Hardware Rendering for 3D in Silverlight or Flash? And, Anyone Seen Our Director?

Hardware 3D rendering…

One thing that might be interesting in the heating up battle of Flash vs Silverlight is rendering.  Will Silverlight down the road provide hardware rendering support for 3d in Silverlight?  If so Microsoft will have a compelling offering.  Would Microsoft really want this with strong 3d capabilities built into a browser (goes against their console offerings, or maybe not in the end).

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWith 3d in the browser on two competing platforms that use hardware rendering we can make Raycasted donuts (yummy) oh and there could be a massive surge in the online 3d gaming market (especially the indie market).

It is up for grabs 

But the problem is that Silverlight will also need to support OpenGL for other platforms (that do not run DirectX).  If Adobe wants to win this maybe OpenGL 3d integration into flash will make it more cross platform.  I know the developers on the papervision3d lists are all looking forward to better than software rendering in flash.

Who’s Directing Director? 

But then this leads to another question, where does Director fit in all this, is it even part of the plan? Will Director and Flash merge to support this? Then what happens to the saturation of Flash in the market when it has more third party issues like Director? (and possibly less adoption director usually gets up to 50% to 60% saturation) 

What exactly happened to Director in the plans?

Director is still the de facto standard in 3d web games, more on this soon.  Director has been noticeably absent from all versions of Creative Suite (they are up to CS3 now without it).  Buzz about it was happening in 2004-2005 but last anyone heard is it is still planned for released. The one problem with the Director development environment and community is that the IDE is clunky, the libraries and script (Lingo) is not as advanced as AS3 (the addition of Javascript to the capabilities was great but much of the community was Lingo) and the community is a ghost town (loads of broken links and pay xtras, its stuck in 2003-4).  It was a great market before that, I think Adobe is letting it slip further and further away.  If they wait too long Microsoft might add hardware rendering to Silverlight and then game over in owning 3d gaming on the web. 

“Halleys Comet”

Here is a posting to macromedia.director.3d from Ritesh Banglani, Product Manager for Director and Shockwave. It was in response to a joke about him coming and going from the forum like Halley’s Comet…

Still here, guys. I cannot give an exact release date for the next version, but it will likely be towards the end of the year rather than the middle. The Shockwave Vista release (with DirectX 7) will be out sooner – in 6 weeks or so.

We will NOT upgrade the 3D feature set in the forthcoming Director release. Requirements like new platform support, performance and text engine enhancements are very urgent, and we don’t want to delay this release beyond 2007. However, we are committed to maintaining Shockwave as the leading 3D format on the web, and you WILL see 3D enhancements in a subsequent release. The move to DirectX 9 is a signal of our long term commitment to Shockwave 3D.

I know this is not the answer many of you are looking for. I appreciate your patience, and hope to keep the channels of communications open!

Currently this is the status of hardware supported 3d in WPF/E Silverlight. 

WPF fully supports hardware rendering but Silverlight (cross browser) does not.

What features are missing from Silverlight presentation markup that will be supported in WPF?

Some high-end, Windows-specific features of WPF, such as real 3D, hardware-based video acceleration, and full document support, will not be supported in Silverlight. This is done on purpose in order to serve the Silverlight cross-browser, cross-platform reach requirements that demand a light-weight plug-in. However, Silverlight will offer a uniform runtime that can render identical experiences across browsers on both Macintosh computers and on Windows-based computers.

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  • http://www.jondavis.net/ Jon Davis

    I found this blog post by searching “silverlight 3d support” (without the quotes), it was the first hit.

    FYI, Shockwave Director is NOT the current standard for web-based 3D games. Flash is the standard for games in general, but for 3D games Director is almost never used. Unity has taken that position. Google for “Unity game engine”.

  • http://drawlogic.com/ drawk

    Hey Jon, yeh been posting and working on flash a long time and started early on silverlight.

    At most gaming sites that are 3d are Shockwave Director is why I say that. There are lots of great online plugins but that is the problem most are download. I have a irrlicht plugin that I would love people to have but they dont’ so it isn’t much use. Java with Runescape is doing ok for a large online game in 3d although it is very weak. Shockwave from games on miniclip that are 3d or other sites where true 3d is needed it still owns due to hardware acceleration and platform support 50% of people already have it.

    The unity game engine is awesome but others like wildtangent have messed up and get successful and turn to bad ads or spyware. So it unity doesn’t do that then rock on, but right now making a 3d game (not in fake 3d in flash) that is hardware accelerated the largest market still is Shockewave but that is fading.

  • hugo

    hello there, i can not believe why flash player still does not hardware rendering, leaving 3d transformations out, it would be a great pleasure to have 2d accelerated gfx, with that everything would be possible … uargh, we have 2008 and still there is no hardware accellerated rendering in flash … W H A T A S H A M E ! ! !eleven!