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By now, you may have seen that many of our friends – including Adobe, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and Mozilla – have announced their plans to support a move away from Flash. If you’re a web content creator, this shouldn’t be shocking news. The trend has been moving away from closed browser plugins for a while. We ourselves stopped supporting Flash in 2013 and our own Unity Web Player in 2016. For Flash, recent events are noteworthy, because specific information has been released, allowing the industry to plan for a Post-Flash world.

Creating Interactive Web Content with Unity

As the industry turns the page on Flash, Unity will continue to support interactive experiences on the web through WebGL. We’ve officially supported it as a build target since 2015, and had even helped craft specifications before then. Today, we actively collaborate with our browser friends – Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple – to ensure compatibility and an optimal experience. We will continue to do so.

While collaborating with the industry, we continue to make our own implementation better and better. Some recent improvements: We added support for WebAssembly, which promises faster start-up times and better performance; so much so, that it could be a game changer (more details). We’ve also introduced linear rendering for better graphics. In addition to adding new features, we continue to optimize our own implementation and performance. There’s still some limitations: memory, threading etc… these can manifest in performance issues on 32-bit browsers and mobile devices. We expect some organic resolution, as end users adopt 64-bit browsers and more powerful mobile devices. Furthermore, we expect browsers will continue improving their implementations of WebGL and WebAssembly. We’re especially excited about Shared Array Buffer support, enabling native multithreading for much better performance.

The result of all this is that today, with Unity’s WebGL export, you can deploy your Unity projects to the web, just like any other platform Unity supports (Official Compatibility List).

Need to see what you can do with WebGL and Unity today? Check out some web games, on our Made with Unity site.

Thoughts for the Future

While the industry has (and will continue) to rapidly change, we believe the web is an important platform to support. We, Unity, built our name by supporting a wide range of platforms. As always, we will continue our mission to Democratize Game Development by supporting you all, by supporting the platforms and technologies you want to create for, such as mobile, web, VR – and perhaps all three in a single experience!

7 replies on “Unity and creating content in a Post-Flash World”

It’s awesome. It’s pretty insane that you can just port a whole project over to HTML5 without having to change anything aside from the game’s settings menu. I know some people are somehow still defending flash, but then again there are also some people that deny the holocaust so I take those comments with a load of salt.

Sometimes there are more requirements than only performance. In many projects we still must shrink build size as much as possible, on loading pages it is not acceptable to put build bigger than 1MB… Sadly Flash still has few advantages over any JS engine – many shared and useful code bundled with plugin. For JS for example support for handling audio and compressed texture on many different devices and web browser must be uploaded to client with other assets and project specific code.

Calling targeting the browser as exporting to “WebGL” has caused no end of confusion for your users. Even your own employees think WebGL = WebAssembly, WebAudio, JavaScript, and various other things unrelated to WebGL. It causes all kinds of problems when asking for support because they ask for WebGL support. People who know WebGL go try to be helpful only to find the question has zero to do with WebGL at all and wasted their time by being mistagged.

… I believe that this will be a major improvement over flash player, but I don’t believe it would be for the best to stop supporting it yet. There are way too many old devices that need it to run, and some people can’t afford to buy a new device every fricking year. Sadly you probably don’t care, so I’ll just go back to playing my video games.

It boggles my mind that Flash is still in use. It’s 2017 (let me date myself a little here: Why not just code in vbscript?) ….
The security issues inherent to Flash should have killed it a decade (or more!) ago.

Now if some of our webhosts *cough* 1and1 *cough* would add gzib formats to the MIME types this might be easy to implement.

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