It would have been nice to read that kind of blog post 4 years ago when I started to work on Golemizer. Maybe someone will find this blog post useful or something.

AS3 – Flash 10

No I’m not going for a Javascript MMO this time. It sounded like a cool idea to build Golemizer as a Javascript MMO but it got me no credits. Not even from the stupid iWhatever platform that is all so mad about anything HTML 5.

Yeah I’m pretty sure Golemizer works just fine on the iPad (never tested it) because the iPad is supposed to run Safari (and Golemizer also runs on Safari). But the iPad and iPhones are NOT Web devices. They are closed consoles like the PS3 and XBox. Just to say it in other words it would be like Steam would release their own tablet or phone. They might say they love anything HTML 5 but it’s crap. They love their store and that’s it.

The truth is we are still 2-3 years from seeing anything worth happening with HTML 5. All the startups building HTML 5 game engines are just that … startups … They want to build some tech and then sell it to the highest bidder. They have no interest in building a legacy. So be it HTML 5 will remain a dream for some years. There are still more people who have a computer than people who have a smartphone. That means that Flash is still the easiest way to get to people. Forget the iCrap. That’s NOT the Web and that’s a whole different market. One that I don’t believe in right now.

Last I checked 99.5% of people have Flash 10 installed on their computer in Canada and USA. That should be enough to release a game. No way I’m going the Javascript way again. It’s just too easy to find resources for AS3 without saying it’s just so easier to distribute a Flash game. Yes HTML 5 is making some progress but I’ve been there before and players don’t care about HTML 5. They care about the game they are playing. So AS3 it will be.

FlashDevelop

Adobe can forget about me spending some hundreds of dollars on their IDE. First I think it’s more appropriate for graphic designers and second it just cost too much for no advantage at all for someone like me. I mean I know how to code so why would I pay a fortune as an indie for a product I don’t need anyway.

I bet at least 75% of Flash developers using the Flash IDE have a hacked copy anyway. You can tell everyone I’m legit as I’m using FlashDevelop which is free.

AsWing

I really to spend time on something that someone else already did and gave for free. That’s why I’m using AsWing. I really have no interest in building my own UI library. I want to build games. Yes it’s true that AsWing’s doc is a bit lacking. You don’t get much examples but the basic doc is still there. That’s enough for me. It should be enough for any developer. If you can’t read that kind of doc then you might want to spend some more years as a programmer before starting to think about building your own MMO.

AsWing does what it says it can do and it does it right away. I’ll save a ton of time using AsWing. If you think you can do better than AsWing then maybe you should be a library developer and not a GAME developer. I’ll spend enough time on figuring how to make a FUN game that I really don’t need to spend time on how to make a forms, windows and checkbox.

SmartFoxServer

Same thing here. Yes there are free or cheaper alternatives. There are none though that allowed me to build a prototype in 2 days. I can’t spend months on building my own server tech again. That was fun to do for Golemizer but I’ve been there and done that already. Now I want to build a game. SmartFoxServer is allowing me to do that quickly. Like I said before if I can’t pay for the license then my project is just a failure anyway so it really doesn’t matter.

I have no interest in being the guinea pig for some obscure project. I want something that works right now and something that have a track record. Take a look for yourself. Ever since I started to use SmartFoxServer I have never encountered an issue that would make me reconsider my choice. Ask yourself this question. Do you want to build a MMO server or do you want to build a game. I answered this question long ago.

Eclipse

Okay so SmartFoxServer is using Java. A programming language I haven’t used for the past 10 years. It was suggested to use Eclipse so I installed it. It worked right away. I’ve been able to do what I needed to do. So Eclipse I’m using. I couldn’t care less if some other software would be better to code in Java. Eclipse got the job done. It’s simple to use and I never struggled with anything while using it. I really hate church wars and my choice is based on what gets the job done. Eclipse is getting the job done so Eclipse I’m using.

MySQL

I built Golemizer with MS SQL because I was more familiar with MS SQL Server. There’s really not much difference when it comes to MySQL. Besides the cost and license limitation. I recently hit the 4 GB limit for a database on SQL 2005 Express for Golemizer. That sucked bad. Now I know that I can upgrade to SQL 2008 Express for a limit of 10 GB but I really don’t want to do that again for my next MMO project. So MySQL it is. I have enough experience from my previous day job to know that it’s powerful enough for anything I need.

Before you ask it yes I’m using a database for my MMO. I don’t need some fancy solution for it. What I need is loaded into memory first and everything else will just be easier to deal with later. When it comes to databases I’m not a newbie so I know how to use them. I know their limitations and I know their strengths. Don’t worry about me I’ll do just fine with MySQL.

The free open source libraries I find on the Web

Like I said I really hate to spend time on stuff that already exists. I want to build a game not some fancy code marvel. As long as I can legally use it I will use anything I can find that will make my life easier. Even if it means I’ll have to change it later. When it’s open source and you don’t understand it you’d be pretty stupid to use it without understanding it anyway so it’s really not a problem. What I use I can change. What I use I understand it like I coded it myself. So far I have found a simple library to handle animated bitmaps in AS3 and another simple library to draw shapes on sprites. Yes I could have coded them myself but why go through the trouble. First I’m not sure I could come up with something that runs better and second I have saved so much time it’s just ridiculous. If one day I encounter a problem with these libraries then I hope I’ll be smart enough to fix them as they are open source anyway. If not then I was just a fool to try to develop a MMO to start with.

Bottom line

Yes building a MMO is hard. No not everyone can do that. Yes it can be done. You just need to know what you are capable of and to know what you can’t do. For example can I build a better server engine than SmartFoxServer? No I can’t. So I’m using SmartFoxServer. Maybe I could have use something else for the server but is there any other option as appropriate for an indie developer with limited time and resources? I think not.

The trick is to always remember that you want to build a game. Not some tech that could be used to build a game …

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