Some Tips for Developing Successful Flash Games

Some days ago I released the DSDefense flash game on this blog. It is also available on some of the more popular flash game websites like on Kongregate and with ratings of an average of 3.8 (out of 5), DSDefense is one of the few flash games I wrote which also some people other than me liked. This was also visible by the quite huge amount of people visiting the games website:

The impact of DSDefense released on 16th August.
The traffic on that website is above that of an average website before that date already,
but exploded on the release date of the game.

So, if you want to create such a game as well, here is some stuff which I learned so far:
  • If you are more programmer than artist, use Adobe Flex, it's a free SDK (similar to the Java JDK) to write flash applications. I'm personally using it with the command line, but there are also (free) IDEs available, like FlashDevelop.
  • Gameplay over graphics: The quality of graphics used in flash games seems to be secondary. A boring game with brilliant graphics will be rated a lot lower than a fun game with ugly programmer art. Interestingly, this is exactly the other way round in AAA-PC games.
  • Be sure to use an ActionScript obfuscator like irrFuscator (it's free for 30 days). People will try to steal the code of your game and make their own game out of it. This is quite common in the flash game scene.
  • Make it possible at any place of your game to disable sound and/or music. Or even add a volume control. Some people won't like your game if it doesn't have this feature.
  • After releasing your game, stay cool: A lot of people will play your game and they'll write all kinds of comments about it, from useful, constructive criticism to swearing and insults. I even had one guy 'stalking' me and sending me several dozens of mails full of insulting shit. Simply don't take every input too seriously, in fact: You can ignore a lot of it. There are strange people out there.

I'll write some details on what tools and techniques I used for DsDefense later as well.

twelve comments, already:

Thanks for the tips, by the way, is there a book about flex you want to recommend? I’m just starting and I will appreciate any advise I can get.
Carlos () - 01 09 09 - 02:55

I’d be interested to know where you got the “people will decompile” info from. Own experience? :P Might be worth backing up your statements if you’re pushing advertising talk down my throat in the same sentence.
fasdf () - 01 09 09 - 11:18

I don’t have sources at hand myself, but it IS really common to steal from other flash games or rip them completely.
Probably because usually it is so damn easy ;)
Telepath - 01 09 09 - 11:33

there are lots of flash decompiler softwares out there. i’d used one before. decompile in just a click! i decompiled quite a few when i was much younger, to see how they actually make those flash. so niko is right. ;-)
Virion () - 01 09 09 - 13:53

@fasdf: ok, virion and telepath already explained this, but you could still use google and search this blog for this topic, I blogged about this topic some times already and provided some examples :)

@carlos: I’m not using a book, only read the documentation by adobe, so I can’t really recommend one, sorry.
niko - 01 09 09 - 17:25

@Niko: No prob. Just keep the good work, by the way, I’m trying irrfuscator right now.
Carlos () - 02 09 09 - 02:23

Decompiling something for your own look at it isn’t much of a problem, is it? He was talking about decompiling and then actually using the code for your own games.

All this decompilation is easily possible with java, too, and i haven’t seen anyone complain.
gtr () - 02 09 09 - 12:17

Hi all…
I am playing games on pc and i like to more about gaming…
I like this article because it’s about gaming…
carte r4 () (link) - 02 09 09 - 15:37

Hi, Nice game and nice tips Niko. Some tip about server side and database? Thank you! Keep the great job man!
Daniel () - 06 09 09 - 23:50

I’m missing the numbers on the Y-axis ;-)
matt (link) - 12 09 09 - 18:22

database: simply mysql + php.
yes, the numbers are cropped, what a pity :)
niko - 14 09 09 - 16:54

I like to play the games on my pc my console and on my cell phone..
this article was not related to games but it related to technology and i had also hobby to search gadget and latest gadgets and many more so this article was really great in my opinion.
r4 sdhc () - 16 09 09 - 07:17

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