Electrotank Takes Gaming to the Next Level with the Flash Platform

Developing huge multiplayer online games (MMOs), social games, and virtual worlds for browsers and mobile devices is no easy feat. It can be time consuming, costly, and usually requires multiple skill sets and significant resources.

With the increasing demand for online games, 2010 Adobe MAX Awards finalistElectrotank, a provider of real-time multiplayer games and game technology, developed the Electrotank Universe Platform (EUP) and Tool Suite to significantly streamline and solidify the process. Built using the Adobe Flash Platform, EUP provides an end-to-end solution that gives developers, designers, and artists the tools they need to collaborate to build unique and immersive games in Flash and Unity 3.

EUP, which has been licensed to build more than a dozen full-featured MMOs and virtual words for clients such as Ubisoft, Mattel, and MTV Networks, provides a comprehensive framework for building MMOs, social games, and virtual worlds. For example, the system comes with a core set of integrated game services that can be extended to create custom features and game mechanics, and exposes this custom functionality via an easy-to-use set of content and operations tools. The system also comes with the option to use Electrotank’s proprietary rendering Engine (for Flash clients) and AvGen, Electrotank’s unique approach to rendering 2D avatars in Flash.

The EUP Tool Suite was built with the Adobe Flash Platform, specifically Adobe Flash BuilderAdobe AIR, and the Adobe Flex framework, to allow developers to provide a sleek interface that was flexible enough to dynamically conform the custom needs of each game built using EUP, and could be used by creative and development teams working on different types of hardware from remote locations.

EUP, the Tool Suite, along with Adobe Flash technologies, have helped developers drastically reduce time, risk and cost associated with game creation, as well as by increasing revenue opportunities. Also, Electotank has found that the enterprise, business and military sectors have expressed interest in their technology for training, communications and product development purposes.

To find out more about how the Electrotank’s EUP and Tool Suite leverages Adobe Flash technologies, visit here.

Taking HD Video and Mobile Apps to a New Level on the BlackBerry PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook is now shipping with Adobe Flash Player, so users can experience the best of the web—including video, games, animations and more – anytime, anywhere. Some of the latest Flash Player features, like hardware accelerated video decoding and rendering, will give PlayBook users a great mobile video experience allowing them to watch their favorite TV shows, movies or sports games in up to 1080p HD video on the device’s own screen or, thanks to the PlayBook’s HDMI interface, on any HD TV. Check out the positive feedback around Flash performance from top reviewers at the Wall Street Journal, Engadget, CNET, GigaOM, BGR and others.

With RIM’s BlackBerry Tablet OS Software Development Kit (SDK) for Adobe AIR and the PlayBook’s support for AIR native extensions, developers can easily use the same Adobe Flash tooling to create rich mobile applications. With the recently announced mobile tooling and framework support in Flash Builder 4.5, developers can create, test, and deploy high performing mobile applications on BlackBerry Tablet OS. Flex 4.5 will include support for BlackBerry Tablet OS in June 2011.

Check out this demo of Adobe Flash technology and some AIR applications for the PlayBook:

Several AIR apps will be available for the PlayBook at launch and in the coming months from Adobe, Epix, Facebook, salesforce.com, Universal Mind and others. There has already been some buzz from developers and our partners around AIR applications running on the PlayBook:

  • “Building applications for the PlayBook was a natural extension of our AIR development capabilities. Everyone on our team was impressed by the device, and we are very excited to build great experiences for this new platform!” Grant Skinner, Chief Architect/CEO, gskinner.com
  • “We are excited to showcase Reader’s Digest–the largest paid-circulation magazine in the world–on the new BlackBerry PlayBook. We are reinventing our iconic brand for the digital age, adding interactivity, video, audio and brilliant photos to our storytelling and condensed insights, and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite is the key to getting it all done to our exacting standards.” Peggy Northrop, VP, Global Editor-in-Chief, Reader’s Digest
  • “I can’t keep my hands off iGIZMO on PlayBook. It’s interactive, entertaining and more impressive with every read. It’s a huge achievement and packed full of cutting-edge features that are enabling us to innovate on this exciting new platform. Now we can extend the reach of our brand to new audiences–and pursue new commerce opportunities–by using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to make our content avaialble on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Our readers can now engage with ground-breaking photography, video reviews and interactive content on the go–wherever they are and whenever they want to enoy it.” James Billington, Editor, iGIZMO
  • “With Adobe AIR, we were able to extend the superior quality and accessible delivery of our Epix video experiences to the BlackBerry Playbook with minimal development effort.  We continue to look to the Adobe Flash Platform to help us provide an immersive entertainment experience to our customers, across multiple platforms and devices.” Emil Rensing, Chief Digital Officer, Epix
  • “Aqualux is a perfect fit for the tablet form factor, and it’s exciting to have it running on such a capable device.  I’m impressed with how seamlessly the Flash Platform is integrated with the OS.  Adobe and RIM have made AIR a first-class citizen on the PlayBook; key features like multitasking, in-app purchases, and UI controls are directly accessible via the AIR SDK, and empowered Aqualux to run with native features and native performance. “Alex Liebert, Milkman Games, LLC, http://www.milkmangames.com

