Flash Development PSP and Mobile Devices?

After my initial ‘light’ look into deploying flash to the new play station portable flash player I have continued to research tips and tricks that may hold some value for development in this area.

In addition to the technical limitations regarding the platform and the ‘bulk’ or the file size of any presentation that is deployed to it. It has become apparent that a good deal of thought should be held over to the ‘flow’, or the way users will navigate any work that you intend to deploy to the PSP flash player platform.

The more I investigated flash development for the PSP, the more it occurred to me that these are not new challenges. ‘Back in the day’ when working on Flash 3 development the equipment that I was deploying to was also rather less powerful than is available now.

Many flash developers will be aware of the dark days that Flash 3/4 heralded as developers neglected both the limitations end users had in both bandwidth and also the horsepower of the machines viewing the web back then. It was incredible how quickly and inappropriately (some) people (my self included) adopted the new Alpha tween capabilities, despite the fact that they would often cripple the target machines.

More recently we have seen the flash player ported to a myriad of other devices, from Set Top Boxes, to mobile phones and even fridges, many of which still suffer from these limitations on processor power that we take for granted when developing our nice new ‘Web 2.0’ all singing all dancing uber apps.

With all this in mind I have started to dig through the interweb to get my head round the development challenges that are held in this dark arena of mobile or multi modal flash development. If nothing else it would be a nice way of getting a tax break on a new fridge as a development tool :D.

What I have discovered in the limited testing I have put together developing flash for the PSP is fairly simple stuff.

Frame rates for the flash movie I am using as a base for my testing on the PSP vary hugely. The testing movie I have been working with is exported at 31fps. As part of my testing i have added an FPS component to show what�s roughly going on as the movie plays out. On a PC this reads on average 20-30 most of the times, with it dropping slightly as some of the elements fade in. However when this tween operation is played out on the PSP the fps plummet to around 2 fps. In the flash movie I am working on the tweens are code driven by the Adobe tween libraries; however after reading some documentation it may well be that a timeline based or even key framed tweens would be more effective when deploying flash to a PSP.

Text Display for the development Flash content on the PSP is wonderful. In order to keep the file size down I have chosen not to include any font embedding or font outlines. On a PC viewed through a monitor the text does suffer from the ‘jaggies’ that we have all come to know when using Non Aliased fonts. Readability is maintained by ensuring all text is positioned on non-decimal x & y positions, but it is still evident. The same Flash movie displayed on the PSP seems have some level of Anti-Aliasing applied. So not only do we get the benefit of the smaller file size by not embedding the fonts, but also thanks to the innate anti-aliasing, there is no jaggyness either.

XML Load times seem pretty reasonable so far. I am loading a specifically tailored XML document for my flash delivery to PSP.This is a smaller more concise structure than the XML I Load into the PC delivery. I am also still making use of the mx.xpath.XPathAPI class to handle all my XML data. Although I have slightly modified the core class to work with mtasc (commented out //var currAttr:String; within getPath()). There have been no issues with either the XML parse speed or with PSP compatibility.

I am sure there will be more to come on this as I continue, but for now here are a list of some of the sites I have found useful in my (limited) development of flash for the PSP

Marco Casario, Animation on Mobile devices best practice summary here

Adobe Dev Center Mobile Best Practice here

PSP Specific Development Info here

Web Design for PSP here

My Flash development for PSP (slow) progress here

4 thoughts on “Flash Development PSP and Mobile Devices?”

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