so many developers lost out when the Company decided to close.
GamesChart is structured very differently in terms of the decision making process, which will result in a more ‘service’ driven approach towards developers, publishers and gamers. We have some fantastic additions planned over the next few months and we are looking forward to receiving feedback, comments and suggestions about how we can improve GamesChart.


Q: If badgers were given guns, do you think they'd rob Post Offices, or just carry on as normal ( ie walking slowly on roads when cars are coming ) ?

With great power comes great responsibility... I think if you took a test group of Badgers and handed them all guns, some badgers would obviously revel in the fact they could cause carnage amongst their furry friends. However, the backlash from more responsible woodland creatures would probably result in an uprising in badger politics with spokes-badgers calling for the widespread peace and the unity of badger kind. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1132020.ece


We'd like to thank Barry for taking the time to answer these questions. If you have any yourself pop them into the comments and we'll fire them over and try and cover everything off.

On a side note, this post is our entry to this years Webby's in the "Most times one service was mentioned in one post" category. We're clearing a space for the award right now.

Squize.

Lives. They're really not evil you know.

Our mate Ali has had his Mechanaught game reviewed over at Jay's. We really like the game.

mechanaughtscreenie.png

It's not perfect, but what it does it does really well. It is what a good Flash game should be, a nice time waster, not a life changing experience.

Something in the review about it though really caught my eye,

"My biggest gripe with Mechanaught is actually the implementation of lives. I thought we'd covered this was an unnecessary and annoying idea for a browser game. I sent out flyers and everything. This is a flash game, not an arcade hall with a sticky floor. You're not going to get quarters out of me, just an enraged baboon-like hooting.
If you run out of lives, that's it. Game over. You can go back to your most recent save, but it's still frustrating. Maybe some people will like the added difficulty, but the rest of us are going to be annoyed that dying carries such a stiff penalty instead of simply popping you back to the beginning of a stage. Maybe if health kits were a more frequent find, it wouldn't be as much of an issue.
"

I must have missed the memo. It's one thing that a games difficulty may be out slightly for some players ( No one will ever get it perfect for everyone ), but a game with lives and a game over mechanic is far from a dated notion.
An end of level boss was originally a spike in the difficulty to increase the length of a game. These soon became the norm to the point that most players expect a boss battle and feel cheated if they don't get one. And yet, they are there for the very same reason that lives are. It's to increase the longevity of a game and introduce a pronounced risk / reward, in the case of lives something which is clearly tangible from the offset.

I just finished Arkham Asylum the other day. Fantastic game, believe the hype. All the reviews said it's about 10 hours gameplay, but I've been off the xbox for a while so I'm a bit rusty, it must have taken me more like 12/14 ( I've still got to go back and max those achievements out. I'm a gamer score whore ). That didn't have lives, and just as well as it would be in the bin by now if I got a Game Over after dying 3 times and then sent back a fair way.
That's a 10+ hour game, not a 30min Flash game. A lives mechanic only really works if you can complete the game with the base number of lives, or you can either collect extra ones or have continues ( Or it's pure score attack, Geometry Wars being the perfect example of a popular console shoot'em up with a nasty ol' Game Over ) so you can actually complete it.

I think it's fair to say that there isn't a progressive Flash game with 10 hours playability before the job is done. Yeah you may have played DTD for 10 hours in total ( Which has lives in the form of energy ) but nothing that I know of that's 10 hours from the start of the tale to the conclusion ( Does Dofus count ? Feel free to correct me if it does ).

Lives are a valid mechanic for small Flash games. I'm not saying every game in Flash should use them ( Untold games shouldn't ), but a lot of games suit them, need them in fact. Just to repeat myself, they lengthen the game play ( The game play we can't lengthen with more real content due to budgets ). It may be a slightly artificial and forced way to do it, but in adding a clear risk and reward to the game it works well.
The alternative being ? Grinding out a victory ? I'm old enough to have used infinite lives pokes in games, and no matter how hard you try you soon succumb to the safety / apathy that offers and with no risk you miss out on that all important money shot that is reward.