Playbook users will also be able to enjoy more engaging, immersive digital publications created by media and business publishers using the new Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. With the new Adobe Content Viewer for PlayBook, media and business publishers, including Dennis Publishing and Reader’s Digest , can share their well-known titles and brands on the device. Content Viewer for the PlayBook is immediately available to content publishers through the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Prerelease program. Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, along with the latest set of soon-to-be-released tablet authoring tools in Creative Suite 5.5, can be used to create content for BlackBerry Tablet OS. Lastly, Adobe is providing enterprise applications such as Adobe Connect Mobile for web conferencing and LiveCycle for business workflows for the PlayBook, and the device ships with an optimized version of Adobe Reader for seamless viewing of PDF content.

We can’t wait to see how these developments with Adobe Flash technology will change the way people work and play as they engage with digital experiences across desktops and devices. We’d love to hear your feedback and experiences, and stay tuned for more exciting announcements to come!

Standard Chartered Takes Banking Mobile with the Flash Platform

Standard Chartered, a leading international bank with almost 150 years operating in markets such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East, realized that its customers wanted to bank anywhere, anytime in a simple, convenient and intuitive way. After all, well over half of its customers would be using mobile banking in 2011.

Mobile banking, however, can be a Catch-22. The customer experience should be richly functional, versatile and engaging, but whatever Standard Chartered built had to present minimal development costs and a reduced time to market.

The result was Breeze — built with the Adobe Flash Platform. Breeze allows customers to securely manage their finances—from finding ATMs to paying bills—in entertaining, convenient and personalized ways on their preferred digital device.

With Adobe Flash Platform technologies—AIR 2.5, Flash Builder and the Flex framework—the bank was able to apply a single development platform and reuse the same code to quickly build applications to run on multiple devices, from Samsung, iPad, and Android tablets to Android smartphones. Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium software helped the team design the user interface.

The advantages using the Adobe Flash Platform were quickly evident. For instance, the development team found it easy to work with Flash Builder because of how familiar they were with Eclipse-based integrated development environments (IDEs). AIR 2.5 saved the team weeks on the project thanks to fast performance and reduced memory leaks. Overall, Standard Chartered cut time to market by 40 percent and investment in the application by two-thirds using Adobe tools and existing code.

In addition to time and cost savings, Standard Chartered is looking forward to how Adobe tools will allow them to seamlessly introduce new features and content without disrupting customer experiences. Using Adobe SiteCatalyst, powered by Omniture, the bank’s executives can measure and analyze site traffic to improve visitors’ experiences even more. Breeze will also soon offer location-based services for features like using a smartphone to search for local merchant discounts when using a Standard Chartered credit card.

To learn more about how Adobe powers Standard Chartered’s Breeze, check out the story here.

Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 Accelerate Mobile App Development, Adding Performance and Productivity

Today is a great day for developers who are building applications for mobile devices. We are extremely excited to announce the upcoming release of Adobe Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 along with Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 (CS5.5), offering unprecedented new capabilities for building mobile applications and content. These new products offer a new mobile development paradigm – allowing you to use one tool, one development framework, and one codebase to build mobile applications on Android, BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS platforms.

