About Michael Hu

Michael Hu is a senior product marketing manager for Adobe Gaming. Michael’s background includes working in product management, product marketing and business development on a broad range of initiatives such as web hosted services, software, and customer care support offerings. Michael loves food and the outdoors. He has a passion for inspiring youth in school and in after school programs and volunteers often to support various projects in his community. His most memorable business trip occurred when he was being “smuggled” into Paraguay for a business trip in the back of a Mercedes station wagon.

Indie Cross-platform Intergalactic Battle Game Developed using Adobe Game Developer Tools

NEWchoose_your_sideIndependent game development company Overdose Caffeine creates cross-platform, real-time multiplayer games with fast and intense environments. Pocket Fleet, the company’s first cross-platform, free-to-play, multiplayer game, invites players from around the world to create or join a space dogfight and test their pilot skills against real people or CPU-controlled enemies.

With a small development team and the goal of making Pocket Fleet available quickly to a wide audience of casual and hardcore gamers, Overdose Caffeine sought a solution that offered cross-platform compilation—Android, iOS, and any computer with a browser—and rapid development.

Developers chose Adobe Game Developer Tools including Adobe Flash Professional, Adobe AIR, and Adobe Scout. “We had our own multiplayer gaming framework called Coffee Pack coded with ActionScript, and it was ideal for building a game like Pocket Fleet—so using Flash Professional and Adobe AIR was the best technology solution for our new game. We also knew the game had to be cross platform, and with the Adobe solution, we have a single code base to easily publish the game to multiple platforms,” said Tolga Ozuygur, Overdose Caffeine’s co-founder and lead programmer.

Benefits of Adobe Gaming Solution components for Ozuygur include:

  • Rapid authoring and remote debugging with Flash Professional  was  essential for mobile development;
  • Adobe AIR allowed developers to push the game to mobile, while offering smooth interfacing with underlying mobile device APIs through Adobe Native Extensions;
  • Adobe Scout for optimizing the game, which is essential because some mobile devices have limited hardware and the game needed to perform fully on a large variety of devices.

Ozuygur notes that “Adobe Flash has created a market for browser-based games, and Adobe AIR is doing the same for cross-platform gaming. The great thing is that developers can carry over their experience with Flash to other platforms,” he says

The pre-alpha version of Pocket Fleet took just two weeks to build from scratch, with the game officially launching three months later. Pocket Fleet was recently featured and passed the 500,000 downloads mark on Google Play with almost 320,000 monthly active users on all platforms. Overdose Caffeine is now working to add more social features to the game including a friend list, private messaging, and teams. A large galactic map is also planned that will let players see the big picture on how their race is doing in the war.

Pocket Fleet:

The Magic Bullet of Web Gaming

There are plenty of reasons to come to MAX, and at the top of the list are the outstanding sessions led by the most innovative minds in the industry. This year at Adobe MAX, don’t miss legend Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Director at Electronic Arts and his session  The Magic Bullet of Web Gaming where he talks about the importance of controller design for game play learning curves and how it affects a audience size of a game.  He’ll also explore the links between positive reinforcement in a game and a games audience size with emerging innovations in various platform technologies. See our latest Q&A with Richard here.

Join Adobe evangelist Andy Hall and Enrique Duvos as they talk about how game developers and publishers around the world push the limits of what’s possible on the web and on mobile devices with Adobe Game Developer Tools during their session “Best of the Best:  International Flash Games Showcase

Learn more about the game developer session

Register Now: https://www.adobe-max.com/portal/newreg.ww?trackingid=KDCBO

Adobe Shows Herokon and More at GDC

HerokonWe told you back in September that Silver Style Studios was working on their brand new MMORPG game called Herokon – based on the German pen and paper RPG Das Schwarze Auge. Well, they recently launched the English version of the game and we’re showing it off at out booth at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week. So, stop by to see the game up close or go to this link to sign up and start playing online: https://phex.herokon-online.com/en/play/

Also, check out the full success story here to see how Silver Style developed this amazing game using Adobe Gaming Tools.

Game On: The Present and Future of Game Development

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.”

Sushi

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.

PlayHaven Offers AIR Native Extensions

playhavenWe had the pleasure recently of connecting with PlayHaven to learn more about their powerful marketing platform, how they are helping mobile game developers monetize their products, and the benefits of offering AIR Native Extensions. Recently profiled in Forbes Magazine on the free-to-play model and helping monetize more than 4,000 titles, PlayHaven offers additional insight in the Q&A below.

What is your name and role at PlayHaven?
My name is Lauren Lamonica Rosenthal and I’m a product manager at PlayHaven. I’m always working to make better products and refine the experience for our game developer partners.

What is PlayHaven?
PlayHaven is a lifetime value maximization platform that mobile game developers use to better acquire understand, and intelligently engage and monetize players.