Squize.

A game in a week - not with me it seems ...

So, it's 21:11h here in Germany now and just 2 minutes ago I wiped off the last item on my todo list for Via Romanum, a word game I've been working on for the last couple of days.

There will be no public release for the next 2 weeks though (I'm on holiday, yehaaa!).

So without going into detail (I'll have to do a quick rant about creating and searching large lists of words and how to make that quick enough to test a whole 10x10 grid for left/right and top/down combinations of letters that might form words)

Sunset_04a.jpg
Just to set the mood even for our well known logo ...

via_promo_00.jpg
... the menu screen ...

via_promo_01.jpg
... and some in game impressions.


Off to the beach now ... nGFX


Power of recall please.

One of our rare political posts on here. Both Olli and myself try and avoid them as we don't speak for each other when it comes to things like politics and religion, and this is meant to be a blog about Flash and our tinkering with it. But sometimes things need to be vented.

The whole ethos of the political system in Britain, and most Western countries, is that you vote for someone to represent your views in Parliament / equivalent. At a maximum every 5 years ( There is no fixed term government in the UK, it's up to the Prime Ministers disgression ) we have a general election where every "seat" in the House of Commons is voted for. The only other time a seat can be contested is during a by-election, which usually comes about due to the current MP ( Member of Parliament ) being taken ill and unable to carry out their duties.

In Britain we don't have the power to "recall" a MP. Recall is basically a vote of no confidence in a MP where through voter power they can lose their seat and a by-election can be called to replace them. Ironically we do have the power to push through a motion of no confidence, but that's not in our hands, that's only available to the opposition parties. If a motion is put forward then the majority of the house of commons has to vote for it for it to be passed. If the government of the day has an overall majority, then unless a lot of it's own members rebel, it's not going to get passed. I can't see many MPs voting to lose their jobs on morale grounds.

In effect, there is no way through voter power to remove either one single MP, or a whole government, until the current Prime Minister sets a date for a general election, or the parliamentary term runs out.

Earlier this year we had the expenses row. MP's more than playing the system, they were effectively stealing from the British public, the tax payers, the people who put them into power basically. They've stolen our money, and we can do nothing at all about it. Nothing.

One of my favourite quotes about it was from the Tory MP Alan Duncan, describing the situation after the expenses row broke, "You have to live on rations and you are treated like shit.". This is someone who in the last six years has claimed £127,658 under the second home allowance. Of course he apologised after wards, explaining it was just a joke. Mr Duncan, you jokester you.

No way to get rid of these people. Unreal.

What can happen though is that public opinion can turn so badly against an MP that they look to stand down at the next election ( As there is no way they can win ). This isn't really falling on the sword for things like claiming extensive mortgage payments on a property which is already paid for and claiming it was an oversight ( That's not even me making it up to justify my point. Or happened just the once ).
Come the next general election a lot of MP's will be standing down due to the expenses row, so up until then they will still be representing their constituents in parliament. Why aren't these people quitting on the spot and enabling a by-election when they have lost the confidence of the people they are paid to represent ?

Meet the golden parachute payment. This little beauty is in place to "ease" MP's back into life outside of politics. This is a sum based on age and length of time as a MP. The best thing ? The first £30,000 is tax free. Recently it's been agreed that the amount of the salary they receive will increase. Every 3 years the Review Body on Senior Salaries ( SSRB ) reviews MP's pay levels. This same review body recommended that only MPs who have lost their seats at an election, or due to boundary changes, should receive this payment. If you've resigned, you shouldn't get it. Just to show how toothless this body actually is, this recommendation has been overturned by a committee of MPs. Vested interest ?

Is it any wonder that MP's are going to stand down at the next election, rather than do the honorable thing and quit now.

Here's an interesting thing. In May 2007 BP ( British Petroleum ) signed a deal with Libya to embark on a sharing deal of any gas or oil deposits found in the country. BP gets a healthy 19% share, in return for a $900 million investment. It's been quoted that the deal could generate as much as £15 billion in revenue.
Now BP have had a rough time of it recently, their profits are less than projected over the last quarter. A mere $2.6 billion, with yearly profits being $25.6 billion. Hard times, when you consider how much they spend on exploration and still see profits like that. These numbers are just vast. This is the 5th largest company in the world.

