Thank you Microsoft. You have helped to make it easier to produce and convince clients and collegues to use html5 with your latest decision.
Since you are updating Internet Explorer in automatic updates to IE9 currently and hopefully for the future versions. Developing for the web became better as #html5 with canvas goodness is now market ready! (in a nearer term rather than a year or two possibly – still some time to propagate).
Good news, everyone! Microsoft has decided that the time has come to make sure that all users of Internet Explorer are using the most current version possible. To accomplish that goal, they’re turning on automatic updates.
Yes, Internet Explorer patches and new major versions are already available via Windows Update. But to move from one version to the next, it’s never been a fully automatic process. There’s a separate install window that appears for installing, say, Internet Explorer 9. For many users, the additional steps required were often enough to prevent them from installing a new version.
To clients, developers can now say that IE9 and up is the best target since Microsoft themselves are updating the browser in Automatic Updates for security and a better experience. They can tell clients that is is acceptable to build in html5 with canvas and with less tedium in making things work for IE7 and IE8, less middle man proxy technologies. Microsoft will also be less of a bad name for developers stemming from IE6 and lagged, slow upgrading software progress and users. For many clients that were risky on projects this wasn’t an issue, but deciding what tech to use and convincing others with so much old IE out there was difficult. Hopefully this helps soon.
Ryan Gavin, Microsoft’s senior director for Internet Explorer, pointed out several benefits. The overall security of the Windows user community will be improved as outdated browsers are replaced, developers can focus their attention on building sites using modern web code, and those who surf with IE will be able to enjoy the full Beauty of the Web.
Browsers that silently update like Chrome are the best model, but automatic software updates are also good. html5 is on soon when this kicks in across the world, it seems Microsoft plans to do this at different times around the world.
And so from now on, Internet Explorer will quietly update itself just as Windows does. Starting in January, users in Australia and Brazil will be the begin receiving automatic IE updates. Microsoft will then gradually extend coverage to other parts of the world as time goes on.
This news comes on the same day that Chrome 15 is now the most used browser in the world. IE9 could take the top spot for a while if all IE versions move to IE9 as IE is still 40% of the world share in browsers for all versions.
Ship it! html5 has entered the arena officially. And so it begins…
It just got unreal! Unreal Engine 3 can export to Flash 11 with Stage3D as an export platform. This is amazing news for game development and provides a strong competitor to Unity for high end gaming experiences that run in Flash.
The news was announced at MAX by Tim Sweeney:
On Tuesday during the Adobe Max conference in L.A., Epic CEO, founder and technical director Tim Sweeney announced UE3 support for Adobe’s Flash player.
Industry veteran Sweeney showed a live demonstration of UE3 running inside the recently-released Adobe Flash 11 during his keynote at the conference, using the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game Unreal Tournament 3 as an example.
UE3 works well thanks to Flash 11′s hardware accelerated, programmable graphics pipeline, Adobe said. Flash is now “capable of running triple-A gaming content authored for high-end platforms using the industry’s latest tools and technologies,” the company said in a statement.
UE3 licensees will be able to access new Flash features, and more information is available at the engine’s official website.
Hopefully this will be included in the UDK soon if not in next months release.
But to calm the hype a bit, the reality is, it costs much more to develop a high end game in Unreal 3 compared to current web games but this will open up a whole new high end market and allow game developers to add another platform to export to. Game sites will become full on consoles.
Next-gen consoles for XBOX and Playstation aren’t being updated until 2013-14, that seems a long way away and they just might not exist as we know them when that time comes.
The next console just might be the web on any device, TV, pad, hardware consoles… Unreal and Epic are preparing for this multi-platform game development world along with Unity, Flash and others.
It’s alive! Unity Technologies has a preview of their Unity export to Flash 3D (Molehill now called Stage3D) posted. Unity and Flash exporting was announced earlier this year. This is great as it provides huge benefits for Unity developers and Flash developers for games.
Over the last few months here at Unity, we have been hard at work on, amongst many other cool things, the ability to publish from Unity to the Flash Player. This means that next to the already existing build targets of a Unity project, one will be able to target Flash with Stage3D, announced for Flash Player 11.
A sneak preview
Unity provides the 3d + editor pipeline tools that are arguably the best for web/mobile/desktop/console games. Flash it ubiquitous across all browsers and Unity content will be seen more often if users already have Flash and don’t need to download the Unity WebPlayer plugin. I do hope the Unity WebPlayer stays strong but if Flash 3D Stage3D low level player can integrate 3d with user interfaces kind of like how games use scaleform for killer interfaces layers on and into high quality hardware accelerated games, then we are all in for a treat, both developers, designers and consumers.
