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.

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Flash 10 security changes requiring user interaction are pretty breaking but they are for good reason.  Still though, the user could be inundated with prompts much like UAC on Vista. But, it is necessary otherwise security holes can be troublesome with the flash player and the “sandbox” of the web.  Much like Java signing, Active-X acceptance, and thus local file access, these actions need some user approval, it is that liability thing.

But what is a bit lost in this is some of the new support specifically for game development and app development.

Support for things like RTMFP which is bringing UDP support to flash.  UDP and reliable UDP (ordered) is really needed when it comes to larger scale networking applications and support for p2p apps.  Games for instance, that are large like MMOs and highly interactive real-time engines, need UDP to be able to scale.  So this is pretty useful, yet it currently looks like it is tied to Flash Media Server.  It appears Adobe is staying ahead of SmartFox, Red5 and OpenFMS with stuff like this.

Another great move in the way of security updates for Flash 10 for games is the allowing input from keyboard keys while in full screen mode. All these games and apps look pretty sweet in full screen until you try to use them.  There is only support for “Tab, the Spacebar, and the (up, down, left, right) arrow keys” but that is a start.  Enough keys for a casual game.  But still most keys could safely be used it must be a multi-platform support thing.

Limited full-screen keyboard input

Currently Flash Player does not allow keyboard input when displaying content in full-screen mode. Flash Player 10 beta will change this, allowing for a limited number of keys to be usable in full-screen mode. These include Tab, the Spacebar, and the (up, down, left, right) arrow keys.

Flash 10 is getting local save and load, this is great for any type of online editor, game or application. The ability to work on a file immediately without the server round trip initially is great.  I hope this is extended much further to local save and load with very high limits, there has been some confusion on the file size limitations here. Ideally this would be extended much further if the product direction is right. Typically making apps or games with more than 5-25MB of content quickly become non-economical in bandwidth such as gaming assets due to browser cache size limitations (defaults IE=50MB, Safari 5-25MB, FF3=50MB), I wish there was a better way to allow local saving for long periods of time.  Almost installing apps via flash with extended cache, talk about killer app feature. Downloading 10 MB of gaming assets that you know will be there for the month rather than the day.

Paste events can read the clipboard.  Using the clipboard is another great useful tool in applications and online editors.

Data can be read from the Clipboard inside a paste event handler

In Flash Player 9, the system Clipboard could not be read at any time. With Flash Player 10 beta, the new ActionScript 3.0 method Clipboard.generalClipboard.getData() may be used to read the contents of the system Clipboard, but only when it is called from within an event handler processing a event.

So yes, the security user interaction changes do break current features but it also takes this platform a bit more into secure applications and game features from security changes, hopefully these features are extended much further but they are on the right track.

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

The red and blue, Red5 and BlazeDS are available for push mechanisms similar to what Comet is trying to accomplish with sockets essentially that use the AMF format and AMF3 format with Flash/Flex that is extremely optimized for size and thus network traffic is less bulky.

Welcome to BlazeDS! BlazeDS is the server-based Java remoting and web messaging technology that enables developers to easily connect to back-end distributed data and push data in real-time to Adobe® Flex™ and Adobe AIR™ applications for more responsive rich Internet application (RIA) experiences.

The evolution to more engaging RIAs has created the need for better data connectivity options. Remoting simplifies the reuse of existing server logic automatically marshalling calls between the Flash client and the Java methods on the server. In addition, the use of a AMF binary data transfer format increases performance, allowing applications to load data up to 10 times faster than with text-based formats such as XML or SOAP.

Previously available only as part of Adobe LiveCycle® Data Services ES, Adobe is contributing the proven BlazeDS technologies to the community under the LGPL v3. BlazeDS gives the rapidly growing Adobe developer community free access to the powerful remoting and messaging technologies developed by Adobe.

The odd thing about all this is both Red5 and BlazeDS are Java based. The AMF integration with Java is pretty solid with two major push capable servers using that (again with sockets behind the scenes but highly optmized with AMF/AMF3 and in multiuser case with remote shared objects – red5).

Push mechanisms are needed more and more and having this capabilty right into flash with AMF format remoting data proves to be very easy to integrate and if the backend is java then a pretty robust back end as well.

