Diana Helander

About Diana Helander

Diana Helander is currently the group product marketing manager for Gaming Solutions at Adobe, and has played a variety of games from Duke Nukem to Angry Birds to Dance Central 2. She has worked in the technology industry for more than 15 years and has held marketing positions on the Flash/AIR Runtime team, enterprise and Acrobat business groups, and represented Adobe in global standards organizations such as ISO. Diana was previously at Autodesk, is a graduate of Amherst College, and while her guitar is – admittedly – collecting dust in the closet, she still mourns the passing of Guitar Hero.

2013: Full Speed Ahead for Adobe Gaming!

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.

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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.

IGFWe 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!

Amazon Adds Free Adobe AIR Native Extensions for Game Developers

a_com_W_logo_RGBFor 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!

Happy Holidays from Adobe Gaming

It’s been a whirlwind year, and for our holiday post for 2012, we wanted to highlight a few cleverly designed kids games that were made using Adobe Gaming technology. These gems will definitely keep the little ones glued to their devices to give you time to shovel the driveway, catch up with in-laws, wrap presents or get the turkey ready during this busy holiday season :). Enjoy and we’ll see you next year!

Spell Cubes – This is a gorgeous app created by a Dad for his two-year-old son to bring spelling to life. It is available for the iPad here and is powered by Adobe AIR, Starling and Feathers.

Magical Music Box – From the makers of “Winter On Whale Island,” the team at Pamakids just launched their new kids game, “Magical Music Box” on the iOS App Store. This beautifully designed songbook integrates fun interactions that are powered by Stage3D, Adobe Native Extensions (ANEs) and their own 2D GPU framework.

Frog Fractions – This free-to-play math game inserts some fun into math with its nostalgic 90’s look and playability. By all accounts, this game is not just for kids and will actually drop anyone into a world of weird after level 1.

Land of Me – Three new apps were recently released from Land of Me. Songs and Rhymes, Making Things and Story Time let kids and their parents play around and develop skills like creating songs, developing storylines and building new worlds.

Christmas Crusaders – In this holiday retro game from Nickelodeon, the Elves have rebelled against Santa and are trying to ruin the Christmas by destroying all the children’s presents.

And for more of a big kid challenge, we want to congratulate Botanicula on being chosen as one of the top 10 games by the LA Times!

For more great games, check out http://gaming.adobe.com/showcase/

Adobe Game Jam Winds Through Chicago

The Adobe Gaming team and a host of talented, creative, and colorful developers gathered in the Windy City for the second Adobe Game Jam. Once again we had a great group of enthusiastic designers and developers who built some amazing games using Flash technology!

Five Chi-town teams assembled and worked through the night to show off the high quality games, and in just 24 hours we had a winner! Disaster at CP1 is a firefighting adventure that captured the crowd’s attention with its smooth controls and terrific aesthetics, and the fully playable demo is available online here.

The Starling Framework and Citrus Engine were front and center, serving as a key component in the majority of the Game Jam projects. Thanks again to all attendees for coming out to the Adobe Game Jam and for making our community one of the most innovative and enthusiastic. We really enjoyed seeing the Citrus Engine embraced by the development community and are looking forward to everyone’s next projects!

Check out the video below to get a first-hand look at the Game Jam. Also, a special thanks to The Nerdery for playing host!

P.S. If you had the chance to attend, don’t hesitate to leave us a note in the comments section below or drop us a line on Twitter via @AdobeFlash.

Adobe Gaming Spotlight: Smart Aliens

Looking for a fun new take on an old classic, maybe with a dash of outer space? You’re in luck! The team at Etamin Studio has created the playful and terrific looking Hangman game, Smart Aliens. This free iOS app comes complete with smooth game play, hilarious animations, and new twists on the Hangman you remember. Challenge your friends, and get in the game.

The Etamin team developed this experience using Adobe Gaming technologies and the Starling framework. They chose the technology not just because of its cross-platform capabilities or high performance level, but also because of the great community supporting it. A social game like Smart Aliens deserves a social audience. You can learn more about the extensions and details that went into the game’s creation here. If there’s demand for it, an Android and Facebook version will be on the way too.  For now, you can download it on iTunes.

Take a closer look at the game’s wordplay fun in the video below and visit gaming.adobe.com for more stunning examples of games powered by Adobe:

Zynga Leverages Adobe AIR to Take Ruby Blast Multi-Platform

Rubies – now available on your mobile device! You can now play Zynga’s Ruby Blast not just on Facebook and Zynga.com but also on mobile, marking another successful game for which Adobe Gaming technologies have been used to deliver explosive graphics, action-packed sound effects and gorgeous particle effects on any device. Ruby Blast was Zynga’s first game optimized for hardware acceleration, supported by Flash Player and Adobe AIR, and successfully extended across multiple platforms while preserving the beauty and speed of the original Ruby Blast web game for a seamless experience.