Unity is smart to provide more and more platform exports that are solid but I’d also like to see exporting to html5/WebGL. But for controlling the experience entirely in a plugin today, Unity and Flash are the top two interactive and gaming plugins that provide tremendous content and opportunity for the web. Unity also provides for better low level export to Android and iOS (in addition to desktop mac and pc, consoles). Seems like Adobe should buy Unity soon but hope that they don’t sometimes as the competition is nice.
How are the new Stage3D APIs different from the 3D functionality introduced in Flash Player 10?
In Flash Player 10, we introduced APIs that allowed ActionScript developers and designers to apply 3D effects to 2D content. Those 3D effects allow developers to add perspective and projection to content – which could also be described as 2.5D or “postcards in space.” Additionally, these 3D effects are software rendered and cannot be used for highly complex scenes with a lot of content to render.
The new low-level APIs will provide advanced 3D and 3D engine developers the flexibility to leverage GPU hardware acceleration for significant performance gains. Today, Flash Player, renders thousands of non z-buffered triangles at approximately 30 Hz. With the new Stage3D APIs, developers can expect hundreds of thousands of z-buffered triangles to be rendered at HD resolution in full screen at around 60 Hz. Using the new 3D APIs in Flash Player and AIR will make it possible to deliver sophisticated 3D experiences across almost every computer and device connected to the Internet.
Why is Adobe adding 3D functionality to Flash Player?
3D has been one of the most popular requests from our customers. Enabling true 3D experiences in Flash Player aligns with Adobe’s commitment to innovation and delivering a more complete Flash Platform.
Adobe evolved the web with video and now we are going to evolve the web again with 3D. From interactive websites, e-commerce, and marketing to gaming, 3D will be available to everyone, everywhere.
Does this mean the 3D APIs introduced in Flash Player 10 will be deprecated?
No, the initial 3D APIs introduced in Flash Player 10 continue to provide designers, interactive designers and developers a simple way to apply 3D effects to 2D content. The new low-level 3D APIs are targeted to advanced developers for building complex 3D experiences leveraging GPU hardware acceleration. Choosing one API over another one will depend on the use case and type of content created.
What are the requirements for 3D to work in Flash Player?
We are working to ensure 3D content always works with the best performance, regardless of context and hardware configuration. The 3D APIs will rely on DirectX 9 on Windows and OpenGL 1.3 on MacOS and Linux. For mobile platforms, Flash Player will rely on OpenGL ES 2.0. For those graphics cards that aren’t supported, Flash Player will elegantly fallback to a fast software rasterizer called SwiftShader, a technology licensed from TransGaming.
How do the Stage3D APIs compare to WebGL’s proposal to have the capability be available through browsers and HTML5?
In terms of design, our approach is very similar to the WebGL design. However, we offer a consistent, browser-agnostic solution that will enable advanced 3D experiences on almost every computer and device connected to the Internet. Additionally, GPU-accelerated 3D in Flash Player will build on all the expressiveness features that exist today in Adobe Flash Player.
Interactive on the web is changing at a rapid clip. The path of the next wave of ineractive and gaming on the web is beginning to materialize.
Adobe is going low level with Flash ‘Molehill’ 3D and hardware acceleration platform that companies like Unity will be including as an export target.
Microsoft has finally laid out their plans. Silverlight is alive with Silverlight 5 / 3D powered by XNA (any surprise? guess it isn’t dead) and hardware acceleration throughout Internet Explorer, this appears to be Microsoft’s version of the future.
Plugins like Flash, Unity, Silverlight, others will continue to push the bounds cross platform where standards cement the technology behind it for a platform to reach the next innovative step.
Mobile has blown up the scene with native and low-level focus, causing web platforms to also go low level for more performance thanks to Apple and now Android. Native languages like C, C++ and Objective-C came roaring back as the hardware was reset a bit back to late 90s/early 2000s processor and graphics power. However with mobile and cpu cost on platform as service system, native will stay more over the coming years.
Games, interactive and entertainment projects and apps are going to be even more fun. New opportunities all over the place. Game on!
Microsoft has finally laid out their plans. Silverlight is alive with Silverlight 5 / 3D powered by XNA (any surprise? guess it isn’t dead) and hardware acceleration throughout Internet Explorer for canvas/html5 focus apparently aloongside Silverlight for deeper graphical needs or changes. It was originally outlined back in April at MIX 2011, but it shows their path and answer to WebGL/Canvas and standards for interactive and game development on the web (plus I have been busy on two titles, one for iOS and one for both iOS and Android, gotta say it is nice to see how fast your app gets posted to Android store compared to iOS…).
