When it comes to casual gaming, Flash may be the very best platform to play on. The Flash client has one distinct advantage over alternatives, and that’s the fact that it can be played within the browser. That makes it accessible from just about anywhere and on a huge number of devices.
However, there’s a trade-off. Flash games are often not as optimized as games that run through a standalone client, and you can experience some terrible FPS drops. That’s even if you’re playing games with visuals that look like they belong back in the days of the Super Nintendo. Some of this is because of Flash itself, and the rest of the problem exists within the browser. Browsers can often be resource hogs. Heard of Realm of the Mad God? Players who used their older in-browser Flash client will know what I’m talking about. However, let me help you with a few ways on how you may be able to fix your Flash game performance problem.
Lower the Flash Quality
This is the most simple solution.
It’s as easy as right-clicking and hovering the Quality menu, which will then roll out into a menu of options. The effect that this will have is completely dependent on the game you’re playing and how intense the visuals are. For some games, you’ll see nearly no difference between each setting. In others, it will be extremely obvious.
If it’s something you find yourself doing often, there is a Firefox add-on and Chrome extension that can do this automatically for you.
Play in Another Browser
I don’t know about you, but my Chrome has about six tabs that are constantly pinned, a dozen or so extensions, and more bloat. If you’re playing a Flash game through your browser, this is definitely going to hurt the Flash game performance.
If you use Google to do a bit of research, you can find statistics that show Flash performing better in one browser than in another. I’m not entirely confident in relaying those statistics myself, because they often seem inconsistent. However, my suggestion is that you download one browser and use that browser for nothing other than Flash games. Go through the preferences and strip it down to the bones. Disable every single non-essential option you can and treat it as nothing more than a container for those games.
Enable or Disable Hardware Acceleration
This seems to be a setting that not too many people know of or feel comfortable playing with.
Hardware acceleration basically forces your computer to use its hardware to perform a function faster than possible through software by using your CPU. Depending on your specifications, this can help or hurt you. Test this option, checked and unchecked, to see which shows the best results for your system. You need to restart your browser after the change.
Accessing this option is possible through clicking Settings… in the right-click menu. It will be the only option in the first tab.
Resize or Zoom Out
This is one of the most unconventional methods I’ve come up with, but I’ve honestly found that it helps the most in certain games. The less you have to see, the less that needs to be processed. That can result in better performance.
Opera is a browser that supports zooming in and out by a hotkey. Certain Flash games have containers around them that explicitly restrict the embed’s size. This means that zooming in and out will keep the Flash embed at the same size, while shrinking or enlarging everything around it. This translates to allowing you to change how much of the game is actually visible.
Here you can see a game zoomed far out:
And here you can see this same game zoomed in:
Playing in this zoomed-in way puts less stress on your GPU, as it won’t have to process as many visuals as you play.
This is a very circumstantial way to improve your Flash game performance, and there are probably only a handful of games that you will be able to see this work correctly in. However, it’s the biggest increase in performance that I’ve ever tested.
Flash games are some of the most fun and there are thousands of them that you can find around the web. If you’re a more hardcore gamer, I’ve written an article before that shows three Flash games to help you improve your reflexes. If you really love a game, you can also save that Flash game for offline play.
Let me know if these tips have helped you in any way, and which one showed the most improvement if so. Just leave me a comment in the section below!