Games Framework

It’s now well over four years since the late Steve Jobs, at the time still CEO of Apple, wrote his famous open letter ‘Thoughts on Flash‘. Jobs’, some might say incendiary, missive cast into sharp relief a debate that had been rumbling for some time in the development community: whether the advent of the nascent HTML5 web standard (in concert with CSS3 and JavaScript) heralded the demise of content authored with the then ubiquitous Flash from Adobe, which had become the de facto standard for the development and delivery of online games, video and highly interactive content.

Whatever the facts, pros and cons and opinions the momentum was quickly with the more open but fledgling technology. The gauntlet had been thrown down and the challenge for those developing online games, activities and any kind of interactive content was clear – The <canvas> tag was to replace the <embed> tag.

Four years on, HTML5 is itself the de facto standard for online content delivery and Flash content, while still very popular, has become relegated to desktop and laptop machines. Meanwhile Adobe has re-invented Flash as platform for developing cross-platform mobile apps and even authoring HTML5 content.

A future-proof gaming framework

It’s against this background that we have have been diligently building, extending and refining our HTML5 Games Framework: a flexible and robust system that makes mobile gaming development a streamline and efficient process. Our Games Framework now forms the foundation of much of our mobile game output and has been refined through an iterative process over the last 4 years, enabling us to deliver exciting, engaging and addictive games such those for Exploring Shakespeare for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Kid’s Box Games and English in Mind games we developed for Cambridge University Press among others.

To achieve flexibility and modularity we’ve created a loosely coupled codebase that utilises BackboneJS and RequireJS to allow games to be written in any gaming framework whilst talking to the same shell. This allows us to iterate quickly and easily and be backwards compatible. Games running on our platform currently have be built in EaselJS, ImpactJS and others. Version 4 boasts a broad range of features, such as:

    • Skinnable HUD – timers, lives, scores and outcome screens
    • Flexible sequences and loaders
    • Soundsprite management – looping and efficient audio playback across devices including Android
    • Compacted and efficient image assets through extended texture atlases and PNG compression
    • Code efficiency, reduced load times and latency overheads – Obfuscation and minimisation
    • Code security
    • Touch joystick controls
    • Online game content, asset editing and packaging
    • App packaging through Ludei CocoonJS and Adobe PhoneGap