The Adobe Gaming crew has been out and about a lot lately, participating in large, multisite events that inspire youth and young adults to explore game development for fun and even as a potential profession.
First, we participated in the Global Game Jam, Jan. 25–27. More than 11,000 developers from 319 sites in 63 countries spent 48 adrenaline-fueled hours working on more than 3,100 projects based on this year’s theme, sound of a heartbeat. It was an exciting intellectual and creative marathon for programming, iterative design, narrative exploration, and artistic expression.
On Feb. 6, Adobe visited schools around the United States to promote digital literacy as part of Digital Learning Day. Nearly 25, 000 teachers and millions of students participated in all 50 states. The national campaign spotlights successful instructional technology practices in K–12 public schools.
In the Global Game Jam (GGJ), participants gathered late Friday afternoon, watched a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers, and then received the contest’s secret “sound of a heartbeat” theme. All sites worldwide were then challenged to make games based on that theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon. Although the event is heavily focused on programming, there are many other areas where people who don’t code contributed to game development.
Many of our Adobe colleagues attended the event at locations worldwide. For instance, Adobe evangelist Andy Hall, in Sydney, Australia, went to cheer on jammers programming with Adobe Flash. “Organizers loved it and were happy to let us speak, hang around and interview people, or do whatever we wanted really,” Hall says. “With that said, at the Sydney Jam, my presence as an evangelist was not really necessary. Everyone there knew their technology backwards and forwards.”
For the GGJ, Adobe sponsored an award for the best game made with Adobe Flash, which went to Monster Sushi Train. It features a monster sushi chef who cuts hearts into shapes requested by other monsters at a sushi bar. Its programmers are Chris Suffern, Wayne Petzler, and David Kofoed Wind. Check it out at http://www.playgamespro.com/game/1844/Sushi-Monster-Train.html.
For the K-12-focused Digital Learning Day, Adobe Gaming used the opportunity to connect with students—many of whom had limited previous computer experience—tackle the task of building a game with Adobe Flash Professional. Besides introducing them to Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe helped kids from different backgrounds collaborate in ways that made the best use of each student’s unique skills and interests, whether those interests included zombies or American history.
Achieving digital literacy through game design is also one of the goals of Globaloria, an Adobe education partner. Globaloria is a turnkey academic curriculum that uses a social learning network and game design to promote computing knowledge and global citizenship. As part of Digital Literacy Day, the Adobe Foundation has committed to match all donations made to Globaloria up to $50,000. You can be a part of it by donating at http://www.globaloria.org/adobe. Besides funding Globaloria’s initiatives, your donations help fund the World Wide Workshop, Globaloria’s parent organization. The World Wide Workshop supports publicly shared, long-term projects that are complex, computational, immersive, and innovative, so children build long-term skills for learning and critical thinking.
Adobe Game Developer Tools allowed the company to create and deploy International Racing Squirrels across multiple platforms and devices from one code base. Players manage a team of unruly squirrels racing on tracks around the world and with 25 levels of fun and an iOS version of the game, it is sure to keep you busy for a while. Squirrels has received several awards including, finalist status in IndieCade 2012, finalist in 2012 Develop Indie Showcase, 4.5/5 stars by Indie Game Reviewer and was featured in Kongregate’s Hot New Games in 2012
Learn how they produced their wild, colorful new title in our most recent post case study here. If you’re looking to build your own great games with Adobe Gaming technologies, check out our Gaming site for more information.
As we move into 2013, we’re excited to make investments that support the incredible, ongoing momentum in social and mobile gaming that Adobe has championed for more than a year. Flash technologies underpinned the success of many game developers from Fresh Planet to Zynga, both in the browser and on mobile, and you can see how Adobe Gaming technologies deliver the reach needed to improve game monetization in the graphic below.
In December, the Adobe Gaming team launched the first ever, packaged Adobe Game Developer Tools via the Creative Cloud. Within 2 weeks of their availability, we had over 20,000 downloads of the tools and more than 12,000 views of the Adobe Scout video! Today, we’re making it even easier for game developers by removing a key barrier to delivering games targeting Flash Player – from this point forward, the XC APIs are no longer classified as a Premium Feature for Flash Player, which means developers can use them royalty-free without a separate license from Adobe. Developers and publishers that have published content using the XC APIs do not need to make any changes to their content to reflect this change in status for the XC APIs, and we expect this adjustment to make it even easier for developers to use Flash and AIR as their cross-device game development workflow of choice. To find out more, check out the updated FAQ here.