- Pick it up and try Silverlight 5 with 3D/XNA out
- Silverlight 5 Beta Developer Runtime for Windows
- Silverlight 5 Beta Developer Runtime for Mac
- Silverlight 5 Beta SDK
- WCF RIA Services for Silverlight 5 Beta
We might have to wait a while for Moonlight to catch up on this one, guess that would take an OpenGL rendering layer like WebGL?…:)
Making 2D games in Unity is getting better with products like RageSpline for making vector like splines to create objects (texturable or color), by far one of the best additions to the Unity Asset Store. The Unity Asset store is a great new place for inspiring products that are excellent, RageSpline shows why.
$50 in the Unity Asset Store but worth it, I hope it is expanded to import many vector formats.
The author is Juha Kiili is the author of this awesome piece of tech and it is seemingly doing well. This could be a full fledged 2d toolkit easily with many import/export capabilities.
Features of RageSpline
- Creating 2D meshes and lines with bézier-based splines.
- Outlining with single color, variable width per control point + natural/sharp switch per point.
- Solid one color fills.
- Linear gradient fills with two colors and GUI-adjustable scale, offset position and rotation.
- Emboss styling with two colors and GUI-adjustable adjustable scale, rotation and smoothness variable.
- Texturing support with GUI-adjustable scale, offset and rotation.
- Automatic physics generator.
- Adjustable vertex count for outline, fill, emboss and physics.
- Example game included: RageCar.
cocos2d is a great objective-c engine for iOS development (and Mac development). It has it’s limitations but for small 2d based games with physics or platformers with sprites it rocks. It has made it to 1.0 and many games are made with it on the Appstore. Unity and Cocos2D make up a good portion of the games in terms of engines used on the Apple Appstore for small to midsize game studios and indies (2500+ games are made with cocos2d).
cocos2d is getting a 3d extension in cocos3d for using 3d mesh/models etc. Currently it only imports POD models but this could be good for smaller isometric 3d games or 2d using 3d models. It is early so this will take some time to mature but good news for improving engine performance needed to handle 3d.
This could easily become the most popular/used 3d engine made with objective-c as cocos2d has done with 2d… there aren’t many pure objective-c game engines. The one downfall is multi-platform even though Objective-C is fun. Unless it is solely a iOS or Mac title then going with a multi-platform engine or a custom C++ engine and using Android NDK and an Objective-C wrapper on iOS is best for port economics and performance. That can also be used as desktop and other platforms this way. But for iOS development cocos2D is great.
Some of the key features of cocos3d are highlighted in the following list:
- Seamless integration with cocos2d. Rendering of all 3D model objects occurs within a special cocos2d layer, which fits seamlessly into the cocos2d node hierarchy, allowing 2D nodes such as controls, labels, and health bars to be drawn under, over, or beside 3D model objects.
- Pluggable loading framework for 3D models exported from familiar 3D editors such as Blender, 3ds Max orCheetah3D, or through industry standard 3D object files such as Collada or PowerVR POD, or even from your own customized object file formats.
- Imported 3D models can include animation sequences.
- 3D model objects can be arranged in sophisticated structural assemblies, allowing child objects to be moved and oriented relative to their parent structure.
- 3D models, cameras, and lighting can be manipulated and animated using familiar cocos2d
CCActions, allowing you to quickly and easily control the dynamics of your 3D world, in a familiar, and easy-to-use programming paradigm.
- 3D objects can be covered with dynamic materials and textures to create rich, realistic imagery.
- Mesh data can be shared between 3D objects, thereby saving precious device memory.
- Mesh data can freely, and automatically, use OpenGL vertex buffer objects to improve performance and memory management.
- Culling of 3D objects outside of the camera frustum is automatic, based on pluggable, customizable object bounding volumes.
- Automatic ordering and grouping of 3D objects minimizes OpenGL state changes and improves rendering performance. Pluggable sorters allow easy customization of object sorting, ordering, and grouping for optimal application performance.
- Automatic OpenGL state machine shadowing means that the OpenGL functions are invoked only when a state really has changed, thereby reducing OpenGL engine calls, and increasing OpenGL throughput.
- Sophisticated math library eliminates the need to use OpenGL ES function calls for matrix mathematics.
