PushButton Engine - a game engine for Flash. But will anyone use it?
First off, I recommend you go over to Jeff Tunnel's blog if you want a great read about the business of independent games. Jeff knows a bit about games, having co-founded Garage Games, and his latest venture is PushButton Engine, an open source game engine / library for Flash. I had to re-read the description a couple of times to understand what they're trying to do, but basically it's an MIT licensed AS3 library with pathfinding, physics etc, that they eventually plan to make money from by selling add-ons to developers.
I've thought for a while that Flash gaming needs something like this, to make it is easier for newcomers to create more advanced games. So my first question is - who's the target market? And I guess the answer is I am, since I make my living from Flash games. But here's my problem with that idea - surely anyone who knows enough about both Flash and game development to find this project, learn the API and make a decent game can already apply these concepts through their own code? Potentially this project could save you a lot of development time (for example I wouldn't devote months to creating my own rigid body physics engine) but some of the mechanisms it includes, such as health, teams and spriting are so intrinsic to a game, that I could easily see a developer fighting against the API. There's also a multiplayer API in the works, but that market is already saturated with decent products (although I believe there's still a gap in the market for an unbranded, hosted multiplayer platform).
I'm going to give the engine a good test when I find some time, so stay tuned.