In addition, we’re also announcing added funding for the Away Foundation, a non-profit Community Interest Company based in the UK, focusing on building and maintaining free and open source software resources for online and mobile games and applications. This funding will support the development and release of Away3D 4.1 and an exciting new open source project for Away Builder. Away Builder 1.0 is the first open source tool project for the foundation, and will provide a visual tool for designers that exposes and edits custom Away3D settings and object properties on 3D assets without the need for coding. And just last week, we updated the Gaming SDK, which includes the latest Away3D, Starling and Feathers frameworks as well as updates for the latest runtime releases. Working with Away has already produced several exciting advances for game developers using Adobe technologies and will continue to forward the delivery of rich games targeting mobile and the browser for years to come. Starforce Delta is a great example of a beautiful 3D RPG built with Away3D and now available on the web in open beta and coming soon as a mobile app. And if a touch of the 19th century is more your thing, check out Jane Austen Regency Dressup, as well as other games using the Away3D framework on the Away3D showcase.
We also wanted to highlight a handful of great games that really reflect the breadth of creativity using Adobe Gaming technologies and show off the skills and passion of the developers who made them. Four games using Adobe Gaming technologies were recently announced as Independent Game Festival (IGF) finalists! Incredipede, a beautifully illustrated browser-based game; Dys4ia, an autobiographical game about undergoing hormone replacement therapy as a trans woman; Intrusion 2, a sci-fi action platform game; and Super Hexagon, a fast-paced reflex game where you’ve gotta be great to survive 20 seconds.
And just in case you didn’t get your fill of zombies in 2012, check out GREE’s Zombie Jombie in the iOS App Store. GREE used PhoneGap Build – another Adobe Gaming technology – for this wildly addictive RPG card game that will surely have you selling for brains. It’s shaping up to be a wide open year ahead for Adobe Gaming, and we’re looking forward to conquering new worlds with you!
For game developers who want to reach more customers, the Amazon Appstore for Android is a great marketplace to deliver games for Kindle Fire and Android devices. Today, Amazon announced the launch of free Adobe AIR Native Extensions (ANEs) for In-App Purchasing and GameCircle integration for the Amazon Kindle Fire, making it even faster and easier for Adobe Gaming developers to add these features into their mobile apps. With Amazon’s announcement yesterday that it’s extending IAP to cover games for Mac, PC, and Web platforms, ActionScript developers now have even more options to reach customers.
Each week, millions of customers play GameCircle-enabled games, comparing scores and competing against friends. We’ve seen a lot of popular Flash and AIR games in the Amazon Appstore, driving increased revenue for Adobe gaming developers. SongPop from Fresh Planet, Bingo Blitz from Buffalo Studios, Machinarium from Amanita and Stick Tennis from Stick Sports are just a few examples of great games in the Appstore built with Adobe Gaming Technology. The addition of AIR Native Extensions makes it simple for developers using Adobe AIR to quickly integrate GameCircle and IAP support into their creations.
As we announced in December, the Adobe Game Developer Tools – available via the Adobe Creative Cloud – give game developers and publishers access to a powerful set of resources in one central location. Designed to streamline the game development process from creation to deployment, the Game Developer Tools help game publishers and developers reach the broadest possible audience worldwide – over 1.3 billion connected Windows and Mac PCs and over 500 million smartphones and tablets – 20 times the reach of the bestselling Xbox 360 gaming console. The new ANEs from Amazon complement this offering, and continuing to expand the audience reach for new games.
The Adobe Game Developer Tools include Adobe Scout, an advanced profiling tool that helps developers unlock significant performance optimization, and the Adobe AIR SDK, which enables developers to package ActionScript code into native apps for Kindle Fire along with other devices. Developers can find out more and sign up for a free membership at http://gaming.adobe.com.
Developers can access the free Adobe ANEs and read the blog from Amazon here.
We’re looking forward to seeing new games take advantage of these exciting new ANEs, and how game developers blaze new trails on Amazon!