- Fully documented API written entirely in familiar Objective-C. No need to switch to C or C++ to work with 3D artifacts.
- Extensive logging framework to trace program execution, including all OpenGL ES function calls.
- Includes demo applications and
Xcodetemplates to get you up and running quickly.
You can learn more about writing 3D iOS applications using cocos3d, by referring to:
Khronos announced today that WebGL, the great OpenGL web hope, is now officially final for the 1.0 version. Khronos announced this today via the GDC and their website, it was also mentioned at Gamasutra.
There is already a thriving middleware ecosystem around WebGL to provide a wide diversity of Web developers the ability to easily create compelling 3D content for WebGL-enabled browsers. These tools include: C3DL, CopperLicht , EnergizeGL, GammaJS, GLGE, GTW, O3D, OSG.JS, SceneJS, SpiderGL, TDL, Three.js and X3DOM. Links to these authoring tools and WebGL demos can be found at www.khronos.org/webgl/wiki/Main_Page.
It will take some time for WebGL to propagate. It is ready and on in Chrome and Firefox by default in betas. Safari it can be enabled via app parameter. IE and MIcrosoft have yet to chime in, will we see DirectX for the web or adoption of WebGL. Time will tell… Until then Unity and Flash with the 3d api Molehill are forging ahead. I am sure we will see an export to WebGL for Unity down the line but there are still some interesting script execution speed issues that compiled code in Flash and Unity Web Player will still be faster on.
So Khronos isn’t stopping at WebGL, they are now tackling WebCL or OpenCL for the web just like WebGL is OpenGL for the web (currently at the OpenGL ES 2.0 level which is nice because that is big on mobile — mobile and web games are at about the same level).
At the Flash Games Summit today there was good news from Unity and Adobe about the Flash 3D API called Molehill. Adobe’s Flash 3D API Molehill public preview was released and Unity announced they will be adding export support for it.
New features available in the current Incubator build include:
- “Molehill” 3D APIs for Flash Player and AIR — A new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs that enable advanced 3D experiences across devices through the Adobe Flash Platform runtimes.
- Cubic Bezier Curves — Using the cubicCurveTo drawing API, developers can easily create cubic Beziers without requiring custom ActionScript code.
This is really a new era of browser based game development support that is going to be very exciting. It was announced at the Flash Games Summit by Thibault Imbert (Adobe Product Manager) and Lee Brimelow (Adobe Platform Evangelist) after they explained and showed examples to the audience of what “Molehill” could do for flash games.
Thibault has a list of available Molehill enabled 3D engines already:
Also a test of hardware accelerated molehill vs software rendered flash:
- Check 2D animation with the display list (check your CPU usage)
- Check 2D animation with Molehill (check your CPU usage)
Flash Molehill is coming and Unity will be targeting it for export. Unity states that they will allow it as an export option just like there are mobile options for iOS and Android.
These are exciting times. Today, at the Flash Gaming Summit in San Francisco (of which we’re proud Gold Sponsors), Adobe has announced the public availability of a beta version of the Flash Player, codenamed Molehill, that has a very interesting new feature: hardware accelerated 3D support.
Molehill exposes a very low-level shader-based interface to the graphics hardware. Adobe has decided to focus on that low-level part, and do that really well. The molehill pre-release will not be shipping with a 3D engine, scene building tools, model and animation importers / exporters, physics, lighting or lightmap creation tools, etc.
The article states that Unity will be keeping the Unity Player and the developer will decide when to target Flash or Unity Players or other platforms like desktop, mobile that are currently available and use the rendering platforms that work best with each (DirectX/OpenGL/OpenGL ES/Molehill… maybe WebGL in the future).
Q. Is this the end of the Unity’s own Web Player?
Absolutely not. The Flash and Unity Web Players both have their strengths. We’re excited by the opportunity to target the Flash Player and all of its features with Unity, but there will be plenty of experiences that the Unity plugin is better suited for. It will be up to developers in the end, to decide whether they want to target only the Flash Player, only the Unity Web Player, or some combination of the two (now things are getting interesting!)
Q. What programming language will I use?
You’ll have two options:
- For people with a Flash background:
Target our ActionScript API directly from Flash. Think:
var go:GameObject = new GameObject(“Just normal ActionScript 3 code”);
- For people with a Unity background:
Adobe is good to move to a model where hardware acceleration is part of the platform. Since Molehill is low level and competing products like Unity, WebGL, and others would take that in time, opening it so others can build tools on their platform will attract interesting new developments like this.