We currently provide an iOS and an Android open source SDK for game developers to integrate into their applications. With these integrated game developers can send targeted content to their players from our web dashboard in real time—including cross promotions, rewards and virtual good promotions. We also offer a powerful ad network with 4,000 mobile games and 100 million unique monthly users.

Where is PlayHaven located?
PlayHaven is based in San Francisco, CA with an office in Portland, OR.

Why did you start PlayHaven? What were you solving in the market by launching PlayHaven?
PlayHaven launched its platform to help mobile game developers solve the challenges they face acquiring, engaging, retaining and monetizing players. The team saw an opportunity to help developers build better relationships with their players in an easy and flexible platform.

Our goal with the PlayHaven platform is to give mobile game developers a single service that allows them consume and understand relevant information about their users and take meaningful actions that will maximize the value of their players.

Why did PlayHaven create the AIR Native Extension (ANE)?
We know that there’s a vast community of high quality game developers who don’t write their games in native code, and we want to make our platform as widely available as possible. With the the PlayHaven AIR Native Extension, game developers get access to the same set of acquisition, engagement and monetization tools that we offer to Adobe developers coding natively.

What are the benefits of ANE for you? For your mobile developers?
The PlayHaven ANE will help us reach 12,000 of the most creative and innovative live app and game developers using Adobe’s platform. We’re thrilled to join the Adobe community.

The AIR Native Extensions makes it simple for mobile game developers using Adobe AIR to quickly integrate PlayHaven into iOS and Android apps using Flash’s ActionScript and start benefiting from the entire PlayHaven platform.

How do you use the ANE?  Any links to tutorial information to get developers started?
Adobe AIR mobile game developers for iOS and Android can use the PlayHaven native extension to run ads and deliver targeted in-game marketing communications to players including cross promotion of other games, rewards, virtual good promotions, announcements, and opt-in data collection. Sign up on playhaven.com to download the native extension, and then add it to your project library to get started.

Developers can find tutorial detail on GitHub.

Why are Adobe solutions like AIR and Flash important to game developers?
Creative people love to create. They want to build rich, interactive experiences for their players and be focused on creating a cutting-edge game. Adobe has always made user-friendly software that serves the creative professional with familiar interfaces and deep possibilities. As the mobile gaming industry becomes increasingly fragmented with more operating systems and devices offered up as gaming platforms, developers will turn to solutions like AIR because they trust Adobe to guide them through a new medium with good tutorials and minimal red tape.

What’s next for PlayHaven?
Product innovation is our top priority and we’ll continue to invest in tools that help our developer community maximize the lifetime value of their players. But, without saying too much, adding tools to our engagement suite and providing data-driven insights for developers are ways we’re continuing to create a more valuable experience for our partners.

Q&A With The Away Foundation’s Rob Bateman

We recently sat down with Rob Bateman, managing director of The Away Foundation, who told us about the company’s new project, Away3D 4.0 Gold, that was launched earlier today. Away3D 4.0 Gold is first official project from The Away Foundation, an offshoot of Away3D. The company has been active for two months, but Rob had been involved in the  Away3D engine since 2007.

Enjoy the Q&A below and visit away3d.com to read more about the release and download tutorials, examples and source files.

Tell us a bit about The Away Foundation and how it came about.

The Away Foundation is 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. Work within The Away Foundation is enabled by corporate sponsorship and the continued support of a large community of individuals and organisations.

Around 6 months ago, I left a full-time Technical Director role to focus on Away3D activities, and it was around this time that the concept of a foundation was discussed with other core members of the Away3D community. The idea of a non-profit entity managing Away3D matters appealed to us as it appeared a straightforward way to generate corporate funding interest and accelerate development.

After the Away3D 4.0 Beta was released in February, we started making enquires to gauge company interest. Adobe came forward as a strong candidate for becoming a founding member, with significant interest in the work already achieved by our group and positive feedback from the many creative companies around the world that use our libraries. After 3 months of discussions with Adobe we agreed on the vision and we had our first founding partner.

How does this align with Away3D priorities?

Away3D has its roots in open source, and a large active community that has grown steadily from its origins over 5 years ago. The focus of Away3D has been 3D graphics on the web using the Flash technologies, and has previously relied on the free contributions of its community members to survive and grow. As things have got bigger, so too has the amount of necessary commitment, and the main benefit The Away Foundation offers is a business incentive for companies like Adobe to get involved and help support this commitment.

What was the principal driver of The Away Foundation?

As the organiser and founder of the Away3D project, I was the primary catalyst for pushing forward discussions and working out the logistics of the company. The main driver for me was the opportunities The Away Foundation presents to our community and development areas. Away3D has always been about providing free software to developers, but in the past we lacked a long-term business strategy for sustainability and growth. With The Away Foundation, we now have an official strategy for these aspects of free software development.

What is the goal of The Away Foundation and how do you see that coming to fruition?