I use PyAMF for Python and Flourine for .NET as well as the usual AMFPHP but the need to push and have more optimization than a basic object socket connection might be in order.

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Ever wanted to geocode in 3d with flex and AS3Mark Walters added a great simplified approach to this on the EDGE Adobe site that helps get you started.  It uses Yahoo maps to get the lat/long and then has a globe that you can add markers onto.

Some other great uses of 3d and interface are here, link roundup:

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Tink posted a great library manager for using external assets in your flash projects. When you start getting deep in projects you end up either having to roll your own that might end up being project specific, or you can just grab this from Tink and it is nice and standardized now for you.

Here’s and example of our Library & LibraryManager classes that we use in some of our Flex and AS 3.0 projects to manage our external assets stored in SWF’s.

The classes enabled you to create multiple libraries of embedded (retaining and giving access to code) or loaded SWF’s.

You can create instance of Library wherever you want, but you can also create them through the LibraryManager giving you a single class to gain access to all your Library instances.

As you develop more and more flash/flex projects with AS3 these types of utilities come in handy. Another that comes to mind is Arthur Debert’s BulkLoader and polygonal labs Data Structures for Game Developers that are all great kits.

Add Tink’s Library and LibraryManager to your arsenal today! Thanks Tink.

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

I have been consuming all the great additions to Flash 10 this weekend and one that really jumps out after you get past the visual, text and sound features (which are spectacular btw and most of what the community was asking for). But one feature snuck by, this is the one that ByteArray (Thibault Imbert) mentions/pointed out for managing files directly within Flash.

File Reference runtime access — Bring users into the experience by letting them load files into your RIA. You can work with the content at runtime and even save it back when you are done through the browse dialog box. Files can be accessed as a byteArray or text using a convenient API in ActionScript without round-tripping to the server. You no longer have to know a server language or have access to a server to load or save files at runtime.

This greatly lowers the bar to using Flash as a photo editor, document manager, customized application experiences, marking up content and saving locally, all without the need for server side script. I am a big fan of server side technologies and develop with them but even for bettering performance this could be huge.

Scenarios where this might be useful is editing applications, note taking (download a book with your notes), editors for docs/games/3d/textures,,, the possibilities are endless really.

Flash 9 just got mainstream and production ready (flash 9 penetration) at the tail end of last year but there are so many great things in the new version that I hope it comes out very soon. Flash it turning into quite a platform.

Alternativa Platform also has updated their engine for Flash 10 already (they must have had some inside early accessibility to it) and there are great possibilities here.

It is only beta (Flash 10) but there are great market opportunities to prepare for when this launches. Keep your eye on where the puck will be, not where it is currently at. I was concerned when Adobe bought Macromedia and the future of Flash but it appears they are taking this bull by the horns.

If you are ready to play with Flash 10 here is Flex and FlashDevelop updates to help you get started.

Also here is some code posted at ByteArray from Pleh for testing the new FileReference runtime access, usage is extremely simple and rests on this

var data:ByteArray = fileRef['data'];

  FileReference Load Example By Pleh 17/05/08

package {
	import flash.display.Loader;
	import flash.display.Sprite;
	import flash.utils.ByteArray;

	public class Flash10Test extends Sprite
		private var fileRef:FileReference;

		public function Flash10Test()
			fileRef = new FileReference();
			fileRef.addEventListener(Event.SELECT, selectFile);
			fileRef.addEventListener(Event.OPEN, openFile);

		private function selectFile(e:Event):void {

		private function openFile(e:Event):void {
			var data:ByteArray = fileRef['data'];
			var loader:Loader = new Loader();

		private function stageClick(e:Event):void{
			fileRef.browse([new FileFilter("All Formats (*.jpg,*.gif,*.png,*.swf)", "*.jpg;*.gif;*.png;*.swf", "JPEG;jp2_;GIFF;SWFL")]);


Thursday, April 24th, 2008

This is older, from january, somehow I missed it but… nitoyon has created an AS3 port of jQuery. jQuery is my favorite javascript tool besides javascript itself. Mootools, prototype, and others like mochikit are all great but jQuery was the first to do lambda chain decorating and others followed suit.

