I come from a .NET background and I've done a few simple things in Silverlight. I'd love to adopt that and make my site and games Silverlight only; but I hear it has a fairly low install base.

I know Flash has a much higher install base.

I also know that everyone seems to say that HTML5 is the way things should be heading; but there is still a bit of a bumpy road ahead.

Short of maintaining three code-bases; are there any cool tools that would allow me to write once and end up with three versions of the same game? I'm guessing the answer is 'No' but from a theoretical standpoint, I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be possible.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You forgot iPhone version (Objective-C) and Android market one (Java) :) While theoretically possible, such tool would require a lot of effort to go beyond basic moving sprites - each platform has very different optimisation tricks. \$\endgroup\$
    – alxx
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 5:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're going to make a game using flash (or exporting to a flash player compatible format), why would you need to support html5 and silverlight? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetrad
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 2:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ FYI: JSIL can convert XNA based games to HTML5, but last I checked it can't do any of the 3D stuff -- but it does sprite batch, audio, and joystick well. The library is not very mature IMO, but there are some commercial games (like EscapeGoat) using it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 11:31

5 Answers 5


Check out Forplay which is built on top of Google Web Toolkit.
It is created by a couple of guys at Google.

It can currently export to:

  • Desktop
  • Java
  • HTML5 Browsers
  • Android
  • Flash

There are working plans to allow exporting to iOS as well. Your code is written on a single codebase using Java and you can use existing Java libraries such as JBox2D.

Here is a video of their presentation at GoogleIO


Doesn't matter what userbase Flash has if you can't develop for it. Stick with what you know, go for .NET. After all- if your game sucks, nobody will play it, whatever technology you use.


I don't know if this hits Silverlight, but you can develop games that work on a ton of platforms using monkey


but I hear it has a fairly low install base.

Did you get any numbers to support that opinion? Here is a quickly found source: statowl plugin, there should be more.

From my own knowledge (articles read, etc...), Silverlight has a fairly good install ratio on Windows machines. It runs on MacOS too, but might not be installed as much, I haven't seen statistics for that.

If you don't want to target smartphones (other than WP7) and tablets running mobile OSes, it can be a good choice, especially if you already know it, or at least know .NET and some XAML.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ 62% (65% on Windows) is a low install base, especially compared to Flash, which has a 95% install base. The only plugin that has a lower install rate than Silverlight, according to those numbers, is Quicktime. I'd say your source just proved the comment about install base in the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – thedaian
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ 65% is about 2/3rds of the sample, I wouldn't count that as 'low'. It depends on your perspective I guess. Oh and it's fairly easy to install and coming from a (mostly) trusted source. \$\endgroup\$
    – jv42
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Speaking as a user, I haven't installed Silverlight on my new computer yet, but simply because I haven't run into it. If I did, I usually do install it if it offers increased functionality. Now I'm a lot more technologically advanced then a normal user (I think), but I'm guessing I'd install it if I saw a Microsoft logo somewhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMan
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 18:16

At the moment, there is no 'single development tool' that exports to Flash, Silverlight, and HTML5 (and Unity, and iOS, and Android, and whatever else you might want to export to). For the most part, this is due to Silverlight not being supported by various gamedev tools. (Unity, for instance, exports to Flash 11, and iOS, along with being a plugin of it's own) This is mostly due to Silverlight not really being viewed as a "game development" tool. It's not worth going into the reasons here, though. It is a good choice if you want to do Windows Phone 7 development, though.

At the moment, Unity seems to be the platform to develop in for 3d web games, since it'll export to the new Flash 11 and iOS. It also supports C#, so it's somewhat .net developer friendly. Flash has become the main tool for 2d web games, and there's a few things like Flex and Flixel that let you develop in Flash without having to use the "normal" Flash software.

HTML5 has it's own set of problems, mostly due to it being too slow or not supported enough. There's also the issue of monetizing an HTML5 game. The route most people take with Flash doesn't seem as feasible for HTML5, though we'll see what the future holds as technology changes.


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