"Roll your own" flash projector, custom Director projector..?

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by jdoe, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. jdoe

    jdoe New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Is it possible to "roll your own" Flash projector?

    I'm an absolute beginner when it comes to programming outside of basic HTML/PHP and ActionScript, and am trying to find a way to transparently package a complete, 2D Flash game as an executable.

    The options I'm hovering around so far are Northcode's SWF Studio and Macromedia Director MX 2004, but I'd hope to know a bit more about their potential application to my project before spending a lot of time and/or money delving into either. Honestly, from what I've read so far, both seem excessive.

    The basic Flash projector would in fact be enough, if I could simply excise or customize the menubar and right-click menu (and change the icon); all I need beside is playback of the SWF without the user's needing to have Flash installed, and hopefully obfuscation of the ActionScript code. Things like a customizable and hideable menubar, customizable right-click menu, Mac compatibility, 'About..' popup in the 'Help' menu, checksumming, etc. would be ideal, but aren't necessary. All the game's facilities -- animation, interaction, save files, etc. -- can be accomplished within Flash/AS itself.

    I guess key unifying concept is having the executable show no signs of being a projector at all.

    Can Director do this, or is there a more efficient way otherwise without a huge amount of work? Should I start looking into outright C#/Visual Basic as a way to "roll my own" using libraries (?)?

    I've got to figure other newbie game creators have found themselves at the same impasse, and I'm very interested to hear the different ways people've gotten past it. Any input is much appreciated!
     
  2. KNau

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    2
    swfXXL is the most basic bare-bones projector tool you can get in that all it offers is fullscreen support using DirectX and the ability to embed files within the exe. It's also the best performing of the lot in terms of speed.

    I can't speak for Northcode but it and MDM Zinc seem to share the same features. It's a lot of overkill that bloats your compile size and neither are all that great for framerates, but if you need all the bells and whistles then they are the best option. As far as I know Zinc is the only one that has a Mac compiler (sold seperately, of course).

    I haven't tried Zinc under CS3 to see if the speed improvements carry over. It's a solid platform for most casual and basic arcade games but the speed issue is something to be constantly aware of.
     
  3. TimS

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Messages:
    686
    Likes Received:
    0
    Technically, yes.

    Nevermind. No. :)

    For cross platform, completely hidden projector executables, there'll be some pretty ugly code involved, especially if you want to preserve vector, non-vector, sound, actionscript, etc. with no speed loss. I personally wouldn't attempt it, and I'm not scared of too many coding-type challenges... that one is spooky though.

    That said, a small team of technically proficient programmers could probably give you precisely what you want, to your specifications, without any real serious speedbumps. Maybe consider outsourcing it to India or some such place if you've got some money to throw into it.

    Sorry I can't comment on any of the available libraries that are already out there, but you're right -- some serious indies have likely tackled the problem, so it wouldn't surprise me if you come across an answer here.

    -Tim
     
  4. WaveRider

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    0
    Director makes for a great .swf wrapper as long as:

    A. You can afford the $1,199 price tag.

    B. You're not coding in Actionscript 3.0. (The latest version, Director MX 2004 only supports AS2).
     
  5. Xiotex

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah - I would have to agree with Tim here. I've written 3 flash players and they take a while to get right.
     
  6. northcode

    northcode New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've written a few myself ;)

    It's pretty easy just to wrap a standard Flash standalone EXE (or any EXE for that matter) remove the window decoration and modify the ICO and string resources. It gets tougher to remove the right click menu etc - that extra stuff is much easier to do with a custom wrapper around the Flash plugin but then playback speed can be reduced by as much as 20% over native Flash EXE's.

    I'd be really interested to hear what you guys want/need in terms of a barebones wrapper. How important is Mac support? Do you derive a lot of revenue from Mac sales? Is there a real business case to be made for Mac support?
     
  7. KNau

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    2
    A game specific wrapper would be neat if it offered ways to improve framerates. My understanding is that a tool like swfXXL just maps your swf to a DirectX plane and then resets the screen resolution, so performance is untouched - even improves.

    I always thought it would be cool if a wrapper had a tool that would use 3D plane layers to allow more sprites / particles on screen. Like I could dictate with the script that all explosion movieclips would be rendered on planes rather than attaching to the main movie. I don't know if something like that is even feasible and it would have to be OpenGL to be cross platform I guess. But it seemed like a neat idea.

    Anyways, for a bare bones projector I'd be looking for the ability to go fullscreen (resolution change) or windowed using script. To add / subtract / modify the window menu and then standard stuff like compiling files securely into the exe.

    Maybe scripts for system detection and easy parsing and saving of files but I would sacrifice all of it for simple fullscreen / windowed switch that was cross-platform. Most important is that the wrapper not kill the framerate.

    Mac sales are pretty important for indie games, historically outselling PC versions because it's a captive market. The Windows projector market is so flooded that going cross platform really stands out - for me at least.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer