Adobe Air Limits Choice: Machinarium iPad 2 Only

Friday, September 16, 2011
By OP Editor

Openness fail for Adobe Air ported application. High hardware requirements to display 2D graphics. Works on iPad 2, not for Android or BlackBerry at this time.

Machinarium iPad 2 Only, Adobe Air Limits Choice

Machinarium iPad 2 Only

Machinarium, a great award winning adventure puzzle game just got ported to iPad: [$4.99 on App Store]. Adobe evangelist Lee Brimelow is proud that the game is written in Adobe Air and exported straight to iPad.

However, the game is iPad 2 only (v 1.0 released September 13), differing from Adobe’s dream of write once, run everywhere.

Why did Adobe Air limit the supported device to exclude first generation iPad? Daring Fireball explains that it’s due to resource requirements of Adobe Air, which required a top of the line device to run 2D animation:

The game requires an iPad 2 for performance reasons, even though the animation is 2D, not 3D.

On stability of Adobe Air:

The game’s description on the App Store includes this: “NOTE: If the game crashes, RESET your iPad, the problem does not have to be on our side!” Such instructions are not unique to games built using Adobe Air, but still, it doesn’t speak well regarding the game’s resource consumption.

Probably bad for battery life too.

3D Games in iPad and iPad 2

In contrast, when an app is written natively in Cocoa Touch, it opens up a larger audience. These games work on both first gen iPad and iPad 2, looking great at the same time:

  • Award winning World of Goo [App Store $4.99 Universal] even added multi-touch to its iPad game port! Works perfectly on iPad and iPad 2.
  • Real Racing 2 HD [App Store, $6.99] didn’t have problem outputing 3D graphics in HD on iPad
  • Infinity Blade [App Store, $5.99 Universal] looks great on all supported devices.

Even though Adobe touts openness for its products, the game is NOT ported to Android or BlackBerry phones or tablets. Probably due to resource requirements of the game combined with BB and Android too slow for gaming compared to iPhone or iPad.


Related Posts

  1. Adobe Photoshop Touch iPad 2 App Review
  2. Adobe: 3 iPad CS5 Companion Apps + Photoshop Touch SDK
  3. Award Winning Machinarium Game for iPad 2 + Mac on Sale
  4. Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad 2, Video Walkthrough
  5. Adobe Releases 3 iPad Photoshop Companion Apps

Tags: Adobe, Android, Apple, iPad, iPad Apps

10 Responses to “Adobe Air Limits Choice: Machinarium iPad 2 Only”

  1. Eric J

    Note that even on an iPad 2, there’s 10+ second, black screen wait, upon cold boot for Machinarium. That’s before the splash screen. Unbelievable.

    good game though

  2. Don’t be too fast to blame Adobe AIR. The app was a port from the desktop version The authors of the app themselves admit that if they had built it from the ground up as a mobile app, it would be a whole different story. The desktop app had a ton of memory available to it (relatively speaking), so when ported to iOS, it was more than the iPad 1 made available, hence the iPad 2 requirement.

    If the app was built from scratch as a mobile app with the limitations in mind, there is no doubt that it would work on iPad 1.

    Here’s the important point: The ability to port an existing desktop app to an iPad is the real miracle here. Yes, they could have decided to rewrite it as a native app but it would be months if not years until we all got to play it. They instead decided to port the existing code.

    From the author’s point of view, Adobe AIR is a sweet solution…not perfect, but hey, it was the #1 app across the entire app store world-wide for an entire week!

    Everybody likes to blame Adobe AIR, but in this case, you’re wrong.

    Also, wait until you see what’s coming next in AIR. Mark my words, it’s going to be a big big deal and open up the doors for lots more top-10 apps both for iOS, Android, Desktop, etc.



  3. So you think rebuilding it from scratch would be faster? Yes it took months because it’s a huge app, but the point is, they were able to get it to market MUCH faster by porting the existing code to AIR rather than a full rewrite. Also, I’ll bet you see an Android version very soon… something not possible if they built it as a native app.

    Of course there are great features coming…that’s not a “just wait attitude”, that’s constant innovation. It’s great now and many apps are in the app stores already, and more on the way fast. Here are a few other AIR apps doing well: Pyramix, Neptune, Kung Fu Battle Slots, Politifact (#1 news app for 4 days when launched on iPhone), and many others. ALL of these run on iPad 1 BTW. All of these apps were built in a fraction of the time it would take for native. Also, these apps are on iOS and Android across 5 different stores. The creators of these apps are thrilled with that. All of them have 4.5 stars.

    On your flash comment – flash has already improved a ton, especially in the last year. Adoption of new versions if faster than ever. If you want a glimpse at what’s coming VERY soon, check out the video here — Also, go to youtube and search for “molehill” or “adobe stage3d” and you’ll see more than just improvement. You’ll see a dramatic mind blowing Flash Player capabilities.

    I’m not trying to piss you off – just trying to get you to realize the real facts here. It’s always easy to bash the underlying technology, and sometimes it’s justified (even for Adobe), but sometimes, it’s more complicated than that. Flash is not perfect (no software is). AIR is also not perfect, and let’s not forget, it’s still very new to the mobile world, but it’s doing damn well. Machinarium was the #1 app across the entire app store for 7 days. The iPad 1 limitation is unfortunate and frustrating to me too, but, I’ll just trust the creators reasons for needing more than 155M of memory. Hopefully someday, they can tweak their code to squeak it in under 155M so it will run on the iPad 1. I think they were just eager to get it out there, and it seems to have paid off. I’d love to know the sales numbers!

    Thanks :)


    • WOG: “In the first month of sales on the iPad App Store, World of Goo sold 125k copies.”

      So, 125,000 * $5 * .7, that’s close to half a million dollars. Surely a lot more profit than 6 months of labor.

      Most developers can make an app for both iPad and iPad 2 fine. Example: Real Racing.

      Developing it natively provides million more customers (more revenue) and less chance that it would be buggy. Requiring latest device just to display 2D graphics isn’t the way to go.

  4. sartre

    this is a weird article. Machinarium is not available for android because the game developer has not released it for android yet. How is that Adobe’s fault. In general AIR apps can be deployed to several different mobile operating systems with a simple click.
    With AIR native extensions you also have full access to the underlying operating system.
    Finally, How is writing a native app for each mobile device better than reusing code across all devices even if the reuse is only 85-90%, it is still better than a complete rewrite. You also have to maintain this code..
    Don’t get so blinded by your religion as to not see the bigger picture. As another comment pointed out several #1 apps on ios are written in AIR and more are coming. Thats reality for you.

  5. Hello again,

    Ok… a few corrections:

    1) That article you refer to on performance is out of date. This space is moving fast. The Samsung Galaxy 10′ comes close on performance (although, until they get the price better and provide content and a better user experience, they will remain a niche tablet). Other tablets are coming… and yes, so is the iPad 3 which I look forward to :)

    2) Adobe AIR ports to Android extremely easy. It supported Android before it supported iPad. Any AIR app for iOS can be exported to Android in minutes.

    3) Android does make business sense on devices in general because Android makes up a huge share of them….but for tablets only, I totally understand why they went with iOS first. I’ll bet you that we’ll see an Android version very soon. Will it do anywhere near as well in sales? Probably not, but when you add up all of the Android-based tablets, it’s worth doing it.

    Machinarium was #1 for an entire week (7 days)…not just #1 game, but #1 app. You can slam it all you want, but it was a big success. There are very few apps that can make that claim. You can’t give it just a bit of credit for this? Really? I just don’t get the attitude.

    Adobe AIR does export to the iPad 1 (I gave you multiple examples above). Once again (since you missed it before)…the app was ported from the desktop version which is why it requires too much memory for the iPad 1 155M limit. The authors themselves admit that if they had built it from scratch as a mobile app, it would have no problems running on the iPad 1. It is NOT the fault of AIR. I know it’s easy for you to blame the runtime and it’s somehow fashionable to blame the underlying technology when it’s Adobe, but you need to be more factual if you are going to write something as “fact”.

    Lastly, have you looked at the recent announcements around AIR 3 and Flash Player 11? Console-quality gaming (and I’ve touched it, experienced it and was blown away by it). It also now supports native extensions so you can write native code to extend your app where you need native-like performance. Go check it out… do some reading with an open mind.

    Thanks again for listening.



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