Friday, August 18, 2006

Frame Rate

Well, it's pretty much there. I've worked my way to the bottom of the bug list and all the problems (that I know about) are fixed. That means there's a good chance I'll never have to go back to the dark ages of Flash 5 Actionscript again!

There's one remaining problem - and it was there back in v1.2 - and that's frame rate. Flash Player won't maintain a high frame rate in certain web browsers. This is because there are different types of Flash plug-in for different browsers, and the way those browsers handle the plug-ins also differs.

Windows users get pretty good performance using either Firefox or Internet Explorer. Mac users will find that it's not too good in Safari*, though significantly better in Firefox. There's an explanation of why this is in this blog from an Adobe engineer. He works on the Flash Player so I'd say this is fairly reliable information.

Interestingly, he recommends that designers don't make Flash adverts that run at over 12fps! Animation at a rate that low looks awful! I say a better solution would be for Adobe to make the player more efficient. We can only hope - it's not improved in years.

So anyway, the recommended Flashteroids browser for Mac users is Firefox.

Flashteroids should run at a Frame rate of 23fps. I've built in a framerate display option that can be activated here:
Play Flashteroids, showing frame rate »

Here are my test results (avg. rate, first game level)

Mac OS X 10.4.7 / 4 x 2.5GHz PowerPC G5, 1.5GB RAM
Safari 2.0.4, Flash Player 8: 16.68 fps
Firefox 1.5, Flash Player 8: 21.05 fps

Windows XP, SP2 / 2.4GHz Intel Pentium 4, 1.0GB RAM
Firefox 1.0.7, Flash Player 8: 22.58 fps
IE 6.0.29 (SP2), Flash Player 8: 20.15 fps

* At time of writing I've not yet tested it on Intel-based Macs.


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