Archive for October, 2008

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Mike Chambers posted that Flash Player 10 is officially live. This completes your 1-2 punch of RIA/game platform releases of Silverlight and Flash this week.

We have just released the shipping version of Flash Player 10 (Mac, Windows and Linux). You can find more information on all of the new features on the Flash Player product page.

You can download the player for Mac, Windows and Linux players from here.

You can grab debug and standalone players from here.

You can grab the release notes from here.

Flash Player 10 is great news. There are so many things in it from a new data structure (Vector), to local FileReference, to Matrix and 3D helpers, to speed improvements and video enhancements being able to play other video types and more (this was actually in a late version of flash player 9 as well but will be used more here). It does take time for flash versions to get out in the wild, about 9 months to where they are in the 90%-95% range where you can convince people to use it in production, but getting those skills now is good.  The scripting platform is still Actionscript 3 so anyone still making Flash Player 8 and AS2 stuff is now two revolutions behind.

Another thing I am looking forward to soon (next week) that is missing from both Flash and Silverlight, is the ability to develop for the iPhone, which Unity3D is dropping the iPhone kit on Oct 22nd. Unity3D has effectively taken Director’s 3d game development (hardware accelerated) market lead away this year and late last year and is a great platform. Director who?

Lots of great tools and platforms to create the innovative new applications, games and markets that are so needed right now. Go create!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Silverlight 2 has been released. This is the real silverlight release.  The release last year 1.0 was just a javascript release and only had one object, the downloader, not even a text input.  But now there are real tools like rich ui controls, services support (REST), DLR (C#, Linq, ironpython/ruby) and Sockets which are much needed for games and game platform development.

There are also much better tools at this stage:

Bam. Silverlight 2 is out. There’s the expected stuff, like the final SDK, Expression, and Silverlight tools:

And from Tim’s blog:

But there’s also http://www.eclipse4sl.org/. Yes, that means you can code Silverlight in Eclipse. Details and progress at the Eclipse Tools for Silverlight Blog. It’ll be licensed under the EPL 1.0 License.

I have done lots of Silverlight initially when 1.0 came out as well as the agency I was working at.  We did video players, mini-games, demo apps and even the Halo 3 online manual at silverlight.net.  But it wasn’t really ready until now.  It still has a long way to go to really be an alternative to Flash but it is capable platform at version 2 for applications, mini-games and video apps for sure. But in the end it just provides competition to make both the Flash/Flex platforms and Silveright compete for developer support.

Saturday, October 11th, 2008


as3isolib is a great isometric library for actionscript 3
by Justin Opitz.  This is a lower level isometric library that could be used in building your own isometric gaming engine or learning more about the popular isometric view in games or other flash content.

From building basic blocks…

To constructing sprites and objects with individual iso objects with their own bounding boxes.


This sample shows a two piece tree, a common issue with sprites in isometric is where to slice them up.  This sample shows a tree with the leaves able to be in front of a character so that you could walk under the tree and be in front of the trunk but covered by the trees.  Essentially height is respected.

Sample code for the tree tutorial:

package
{
import as3isolib.display.IsoSprite;
import as3isolib.display.primitive.IsoBox;
import as3isolib.display.scene.IsoGrid;
import as3isolib.display.scene.IsoScene;

import flash.display.Loader;
import flash.display.Sprite;
import flash.events.Event;
import flash.net.URLRequest;

public class IsoApplication extends Sprite
{
 private var scene:IsoScene;
 private var assets:Object;

 private var loader:Loader

 private function loadAssets ():void
 {
  loader = new Loader();
  loader.contentLoaderInfo.addEventListener(Event.INIT, loader_initHandler);
  loader.load(new URLRequest("assets/swf/assets.swf"));
 }

 private function loader_initHandler (evt:Event):void
 {
  buildScene();
 }

 private function buildScene ():void
 {
  scene = new IsoScene();
  scene.hostContainer = this;
  scene.container.x = 200;
  scene.container.y = 200;