The Away Foundation is primarily focused on the development and maintenance of tools and libraries used in the production of high-performance graphical content on the web and mobile devices, and seeks to promote the value of open standards and open source software to a broader audience. Away3D has laid the groundwork for this, establishing ourselves as a center for creative, high quality frameworks and free, unrestrictive licensing. By offering an official membership program to the businesses that benefit from such technology, we hope to encourage a new wave of possibilities and collaborations while cementing our existing development streams and improving the quality of our resources and support.

How will the Foundation be managed?

As a CIC we can be quite flexible about how we structure ourselves, and even how we do business. The only firm rule is our non-profit status which we hope will encourage business investment, as you can be sure that every penny donated in funding will be spent on the development and support of our libraries and resources. Decisions on our focus and strategy are made using a flat voting hierarchy that includes all members of our organisation, ensuring that our developers and community are at the heart of everything we do, and remain so.

How will The Away Foundation gain support and funding?

We already have a great deal of support for Away3D at a community level, and want to encourage companies who use our software regularly to become more involved in support activities through The Away Foundation. This doesn’t just have to be funding involvement – we have had several successful collaborations in the past with companies who have donated development time, and the foundation is designed to encourage this further.

How is Adobe involved in the project?

Adobe is registered as a Strategic Member of The Away Foundation, the top tier membership status. This is intended for organizations that benefit greatly from the proliferation and use of Away Foundation tools and software, and want to create lasting connections with Away Foundation activities, through the integration of their own communities, tools and software platforms.

What does it mean to gaming that Adobe is involved with the foundation and open source?

I think it’s a great step in the right direction, and further demonstrates Adobe’s commitment to providing high quality resources for games developers looking to the Flash ecosystem for serious games development.  Earlier this year Adobe endorsed the open source Starling 2D framework and now developers can leverage Away3D framework to create 3D and hybrid 2D/3D games. There is still a way to go, but The Away Foundation provides the resources, community and talent to get things to a potentially very interesting place. Our biggest advantage is our free & open source approach that offers any software project, whether it be free or commercially based, the ability to pick up our libraries and integrate them with their own systems. This expands the potential of what you can do with Away Foundation software, and empowers games companies of all sizes to be creative and innovative in the products they produce.

What are the benefits to members?

Membership is arranged in tiers, from community contributors right up to strategic sponsors, and benefits vary accordingly. The very least, you are entitled to vote on decisions that affect company direction and strategy at our annual general meeting and formal recognition as a foundation member on our website. Increased commitment offers increased benefits, such as targeted support on company matters relating to Away Foundation resources, pre-release details of updates and new projects being worked on, and at the very highest level a seat on the board of directors to foster long term commitments relating to shared goals and strategies.

Of course, the biggest benefit to anyone is the continued existence of a free, non-restrictive software resource that offers cutting edge libraries and strong community ties, something we hope any member would be happy to be associated with.

Where can one go to find more information on the Away Foundation?

Our main site is hosted at http://www.theawayfoundation.org, where you can find more information on the projects we manage, support we offer and members we are involved with.

Full Steam Ahead! Indie Game: The Movie – the 1st feature film delivered through Steam

If you didn’t have a chance to catch Indie Game:  The Movie on the big screen during the official movie tour, here is your chance to bring Edmond, Tommy, Phil and Jonathan into your living room or a screen near you. In a first, the movie is delivered through Steam using Adobe AIR.

Congratulations to co-directors Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky on this magnificent film that serves as the voice of the passionate indie game developer.  We hope to see you at the Oscars! :)

Digital Release Details
Indie Game: The Movie is available worldwide today, Tuesday June 12th, on iTunes, directly from the filmmakers on IndieGameTheMovie.com and Steam.

  • Indie Game: The Movie is one of the first feature films to be delivered through Steam. It’s been being distributed through an app built using AIR. Details about the Steam package are here.
  • Additionally, it’s also available DRM-free on IndieGameTheMovie.com, and currently in the following languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic & Traditional Chinese (with more languages being added soon).

Indie Game: The Movie looks at the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their creative visions with the world. Following the making of the games SUPER MEAT BOY, FEZ and BRAID, this Sundance award-winning film captures the tension and drama by focusing on these developers’ vulnerability and obsessive quest to express themselves through a 21st-century art form.

Adobe is thrilled to be a part of this significant release, sponsoring the North American tour of the movie, as well as working with the team to distribute the movie as an AIR app. We hope that the ongoing success and critical acclaim of the movie (including winning an award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and a 100% ‘Fresh’ rating by Rotten Tomatoes as the ‘Number one best reviewed film of 2012’) encourages indie game developers to continue pursuing their passions, and we’re working hard to make sure Adobe technologies continue to help improve their ability to develop, deliver, and distribute their games! Let us know if you have a game that you’ve developed using Adobe technology, and see more examples of indie games here.