21st December 1988 a terrorist bomb was detonated in Pan Am flight 103, with the bulk of the wreckage landing on the Scottish town of Lockerbie. In total 270 were killed.

On 31 January 2001 Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

On the 20th of this month he was freed on compassionate grounds as he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He's gone home to die.

This has obviously caused an outcry from all corners, relatives of victims, the US government ( Including the FBI ), the British press, the British people as a whole weren't in favour of this ( See this poll taken in Scotland ).

Remember how we mentioned BP and it's deal with Libya. Letters have been leaked that implicate the release of al-Megrahi with that deal being ratified.

Here's a quote from Saad Djebbar, a lawyer who advises the Libyan government "No one was in any doubt that if al-Megrahi died in a Scottish prison it would have serious repercussions for many years which would be to the disadvantage of British industry". Pretty obvious which industry that comment was aimed at, unless there are lots of British businesses investing $900 million + in Libya.

Here's a quote from a letter from Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Justice, sent to Kenny MacAskill, his Scottish counterpart in December 2007.
"The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed in this instance the [prisoner transfer agreement] should be in the standard form and not mention any individual."
In his defence Straw originally didn't want to include al-Megrahi in any prisoner exchange deal, but did a U-turn as can be seen in the quote above.

Six weeks after that letter was sent the deal with BP was finally ratified.

One last quote, from Saif Gadaffi, Colonel Gadaffi's son, "People should not get angry because we were talking about commerce or oil. We signed an oil deal at the same time. The commerce and oil deals were all with the [prisoner transfer agreement]."

I think we're all grown up enough to know that all governments do things for what could be deemed the greater good without informing us. It's just that when politicians are shown to have told lies to us, the people who put them in power, the people who pay their wages, that we should have the right to remove them from their posts. The BP deal could generate up to £15 billion. How much of that will come back to us the tax payers ( Going by figures from 2002, only 20% ) ? Has a person who was convicted of killing 270 people been freed for purely economic reasons, to help wealthy people become more wealthy ? And if so, it's been done in our name, and there is nothing we can do about it.

Squize.

Dear Spammers

We're like everyone else, we love a bit of attention. It's good for the ego, and good for the soul.

But spammers, your attention is a little like that slightly smelly and always drunk uncle that you'd only meet at weddings. The uncle who it wasn't 'til years later you realised was a little bit too touchy feely.

That's right spammers, I'm equating you to a made up story about being touched up by a relative as a child. That's how we see your attention. Deep down inside flattering ( It all counts ), but in every other way, as unwelcome as molestation.

Our comments are moderated, we get fired off an email every time we get one, and to be honest, we're getting a bit sick of getting emails with links to your products. It's nice that you start off all friendly and un-spam like, just like our imaginary uncle in so many ways.

So do us a quick favour, to save us reading emails we really don't want to read, and then deleting comments which really shouldn't be there, how about you move onto the next blog ?
I'm sure some of our readers are interested in low cost loans, but I'm guessing they're not going to get one via a link in a comment on a blog that prides itself in being 70% swear words.

You may have nothing better to do to build up your web empire, I mean I imagine you get a huge kick back for every loan which is taken up, but we're bored of clicking delete.

We're cool yeah ? No hard feelings ? We'd just prefer it if you'd fuck off. Thanks then, take care, bye.

Squize.

PS. I know I'm just talking to myself, but it really helps some times. Give it a go if you've got a blog, you'll feel much better that you've vented.

Is this a wrong thing to bitch about ?

Perhaps 'cause it's late, and I'm tired, and I'm coming down from quite a hellish crunch ( All the games got there in time, and the client is pleased. Just thought I should share the good news along with the moans and gripes ), but something is bugging me.

Mike Chambers, well known Flash community facing guy at Adobe, has posted "What new game APIs do you want in the Flash Player ?".

