Good news for the beginning of hardware accelerating the web, WebGL will now be part of the main Chrome releases not just a compile option for Chromium nightlies.
Google Chrome 9 enables WebGL support by default. “WebGL is a new web technology that brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser without installing additional software” and it can be used to create cool applications like Google Body Browser, Field, Aquarium and more.
The update for Chrome 9 also sandboxes Flash, WebGL and plugins like extensions and tabs so that using them will be more secure and not crash the browser or the tab. Hopefully Safari has this soon, and then a few years from now IE may get it. Or they will put out their own DirectX web plugin so everyone has to write it twice like currently in game development. /sarcasm
WebSockets and many other great features are now available across the iOS devices that are updated to iOS 4.2.
You can test your devices for WebSocket support and I just tested iPad and iPhone/iPods on iOS 4.2 and it is a go.
The update also adds some other excellent Safari browser features including:
- As mentioned, WebSocket support
- Accelerometer support
- Improved SVG and Canvas rendering
- Better Ajax
The new Safari on iOS 4.2 makes the iOS platform the current best html5 mobile solution for interactive apps and games in the browser. This should add some fun in terms of interactive web, games and better web experiences for iOS users.
- More on new features in iOS 4.2 Safari
- Test your browser for WebSockets
We hope they add in WebGL support soon, there was mention of WebGLRenderingContext but not supported in browser yet.
Helpful tool for taking vector art from Adobe Illustrator .ai assets and exporting them as html5 with canvas script.
John Nack from Adobe has been presenting Adobe tools exporters to html5 recently. One is a Flash to html5 convertion tool. It looks good for converting flash vector assets to html5, but you could also use the Illustrator exporter to html5 (canvas/svg) for static assets.
This converter doesn’t appear to do anything for scripted animation or code, just exporting assets via old skool timeline. But this is definitely the right idea.
Silverlight launched in 2007 to compete with Flash as a rich media and internet app toolkit. Microsoft had failed before with Liquid Motion competing with Flash back in late 90′s early 2000′s. Now, over 10 years later, Silverlight might be dying as a technology that was another competitor to Flash, due to poor timing and lack of committment.
I asked Bob Muglia, the Microsoft President in charge of the company’s server and tools business, that very question and got what I consider to be the clearest answer yet about how Microsoft is evolving its Silverlight strategy.
“Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone,” he said. Silverlight also has some “sweet spots” in media and line-of-business applications, he said.
But when it comes to touting Silverlight as Microsoft’s vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime, “our strategy has shifted,” Muglia told me.
Silverlight will continue to be a cross-platform solution, working on a variety of operating system/browser platforms, going forward, he said. “But HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform,” Muglia said.
Silverlight was launched as a competitor to the Flash Flex framework and competing with Flash video most of all. This was before the H.264 battles, right when the mobile scene blew up and changed the game immensely. It was actually nice when it launched because it pushed Adobe on Flash and Flex (Flex was even later merged into the Flash brand to help it be more consistent like Silverlight). This was good for the whole interactive space.
Microsoft is now going with an HTML5 strategy. The odd thing is that the Windows Phone is entirely Silverlight driven, no html5 support. So is Microsoft going to leave their new mobile platfform high and dry due to this change in strategy? It just seems so short sighted and reactionary over at MSFT that everything is wavering. Who’s developing just silverlight for just Windows Phone? The timing of them stating this couldn’t be worse for Windows Phone.
Microsoft’s html5 strategy is hardware accelerated, something that Silverlight only partially has like Flash (though Adobe is changing that). It is apparent that mobile has changed even the rich internet applications game as well as gaming in that we are back to multiplatform, native apps and non browser plugins for web content (mobile devices support no web browser plugins at all let alone Flash or Silverlight). Still for the next 2-3 years limitations in hardware on mobile devices prevents anything software rendered to be fast (including html5 canvas and svg if there is no hardware acceleration), and due to this slowness, not able to compare/compete to compiled native apps that do have hardware access. This has forced Adobe and now Microsoft to change their strategies to get through it. We may see a resurgence of Flash and Silverlight like plugins on mobile browsers but not for years.
The only real place we see Silverlight is over at Netflix (maybe they will go html5 video or Flash video) and on Microsoft shop client apps. It appears with no support from Microsoft it will fall out of favor faster. Microsoft developers are usually forced to go with what Microsoft is recommending as much of it is sold through a business channel rather than developers now. It is good html5 and standards will be more prevalent in that ecosystem as long as they don’t start marginalizing it to proprietary elements. But if you step back and see the rumors a week ago that Microsoft might be interested in Adobe, the mobile surge and strategy shifts at Microsoft, it seems to send out a clarion call that Silverlight is over or the credits are about to roll.
The mobile surge, standards, native, hardware acceleration and cross platform aims of current market leaders, we have the new game, again. It doesn’t appear like Silverlight was, or will be, a success.
It’s about time. Here at drawlogic we have been pushing hardware acceleration in Flash as it died in Adobe’s Director product that is all but history. Director was horribly not useful as a programming tool but Flash and AS3 have become a great environment, the only thing missing was getting past software rendering limitations to use hardware acceleration that have been made more apparent by mobile devices which are like late 90′s early 00′s computers.
With Flash gaming being so huge and competitors like Unity it is surprising it took this long but it seems Flash and AIR development will be kicking up a notch in 2011 with hardware acceleration.
Adobe has finally delivered or will so in 2011 on this pressing need.
It’s a good thing ByteArray (Thibault Imbert – the man inside) got in there at Adobe he has been there delivering killer stuff and presents a video on Molehill on Adobe Labs showing this new tech.
