Flax HTML5 Game Engine Development Diary Part 10

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? In the time since the last dev diary, we’ve gotten jobs, passed exams (and gotten into the third year of our course), gone to a few conferences and the like, and spent a lot of time, to be honest, not working on the Flax Engine. This is our apology.


We’ve spent some time in the last few weeks working on the engine. So much time, in fact, that we’re releasing a demo today, on the first anniversary of Flax.ie’s existence. Don’t get too excited – it’s still far from done. There’s no “game” in “Flax game engine” so far. What we’ve got is really a demo of our map editor, Weave. Naturally, we had to build the tools before we could build anything even resembling a game.


Before you start thinking “But I want a gaaaame,” don’t worry. We’re now on a three-week iteration release schedule, so before the end of this Summer, we’ll have a game. In fact, I promise that I won’t go back to college until we’ve shown off a game using the Flax Engine.

A personal note

One last thing, before you watch Ciarán’s screencast and then have your mind blown by the live demo of some tiles on a canvas (and a super-sweet minimap). If it wasn’t for Ciarán, for IT Carlow’s incredible game dev course, and for an incredibly lucky escape from the Irish second-level school system, my life would have been spent in a [McDonald’s/jail/basement/coffin]. Two years ago, I was waiting on my Leaving Certificate results, and not in a hundred thousand years would I have believed you if you’d told me I’d be working for Ericsson, making a HTML5 game engine, or be mentioned in a publication like Wired, not just within two years, but ever. I still can’t believe my luck. I got exactly the grades needed to get into this course. Any less (even just a single percent less) and I wouldn’t be here. And here’s what I’ve got to say to that: All you need is determination. This is something I’ve learned from Ciarán. If I’d failed my Leaving Cert armed with this knowledge, I’m sure I’d still find myself in a situation similar to this one. Never give up.


Anyway, back out of emotion-land, here you go! The Flax Engine, version 0.1, Weave demo. Tell your friends. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and please, please tell us if you’ve found a bug or want to request a feature, or even if you like what we’ve done. Comments, tweets, emails and the like are what really keep us going. Far better than coffee. Thanks to everyone who made it this far, and especially those who’ve been reading since this time last year.
It should be noted that the default tilesheet is from Pokémon Gold or Silver, and that artwork is copyright Nintendo, Gamefreak, The Pokémon Company, and not ours. The image is used under fair use, unless someone tells me it’s unfair.

Live Demo

Live engine demo

Ciarán’s Screencast

About the Author

Carl Lange

I'm currently a Computer Games Development student at Carlow IT. I love programming and all things technical, and I'll learn anything if it's interesting. I'm passionate about technical education, and naturally about games. Check out my resume, and follow me on Twitter!

Visit Website


  1. Anonymous July 7, 2011

    Wow, I thought Flash was a CPU hog.

    • Author

      Couple of things, though. This is 0.1, there’s plenty of room for optimisation. It’ll get better over time, too, with browsers and operating systems supporting hardware acceleration. As well as that, this is the entire engine, not just the map editor, making it quite expensive.

      On top of that, there are four canvases onscreen, one of which updates as fast as it possibly can using requestAnimationFrame (and is drawing a few hundred tiles at that time), another refreshing at 30fps, and the two others refreshing on mouseover. There’s so much optimisation that we’ll be doing in the coming weeks that it’ll hopefully be far better than it is today. For example, rather than drawing each background tile separately as currently happens, we’ll consolidate the entire background into an image, and then draw that image. This should improve CPU expense considerably.

  2. I feel like 1993 when Zelda took 100% of my CPU …

  3. Stephen July 7, 2011

    As I said on Twitter, this is pretty darn cool. I’m having no probs with CPU usage as I’m running this, Photoshop, Sony Vegas and about 20 tabs in Firefox with some videos and I’ not even hitting 30% 😛

    Looking forward to 0.2 ^^

    • Author

      That’ll be hardware acceleration kicking in alright – we’re seeing _far_ better performance on Windows than on OS X or Ubuntu, but even then only on certain setups. Glad you like it!

  4. Well done to ye all again guys – really thrilled for ye! Keep up the great work and it will pay off – stick with it!


    • Author

      Thanks Ian! Yeah, it’s fantastic to finally have something real out there, rather than “We’re working on it”

  5. Flash Video on a site about HTML5 July 7, 2011

    Are you kidding? You posted a FLASH video on a site about creating HTML5 content? Why?

Trackbacks for this post

  1. […] it’s that time again, it’s been just about three weeks since the first iteration of the Flax HTML5 Game Engine 0.1 and as promised we have tried really hard to stick to our time-boxed release system and putting the […]