ForPlay is lauded as a pretty amazing accomplishment by Google's own. But I'm holding off on making any solid judgements as yet...

I'm wondering if anyone has used this and has found any major flaws? I'd like to know what these are. Considering that the code is written in Java and is compiled for Flash, Android and HTML5 additionally, I'm wondering how it performs on those platforms as compared with games written natively for those platforms -- if anyone has done any comparisons in this regard.

For those who are unaware of what ForPlay (now renamed PlayN) is, see the repository and this video.

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    \$\begingroup\$ They really named that ForPlay. Wow :) \$\endgroup\$ – bummzack Aug 10 '11 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it supports Android, HTML5 (except on iOS), and Flash. But Android supports HTML5 and Flash. Their docs say the Android backend is busted anyway. What's the point? Just use Flash or HTML5. \$\endgroup\$ – user744 Aug 10 '11 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never heard of this lib - interesting & glad a question got posted about it. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Holt Aug 10 '11 at 16:27

I never used it, but one point against using it is certainly that it's currently at alpha stage, there's basically no documentation and Android support is broken.

From the presentation video it seems like audio support/capabilities is kinda bad. Also there's no socket support (yet).

As with every language that provides a high abstraction layer, you're going to sacrifice some performance. In this special case a lot depends on the "compiler" that will generate the native code for the platform. No problem for Android, since Java is already the native language there, the JavaScript compiler seems to be very good, just the Flash output is not at a level that is comparable to a native app.

You'll also have to consider that to create a game that actually runs on all platforms by simply swapping the "main" class (as demonstrated in the video), you're also going to have to restrict yourself to the common capabilities of the target platforms. That might mean that you cannot use multi-touch as a core gameplay element, or keyboard input etc. unless you start to code some platform specific bits. But that's a problem all cross-platform developers are going to face.

These are some "generic" cons to consider. But the project looks interesting and could provide a great platform to deploy to HTML5, Android, Desktop and Flash once it enters a more mature stage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good points, particularly the one about common capabilities. It will become a lot more useful if they advance it to cover iOS as well. \$\endgroup\$ – Engineer Aug 10 '11 at 15:36

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