Archive for August, 2008

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

The Zupko show continues with reflections in Papervision 3D [demo].

Be sure to check out the shadow demo that this is based on:

After posting my shadow experiment, Patrick Matte posed a question wondering if I would be able to do real-time reflections in a similar manner. The next day I had it done, along with some nice iterations along the way: orthographic and perspective projection (I can release those later if anyone really wants them). I’ve been sitting on it every since and finally decided I would take the time to write a little description into how its done and give the code to those who are interested (and I fixed up some code for backface culling in the reflection this morning).

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

There is another new Tween engine from Grant Skinner called gTween, further demonstrating the fun in coding with AS3.  Frameworks and kits are duplicating much like the Python community because the language and platform are quite empowering.  Do we have too many Tween engines, maybe but be glad the flash community has this many and share, it only makes each iteration better.

Additional Features

gTween has a lot of additional features. I’m not going to write about all of them, but here are a few:

  • autoHide, sets the target’s visible to false when the tweened alpha is 0
  • autoReverse, reverses the tween when it ends (and plays it backwards if autoPlay is true).
  • smartRotate, rotates in shortest direction
  • supports using setSize for tweening height and width on components
  • support for updating properties like matrix and colorTransform automatically during a tween.
  • jump to any point in a tween by setting position.
  • loop a tween by setting nextTween equal to the same tween.
  • determine the state of a tween with the state and paused properties.

Download (Beta 1)

To access the API documentation, and download the latest build of GTween, visit the GTween page at gskinner.com/libraries/gtween/.

Here is a list of all open AS3 Tweening engines and base kits

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Well, ES4 and ES3 battles are over for javascript.  ES4 being the spec that AS3 Actionscript 3 is based on.  From the two people that are most in this Douglas Crockford and Brendan Eich, Crockford states “ES4 is no more”.

It is more a merging of the two ideas (continuing ES3 javascript or jumping to a new and improved ES4 Javascript 2 spec).  But still hopefully it retains the fun of AS3 scripting.  Javascripting with ES3 is fun but it has some quirks that make it a bit needy of frameworks to make development faster.  With ES4 based AS3 I have really enjoyed the improvement and simplification of things like event handling and typing.  We shall see what happens over time.  Maybe the NBL of Javascript2 just isn’t going to happen, or it will slow down now.

Discussion at reddit about this

More from Eich about this

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Here are some really stylish and well done uses of Papervision 3D to make fun games. The people at Bloc recently launched Meta4orce, a unique interactive sci-fi TV show site with some great and numerous uses of papervision 3d.  My favorite is the tron like style and the tower defense game called shock to the system.

Shock to the system

Mako User Interface

Deadsphere Pt. I

and many more check them out at Iain Lobb.

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Making great games, applications and tools using flash, silverlight or other tools that are emerging such as Unity3D takes great style, effort and knowing your target. We need to know what the end-user machine has at hand.  The Unity 3d guys put together a great post on the capabilities of casual gaming machines. With all the talk about flash 3d, unity3d and silverlight what level are you targeting and what group of people can actually PLAY your games as you envision.

Pretty much everyone knows Valve’s hardware survey – it’s a very valuable resource that shows what hardware the typical “hardcore PC gamer” has (that is, gamers that play Valve’s games).

However, the “casual gamer”, which is what Unity games are mostly targeted at, probably has slightly different hardware. “Slightly” being a very relative term of course.

Lo and behold – we have a glimpse into that data.

How? First time the Unity Web Player is installed, it submits anonymous hardware details (details in the EULA). This happens only once, and contains no personally identifiable information. It’s much like visitor statistics trackers on the websites that gather your OS, browser information and whatnot.

Remember, all this data is from people who installed Unity Web Player (most likely because they wanted to play some Unity content on the web). Hardware of standalone game players might be different, and hardware of your game’s players might be different as well. The data set is well over a million samples at the moment.

Check out the full stats here.

The most interesting stats to me:

OS Platforms

Windows 96.8%

Mac OS X 3.2%

CPU Core count overall

1 54.7%

2 44.1%

4 1.1%

8 .1%

Wow this one is surprising, but with the type of gamer that will play and download a quality new plugin to get to a game, maybe not.  They need to have the latest and greatest.  Multi-core processors have been selling for about 2-3 years so this is a continuing trend that will make Flash 3d and even plugins like Unity 3d better over the short term.

Also when you check it over at Unity Blog note the top cards, it is a bit painful if you are a casual gamer developer.  Not a decent card in the top 10-15. But that is changing rapidly over the next 1-2 years in this regard. But this also vyes well for flash based games that rely on dual core software rendered results right now as a decent constraint for developers to keep content painfully accessible to all states of machinery out there.

I wonder if this information is available on the flash player and public? This is specific to the Unity 3D plugin that is also a bit of a different market that is willing to install a plugin for better experiences.  With Flash it is usually preinstalled or auto updated for a casual user and might be different as Flash has a 98% penetration rate.  Or for that matter the Director users which would be more gaming focused which amout ot about 40% of internet users.  But as with the case of Unity it is specific to games right now and a small penetration rate, Flash is also apps, ads, tools, demos, interactives in addition to games.  Having this information on Flash or Director would be nice.