in AIR

Top Paid App for the iPad is Built with Flash

Update: I want to give a big welcome to all the new visitors of my blog. I’m not interested in having my blog comments turn into a flame war again. Congratulations again to Machinarium!

Update: Machinarium is now the number one paid app for the iPad and is also the official game of the week. Congratulations guys!

Just yesterday Machinarium launched in the iPad app store and it has taken a meteoric rise up the charts to number one. This Flash game has been around for a while on the web and it has gotten a massive amount of praise. Now thanks to the Adobe AIR, the folks at Amanita Design were able to publish their Flash game to iOS. Few in the technology press have picked up on and correctly reported about this workflow that allows Flash developers to target Apple’s popular iOS devices.

Most people still only think of Flash as the browser plug-in that Apple doesn’t allow in Safari on iOS devices. But being able to create apps and games for iOS is a huge win for Flash developers, for Adobe, and for Apple.

I want to give props to my fellow evangelist Tom Krcha who helped Amanita Design bring this great game onto the market.


  1. When talking to clients, is it too soon to say… “We should build that in Flash, the leading technology used on the iPhone/iPad”…?

    This is seriously great news!

  2. Any word on the App coming to Android? Tell him to just save as apk so the rest of us can play his wonderful game :-)

  3. hold on there…. ‘Top Grossing Game’.

    This is misleading…perhaps top grossing of the day.

  4. Adjusted the title of the post so people don’t get confused. It is the top paid app for the iPad now and also the game of the week.

  5. “Please note that the game is working only on iPad 2!”

    Ahm, hm… Let’s promote lazy devs? I understand the first ipad has only 256 MB RAM but anyway.

  6. This is awesome, second level nearly had me with the light and blue paint. Great stuff.

  7. I don’t get, why this – and most games / apps you’re posting – are not portet for android / blackberry.

  8. Amazing game indeed. I have played it on PC 1 year ago and downloaded again for my IPAD2. Same experience, great graphics/music, simple gameplay exceptional scenario. Each level is a unique “mind trap” and engages the player into the world.
    10 stars from me.

    Lee, any idea if these guys used blitted graphics and spriteSheet stuff or plain timeline tweens? Could you tell us the optimization techniques they used?

  9. Yes finally the most complex ‘Flash’ game ever on mobile.

    But was wondering why this is taged as iPad2 specific… totally not a common practice for ios developers. Peope would be thinking like hey this must be a visually epic game like Warload… alright the truth is that’s a Flash game and could only perform well on highend due to its abuse of MOVIECLIPS and the game charges $5 for something such experimental.

  10. No intention to offense Flash tech, actually I’m developing with AIR too. But was quite furious about the graphical performance on mobile. Though this game is over 100MB which demonstrates the possibility of a even more sophisticated AIR product on mobile, the 2D performance is needed to be improved to a higher level. Why Adobe doesn’t care to improve the direct displaylist performance but prompt the developers to dive into 3D to get a decent 2D performance?

  11. @Lee: I couldn’t play it as I don’t own an iPad2 (only iPad1). I played this game years ago on PC and it sure is a charming game but why exactly can’t it run on the first iPad if not because of lazy devs who did not optimize it? There is MUCH more complex games for iPad than this and they do run on iPad1.

  12. But honestly…. is it a great game because the designers & developers did a great job or because is made in Flash?

    The fact that works on iPad 2 only, strongly suggest, once again, that even if compiled down to machine code, ActionScript & Flash runtimes still hog down resources to unacceptable levels; despite the fact that this game has tiny animations and no 3D at all.

    Graphics is fantastic but if developers took care of using one of many frameworks for native coding, their result would have been available to a much wider audience.

    Of course I’m sure that next version of Air and Flash, plus tablets with 8 cores processors at 3GHz and 8 GB of RAM, will finally make Flash development au pair with native coding (or maybe not).

  13. I love flash but flash is a mess at this point, to many directions and we developers that we love so much flash are, at least in my case I am kinda lost…

  14. What a nice surprise, great example of how flash tools can be adapted to different ideas. Wish I could be a part of the team just to see how it was created.

  15. why is it iPad 2 only? They cut out about 95% of the iOS user base. I think if they ported the game instead of using Flash they would have hit the entire iOS market.

  16. I don’t think Adobe should see this as a win. This is an extremely simple (although great) game and it can only run on an iPad 2?? Way to scare the crap out of Flash developers.

  17. @John: first up in performance techniques; they made it for iPad 2 only. my simple (currently in development) AIR based app runs terribly on iPad 1 and excellent on iPad 2.

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