Could Flash make a comeback?

Ruffle Flash EmulatorBack in the day (2011) I did a bit of Flash game development. It was a curious technology compared to what I was used to. It was originally a way of scripting graphics and other media but really took off when ActionScript, a programming language very much based on JavaScript was introduced.

Unfortunately the twin combination of insecurities in the Flash player’s on PC and refusal by Apple to allow it on iPhones killed it. It took a few years to die and HTML5/JavaScript became a slightly inferior replacement. There were 100s if not thousands of Flash games on websites like Kongregate.com. There are still many games there and on other similar aggregator sites.

But a lot of developers really enjoyed creating Flash games and there have been a few open source emulators. None in C, but at least one in C/C++ and more recently Ruffle (in Rust).  The image is a screenshot from one of the demo games.

What’s different now apart from still not running on mobile is that the “Flash” players are more secure and in this case use WebAssembly for browsers. WebAssembly is seen as the future of browser games and whether it’s by compilin g C/C++ or Rust programs directly into WebAssembly or by using Flash games and animations transformed via programs like Ruffle into WebAssembly, I suspect that the browser will become an increasingly important platform for WebAssembly games.

Talking of which as well as Emscriptem for turning C/C++ with SDL) into WebAssembly there is also Cheerp, an open source and commercial C/C++ compiler that produces WebAssemb;y. I really have no excuse for not producing a WebAssembly version of Asteroids!

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