What this means is that you can use Flash Builder 4.5 to build great looking, high performing mobile applications, and then package them as ready-to-deploy mobile apps that you can submit to an app store/market. No more need to learn different languages and tools for different mobile platforms. In May, you will be able to package apps for Android, and shortly thereafter, you will be able to compile apps for BlackBerry Tablet OS and iOS using free updates that we plan to ship for Flex and Flash Builder in June.

Check out this video with Platform Evangelist Serge Jespers to see this new development flow in action:

Also new with this release is the addition of Flash Builder 4.5 Premium to Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection. Now you can get all of the tools that you need to build the most expressive applications for mobile, web, and desktop platforms all in a single suite.

To learn what’s new in Flash Builder 4.5, read this article and watch this video for more details on mobile development using Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex SDK 4.5:

Additionally, updates in Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.5 feature a new round-trip workflow with Flash Builder 4.5 allowing designers and developers to work in parallel. Now designers can open, make changes and save Flex projects that were created or previously edited in Flash Builder, leading to faster delivery of applications. Designers can rapidly prototype user interfaces for resizable Flex-based websites and applications with new components, craft more precise and expressive transitions and effects, and efficiently design developer-built custom components.

Take a peek at this video, Introduction to Flash Catalyst CS5.5:

Lastly, Adobe and Zend Technologies, the PHP company, today introduced Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP software, a brand new integrated product helping PHP developers create rich Internet applications (RIAs) for mobile, Web and desktop leveraging the Flash Platform. For the first time, developers now have the benefit of an integrated development environment (IDE), combining the capabilities of Flash Builder and Zend Studio for rapidly creating Flex and PHP applications. Now, with a single code base developers can deliver applications for Android, Blackberry Tablet OS and iOS while sharing code from Web applications, noticeably reducing the time and cost of application creation and maintenance. 

Check out these articles for the latest product features and capabilities:

- Introducing Adobe Flex 4.5 SDK

- Understanding the new workflows in Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS5.5

- Introducing Flash Builder 4.5 for PHP

We hope you’ll explore all that CS5.5 has to offer to create new digital experiences for major smartphones and tablets. Let us know what you think of the latest enhancements to Flash Builder 4.5, Flex 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS5.5!

Wacom Showcases the Power of the Pen and Multi-Touch with the Flash Platform

Leading tablet maker Wacom has always pushed the envelope when it comes to creative expression. However, when the company wanted to extend its brand from the physical world to the virtual one (targeting the mass consumer market) they decided to go with the Adobe Flash Platform given its ease of use and broad reach.

After bringing on the help of digital agencies Gugga and Fantasy Interactive, Wacom created Bamboo Dock, a downloadable Adobe AIR desktop application that holds, manages and launches applications for Wacom’s line of Bamboo tablets. Aside from AIR, Bamboo Dock was developed using Flash Platform tools, including Flash Professional CS5, Flash Builder 4 and Flash Catalyst. (Bamboo Dock even won an Adobe 2010 MAX Award in the ‘Social Computing’ category).

With the stroke of a pen, users can open and minimize the Bamboo Dock as well as open and add applications—providing a fast way to access fun, easy and useful tools for everything from note taking and doodling to gaming and sharing work with friends. Wacom turned to the Flash Platform to inspire users, drive hardware sales and bring creative users together through a growing lineup of applications.

In its first year, Bamboo Dock helped Wacom sell 30 percent more Bamboo tablets than the previous year, and they received 3 million application downloads plus 600,000 dock downloads. Strong technology integration across the Flash Platform allowed Wacom to quickly make updates and deliver results in a third of the time they anticipated. Already in the works, Wacom plans to transfer its applications across multiple devices and platforms. Find out more about how Wacom used Flash Platform technologies to deliver Bamboo Dock here.

Working with Doctrine 2, Flex, Zend AMF, and Flash Builder

I finally got some time to play with Doctrine 2 and Flex. Back in May I wrote an article about working with Doctrine 1.x and Flex (you can read the article here) and my feelings were mixed. I chatted with Jonathan Wage of Doctrine about some of the shortcomings I found in Doctrine 1.x and [...]

Charting with Flex and PHP

One of the things that I’ve found to be a bit of a pain is structuring data correctly so it’s easy to chart. Luckily there are some things you can do within the charting framework in Flex to make that a bit easier as well as some things you can do with the Zend Framework to send data in a way that’s easier to chart. I cover the basics in a new post on the Adobe Developer Center.