  var treeTrunkClass:Class = loader.contentLoaderInfo.applicationDomain.getDefinition("TreeTrunk") as Class;
  var treeLeavesClass:Class = loader.contentLoaderInfo.applicationDomain.getDefinition("TreeLeaves") as Class;

  var grid:IsoGrid = new IsoGrid();
  grid.showOrigin = false;
  scene.addChild(grid);

  var s0:IsoSprite = new IsoSprite();
  s0.setSize(25, 25, 65);
  s0.moveTo(50, 50, 0);
  s0.sprites = [treeTrunkClass];
  scene.addChild(s0);

  var s1:IsoSprite = new IsoSprite();
  s1.setSize(125, 125, 100);
  s1.moveTo(0, 0, 75);
  s1.sprites = [treeLeavesClass];
  scene.addChild(s1);

  scene.render();
 }

 public function IsoApplication ()
 {
  loadAssets();
 }
}
}

current features

  • simple scene creation
  • 3 primitive types
  • base class for displaying user-created content
  • plenty of styling option on vector based primitives
  • integrates well with a variety of tween engines
  • standard 3D isometric positional sorting

So get busy building the flash version of roller coaster tycoon…

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Google has entered the flash gaming ads market.  Right now that is pretty much owned by MochiAds for flash game devleopers at least pre-game ads anyways.  Advertising can be annoying but MochiAds has pulled it off where the ads are usually advertising other games or interesting things and it monetizes game development for Flash, Unity3D, Director and others, which is a win.  There are many flash gaming sites that are great fun that use ads almost stylistically like Nitrome and typically the ads are pretty fast when they are during the game loading.

Although advertisements in games have long been a scurge on gamers fun when they are trying to insert them into fat client, immersive MMOGs where it totally takes away from the experience, that doesn’t work.

What does work is stuff like MochiAds and possibly Second Life type sponsorships, where advertisements are almost nostalgic or fun and integrated. Developers and publishers have to make money somehow, the better the experience the more impactful and the more games for all. The key is making the integration a good user experience.

We shall see how Google plans to do this.  This might go along with their Lively strategy. The ad market entrance in games is possibly what started the rumors that Google was going to buy Valve for Steam, rumors which quickly died down.

Anyways, the one good thing about this announcement is advertisments go to where the eyes and crowds are going or already at, they are apparantly going massively to online web games and causal experiences make for easy advertisment integration. TV, Radio and many other industries have been supported by advertisement interest due to consumers using and buying the content.  So online gaming is just another one of those entertainment industries and it will grow further with this news.

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Photobucket

Nicolas Cannasse has released haXe 2.01 that now has flash 10 support with a simple switch including the new Vector class.

Another very good news is that haXe has now complete support for Flash 10.
You only have to use -swf-version 10 as commandline parameter to be able to access the new Flash10 APIs (don’t forget to install first the FP10 from labs.adobe.com).

I think it is very possible for haXe to catch on big time, but it takes time as stated. Just remember that Python was worked on almost solely by Guido van Rossum for about 5-years, and then 10-years later it was picked up by Google heavily and the rest is history.  I think it takes 10 years for anything to really catch on from standards to languages.

code_swarm – Python from Michael Ogawa on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

This project is stacked with cool, but is also useful, an ogg/vorbis player in flash/as3.  Arek Korbik at barelyfocused implemented a port for a pure Ogg/Vorbis audio library called FVorbis.  Check out the demo (need flash player 10). Groovy.

The name is: FVorbis. Which stands for more or less “Ogg and Vorbis in Flash”. That’s right, pure ActionScript 3 implementation of the Ogg and Vorbis libraries that require no kind of native support from the Flash Player. A simple Vorbis player implemented using the new FVorbis lib compiles to about 46KB SWF file. And that’s it.

To top it off the code is actually written in haXe, a favorite of the flasherati. This version was iterated from the Cortado’s JOrbis code.

Ogg Vorbis is a great open source audio format which is widely popular in game engines such as recent tools like Unity3D (which will be launching their iPhone dev kit on Oct 22 btw but I digress), so it is great to see it starting to appear in flash. Thanks Arek.