Fantastic!

Why do I feel the need to be churlish about this, I mean it's great news, isn't it ? A chance to air our views to someone whose in a position to push forward ideas to the roadmap.

"I have been learning some game development lately, and building my first game... I think game development and deployment are some of the real strengths of the Flash player, but ones which we haven’t specifically focused on in a while... While working on my game, there were a couple of things I needed to do where additional player APIs could have made the development easier... So, what APIs would you like to see that would make game development easier."

( That's the gist of the post, but please take a minute to read it all ).

Personally, I'd like to see all the things that so many game developers have been asking for since Flash 5. Mike mentions how handy it would be to have a built in pixel perfect hitTest. Surely everyone one reading this right now has been thinking that for years ? Has no one ever requested that feature ?

Why have all the feature requests fallen on deaf ears before ? Flash has been geared towards RIA's for years, with a recent glance at 3D as Away3D et al have helped fill in a short fall with the player, along with the huge ( And really successful ) push to own web video.

But games have been left out in the cold. They're treated like they're almost a happy side effect of the Flash player, that it's not really a real use of Flash ( Noticed that very few of the really high profile Flash developers make games ? Some of them touch on game related mechanics, and do it really well, but actual complete games are very few and far between. I'm sure if they did they would be vocal about the shortfalls in the API and help to have forced a change sooner. Sound got a kick up the arse using a similar approach ).
And yet, GameJacket had a stat that 28% of internet traffic was Flash games ( I can't provide a link for obvious reasons ). The Flash Forwards have a game category. Until a couple of years ago BAFTA did too ( That's now being merged with console games, and in all fairness I can't see Desktop Tower Defence giving Call of Duty a run for it's money ). Millions of people play Flash games, and talk about them, every day
There is a knowledge and interest of Flash gaming, with huge budgets for them, outside of the "Suck and Fuck Street Racing"s.

So why has it taken until now for it to be recognised by Adobe ? Would it really have taken so much effort to not package yet another fucking scroll bar component and give us a hi-score table component just once ? I know there's an excellent one from Mochi, but we're talking first party support here.

Yes to some extent I am being churlish. In effect I'm bitching about Adobe looking to make all our jobs that little bit better, it's just that does it really only take one employee at Adobe to notice the shortfall for things to happen ?

( And yes before you ask I am a bit of a hypocrite as I've never filled in a feature list request for Flash. Maybe all of us who haven't have just got ourselves to blame that we're going to have to wait 'til F11 before getting the sugar ).

Squize.

You'll be surprised where we're big

More a case of doing-anything-rather-than-work-on-the-current-project I thought I'd have a quick glance at our stats, see where we are in the grand scheme of things ( Our Alexa rank has had a little bump recently, we're back to a more healthy #324,797 ).

In terms of countries visiting us, our friends from across the pond are number #1,

United States,
hits: 150,381
sexy visitors: 25,793
percentage out of everyone coming here ( And weeping ):  65.56%

The following places were a bit of a surprise though,

2     Republic of Korea     10,606    3,795     9.65%
3     France                   10,864    3,735     9.49%    
4     China                     10,313    1,987     5.05%    
5     Russian Federation   4,518      1,691     4.30%

I didn't realise there was such a passion for Flash combined with reading a blog which doesn't ever actually say anything at all, in some of those countries. It may be a little egotistical ( Me ? ) but I thought Germany and the UK would rank higher.

So if your are visiting here from one of those top 5 countries, it'd be nice if you could say hi in the comments. Actually, it'd be better if you taught us a swear word in your respective language, be fair, you must have picked up quite a few English ones here.

Squize.

I admit it, we're selfish

It's finally occurred to me that there must be some blogs out there that are silly enough to link to us, but because we're so wrapped up in ourselves, we're not aware of them.

If you do link to us ( Albeit out of pity ) and we've not linked back, do us a favour and let us know via the comments so we can redress the balance and keep the whole internet ticking over the way it's meant to be.

Cheers,

Squize.