Flash Developers Research

After we were asked to research specific Flash games, we have now been tasked with looking into individuals or companies that have developed Flash games. If I’m being honest, it was difficult to find any developers that focused solely on Flash, however I’ve chosen four that I think are worth looking into.

Amanita Design

This is a small indie game studio that’s based in the Czech Republic. Their best-known Flash game is Machinarium, which I wrote about in my last research post. It was actually their first full-length game, although since then they’ve made quite a number of point and click games: this is the type of game they make the most.

The company was established in 2003 by Jakub Dvorsky after he’d worked on his thesis at the Academy of Arts in Prague. He created an online flash game for this called Samorost; a point and click puzzle game that is very similar to Machinarium. Two years after this, he joined forces with an animator by the name of Vaclav Blin to create its sequel, Samorost 2. Along the way, several more talents joined their team, including musicians, programmers, painters, and sound effects experts. There seem to be nine people currently part of the company.

amanita-crew-new
The current Amanita Design members.

The other interesting part of the company is that they don’t solely focus on the video games industry, but also make Flash content for music videos, websites, and animated works. It just shows the diversity of the company’s talent, where they can provide work for whole ranges of artistic industries.

TreeFortress Games

This is a small team-of-two game company that hails from Edmonton, Canada. Compared to the previous company, they have only been around for three years. Originally they were formed in 2013, so they are still quite “young” even though the two developers aren’t necessarily new to the business. Working with a developer called gskinner, Shawn Blais and Mike Gaboury are the two members of the company. Blais has actually been working as a programmer and designer for over 15 years, while Gaboury is in charge of game design and art.

bardbarian

Their best known title is called Bardbarian, which they released back in February 2014. This is a witty and hilarious game where you play as Brad the Barbarian. It’s a tower-defence action RPG that has been well-received.

However, the team has only developed three games so far, the others being JumpJet Rex (an adventure platformer featuring a jet-pack wearing T-rex) and Holoball (a VR pong-like experience). I think, while few in numbers, these three games are all very well done, which just goes to show that even a small team can produce unique and fun games.

PinPin Team

Unfortunately there isn’t a load of specific information about this team, however I would still like to write about them. Their games are either casual or educational, their most notable one to me being Pyro Jump, since I’ve played it on my phone.

pinpin

I have discovered they are a team based in Paris focusing on online and mobile games. They have over a dozen games under their belt, using different platforms from Flash and HTML5 to Unity.

I feel it’s important to comment on how little information there is about the company, which seems more detrimental than anything else. In my opinion, as a game studio, you want to reach out the audience that will be buying you games. I will give them credit that they keep their Facebook page quite up to date with their latest developments, but it would be nice to have a little more background on the way they develop and who is involved in their projects.

A lot of their games are primarily platform-based, which was why I thought it would be a good idea to try finding out more about them – we’re building our own Halloween platformers and it’s always good to research what is currently out there and how other companies develop their games.

Oliver Joyce (Whiskey Barrel Studios)

oliver-joyceI think this guy is an excellent indie developer and designer – the sort of worker who I aspire to be. This is mostly because, back in the middle of 2013, he set himself a challenge to create a fully functioning app using Flash and AIR in 14 days then publish it on the app store. I think this is such an interesting challenge for a developer and he managed to do really well by making a fun game called Captain Fishblock.

Joyce is from Sydney and has been working in the industry for a decade. He seems to have built over 200 games, although only a few dozen of them seem to be on app stores or online. Whiskey Barrel Studios is his own company, which he set up two years ago, and he continues to publish games that are (according to him) addictive and fun. Not all of these games are built using Flash, but it’s nice to know he considers it a tool that’s best for rapid prototyping.

It’s nice to see that he remains in touch with the public via Twitter, although he doesn’t update his GameDev blog very much these days. The interesting part is that he did update the blog every day of his challenge, to show people what goes into the development process of a game from start to finish.

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