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Phaser 2.4: Game Framework's Epic Release

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Richard Davey has released Phaser 2.4, describing the HTML5 game framework's update as an "epic release."

Featuring a new video component and many updates, enhancements and fixes, the framework's creator said "Without a doubt Phaser 2.4 is a huge update. We had to bump the version number from 2.3 directly to 2.4 because of some API adjustments.

Director at PhotonStorm, the company funding development work on the framework, Davey says Phaser was originally created out of necessity at a time when the few existing HTML5 frameworks were hobbyist projects that were seldom updated.

PhotonStorm were asked to build 5 games for the new Disney Pixar film Inside Out, which Davey said had very high video requirements, leaving the team to code from scratch how videos were handled, and video stream support was added in the process -- one of the biggest improvements in the release.

Where 2.3 didn't have support for video files, Davey says 2.4 not only introduces this support, but does so in a way that they can easily be used in games. "We've created games with video backgrounds, video-based sprites animating across the screen, and webcam-captured video responses as well," Davey said.

Included in the API adjustments are several that entirely replace the old PIXI API. The change log refers to changes such as that Phaser.BitmapText replaces instead of extends PIXI.BitmapText, and Phaser.Text likewise replacing PIXI.Text. It is also noted that "Phaser.Text now natively extends a Phaser Sprite, meaning it can be enabled for physics, damaged, etc."

Davey goes on to check off the various new features, including cache updates. Among these, as described in the change log, "The Cache has been internally refactored considerably. Image data is now all stored in the same object, rather than being split across the PIXI global caches (such as PIXI.TextureCache and PIXI.BaseTextureCache), which are no longer used by Phaser."

Further to this, it is noted, "Internally the Cache now uses a single _cache object, which is partitioned to store the various different object types. Before, the cache used lots of private objects, one per data type, but it's now a lot cleaner and we've managed to cut out hundreds of lines of duplicate code in the process."

On Hacker News, news of Phaser 2.4 was met with only positive responses.

User danbolt commented "Seeing updates for Phaser makes me so happy! It really is a gem of a library. A nice thing about it too, is that it is very easy to make something that is compatible with both desktop web browsers and smartphones" while user XCSme said "This, this is the best JavaScript game framework. Been using it for a few years and it never let me down. It is constantly updated and has lots of examples to get you started."

An open source framework, Phaser welcomes contributions from any game developers who want to share their experiences. Davey says if users find a bug, they should create a minimal test case, and add it onto the Github Issues list. Anyone who wants to give feedback about the learning process or API is encouraged to use the Phaser forum, where Davey says everything is read.

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