While creating Ruby Blast, Zynga developed performance optimizations that have been integrated back into the open-source Starling framework, benefitting all developers leveraging the same technologies for their own games. By using the Starling framework today, indie developers and studios benefit from the ongoing innovation brought by companies like Zynga and Adobe and the entire community which has grown up around Starling.

Visit www.itunes.com/appstore to find out more about Ruby Blast and start playing today! And check out gaming.adobe.com to learn more about Adobe Gaming technologies, and how we are helping game developers of all levels reach the widest audience on desktop and mobile.

Gaming Spotlight: FreshPlanet’s SongPop

How fast can you name a song clip? That is the question that SongPop, a game by FreshPlanet, puts out there for music fans looking for a challenge. This wildly popular music trivia game makes the most of social gaming, offering over 5 million daily Facebook and mobile app users the chance to compete to see who can name that song faster.

SongPop delivers a unified experience across desktop browsers on Facebook and extends that experience to mobile apps for iOS and Android. In using Adobe Gaming technologies, FreshPlanet was able to leverage a single code base, instead of having to build native apps for each mobile platform, and was able to easily streamline the workflow between designers, developers and animators.

FreshPlanet CTO and VP of Products Olivier Michon noted that Adobe Gaming technologies, “enabled us to code at top speed in Adobe ActionScript [and] rapidly integrate design assets and animations,” making development so easy that it only took two developers and one designer less than three months to complete SongPop for iOS and Android, and only one more month to launch it on Facebook.

For more on FreshPlanet and SongPop, check out their full story in, “Adobe Gaming & Fresh Planet: SongPop.” You can also get your hands on open sourced Native AIR extensions from FreshPlanet on their GitHub profile: https://github.com/freshplanet.

Adobe Powers CityVille 2 with Flash, Flare3D and Hardware Acceleration

Zynga launched its third game using Flash Player 11 with Stage 3D hardware acceleration for enhanced graphics and gameplay. CityVille 2 allows players to toggle between different camera views, rotate buildings and see their city in ways they never imagined. Players can also flip a switch to make it nighttime, or daytime – a first for the company – giving players a whole new way to view everything from gyms to restaurants. The enhanced graphics put players in the driver’s seat for realistic and unexpected events that happen in any real city. Customizable districts and a new cast of characters add to the overall enhancements of the game.

CityVille 2 was built using the Flare3D engine optimized for Stage 3D, and is available today on Facebook. We’ve highlighted a ton of other exciting games powered by Adobe Gaming technologies in our showcase at gaming.adobe.com.

First Ever Official Adobe Game Jam

We recently held our first-ever, official Adobe Game Jam at the San Francisco office – and had quite the turn out with more than 40 attendees, including Zynga, Idle Games, Kabam and Buffalo Studios. The event far exceeded our expectations in every way and we kicked things off Friday night with a short demo session to level the knowledge playing field and allowed attendees – ranging from developers, designers and musicians – to select their teams. By Saturday, game development was well underway, and up for grabs were one-year Creative Cloud memberships.

To foster creativity, there were only two rules to follow: 1) ensure the game executed our theme, San Francisco, and 2) build the game using Stage 3D. The theme alone offered participants many visual landmarks and local cultural details to incorporate into their games (e.g., one of the winning games was based on a gay, roller skating Sean Connery escaping from Alcatraz).

The crowd judged the games in three categories – Best Art, Best Tech and Best Game. The winners of each category were:

Given the success – and fun of our first Adobe Game Jam – we’re looking forward more events, including the next one in Chicago on November 30. Stay tuned to our Adobe Game Jams events page for the latest updates: http://gaming.adobe.com/events/gamejams. Check out the recap video below:

From Rock the Vote to Smash Vote!

With the U.S. elections in high gear, it’s time to channel your pre-election day passion and energy into Smash Vote, a new game from Mighty Bits built with Adobe Gaming technology. Mighty Bits is a mobile development shop in Las Vegas that focuses on mobile games, utilities and entertainment apps for iOS and Android. In their latest creation, you can choose your representative and get ready for some arcade style fighting action in this mobile app.

Built using Flare 3D and AIR 3.4, Mighty Bits’ tongue-in-cheek take on politics gives players a chance to debate the old fashioned way – a bi-partisan chance to learn who can really rumble – much like last night’s debate. Featuring crisp graphics, six playable politicos straight from Washington D.C., and a global ‘exit poll’ tracking system to compare against other players, there’s lots of fun to be had. To find out more about games with Adobe Gaming technology visit gaming.adobe.com.