“Molehill” is the code name for a new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs that will enable advanced 3D experiences across screens through the Adobe® Flash® Platform runtimes. These new low-level APIs will provide advanced 3D and 3D engine developers the flexibility to leverage GPU hardware acceleration for significant performance gains. Today, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, renders thousands of non z-buffered triangles at approximately 30 Hz. With the new 3D 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.
Developers will be able to create content through the upcoming Flash Player beta program starting in the first half of 2011. To leverage the 3D features exposed in Flash Player during the beta period, developers will use Adobe Flash Builder™ or the Adobe Flex® SDK with an updated SWC exposing the required APIs.
More on the capabilities and rendering tech:
Developers were told to expect “hundreds of thousands of z-buffered triangles to be rendered at HD resolution in full screen at around 60 Hz” under the new APIs, compared to “thousands” of un-z-buffered, 30Hz triangles under the current Flash Player 10.1.
The acceleration will rely on DirectX 9 standards on Windows, OpenGL ES 1.3 on Macs and OpenGL ES 2.0 on mobile platforms, and potentially puts Flash more directly into competition with 3D-centric web game engines such as Unity.
We are very excited about this development and what it means to Unity, WebGL and other technologies that have filled the gap. With Adobe making this change and recent tool support for html5 it seems the old Macromedia innovative spirit has been awoken. I only wish it could have kicked into high gear in 2007-2008 when mobile made native and hardware acceleration necessary again and probably for good.
As we learn more and get our hands on it we will be posting much more on ‘Molehill’.
This would probably never fly on the App Store because it executes code or interprets it but is a very nice experiment. More discussion at Hacker News..
Unity 3 has been released. It was released to the world late yesterday. I have been using it for a few beta releases and it is very nice and many great improvements. One awesome improvement is the occlusion culling was ported from iPhone to all Unity builds. Other notable features are a unified editor for all platforms, deferrered rendering and more.
Grab Unity 3 and take a spin.
Occlusion Culling Demo
Apple’s official statement on this topic.
Well good news, after the massive frenzy of 3.3.1 in the App Store Terms of Service, Apple has been wise to loosen restrictions on the AppStore for native apps that use scripting such as Mono, Actionscript, Lua and others as long as it doesn’t download any code (for security reasons). The apps have to be AOT Ahead of Time compiled which Unity, MonoTouch and the AIR iPhone Packager for Flash apps all use or the script has to be downloaded with the binary that was approved or an update (Lua scripting for instance).
This is a huge change in stance for Apple and basically allows Adobe Flash based AIR apps to run on the device natively again. I think this is a very wise decision by Apple to let the market decide on what is a quality app while respecting Apple’s concerns about downloading and running code that might create security concerns (non compiled script outside the web sandbox).
The only bummer is that we won’t see a C++ Unity version which was plan b. But the benefits are really great for all types of developers as long as it is safe and with Apple’s latest update, quality.
Developers using Unity, MonoTouch, Adobe Flash AIR Packager, Lua scripters etc are now all safe as long as it is AOT compiled and scripts it uses are downloaded with the binary and not downloaded later (only content and data can be downloaded unless it is in an approved app update).
All your technologies are safe… for now.. dun dun dun…
However Apple also tightened quality control so they will be rejecting bad or duplicate apps, so at the same time this has made it harder to get apps approved if there is questionable quality or too many of one type of app. It is good on the surface but also I believe the store should be an open market where the best app wins, crap will naturally filter out. This is probably a stop-gap for all the apps that will be submitted with AIR or other less complex platforms because more novice users will be submitting them. So this is good for skilled developers on any platform making quality and original content. But it could cause some problems.
Engadget has some nice covereage if you dont’ have access to the iOS developer site:
Besides recently becoming the most popular configuration in the entire iPod lineup, the iPod Touch “has become the most popular portable game player in the world,” Jobs chimed. “The iPod Touch outsells Nintendo and Sony portable game players combined. It has over 50 percent market share for both the U.S. and worldwide.”
- DS = 125m
- iOS devices = 120m
- PSP = 62m
- DS = 718m games sold
- PSP = 252m
- iOS games = 1.5B games and entertainment
However, as Mike Capps commented to Gamasutra in our interview immediately following the event, “Right now, I can display from my iPad to my Apple TV on a big screen TV. How far away are we from ,’That’s my game console, and it’s displaying wirelessly to my television set?’ It’s not far away.”…What will that mean? What form will it take? How soon will it come? All unanswerable. But Sony, Nintendo, and even Microsoft are all officially on notice as of today.
Do consoles anchored to a TV suddenly seem like the old way?
To the argument that the Appstore is full of bad games, it is, but it is also the secret to their success. Apple built a platform and let indies in. Apple was very critisized about their approval process but Playstation, XBOX, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP all have more harsh approval processes and dont’ even let indies begin developing until they approve. The result is higher quality games on the latter devices however it is the same problem the web brought.
I think that was Nintendo and Sony’s downfall in that they didn’t jump on the downloadable store AND allow indies in. There are lots of fart apps that come with allowing almost everything but you also get stuff like Angry Birds, Monster Dash, Real Racing, 2XL, Gameloft etc. I’d rather let everything in and let the charts decide what is best rather than it be a closed market to indies from even trying. But that comes with lower quality games for the most part except those standouts that might have been rejected on Nintendo or Sony platforms. 99% of the Appstore is crap but 1% is awesome, that 1% might be bigger than the quality games that make it to the PSP or DS.