Flash has come a long way in the last decade, and it's a well-kept secret getting a Flash game to connect to a multi-client server for chat and/or basic avatar movement in real time.

Why has the industry as a whole not made this a common-knowledge type of thing yet? We keep pushing to the web but I am finding it incredibly difficult gathering learning material on this subject.

Sure, I can find multi-client server socket tutorials in various languages (using select statements and/or threads to handle multiple socket connections), but in regards to Flash applications inside of a browser? NOPE!

Can everyone please share what they know? :] It's a subject I'd really love to get into but I'm afraid I just honestly don't know enough about how to do it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was looking into this very thing many years ago before Adobe was in the picture, and I telephoned Macromedia directly after not finding anything online. They told me that only XML communications were supported, and that direct socket I/O simply wasn't possible and wasn't in the plans. For an MMO, reading/writing specific bytes of data is important from a performance optimization standpoint, and XML carries ridiculous amounts of overhead for this sort of thing (it's wasteful to package/parse 50+ bytes to send/receive a few bytes of data repeatedly -- that CPU power should go to gameplay). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 10, 2011 at 1:45

2 Answers 2


The reason you cannot find any info about running a socket server from Flash within the browser is because it is not possible. You can only connect to a socket server from a Flash movie running in the browser.

To run a socket server with Flash you need to create an AIR 2.x application that runs on the desktop. This article on Adobe AIR Developer Center should get you started.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I meant exactly what you said - connecting to a socket server from flash, not running Flash AS a socket sever (I never even said that to begin with..) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 9, 2011 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ You mentioned "multi-client server socket tutorials ... handl[ing] multiple socket connections". I read that as wanting to run a socket server inside of Flash Player. Anyway, the article I linked also explains how to connect to a socket server in Flash. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 10, 2011 at 5:08

I'd imagine the reason you're not hearing much about Flash connecting to a multi-client server is possibly because you're researching only the Flash-side of things and not the server-side element.

It's less of a front-end / client-side issue, and more of a server-side management of state, connections (i.e. players), data (-base) updates, and what-not.

I've seen a nice abstraction used with SmartFoxPro. They offer the plug-and-play chat client, room client, in-game API that you can hook into as a flash / actionscript developer.

Honestly, you should take a look at multiplayer game development from the server-side perspective (java - redwarf, ruby, python (piston as a framework), even php using a framework like codeigniter for a lightweight application).

Take a look at researching from that angle and hopefully that helps!


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