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    That’s somewhat hilarious, yet depressing.

    In 1999, on a Pentium MMX 100 and 32MB of RAM, you could easily start up Netscape (or IE, or Mozilla), go to one of many sites aggregating online games, pick almost anything, wait a while and then you’ll get very nice, colorful, engaging, memorable and smooth gameplay experience on almost every hit. It worked flawlessly on each platform which has support for Flash, no matter which browser, OS, environment and what else you had.

    Right now, in 2022, using oh-so-modern stuff like “html5 canvas”, “audio context” and whatever you pull out to make JS pretend to be a serious business… you get this. And, if you add anything more complex, your $3000 Macbook Pro will overheat sooner or later, and the gameplay wouldn’t be even near the smoothness of Flash game running at silly PMMX with Windows 98.

    What went wrong? Where we made that mistake? How to get back?

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      I’m confused by this comment.

      I’m on a Thinkpad T430, a computer from June 2012, nearly 10 year old hardware with integrated graphics, and this runs just fine and is about as smooth as you could get. The backing game logic just uses basic JavaScript, and uses AudioContext to generate music and sound effects on the fly.

      This doesn’t even raise my load average above background. If you think this is choppy, try altering PLAYER_MOVE_STEP to a lower value, along with similar variables for the ships. There’s nothing wrong with this game, or this technology, from a performance standpoint, only the perception of choppiness due to how far ships and the player move in a frame (10px on a scaled canvas).

      Commenters older than myself can probably comment on the Flash situation in 1999, but as I recall, Flash on older hardware was and is (if you have the misfortune of using it) a mess. This piece of programming isn’t “serious business”, and I’m wondering what qualifies as “serious business” outside of the browser-native game engines that are common (Phaser comes to mind).

      All in all, I think you’ve set up a strawman to beat. There’s nothing wrong here.

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        I am old enough to remember the flash situation in 1999 and to have tried to make a game in it not different to this one at the time.

        Flash was a buggy mess with bad performance and even an even worse security model. HTML5 was (and is!) an improvement, but it is also more or less the same.

        Poorly programmed stuff both does and always has brought every system to it’s knees … Frantic drive clicking has been replaced with (on the balance, quieter) fan noise.

        Of course, you can find people who miss that comfortable banging of a spinning disk drive trying to keep up with some flash load or another (which, by the way, could take 10-20 minutes to pull off the network).

        And then, of course back in 1999, you would find the people who missed keying their own games in basic! Same as it ever was.

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        I don’t think a Pentium MMX would run flash very well, also, flash was programmed in ActionScript, which is basically JavaScript with a different stdlib. I think you might be seeing the past with somewhat rosy glasses…

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          Couple of thoughts. Not sure if any of them are true, but these reflect the impression I am getting.

          Technical reasons

          How we make software dramatically changed. Everything is a framework now, there is massive amounts of “boilerplate” needed for many of these frameworks.

          One has to glue things together, everything got “bazaar” style. There is not much tightly integrated software, despite all these frameworks.

          There’s way too many competing options. With Adobe and Flash it was the default category (much like Photoshop nowadays). You chose it because you wanted to create an interactive app in the browser. Both the developer and the customers knew what the goal was. With all these options they all find their niches, which is another thing that changed. Everything needs to have its niche, people think about stuff like USPs maybe a bit too much, while Flash was more an all rounder.

          There is more developers, throwing out everything they do, because they learned “release early, release often”, even if they just spent a day on it. Maybe it lands them a job. So interesting projects tend to be buried. It’s just A LOT harder to find them. But if you go on websites that still exist where you’d previously find Flash games you still find new HTML 5 projects that are also more interesting. They just might not be findable on GitHub, lobste.rs, HN, etc.

          With lots of people developing lots of things going into many direction, just throwing stuff out there and never learning to care about even rudimentary performance, just bending things so they work, one often comes across code, that checks all boxes for complicated, hard to read, unmaintainable and slow. I think it’s easier to avoid if you have that one package, where you don’t glue things together.

          And I say that as someone who actually think it’s a good idea to glue things together, but one should do so with some focus and understanding what one does, instead of copying random example, tutorial, Stack Overflow code and bending it, when it’s not even “the right way” to approach a problem.

          Non-technical reasons

          It’s still there, just way better hidden, just like with many things. Everything yells for attention, so it’s also harder to find stuff. A great example are also these “curated” “awesome” lists, that often link to dead, unfinished or simply bad projects, because people will just add things they programmed or came across without curation, because who wants to show an empty list?

          So one needs to take some time to find them behind walls of unfinished, bad and simply loud projects. I think a large of it is really that compared to 1999 the internet today went from a semi-nerd place to mainstream. People that would have given you a weird look back then for spending hours in front of the computer talking to total strangers nowadays are always connected, get impatient if you don’t respond to an email in half an hour, have their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. account and flood the web with what’s less interesting or only interesting to them. Which probably is why echo-chambers are almost a requirement. Imagine if social networks would just throw everything at you.

          Of course for group efforts that means that might make it less likely for these not found interesting projects to accumulate contributors, especially if there is no or not much money behind it.

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            Flash included its own version of JS (“ActionScript”), so there’s more than bad language choice affecting this.

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            Speaking to the game, a bit, I find it kinda amusing that it uses regenerating health. That would *never” have featured in 1980s games.

            Otherwise, it runs fin on my phone, though the audio doesn’t seem to run? I dunno if that’s related to audio context interaction requirements or not.

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              What’s your phone setup? Asking because my audio is working on Android & Firefox.

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                Android and Chrome. I’ll see about hooking it up to a debugger at some point.

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