But having this power in as3 is a great thing! $ selectors, common access methods to properties, methods, etc. All good stuff. Again this shows the fun in as3 or ES4 based languages like Actionscript because people are porting all sorts of libraries to it. If this performs I may just start using it daily TODAY!

For instance setting the stage align for use in full screen:

$(stage).attr({scaleMode: "noScale", align: "TL"});

That is too fun… The only thing not cool about this is all the spam at nitoyon‘s blog : )

How about a functional Tweener call:

function animate(f:Boolean):void {
				// Select 'RoundRect' elements using CSS selector
				$("RoundRect:" + (f ? "odd" : "even"))
						rotation: 90,
						scaleX: 0.5,
						scaleY: 0.5,
						time: 0.6,
						delay: 0.3,
						transition: "easeOutCubic"
						scaleX: 1,
						scaleY: 1,
						time: 0.5,
						delay: 0.9,
						transition: "easeOutElastic",
						onComplete: function():void {
							// restore the rotation and call again.
							this.rotation = 0;

Stuff to see and try

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

This will blow you away. Found first via mrdoob (with quantum rss reading capability, before the message is concieved mrdoob is there).

Alternativa Platform, previously Alternativa Game, launched their Alternativa Platform milestone 1 and really one demo would have been enough but there are some great demos there that literally put them what appears a couple laps up on the 3d FPS style engine in Flash.

The engine is highly optimized and smooth, heavy on the processor, but using the ‘t’ key you can see some nice revealing triangle rendering. Also, playing with the field of view adds for some nice game effects. (try jumping on the fans in the half-life like room in the first demo)

Check the textures

See the Matrix

Get superpowers

From Above, Isometric

Here is what is to come from the platform:

Congrats to the Russian based Alternativa Platform, the world is watching.

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I had to implement a get age method for something we were working on. I was surprised to not find an AS3 version easily, so busted one out. I thought maybe this would be in as3corelib but nope. So posting this in case anyone else is looking for a get age script in AS3. It was quick so any improvements just post them. It will be added to my utilities classes on google code soon it is in quick form so you can jsut plop in an .fla or a class.

The pseudo code is the same for getting age in any language. Get current date, get birthdate to compare. Subtract the current years from the birthday years, then subtract one more year if the day or month is less than today’s day and month.

function calculateAge(birthdate:Date):Number {
    var dtNow:Date = new Date();// gets current date
    var currentMonth:Number = dtNow.getMonth();
    var currentDay:Number = dtNow.getDay();
    var currentYear:Number = dtNow.getFullYear();

    var bdMonth:Number = birthdate.getMonth();
    var bdDay:Number = birthdate.getDay();
    var bdYear:Number = birthdate.getFullYear();

    // get the difference in years
    var years:Number = dtNow.getFullYear() - birthdate.getFullYear();
    // subtract another year if we're before the
    // birth day in the current year
    if (currentMonth < bdMonth || (currentMonth == bdMonth && currentDay < bdDay)) {
    return years;

function dateStringToObject(dateString):Date {
    var date_ar = dateString.split("/");
    return new Date(date_ar[2],date_ar[0] - 1,date_ar[1]);

var dateNow:Date = new Date();
var checkDate:String = "11/25/1976";
var dateBirthday:Date = dateStringToObject(checkDate);
trace("dateNow = "+dateNow);
trace("dateBirthday = "+dateBirthday);
trace("age = "+calculateAge(dateBirthday));

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Good news, I meant to post this a few days ago last weekend Tim Knip added 3DS parsing support to Papervision3D. Here is the thread with the quick howto.

Thread in nabble

Added a simple 3DS parser to the Great White trunk.
=> org.papervision3d.objects.parsers.Max3DS


// where to find textures
var textureDir:String = "./images/";  // use a trailing slash!

// optional materialsList
var materials:MaterialsList = new MaterialsList();

// the 3DS file
var fileName:String = "[path-to-3ds-file]";

// load it!
_3ds.load(fileName, materials, textureDir);

// add to scene

Also, one other golden nugget is Den Ivanov’s newest demo with Papervision portals! This is a very smooth demo, be sure to enter into the portals to see the seasons change.

Also here is a  non papervision 3ds parser.